Book Review – The A-Z of Football Hates: The Definitive Guide to Everything that is Rotten in the Beautiful Game by Richard Foster

As a child I was told by my parents that the word hate was a terrible one to direct at anyone or anything. As a result, to this day I have always associated the word as having a very dark edge and find it difficult to separate it from a language that is loaded with vile vitriol, anger and spite.

Therefore it was with some trepidation that I read Richard Foster’s The A-Z of Football Hates. However, I needn’t have worried, as within the 250 pages covering 43 hates, the reader is treated to a book of well written, reasoned and often humorous pieces. These come not only from the author himself, but from the world of football and include players, past and present, broadcasters and journalists, as well as fans. This provides a balance of views from the game and which despite the passion of opinion expressed on each particular subject, never wanders into the territory of a drunken boorish post-match ‘finger-in-the chest’ tirade.

Many of the chapters are, as you might expect, related to topics born out of the modern game, so included in the A-Z are subjects such as agents, babies and corporate hospitality – an ABC guaranteed to make the hackles rise on anyone who loves the beautiful game.

If there is a minor criticism, it is the use of referencing back to other chapters, which for me was unnecessary. However, this is a book that will certainly spark debate and would be an ideal companion on those away days in the car, coach or train.

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