Old Too Soon, Smart Too Late
By Oliver Holt and Kieron Dyer
The first intimate, honest, unsparing portrait of the failures and excesses of the 'Baby Bentley generation' of English footballers.
Kieron Dyer's memoir, Old Too Soon, Smart Too Late, is the first intimate and unsparing portrait of the failures and excesses of the generation of English footballers made rich beyond their wildest dreams by the post-1990 World Cup boom in the game and the explosion of the Premier League. It shares the same brutal honesty and self-awareness of the bestselling No Nonsense by Joey Barton and GoodFella by Craig Bellamy.
In the public mind, Kieron Dyer came to symbolise so much of what was self-destructive about a group of football players known collectively as the 'Baby Bentley generation'. Nicknamed 'The King of Bling' by the tabloid press, Dyer was caught up in many of the scandals that characterised the history of a talented crop of players who promised so much and delivered so little, a generation whose wages and lavish lifestyles began to alienate them from the fans who once worshipped them.
The brash young man is gone now, and in his place is the quiet, caring, wise man who was such a favourite on I'm a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here! in 2015. Dyer narrates, in uncompromising detail, how a generation of talented English footballers, taken out of working class childhoods and presented with a world of glitz, glamour, wealth and temptation, failed to cope with the riches that were presented to them and often fell apart.
Old Too Soon, Smart Too Late is about a moment in time, a social and historical record of English football at the start of its gold rush. For Dyer, the end of the book brings a measure of personal redemption and peace but for the English game, there is only a lingering sense of waste and regret for an opportunity lost.
Oliver Holt worked on the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo for three years before moving to The Times in 1993. He was Motor Racing Correspondent, Chief Football Correspondent and Chief Sports Writer. He joined the Daily Mirror as Chief Sports Writer in 2002. He is now Chief Sport Writer at the Mail on Sunday. His previous books include Miracle at Medinah and GoodFella, with Craig Bellamy.
In an 18-year career in professional football, Kieron Dyer played for Ipswich Town, Newcastle United, West Ham United, QPR and Middlesbrough. He won 33 caps for England. In 2015 he was a contestant on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!
- Other details
- Publication date:
24 Jan 2019
- Page count:
illuminating — Daily Mail
Searingly Honest — Daily Telegraph