Who is Bruce Grobbelaar?
Born in Durban in South Africa, Bruce Grobbelaar was the goalkeeper who was part of Liverpool Football Club’s trophy laden success of the 1980’s. With 440 appearances and 18 honours including 6 First Division titles, 3 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 1 European Cup and 5 Charity Shields, Bruce Grobbelaar is one of the many decorated players in the club’s history.
There is however more to Bruce Grobbelaar’s life than just his football career. His autobiography Life in a Jungle is a story with a major difference, that separates it from other football autobiographies. Indeed, the chapters on how he grew up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and serving his national service in the Rhodesian Army, during the bush war of the 1970s, was fascinating to read about. Reading Bruce’s recollections of fighting and surviving in the bush are vividly described, so much that you can picture the conditions and dangers faced, and how they affected and shaped him as a person.
Along with describing his Liverpool career of domestic and European success, Bruce gives an insight into his time at Anfield, explaining why the club were successful on the pitch. In addition, the book also goes into detail about his first-hand experiences and the emotional impacts of the events at Heysel and Hillsborough. Bruce also talks about his post-playing career, especially the infamous match-fixing trial, and subsequent bankruptcy.
Reading the book, I have found Bruce Grobbelaar to be a fascinating individual. Whatever your opinions on the man, his career, and the match-fixing allegations, reading his autobiography has left me with an honest opinion of a man who in comparison with most Premier League footballers today, has lived and experienced life outside of football. I enjoyed Life in a Jungle very much and is the reason why I rate it highly in the pantheon of other football autobiographies previously read, including Back from the Brink by Paul McGrath, and Addicted by Tony Adams.
Obviously as a Liverpool supporter, I was entertained and engrossed by the book. Along with explaining how Liverpool were successful in winning trophies, Bruce’s war, and football experiences, along with the subsequent events of his post-playing career, made for an interesting read!