Players

Text Publishing 2005

About the book
Reviews

If you have read Players, I’d love a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

I had the idea for Players on Elgin Street, Carlton, in 1999. For four years, my father begged me to write it: ‘The Footy Show will get cancelled and you’ll kick yourself!’, he’d plead. I explained that The Footy Show would never get cancelled, that it was like asbestos and that they would have to get specialists from outside the TV industry in to remove it. Nevertheless, I took his point and wrote the novel.

The book was launcched at Glenferrie Oval clubrooms by John Kennedy

Tickets began to have qualms even in the instant that passed between the headbutt starting and the headbutt landing…

Ian ‘Tickets’ Thompson, former football star and current playboy, is a media darling. Arrogant, womanising, deeply offensive; he’s the star of TV’s top-rating football show ‘Leather and Lace’. Billy Nock is still playing football, even though his best days are well and truly behind him. Married to the beautiful and talented Olivia – lotto host extraordinaire – and committed to his team, his friends and his family, Billy’s the genuine article. Unfortunately, on the ground he’s a has-been, and on TV he’s a never-was. His football show, Pill Talk is unfunny, unoriginal and unwatched.

But fame is fickle, and sooner or later, the good guys are due for a win. Tickets has gone beyond the pale in one of his regular tussles with the public. And Billy has the footage. With big reputations and even bigger money on the line, this is much more than a game. This is celebrity, and these people will resort to anything – lies, betrayal, double-crosses and maybe even murder – to stay on top.

One week … in one store.

Players


“One of the finest satirical novels ever written in this country. http://thehoopla.com.au/fine-thanks-you/  ” - Wendy Harmer, The Hoopla
Interview with Steve Austin on ABC Queensland about 'Players'.” - Steve Austin, Conversation Hour, ABC Queensland, 20/4/05
“Very funny. We're lucky it's just fiction and people in TV aren't really like this.” - Dave Hughes
“Wilson lines them up from point blank range and fires - at television celebrity and those who cloak themselves in it. It's very funny.” - Tim Lane
“Tony Wilson's cracker of a novel is without doubt the most accurate study of the sports ego ever embarked upon. The result is a frightening collision of stupidity and success. I couldn't put it down.” - Rampaging Roy Slaven
“Players is a dependably written romp through some of the most sacred institutions of modern Australia. TV and the media, fame and fortune, sport and teamwork – they’re all put under Wilson’s satire microscope, and none emerges from the examination with much credit. Sport and politics shouldn’t be mixed, some say. Wilson’s characters and plot show that everything is about politics, and professional football is just another commodity in the shrinking Australian media landscape. Some play the game, but only a few are players. Full review” - David Cohen, Courier Mail, 16/5/05
“This book’s greatest asset – other than its laugh out loud jokes – is that it is almost plausible ...  A highly recommended antidote to the footballing banalities of the months ahead. Full review” - Fred Pawle, Limelight Magazine, May 2005
“Television, football and our obsessions with them make for overripe material, and when Wilson lines up the obvious objects of satire, he doesn't miss. Of course, that's not too hard. When stupidity is not just rewarded on the field but celebrated off it - as it is in Australia and to a staggering extreme in Melbourne, where Players is set - any half-talented writer could merely repeat some of the best-known tales and get a laugh. What is harder is putting new but believable flesh to the bones of the predictable parodies and jokes. That Wilson doesn't miss here is the basis of his real success. That is why despite what the PR bumf insists, he's not Australia's answer to Ben Elton; he's better than that. Full review    ” - Bernard Zuel, The Sydney Morning Herald, 2/4/05
“What is surprising is Wilson's mature mastery of his plot. As a first-time novelist, he would have been forgiven for dangling some loose ends and implausibilities. But Players is nearly perfect in the way it covers all the angles. It has the potential to be read widely and with great social effect. As a fantasy of hypocrisy and corruption it is reminiscent of Frank Hardy's Power Without Glory, the most recent Australian novel to have had a major political impact. Full review” - Ian Syson, The Age, 9/4/05
“This is a rollicking and fast-paced read that stands alone in terms of originality and wit. Even, or perhaps especially, football ignoramuses will find Players an illuminating if exaggerated insight into a hidden world. Full review” - Claire Sutherland, Herald-Sun, 23/4/04
Purchase
players
  • One of the finest satirical novels ever written in this country.

    Wendy Harmer, The Hoopla

    See all reviews
  • Steve Austin, Conversation Hour, ABC Queensland, 20/4/05

    See all reviews
  • "Very funny. We're lucky it's just fiction and people in TV aren't really like this."

    Dave Hughes

    See all reviews
  • "Wilson lines them up from point blank range and fires - at television celebrity and those who cloak themselves in it. It's very funny."

    Tim Lane

    See all reviews
  • "Tony Wilson's cracker of a novel is without doubt the most accurate study of the sports ego ever embarked upon. The result is a frightening collision of stupidity and success. I couldn't put it down."

    Rampaging Roy Slaven

    See all reviews
  • Wilson’s characters and plot show that everything is about politics, and professional football is just another commodity in the shrinking Australian media landscape.

    David Cohen, Courier Mail, 16/5/05

    See all reviews
  • A highly recommended antidote to the footballing banalities of the months ahead.

    Fred Pawle, Limelight Magazine, May 2005

    See all reviews
  • Better yet, Wilson has resisted the urge to simply caricature these characters, to give us pantomime villains and pure-of-heart heroes.

    Bernard Zuel, The Sydney Morning Herald, 2/4/05

    See all reviews
  • It has the potential to be read widely and with great social effect. As a fantasy of hypocrisy and corruption it is reminiscent of Frank Hardy's Power Without Glory

    Ian Syson, The Age, 9/4/05

    See all reviews
  • 'This is a rollicking and fast-paced read that stands alone in terms of originality and wit.'

    Claire Sutherland, Herald-Sun, 23/4/04

    See all reviews