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Some entertainment for Christmas with a serious side in The A-Z of Football Hates

Review

Here are a couple of fun titles for the festive season, although neither deserves to be passed over as a mere Christmas frippery.

At first glance, The A-Z of Football Hates could easily be dismissed as such, as one of those easy-read gift items that book shops like to group around the pay point in the hope of tempting impulse buys.

In fact, while there is plenty of fun to be had in Richard Foster's eclectic collection of things that irritate him about the national game, the author dissects each by way of reasoned critique rather than unstructured rant or sepia-tinted rambling. The writing has a light touch and a sense of humour but there is research to back up the arguments, too.

The Definitive Guide to Everything that is Rotten in the Beautiful Game, to give the full subtitle, is as broad in its scope as you would hope for from something claiming to be definitive.

Subjects range from the trivial, such as haircuts, coloured boots and Mexican waves, to the rather more serious, such as the damage done by greedy agents and delusional owners and everything that is wrong about Qatar 2022.

The book is enhanced, too, by contributions from others, which means the author's is not the only voice heard.

These include broadcasters Ian Darke and Pat Nevin, journalist Matt Dickinson, St George's Park chairman David Sheepshanks, the sagely William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe and several supporters.

Nevin talks with personal insight about his hatred for ‘Hatred’, having seen plenty of it while growing up in Glasgow and playing on Merseyside.

If Foster's book is fun with a serious side, Little Bit Silverware (Haynes Publishing) is purely fun.  This is the 2013-14 season as told by the brilliant Twitter parody account @wengerknowsbest, which captures the Frenchman's vocal mannerisms with uncanny accuracy in observations that could almost belong to the man himself, even the most hilarious ones.  Hard to put down.

The A-Z of Football Hates: The Definitive Guide to Everything that is Rotten in the Beautiful Game, by Richard Foster, is published by Amberley Publishing.

Buy it here from Amazon, Waterstones or WHSmith

Buy Little Bit Silverware from Amazon, Waterstones or WHSmith

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