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Pep Confidential: 10 questions for the author

MARTI PERARNAU was given total access to Bayern Munich during Pep Guardiola's first season, 2013-14. The result is an astonishing behind-the-scenes book, Pep Confidential: The Inside Story of Pep Guardiola's First Season at Bayern Munich, which we have co-published with Arena Sport.

We asked Marti - pictured below with Pep - 10 questions on the book...

1) Why did Pep decide to give a writer such access at this point in his career?

Several factors converged simultaneously: David Trueba, a very good Spanish film director is a close friend of Pep. He said it was a shame not to have recorded the great moments lived inside the Barcelona dressing room. At that time I came along with my project about Bayern and the endorsement of Manel Estiarte, with whom I had been an Olympic colleague.

Pep thought there was a chance to make an exception to the rules and allow entry to someone who was an ex-sportsman and who, perhaps, could explain how his football team worked. So we made the deal and then I had to earn the trust of Guardiola and be honest with him.

2) Tell us one thing about Pep Guardiola that most people won’t know?

The biggest surprise is that most clichés that exist about Pep are not true. He’s not a romantic manager, not poetic or aesthetic. He’s a very competitive coach who wants to win and will change his usual playing style if it would improve the team. Lorenzo Buenaventura, Bayern's physical trainer, defines him with a very exact phrase: "Pep is not a fan of himself." He has an open mind to all kinds of knowledge.

3) Other than Pep, who was the most interesting character you came across in the book?

Probably the agent of Philipp Lahm. He is called Roman Grill and was a player for Bayern reserves many years ago. He also coached when Lahm started playing. Grill is a very intelligent person with a great knowledge of football. He saw Guardiola's tactical movements before anyone else and is also a character who speaks very clear and does not hide behind diplomatic phrases.

4) Having your access would be a dream for every fan or journalist – what was your favourite moment during the season?

The most exciting moments were always the post-game time when Guardiola expresses all thoughts of what happened in the games.

5) Which Bayern player impressed / surprised you most in terms of attitude and personality?

Philipp Lahm and Arjen Robben. The captain is a very quiet and serious player, who used to remain quite unnoticed until the team needed him to talk or act. In these cases Lahm demonstrates a very big personality. Robben is always playing with his three children and behaves like a great parent. He is very polite and friendly and also he’s very ambitious as a player.

6. In the book, arguably the greatest coach in the world lays out his coaching manual – do you expect this book to have a big impact on other coaches / managers?

All reactions I've received from managers and coaches have been very positive. Spanish, Argentine and German coaches have contacted me to discuss details of the working methods of Guardiola.

7. Pep has lots of friends from outside of football – filmmakers, fashion designers, chess players, academics which of these areas and individuals have been the biggest influence on Pep?

Pep is a man with much curiosity for all things. Sometimes I was surprised when he was interested in issues far removed from football. But he always just used what he learned to apply it to football. Finally, what most influences Pep is the football itself.

8. The theme of chess and Pep’s talks with Garry Kasparov are very important at the start and the end of the book. Can you explain the significance of the chess theme in the book?

Conversations with Kasparov are related to the difficulties in always being focused and the resulting competition fatigue. Pep is very interested in learning how to save mental energy because he burnt out in Barcelona. He wants to prevent the same thing happening at Bayern. Moreover, he’s interested in chess from the standpoint of movement strategy.

9. You travelled all over Germany with the team – what was the most interesting place you visited?

Munich is a formidable city. I had a great time living in Munich this year. Of the other cities I visited, Freiburg was the most special. It is small and charming.

10. Where do you expect Pep to be in 10 years’ time?

I do not think Pep is like Sir Alex Ferguson, who spent 27 years at his club. Rather, I think he prefers to have a shorter career as a coach, but very intense. It seems inevitable that one day Pep will be the coach of an English club.

* Pep Confidential: The Inside Story of Pep Guardiola's First Season at Bayern Munich, out now in paperback and ebook, published by BackPage Press / Arena Sport.

** Read an exclusive extract from Pep Confidential here

Pep Confidential: Interview with the author, Part Two

MARTI PERARNAU was given total access to Bayern Munich during Pep Guardiola's first season, 2013-14. The result is an astonishing behind-the-scenes book, Pep Confidential: The Inside Story of Pep Guardiola's First Season at Bayern Munich, which we have co-published with Arena Sport.

