Sven: My Story (2013)

Sold on the premise that it cracks the Eriksson ‘enigma’, My Story actually delivers…what’s open to question is whether it does so in the way that its subject intended.

In being unflinchingly honest, Sven-Gorän Eriksson theoretically gives the reader what they want; but something is missing.  My Story reads like an impersonation of other, more heartfelt equivalents; even its most revealing disclosures carry the emotional heft of a shopping list.

Its frigid delivery may disappoint, but there's something refreshingly honest about the tone of Sven’s ice-cold confessional.  Eriksson is unemotional so why should his autobiography be any different?  We’re even warned early-on; “where I come from … we don’t reveal what we feel. That would be a sign of weakness.”  Intended as a small but significant personal revelation this ultimately becomes a caveat; ‘Look I know this is an autobiography but…I’m Swedish’.

What proceeds is a cold but efficient autobiography where Eriksson details his career and relationships while occasionally providing some fascinating insight into the closed-world of football management.  For England fans more familiar with the caricature of ‘Svennis’, My Story provides much-needed, unflowery context to a figure usually profiled in bombastic, tabloid language.

At a time when superlatives are out of control, when everyone and every thing is described as ‘genius’, ‘legendary’ or ‘the best thing ever’, My Story also serves as a reminder that the introverted, quiet and sober-minded are also capable of the spectacular; they just sometimes struggle with self-promotion.