It was Never my Ambition to Become A Hooker
By Moorsman
October 9 2012


Neil Clark Testimonial Year

I've not reviewed a book before but when asked to do so by Clarkys publisher I jumped at the chance.  Neil continues to be a part of Exeter Chiefs ongoing success and the book gives an indication of how this came about.  I must admit to having some early reservations (just can't stay away from Native American links!) when I read that his co-author, Dr. Stephen Manning  is a Research Fellow in Exeter University's History Department.  However these were soon blown away by the book itself.  Not only is it well written and easy to read, I'd describe it as compulsive reading.  This may have something to do with the fact that Stephen Manning is an avid Chiefs fan plus my own addiction to the same but there's a lot more to this book.

Neil is very honest, in fact I'd say brutally honest about his childhood and adolescence.  As you'll see when you read the book this was a really difficult time and went a long way to shaping the man.  He goes on to tell how Robin Cowling spotted him and persuaded Neil to take up rugby and how grateful he is for that. 

But I'm getting ahead of things as the book's first chapter is a personal look at the events leading up to Exeter's promotion to the Premiership.  As someone who was there on May 25th 2010 it brought that great event back and reinforced the smile I get every time I think of it. 

Neil then deals with his early years at Exeter and Ian Bremner's management style before moving on to his time at Bristol and the disappointing way this ended.  Along the way Neil gives ca vivid account of what it means to be a professional rugby player and member of the front row union (dark arts and all). 

The second half is based on the diary Neil started on Exeter's promotion and is a very interesting insight for each match in the first two seasons.

So, to sum up I'd thouroughly recommend the book to Exeter Chiefs fans and rugby fans in general.  As I said before it's a good reaad and well written giving a fascinating account of a professional rugby players life.  It's also a great way to contribute towards Clarkys Testimonial.  Enjoy....