FOR many modern-day footballers filling a 269-page book with their life story would prove problematic.

But, for York City striker Jon Parkin, choosing which bits to leave out and which to include in his five-star Amazon-rated “Feed The Beast” autobiography no doubt posed the biggest dilemma.

Anybody who has encountered Parkin during his 19-and-a-half year career will have an amusing tale or two to tell and, as somebody who has chronicled both his spells with the Minstermen, I can instantly think of four – none of which made the cut for the Trinity Mirror publication – that still make me smile.

One coincided with the first City match I covered for The Press in November 2003 when Parkin scored an incredible, 40-yard, 77th-minute equaliser to secure a 1-1 draw at Cheltenham.

Interviewing him afterwards, I asked the then 21-year-old forward what was going through his mind before he attempted the shot and, in his broad Barnsley accent, he deadpanned (with expletives softened or replaced for a family publication): “To be honest, I was blowing through my backside, so I just thought I’ll smack it!”

A few weeks later, on one of my days off, another member of the sports team was sent to interview Dave Merris at the training ground, but mistakenly asked Parkin is he could relay a message to the left back. Parkin subsequently grabbed the showering Merris in a firm bearhug and delivered him as asked outside, where the latter desperately tried to cover his modesty in front of our shocked reporter.

A couple of more months on, meanwhile, Parkin had departed for Macclesfield and went on to score a goal that would plunge his old club into a League Two drop zone that they would never climb out of on their way to relegation to the Conference. His celebration carried none of the respect – sincere or not – that many feel they need to show nowadays when netting against former employers. Instead, he raced in front of the David Longhurst Stand, turned his back on the supporters and pointed to the name on his shirt.

Speaking afterwards in the players’ tunnel to Parkin, who has never declined an interview, I asked him to explain the reasons behind his celebration and, with language again tempered, he replied: “Well, I got a lot of grief from the City fans before the game and I didn’t think it was fair because I never wanted to leave the club so, when I scored, I thought ‘sod ’em’.”

Parkin went on to share a drink after the game with the same supporters in the Social Club and few players would have been afforded that hospitality given his actions.

My final favourite Parkin anecdote was when I was at City’s Wigginton Road training ground during pre-season training in 2008. His then club Stoke had gained promotion from the Championship the season before, making Parkin a Premier League player for the first time in his career, but he looked as far removed from a top-flight professional as you could imagine when, having asked his old Barnsley youth-team boss Colin Walker to help him get fit a week before he was to report back for training with notoriously-tough taskmaster Tony Pulis, he was throwing up in the bushes just a couple of laps into a warm-up while the likes of Niall Henderson, Ben Wilkinson and Steven Hogg were showing him a clean pair of heels.

I consequently kept a close eye on Parkin’s progress that following campaign and, needless to say, his football CV was destined to forever include one omission – a top-flight appearance. Having read his book, I’ve now learned why those laps were such a struggle as, after celebrating promotion, he went on a stag do in Benidorm, got married and spent three weeks on honeymoon in New York, Las Vegas and Hawaii. A week with City was never going to reverse those excesses to the satisfaction of Pulis, nor was the Atkins Diet he reveals he also tried to shed the extra pounds.

Such tales – and there are plenty more in his book – will raise question marks over Parkin’s professionalism, but it is important to remember the era in which he started his career and, of all the football night outs and weeks away he details, he was never drinking on his own.

Parkin is just honest enough to share stories that happened and still do in a seemingly fantasy world where all footballers are model athletes and pictures of nutritional healthiness. His straight-talking interviews, sense of fun and passion to live life to the full have also been welcome during the ill-conceived media-training years, where footballers were programmed to give nothing away that might suggest a personality or even independent opinions.

Parkin could not be more honest than he is telling his own life story and, with refreshing self-deprecation, he admits it is unlikely that he would have played much higher if he had approached his career any differently, so he’s just happy he has had fun along the way. Football is, without doubt, taken far too seriously at times but, like life, it’s always best to approach it with a smile on your face, which is unashamedly Parkin’s philosophy.

There are, therefore, lots of laugh-out-loud moments in ‘Feed The Beast’ and, while regular listeners to Parkin’s UndrTheCosh podcasts will have heard many of the stories before, there’s plenty of new material.

It would be a mistake, though, to dismiss the book as just one account of laddish banter after another, with quite powerful passages relaying Parkin’s depression at missing his son Oliver following the breakdown of his marriage and a gambling problem that once saw him stay up until 4am the night before a game to watch Roger Federer lose his first game in the US Open for six years, during a five-set final defeat that cost the author £4,500 for a 4/9 bet placed to try and recoup £20,000 in bookmakers’ debts.

There is plenty to interest City supporters too. He admits to being drunk the night before a Torquay match in January 2003 when he was hauled off after just 36 minutes by Terry Dolan and lifts the lid on the Dover away game 14 years later when he and two other unnamed City players betrayed Gary Mills’ trust after the then manager invited his players to have a “couple of pints” on the Friday lunchtime journey down to Kent.

City, with Mills keen to take some of the tension away from a team whose record on the road had been spectacularly miserable up to that point, still came away with a 2-2 draw against the play-off hopefuls, though, with Parkin receiving a phone call from the chairman commending him on the best centre-forward performance he’d seen in a “very long time”.

The reason for Parkin leaving City in 2004 is also given, as a fall-out with then boss Chris Brass – by no means his first or last with a manager – is recalled with the pair questioning each other’s professionalism and both seemingly having a point.

It’s also revealed that his car-sharing partner at Stoke - fellow former City forward Richard Cresswell - was once tasked by Pulis to get Parkin’s weight down but couldn’t stop him pulling into road-side cafes, while there are admissions that he has been told he will need a new knee by the age of 50 and that Guiseley were interested in securing his services for this season.

The book is generally well proofed, although team-mate Simon “Hislop” might be upset about the spelling of his surname.

With no punches pulled, ex-Hull manager Phil Brown would also be best advised not to buy a copy, although fellow story-teller Jilly Cooper, who seemingly has a surprise crush on the Barnsley-born behemoth, has probably already got her own autographed copy!