Andy Bernal’s football journey: From David Beckham to a 2005 court case

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Andy Bernal’s deepest and most hidden life secrets are revealed in his absorbing autobiography called ‘Riding Shotgun’.

The reader is taken through a journey of growing up as a ‘wog’ and being a victim of daily racism. Football was his only escape from the grim everyday reality, when even that in itself was a challenge.

Being born with a knee abnormality meant that Bernal should not have even been able to run, yet alone play professional sport. Instead, he still pushed through the pain to chase his dream of a European career.

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That dream came true, as he signed his first professional contract in Spain with stints at Xerez CD, Sporting Gijon and Albacete Balomple. This dream only lasted a matter of years however, as in a thrilling turn of events Bernal had to flee from Spanish authorities and went to England.

It almost worked out after being offered a contract, but another twist of fate saw him deported from there.

Just as his dream looked to be over, he would return to England and fulfil a very specific footballing dream. All this would come later though.

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Eventually, as his knee forced him into retirement, the very best, and at the same time the worst, time of his life was about to come.

Having taken up a position with SFX management, he was given his biggest assignment yet – look after David Beckham following his move to Real Madrid.

Being around Beckham opened the door to an exotic lifestyle which one could only imagine in movies. Drugs became commonplace in that environment too.

As with a lot of things though, what goes up, must come down and Bernal would find that out first-hand.

Including his 2005 court case – which he alleges was a made up charge – where he admitted to spying on a woman in Reading, Berkshire from bushes outside her home and was ordered to pay almost £9,000 pounds after he was caught.

This would set him back more than one could imagine, but his road to recovery would teach a valuable lesson.

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The no-filter approach to writing this book instantly put me in Bernal’s shoes. This made it incredibly easy to feel a fraction of the emotions that he did at the time.

Some typos and skipped words did break the rhythm of reading at times. Admittedly, there were not too many of those. The brilliance and pure entertainment of the plot outweighs all of it though.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Feature Image Credit: Supplied

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Bogdan Vlasyuk
Total football fanatic. Supporter of the Melbourne Victory and Dynamo Kyiv 🙂

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