REVIEW: Longy: Booze, Brawls, Sex and Scandal, by Sean Long and Nick Appleyard

Neil Barraclough

Sean Long has done it all.

Record-breaking treble Lance Todd Trophy winner? Tick. Last-minute Grand Final-winning drop goals? Tick. National hero when Great Britain won in Sydney in 2006? Tick.

There’s been the daft stuff, too: a three-month ban for betting on St Helens to lose at Bradford, the end of his international career when he walked out on that 2006 Tri-Nations tour, and more silly haircuts than any of us can remember.

Longy: Booze, Brawls, Sex and Scandal covers the whole lot.

And the result is a book that is just as lively as Long’s career.

After all, anyone who can rope Johnny Vegas into writing his foreword must have a few tales to tell.

Long is as honest in this book as he has been entertaining on the rugby pitch.

He doesn’t shy away from the times when he might have strayed over the line. As he freely admits, he loves it “when things are a bit mental”.

That’s caused some problems, but it’s also led to moments of unbelievable laughter and touching sentiment.

He movingly tells the tale of watching Wigan at Wembley during his teens, thinking “that will be me one day” when the Lance Todd Trophy winner was announced. In 2001, that dream came true – and he partied hard in celebration.

“When we got back to St Helens, I was incapable of doing interviews or anything like that. I’d had precious little sleep and shitloads of booze – I was a drunker version of Freddie Flintoff after England won the Ashes in 2005!”

Rugby league has always been the focus of Long’s life. Any other distractions have played second-fiddle to a sport that has loved him as much as he’s loved it.

Which is why his closing thoughts, on a life after his playing career, come as no surprise to anyone who reads this book.

“To be honest, if I don’t stay on in rugby I don’t know what the f*** I’ll do with myself. I live and breathe the game and when I’m not training or playing, I’m watching it on the telly or talking about it. The idea of hanging up my rugby boots for good once I stop playing makes me feel a bit lost.”

It’s probably fair to say that Longy: Booze, Brawls, Sex and Scandal won’t win any literary prizes. But it’s a cracking read, as entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny as it is revealing about one of Super League’s all time greats.

As far as autobiographies go, what more could you want?

Longy: Booze, Brawls, Sex and Scandal’, by Sean Long and Nick Appleyard, is out now. ISBN 978-1843581888, published by John Blake Publishing Ltd. It is available to buy here at a discounted price.