Book Review: Kissing the Badge
Kissing the Badge
By Phil Ascough
Published by Bloomsbury, July 2011
Neighbours of the Football Association in Soho Square (“at the heart of London’s fashionable West End”), Bloomsbury Publishing Plc have been flexing their financial muscles recently, disbursing a cool £20 million readies for Continuum and speculating strongly in the wake of their Harry Potter streak.
So, it’s great to see our some time guest contributor and Hull City supporter Phil Ascough land a deal to publish with such a prestigious firm. Ascough’s book, Kissing the Badge: 20 Years of the Premier League may fall slightly outside the stated remit of this website, but there are enough clubs currently plying their trade in the NPower Championship included for an overview to be informative.
Overall, it’s a quiz book and one of a superior kind – given the genre’s history embodied by such horrors as Gary Lineker’s Soccer Quiz Book. Ascough is an engaging writer and the questions are interspersed with elegant introductions, as well as “Pre-match Warm Up” sections – nugget factoids to get one in the mood for a stretching of the intellectual muscles. “Heroes and Villains” and “Controversies” sections are enjoyable (remember Tomáš Řepka?) and the volume’s currency is underlined by the inclusion of Scott Sinclair as the correct answer to one particular question….in the style of Gareth from The Office, I’ll now ask you which Swansea City player scored a hat-trick in this May’s play-off final? The questions are generally not too taxing although it’s news to me that Martin Clunes supports QPR.
A final statistical section is illustrative of the all time Premier League table, with those Mancunian Red Devils atop the pile. Of current lower league clubs, West Ham United are surprisingly highly ranked in tenth although Hammers fans won’t enjoy being reminded of a 7-1 defeat to Manchester United in 2000. Sadly, Swindon Town are the least successful Premier League club of all time, chalking up just the five wins and conceding 100 goals back in 1993-4.
Overall, it’s a well produced sticking filler, so get your orders in now – you can also follow Phil Ascough on Twitter at @audaciouschip