The Football Ramble. By four men who love the game they hate - book review

They are the independent voice of football punditry. Downloaded more than 12 million times a year, The Football Ramble have been entertaining football fans with their podcast for nearly 10 years.

The Football Ramble - Published by Century, the book is released in hardback on October 20, £14.99.
The Football Ramble - Published by Century, the book is released in hardback on October 20, £14.99.

And now they have released a book entitled The Football Ramble. By Four Men Who Love The Game They Hate.

We have two copies to give away - see how you can win below

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Anyone who listens to The Football Ramble will know they do ramble (in the most positive sense of the word, of course). From Pete’s tattoos, to whether Jeff Goldblum is A-list or B-list, to a general love of Jurassic Park, this is not your normal football podcast.

They tend to go off-topic but in a refreshing and entertaining way.

The ‘Ramble’ is made up of the show’s anchor Marcus Speller, Arsenal fan Jim Campbell, Newcastle fan Pete Donaldson and Portsmouth fan Luke Moore.

All four contribute to the book and it tackles issues and subjects in a way you won’t see or hear on TV.

We are all a bit fearful when a popular formula tries something new (like when a TV show is made into a film and they just go abroad) but after just five lines into Marcus’ foreword - when David ‘The Nuge/The Difference’ Nugent gets a mention - you know the winning formula has not changed.

The book tackles broad themes with each member taking a chapter under headings such as Managers, Fans and Refereeing.

There are facts, like in Jim’s opening History chapter, that you can probably find elsewhere, but it’s told in such fresh way it’s a joy to read.

And although there is a clear love for the game in the writing, it’s also scathing (hence the title ‘By Four Men Who Love The Game The Hate) about the establishment and everything that has made football the circus it now is.

The personalities shine through in each individual’s chapters.

Stand-up comedian Jim’s shows his humour throughout - when he talks about an ancient Mexican version of football and about the gruesome human sacrifice that was made - he finishes with the line ‘Recently it has been reintroduced in preparations for the 2022 World Cup’; the opinionated Luke doesn’t hold back - although there is an unexpected honest defence of match officials from him - and, for want of a better word, the surrealness of Pete - check out his thoughts when he first met Hartlepool legend Brian Honour and the bizarre circumstances when former Manchester City star Michael Brown asked if he and his friends could join in a kickabout.

So you can sense the tone, the satire and the wit and this continues all the way through from Luke’s damning verdict on Sky Sports News’ Transfer Deadline Day, Pete’s take on Arsene Wenger’s wardrobe to Jim’s explanation of the mind-boggling set-up of the South American leagues.

Football moves so fast these days and it’s a shame the book has come out just after the Sam Allardyce affair. It would have been interesting the read what the Ramble thought of corruption within the game in relation to The Telegraph’s investigation.

But just like their podcast, the Ramble do not pull any punches. It’s nostalgic, entertaining, informative, relevant and refreshing.

Published by Century, the book is released in hardback on October 20, £14.99.

We have two copies to give away.

To stand a chance of winning, answer this question.

Which member of The Football Ramble is an Arsenal fan?

A) Marcus Speller

B) Pete Donaldson

C) Jim Campbell

D) Luke Moore

Email your answers to [email protected] with your address and daytime contact details. Closing date is Friday, October 21, 10am.