We asked Marti - pictured below with Pep - 10 questions on the book. Part one was published yesterday. Here is part two...

6. In the book, arguably the greatest coach in the world lays out his coaching manual – do you expect this book to have a big impact on other coaches / managers?

All reactions I've received from managers and coaches have been very positive. Spanish, Argentine and German coaches have contacted me to discuss details of the working methods of Guardiola.

7. Pep has lots of friends from outside of football – filmmakers, fashion designers, chess players, academics which of these areas and individuals have been the biggest influence on Pep?

Pep is a man with much curiosity for all things. Sometimes I was surprised when he was interested in issues far removed from football. But he always just used what he learned to apply it to football. Finally, what most influences Pep is the football itself.

8. The theme of chess and Pep’s talks with Garry Kasparov are very important at the start and the end of the book. Can you explain the significance of the chess theme in the book?

Conversations with Kasparov are related to the difficulties in always being focused and the resulting competition fatigue. Pep is very interested in learning how to save mental energy because he burnt out in Barcelona. He wants to prevent the same thing happening at Bayern. Moreover, he’s interested in chess from the standpoint of movement strategy.

9. You travelled all over Germany with the team – what was the most interesting place you visited?

Munich is a formidable city. I had a great time living in Munich this year. Of the other cities I visited, Freiburg was the most special. It is small and charming.

10. Where do you expect Pep to be in 10 years’ time?

I do not think Pep is like Sir Alex Ferguson, who spent 27 years at his club. Rather, I think he prefers to have a shorter career as a coach, but very intense. It seems inevitable that one day Pep will be the coach of an English club.

* Read part one of Marti's interview here

Pep Confidential: Interview with author Marti Perarnau, Part One

MARTI PERARNAU was given total access to Bayern Munich during Pep Guardiola's first season, 2013-14. The result is an astonishing behind-the-scenes book, Pep Confidential: The Inside Story of Pep Guardiola's First Season at Bayern Munich, which we have co-published with Arena Sport today.

We asked Marti - pictured below with Pep - 10 questions on the book. Here are questions one to five. Part two will be published on the blog tomorrow...

 

1) Why did Pep decide to give a writer such access at this point in his career?

Several factors converged simultaneously: David Trueba, a very good Spanish film director is a close friend of Pep. He said it was a shame not to have recorded the great moments lived inside the Barcelona dressing room. At that time I came along with my project about Bayern and the endorsement of Manel Estiarte, with whom I had been an Olympic colleague.

Pep thought there was a chance to make an exception to the rules and allow entry to someone who was an ex-sportsman and who, perhaps, could explain how his football team worked. So we made the deal and then I had to earn the trust of Guardiola and be honest with him.

2) Tell us one thing about Pep Guardiola that most people won’t know?

The biggest surprise is that most clichés that exist about Pep are not true. He’s not a romantic manager, not poetic or aesthetic. He’s a very competitive coach who wants to win and will change his usual playing style if it would improve the team. Lorenzo Buenaventura, Bayern's physical trainer, defines him with a very exact phrase: "Pep is not a fan of himself." He has an open mind to all kinds of knowledge.

3) Other than Pep, who was the most interesting character you came across in the book?

Probably the agent of Philipp Lahm. He is called Roman Grill and was a player for Bayern reserves many years ago. He also coached when Lahm started playing. Grill is a very intelligent person with a great knowledge of football. He saw Guardiola's tactical movements before anyone else and is also a character who speaks very clear and does not hide behind diplomatic phrases.

4) Having your access would be a dream for every fan or journalist – what was your favourite moment during the season?

The most exciting moments were always the post-game time when Guardiola expresses all thoughts of what happened in the games.

5) Which Bayern player impressed / surprised you most in terms of attitude and personality?

Philipp Lahm and Arjen Robben. The captain is a very quiet and serious player, who used to remain quite unnoticed until the team needed him to talk or act. In these cases Lahm demonstrates a very big personality. Robben is always playing with his three children and behaves like a great parent. He is very polite and friendly and also he’s very ambitious as a player.

