REVIEW: The Bald Truth, by Keith Senior and Peter Smith

Neil Barraclough

Want to know what happened when Kevin Sinfield threw a bowl of peanuts at Gary Hetherington? The truth behind Keith Senior’s 2005 Challenge Cup final injury? Or – perhaps less likely – Brian Carney’s toilet habits? It’s all in The Bald Truth, Senior’s fast-paced and searingly honest autobiography.

Ghostwriter Peter Smith has done a cracking job, while Senior’s attitude is one of the book’s huge strengths. The Bald Truth is a forthright and upfront read, with Senior touching on all the controversies and high points of his remarkable career.

Sections on his failed drugs test, winning the Challenge Cup with Sheffield and the fall-out from his 2008 World Cup kiss-and-tell shame are all thrown into the mix.

There are also plenty of interesting tales about Leeds’s off-field antics during the last decade, as well as a chapter titled ‘Ebay Gum’ that details another reason why Senior has become one of the most recognisable rugby league players of recent times.

Senior will undoubtedly go down as one of the all-time greats of the Super League era, a fact that is acknowledged by golfer Lee Westwood penning the foreword and Rhinos captain Sinfield contributing an entertaining afterword.

“You can tell when Keith’s about to go: he turns red, his eyes start bulging and his bottom lip begins to quiver. That’s when you know you’ve got him.”

To Senior’s credit, there is virtually nothing missing from The Bald Truth. He speaks about all the major stories he has been involved in, and even sheds light on some previously unreported encounters.

One incident involved Jamie Peacock and Nick Scruton fighting on a coach home from a trip to Newcastle races. The pair were eventually separated, with Senior handed the responsibility of looking after Scruton until the coached arrived back in Leeds. But given what happened next, you do wonder how Leeds ever managed to win anything…

“…Tansey came over to try and persuade Scroots (Nick Scruton) to go into town to carry on drinking. I told Tansey – who was never my favourite team-mate – to shove off, a few insults were exchanged and we ended up with my arm around Tansey’s neck, with me saying I was going to kill him. Scroots had to drag me off, when I was supposed to be looking after him.”

Love him or loathe him, Senior has come up with a belting read that’s hard to put down – just like the man himself.

The Bald Truth
, by Keith Senior and Peter Smith, is out now. ISBN 978-1905080922, published by Great Northern Books. Buy now and save on the cover price.