Football autobiographies are often the literary embodiments of their subjects for all the wrong reasons: they think they're special; you think they're overpriced. Away from the on-the-field achievements there's not a lot to them and it's not long before you realise that the money used to buy them could've been better spent.

Neil Lennon doesn't do himself any favours by including a quote from The Scotsman newspaper on the front of his book saying that 'Man and Bhoy' will "shock football to its core" - an overstatement akin to describing the midfielder as one of the most prolific goalscorers of his generation.

But not only is this selling point wide of the mark it's also completely unnecessary because 'Man and Bhoy' is a better read and Lennon is a more interesting and open character then most - one who deserves praise for trying to tackle a subject that's still too much of a taboo in every walk of life.

Like many players who've learned their trade amongst the hard men and on the even harder pitches of lower league British football, Lennon's grit is matched by his determination to never take anything for granted. It's an outlook which took him far - from Motherwell misfit to Manchester City reject to Crewe Alexandra club captain at just 19 and then on to the Premiership success with Leicester City and even greater glory with Celtic.

A celebrated underage soccer player who also enjoyed a hugely successful GAA career at school, Lurgan-born Lennon crammed too much physical exertion in as a teenager and his sporting story could've been all over by the time he turned 20. Diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower spine, he underwent surgery and then spent nearly 18 months fighting the boredom and putting himself through a punishing rehabilitation regime before he was able to return to first-team football.

It was the experience which would mould him as a player. "I knew from then on," he writes, "that I had the mental strength to achieve what I wanted out of the game, but I also came to realise that everything you worked for can be taken away from you in an instant."

That steeliness has also seen Lennon through an international career which was cut short by a death threat, more sectarian abuse while living in the Glasgow, the media glare and bouts of severe depression. And for the chapter on the latter alone, 'Man and Bhoy' is worth the time.

In a sport still driven by outdated machismo on the field and in the terraces, Lennon writes movingly and openly about suffering five series bouts of depression in the space of six years, revealing how it has affected him in his job and how medication and talking to a psychiatrist helped him. Never once do you feel it is an attempt to elicit sympathy or present himself as a misunderstood figure but rather to highlight the issue in a bid that people will make a greater effort to understand the illness.

Away from such soul searching, 'Man and Bhoy' does exactly what fans would expect from a footballing memoir - there are lengthy recollections of the key matches in Lennon's career, well-taken shots at the media and tributes to family, friends and managers. Fans of both Crewe and Celtic will be impressed at the depth of gratitude Lennon feels he owes to mentors Dario Gradi and Martin O'Neill, although in the case of the latter it's disappointing that there's not more about his working methods and motivational tactics.

At times Lennon resorts to too much to footballer biographese. We don't for example, need to know what was the best meal he ever had (steak in a Teriyaki bar in Puerto Rico) or that one of his feet is bigger than the other (it's the left) and while some readers will be impressed that he's met Sharleen Spiteri from the band Texas (a "stunner"), none of these recollections or others like them add anything to the book. Lennon could've spent more time discussing his teammates down through the years, the dynamics in the dressing room, O'Neill or, more importantly, his treatment for depression.

Now after all these triumphs and travails, Lennon now finds his career going full circle. Having left Celtic at the end of last season, he's heading back to smaller home crowds as he tries to help another club, Nottingham Forest, climb back up the divisions. After reading 'Man and Bhoy' you're certain of two things: he can take anything the sporting life throws at him, and he won't be short of some good chapters for the next edition.

Harry Guerin

Buy 'Man and Bhoy' from the RTÉ eShop here.