"The paps just red-handed me muffing out the Captain's wife in the Bentley." As opening sentences go, this makes up in immediacy for what it lacks in elegance; welcome to the world of Kevin King, League footballer, the protagonist in this publishing rarity, a satirical football novel.
Kev is a compulsive shagger whose attitude towards women makes Andy Gray and Richard Keys sound like New Men. For him women are divided into three categories: "you would", "you wouldn't" and "you might", and his biggest fear when his career appears to be on the slide is that he is "about to be cast out of the world of sleb minge".
His other consuming interest is, well, consuming: he provides a label-check of his designer attire at every opportunity, and is an admirer of "consumer champion and top broadcaster Nicky Campbell". Given the chance to resurrect his Premier League career, he seizes it with both hands, inspires his team to a Treble and is selected for England. But while the honours mount so does the body count, as his feelings of invincibility lead him to embark on a killing spree, initially targeting those he feels have committed offences against consumerism. With a knowing nod to Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho, it's racy, pacy stuff, written in an inventive language that points to King's utter self-absorption, leading him to turn his name into both a verb, as in "I Kev over to the bar", and an adjective: "The whole place is Kevishly good."
As with all good satire, this dystopian vision inspires laughter and loathing in equal measure. Premier League footballers on the whole are not big readers, and in any case they might not see the joke; for the rest of us, Premiership Psycho is worth a dozen of their preening memoirs.
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