It Was Never My Ambition To Become A Hooker

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In a refreshingly honest and sometimes brutal account of his life, Neil Clark reveals his personal turmoil and tough journey to the top flight of English rugby.

Neil Clark might not be a household name, but he is one of the under-rated rugby players who took Exeter Chiefs to the heights of the English Premiership and the Heineken Cup.

Overcoming a difficult childhood, serious injury and being released by a club that no longer wanted him, Clark was a rugby journeyman in the south-west, playing for Bristol, Bath and Cornish All Blacks before finding a home at Exeter Chiefs. There he helped the club gain promotion and began to keep a diary of his time in rugby’s top division.

This is the inspiring story of how a troubled youngster became a Premiership rugby player – with real blood, gallons of sweat and plenty of tears.


Neil Clark is a professional rugby player for Exeter Chiefs who has also played for Bristol, Bath and Cornish All Blacks and has represented England Under 21s and England Students. Neil has made over 150 appearances for Exeter and won Players' Player of the Year for the 2009-10 promotion-winning season. He lives near Exeter, with his wife Jane and daughter Isabella. Neil has been honoured by Exeter with a testimonial season for 2012-13. Any profits from this book will be spent on gin.

Dr Stephen Manning is an Honorary Research Fellow in the History Department at Exeter University, where he specialises in Victorian Military History. Along with his wife, Michaela, and two sons, Alexander and Dominic, he is a fanatical Exeter Chiefs fan, watching them both home and away. When not being a serious academic, Stephen likes to shoot feathered and furry animals.


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20 October 2012 - ISBN 9780956946027

Paperback - 198 x 129mm - 288 pages