* Part two of Marti's interview will run tomorrow (Friday)

In Search of Duncan Ferguson

 

Alan Pattullo's biography In Search of Duncan Ferguson was published last month to critical acclaim. Pattullo, a respected sportswriter for The Scotsman, spent years on the trail of the enigmatic former Everton, Newcastle, Dundee United and Rangers striker.

The result is an accomplished biography which has drawn praise from readers and critics ("An illuminating, well-sourced and forensic examination of the enigma of British football - Henry Winter") as well as being longlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.

At the launch in Edinburgh last night, we asked Alan nine questions about the famous/infamous No.9. Fittingly, the interview lasts exactly nine minutes! Enjoy...

 

listen to ‘In Search of Duncan Ferguson: Nine questions on No.9’ on audioBoom

 

 

 

 

Football Manager Stole My Heart

A couple of years ago we published a book called Football Manager Stole My Life. It looks like this.




This project was a leap of faith. We knew the game was hugely popular, but we didn't know how it had permeated into people's lives. There were stories to tell.

And so it goes on. Today on Twitter - the very day that a Football Manager documentary is shown at Vue cinemas across the UK and on international television - the fortunate got to witness a beautiful snapshot. A young man, let's call him @MitchEast1, was at his university library when he noticed a young woman, as young men in university libraries are wont to do.

Upon closer inspection, her laptop display was busy not with the decline of the Roman Empire, or anything to do with "science", but with Football Manager. Yes, friends, this one was a keeper.


At Uni....in the library...looking at a girl...she's playing @FootballManager at what point do I go over and tell her I'm in love? @milesSI

— Mitch East (@Mitcheast1) October 7, 2014
Copied in were Miles Jacobson, overlord of Sports Interactive and the Football Manager team, and the official FM account at SI. After they responded and retweeted, we were off to the races.

Romance, hope and humour - three essential elements in the Football Manager devotee - were soon evident from those following the story, as #DareToMitch began to trend on every FM player's timeline.

The language of love, we discovered, was closely related to the language of the dug-out. And as you can tell from that last line, there is also endless scope for off-colour puns, but that's not important right now. Here are some of the best bits:


@steven_rossiter @FootballManager @Mitcheast1 leak your interest to the uni paper first to unsettle her

— Steven Rossiter (@steven_rossiter) October 7, 2014

@FootballManager @Mitcheast1 Ask if she's bought Nicusor Stanciu yet? That's a great chat-up line. #icebreaker

— David Neilson (@DNeilson19) October 7, 2014

@FootballManager @Mitcheast1 check to see if she quits and re-loads after a bad result. If she does, she can't be trusted.

— Alex Campbell (@niblet28) October 7, 2014


@Mitcheast1 @FootballManager @milesSI Check who she manages first. If she's gone lower league, get in there.

— Ross Park (@TonyLeMesma) October 7, 2014
Our young hero was soon moving through the gears. First, he got close enough to see who his signing target was playing (Arsenal) and then took a seat nearby.

@Mitcheast1 @FootballManager Where are you both placed on the table? Will it be a classic six-pointer? #DaretoMitch

— Jim Hearson (@JimHearson) October 7, 2014
But then, with everything to play for, and after initial enquiries had been made, the laptop was closed and the mystery manageress was gone.

Right lads, the bad news, she's gone....

— Mitch East (@Mitcheast1) October 7, 2014


The good news...found out a bit about her...studies art...supports Arsenal....gone for lunch....more updates in a few hours!

— Mitch East (@Mitcheast1) October 7, 2014


I didn't bottle it, she closed her mac so I had to make a move. Even if she's not back today, same again next Tues! #DareToMitch

— Mitch East (@Mitcheast1) October 7, 2014


There was, as there had to be, some post-match team-talking.

@Mitcheast1 Assertive: "Putting the result aside, that was a pleasing performance."

— David Rook (@davidrook) October 7, 2014
And even the brief emergence of #MitchOut, which seemed at once harsh, and perfectly reflective of modern football.

We don't doubt that the boy Mitch shows a lot of promise, even if his finishing needs some work. He's promised to be back in the library for the second leg of this love match, next week.

One question....next Tuesday, is it my cup final? Do I wear a suit?

— Mitch East (@Mitcheast1) October 7, 2014

 

 

 

 

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