A BRITISH RAJ - MY LIFE IN FOOTBALL (BEHIND CLOSED DOORS)
One of the most compelling and revealing books that you will read in 2018 of an industry worshipped by millions but open to a select few is being launched in April this year.
Raj Athwal's A British Raj (My Life in Football: Behind Closed Doors), is no ordinary football autobiography which we have become accustomed to. This book takes you on a true life journey of a working-class, British born Asian growing up in 1980's Britain in the midst of high unemployment and racism; during a period when the words 'National Front' and 'Paki' became part of everyday life.
Despite living under a cloud of fear, Raj kept hold of his dream of one day feeling accepted by the country he loved and respected. Ultimately, his dream was realised when he went on to make footballing history by becoming the first ever British born Asian to represent an English professional football club as Commercial Director.
Raj said "I achieved a major milestone in the most bizarre of circumstances, you just could not make it up but then again this is the football industry."
The book covers the trials and tribulations of a man who scraped through education and spent most of his childhood playing street football, finding solace in music and being chased by skinheads! It is a book which lays bare in the rawest sense the human emotions of; innocence, euphoria, heartbreak and rejection.
Having worked in the Premier League and for one of the biggest clubs in Europe; Coventry City, Watford and Glasgow Rangers, Raj is living testament for those who dare to dream. His route into football wasn't what you would call orthodox, his twenty three years' experience of working in the higher echelons of the game will guarantee to leave you both exasperated and laughing with complete disbelief!
This book provides a heartfelt account of what life was like for many Asian and black families trying to make a life for themselves in Britain throughout the 70's and 80's and the solidarity these communities formed in order to survive.
It gives a truly amazing insight into how a normal everyday kid struggling to find a job of any description defied all the odds and ended up rubbing shoulders with some of the most powerful people who run the 'beautiful game' from boardrooms up and down the country.
From his humble beginnings of pushing leaflets through doors, to overseeing multi-million pound sponsorship deals, Raj has witnessed it all in the cut throat world of football.
He said "There is no easy route to working inside the football industry and once in, there was no way I was going to let the opportunity pass me by. This is an industry that has its own rules and regulations. A culture of its very own that is non-conventional, yet intriguing and exciting to be part of."
For many people, working in football is a dream but, as Raj openly admits, for an industry which is a law unto itself, some of his own personal experiences in the game have been anything but a dream.
Raj Athwal maybe an unknown to those outside the football arena but by the time you have read his story, you will have been taken on a whirlwind journey and be forgiven for thinking you've known him for years.
Having worked on the inside for almost a quarter of a century, we are finally given the honest truth to what we have all been asking - What is life like in football -behind closed doors?
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