Men in Blazers Present Encyclopedia Blazertannica: A Suboptimal Guide to Soccer, America’s Sport of the Future Since 1972

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Roger Bennett and Michael Davies are two soccer-obsessed sports broadcasters who call themselves the “Men in Blazers.” They began podcasting on Grantland before being part of ESPN’s 2014 World Cup coverage. After that, they debuted their TV show on NBCSN while continuing their Men in Blazers podcast.

Their book, Encyclopedia Blazertannica: A Suboptimal Guide to Soccer, America’s ‘Sport of the Future’ since 1972 is an amalgamation of their jokey podcasting style and soccer knowledge in book form.

Bennett and Davies’ podcast is a breathless, hyperbolic odyssey into worldwide soccer culture. Bennett, an Everton fan, and Davies, a Chelsea fan, have a deep, almost romantic appreciation for the sport, which becomes quite clear after only a few minutes of listening.

That same affection for soccer comes through in Encyclopedia Blazertannica, which is a compilation of inside jokes and information about soccer culture from the Men in Blazers podcast. The book includes such entries as “El Blazérico,” which is the two times a year when Chelsea and Everton compete in the English Premier League, and “Sepp Blatter,” who is described by the Men in Blazers as “considered by many to be the most evil man in the world.”

In less than five years, Bennett and Davies have not only established themselves as authorities on world soccer, they have created a humorous, sometimes nonsensical brand that has been uniquely absorbed into the fan culture around soccer. While it’s easy to find a broadcaster knowledgeable about soccer as a whole, it’s rare to find that perfect mix of humor, passion, and information that make a sport approachable. Their humor is self-deprecating, dry, irreverent, and over-the-top without being cruel. If the Men in Blazers’ goal was to make soccer easy for Americans to follow and enjoy, they’ve done it.

One nitpick: If readers want solid, serious facts about soccer, they’ll certainly find some in Encyclopedia Blazertannica, however, the entries are so heavily weighted with Bennett and Davies’ over-the-top podcast humor and inside jokes that some of the information is obscured. The book is more of an homage to the Men in Blazers style of broadcasting than it is to facts about soccer.

Encyclopedia Blazertannica would make a lovely gift to any GFOPs (Great Friends of the Pod) or soccer fans looking to deepen their love of the sport.

Reviewed By:

Author Roger Bennett • Michael Davies
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 224 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 2018-May-15
ISBN 9781101875988
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue September 2018
Category Sports & Outdoors


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