Mark Aizlewood Tells All

Welsh Books Council

Mark Aizlewood Tells All - 26 November 2009

Tackling personal problems on and off the pitch

Today’s professional footballers are kept under the watchful eyes of the money men, management and media at all times. Bad behaviour is much less tolerated today than when international footballer, coach and football pundit Mark Aizlewood was in his prime. As one of Welsh football’s most well-known names he reveals for the first time in his personal autobiography the huge battles he faced during his distinguished football career, his battle with alcohol and his attempted suicide in Rome.

The hard man from Newport reveals all about his turbulent life in  Amddiffyn fy Hun: Hunangofiant Mark Aizlewood  (Defending Myself: Mark Aizlewood’s Autobiography.

Not your average football statistics book, in his autobiography Aizlewood tells of his highs, from representing Wales in the red shirt to his success learning Welsh and winning Welsh Learner of the Year to his lows which saw his heavy drinking worsening over twenty years and which ultimately led him to standing on a bridge in Rome on Valentine’s weekend in 2003 when he considered ending his life.

Co-written with Ioan Kidd, the book starts with a foreword by his good friend Ian Rush and takes readers on Aizlewood’s journey which includes his glittering career football. From his early beginnings at Newport County to Leeds United and back to Wales, anecdotes include his on-pitch squabbles with German striker Jurgen Klinsmann to off the pitch battles with Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson and Cardiff City’s Eddie May. He also tells of his particular difficult time in balancing a very public career as a football commentator whilst also being a technical director of the Football Trust.

Despite the difficulties, the autobiography is ultimately a tale of overcoming problems, taking responsibility, making amends and welcoming new opportunities. Mark Aizlewood said, "Even now, years after retiring from football, everyone’s got their opinion on Mark Aizlewood and 98% of it will be negative. I’m responsible for that. I’m not saying everything’s completely wrong, because you can’t spend your life worrying about what other people think, but I was a by product of what I had to do to become a success in this field. Can you be successful and have the other side too? No, I failed on that point but I think I could have had it all, knowing what I know now.

"When I was in public life, I was asked countless times to write an autobiography. Since being out of the limelight for the last three years, I was asked again and I had to think long and hard about it. I have decided to tell my story because I needed to do it for myself and for those closest to me who I hurt along the way. I can count on one hand the people that know about the episode in Rome but now having written my autobiography, everyone including the 98% can read my full story."

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