Fans have widely speculated the identity of the whistleblower known as the Secret Footballer since he emerged as a columnist in a national newspaper years ago.
And after publishing a series of bestselling books exposing the uglier side of football, fans believe they have finally worked his identity out.
Through the years the mysterious writer has lifted the lid on life as a footballer – including stories of players committing adulterous sex acts in hotel pools and splashing the cash in Las Vegas.
The whistleblower has also criticised some big-name managers and players in his publications.
Despite the author’s identity never being confirmed, football fans believe they have worked out who it is after deciphering a series of clues in his seven books.
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Here we take a closer look at who the fans believe the Secret Footballer is.
Who is the Secret Footballer?
Fans believe the Secret Footballer is ex- Premier League striker Dave Kitson.
Kitson used to play for Stoke City and Sheffield United.
Fans have pieced together several clues, and noticed many similarities between the ginger-haired frontman’s career and the events in The Secret Footballer’s books.
The former Premier League player was approached with the claims in 2013, but he wav unavailable.
A spokesman for Sheffield United said at the time: “As far as we are concerned, this is not a Sheffield United issue and will not be putting this question to any of our players, particularly the day before a game.”
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A checklist of clues has even been created on a designated website called whoisthesecretfooltballer.com .
On the website the main candidate is Kitson.
The main clues include:
1. Is he English?
2. Is he currently married?
3. Has he played under at least four managers?
4. Has he had a transfer between two Premiership clubs?
5. Was he a Premier League player in January 2011?
6. Has he played with a group of French players at one club?
7. Has he played with a striker who refused to move unless the pass went exactly where he wanted it?
8. Did he play for one manager for a considerable amount of time who was great before losing it?
9. Has he played for a manager who lost the dressing room?
10. Does he have a friend who plays for Liverpool?
11. Might he think Harry Redknapp is the Messiah?
12. Has he appeared as a pundit? (TSF probably doesn’t do so)
13. Did he have a long term girlfriend as a younger player?
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Other candidates include Reading legend Nicky Shorey, former Blackburn Rovers midfielder Danny Murphy, ex Bolton Wanders striker Kevin Davies and former Stoke striker Peter Crouch.
However, fans’ eventually decided Kitson was the most likely suspect.
One person on Twitter wrote: “I think The Secret Footballer is Dave Kitson, the clues fit when you look at his Wikipedia page.”
Another simply wrote: “Can’t we all just call The Secret Footballer Dave Kitson now?”
A third added: “I’m convinced The Secret Footballer is Dave Kitson.”
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