Senior launches his autobiography – The Bald Truth

Keith Senior’s eagerly-awaited autobiography The Bald Truth is due to be published next month. Co-author Peter Smith, of the Yorkshire Evening Post, caught up with the Rhinos veteran this week to chat over how the book came about.

When you have played rugby league for as long as Keith Senior has, you are bound to have stories to tell.

That was the thinking behind Senior's autobiography, The Bald Truth, which is set to hit the bookshelves at the start of next month.

Over the past decade Senior has become one of rugby league's most recognisable and controversial characters, but he has rarely spoken about his background or what made him the person – and player – he is today.

For the first time, Senior has lifted the lid on a life which has been as eventful off the field as on it. And the results will surprise supporters who have followed him since his days as a rugby union convert with Sheffield Eagles back in the mid-1990s.

“It has been interesting, but also very difficult,” Senior said of the writing process, which was finally completed only days ago.

“Going back to when I was a kid and remembering stuff that happened then isn't easy – and neither is recalling things that happened 18 years ago, when I started my career as a spotty teenager.

“It has been hard, but it's also been good reminiscing and remembering all the good times I've had, especially since I joined Leeds.”

Rugby League books are a growing business and Senior was a man in demand, before finally signing a contract with Yorkshire publisher Great Northern Books.

He explained: “When you start coming towards the end of your career publishers begin getting in contact with you.
“I had a few asking me if I would do the book. At first I wasn't keen, but then my partner Victoria talked me into it a little bit.

“Once I had chosen the publisher, we started work in April last year and it took about a year to put it all together.

“It was all just about finished when I did my knee in May – in fact, I was due to send the first draft to the publisher the following day.

“We had to get back to work and do an additional chapter on the injury and what's happened since then.

“Also, there's been a bit of re-writing because of my on and then off move to Crusaders, which I think everybody knows I wasn't very happy about.

“When you start doing something like this I don't think you realise the amount of work involved.

“The book's nearly 300 pages, that is something like 115,000 words – which is like one of Jonesy's speeches.

“After all the putting it all together there's a lot of proof-reading and making alterations and corrections, which seemed to take forever, but it has been a good experience and I really hope people enjoy reading it.”

Though Senior has had help from a professional writer, the book – which includes a foreword by golf hero Lee Westwood and Kevin Sinfield's afterword – is not ghost-written in the way some sporting autobiographies are.
The recollections, views and anecdotes in it are all his own and he has been through and checked and approved every word.

Nor is The Bald Truth a bland rehash of match reports from Senior's professional career. “That's not what I wanted to do,” he explained.

“We've stayed away from that – mainly because I can't remember games I played in this season, never mind back in 1995! Plus it is my life story, rather than just a rugby book.

“I wanted to tell people a few stories they haven't heard before. It's about me growing up and the things that have happened to me off the pitch as well as on it.

“Before I started the book I decided if I was going to tell my life story I might as well do it properly, so that means being honest and not holding anything back.

“To be truthful, there's a few things in the book that I would probably have preferred to keep to myself.

“I have done some good things in my career, but I have also done some stupid things that I regret. The book is chance for me to put my side of the story across – rather than what people have read in newspapers or gossip they've heard.

“I decided to talk about what happened in Australia during the last World Cup [when he got caught up in a kiss and tell expose] and that was very difficult, because it hurt the people closest to me.

“In my career my friends and family have always been proud of what I achieved, but I let them down. That was one of the lowest points in my life. ”

Working with Senior on the book has revealed a new side to one of Super League's legendary characters.
Yes, he is as tight as they come – though he did buy the coffees once – and his grumpy old man image is pretty accurate, but he is also articulate, engaging, funny and has some firm opinions on rugby league and those who play, watch, administer, referee and coach the game.

As well as his tangled love life, Senior reveals the truth behind his failed drugs test in 2004, his eBay obsession and life as a teenage tearaway.

There are anecdotes about team-mates past and present and some surprising opinions on coaches he has played under at club and Test level. The book also includes a diary outlining a week in the life of a full-time, professional player.

The Bald Truth is due to be published on October 1, with an official launch at Rhinos' Headingley Carnegie and city centre club shops a week later, depending on whether Rhinos are involved in that day's Grand Final.

Other signing sessions are also being planned. Senior said: “I am looking forward to getting out and about and promoting the book.

“It'll be good to meet the fans and in a way it's also chance to say good bye and to thank everyone for their support over the last 12 years. I got a really good send-off after the Wakefield game and that was quite emotional. It was nice to know so many people have appreciated what I have done during my career.”