Doncaster Rovers legend James Coppinger reveals details about his new book

Doncaster Rovers icon. All-time record appearance maker. Author.

Saturday, 12th June 2021, 7:59 am

Fresh from his retirement as a player, James Coppinger is adding another string to his bow this summer with the release of his first book.

While it will not be a warts and all autobiography, it will chronicle his playing career through the lens of mentality - the importance of which the 40-year-old has promoted for several years.

Coppinger will focus on the mental performance of players as part of his developing new role with Rovers and the book will allow him to spread his teaching to a wider audience.

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James Coppinger with the watch presented to him by Doncaster Rovers following his retirement from playing. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX

“It’s not an autobiography,” he told the Free Press. “It’s called Ahead of the Game and it’s about mental performance and goes through my career in chronological order.

“It’s for aspiring footballers and parents to help them understand a little bit more about how important the mental side of football is.

“I think for me personally the challenge I have is communicating that to people, that every day you have the opportunity to improve your mentality.

“People think that you only need to improve your mentality when you’re struggling. It’s not about that. It’s about maintaining it and continuously working on it in order to improve your performance.

“The book is forwarded by Sir Kenny Dalglish. We’ve got some really good eyewitness accounts in there as well.”

The involvement of Sir Kenny was as a result of a relationship forged when Coppinger was signed by the Scottish legend for Newcastle United in 1998.

And the 70-year-old was keen to offer his own insight into mentality from a playing career that brought three European Cups and a raft of league championships as both a player and a manager.

“He was over the moon to do it and I spoke to him at length about it,” Coppinger said.

“I spoke to him about the book and what it’s about, dealing with disappointment.

“But it was him who said dealing with success is just as important as dealing with disappointment. He said he was part of Liverpool’s most successful team, Celtic’s most successful team and they had to churn out performance after performance. They had to learn how to deal with winning trophies and he felt there was not enough emphasis on dealing with success.

“For me he was absolutely spot on. There’s so many players who play three or four good games and think they’ve made it but before they know it they’ve been released and they can never get up to the standard again.”

The book was written with John Carter, who helped former Northern Ireland international turned chartered psychologist Paul McVeigh write the renowned The Stupid Footballer Is Dead in 2013.

Coppinger believes it will add a fresh take in the packed world of football literature.

“It’s a really good book and obviously I’m going to say that,” he said.

“But there’s not many like it in what it delivers.

“I’m really looking forward to sharing it with everyone.”

Ahead of the Game is scheduled for a July release.


In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.