90min's Guide to the Perfect Pub Quiz

Declan Houten
Real Madrid v AFC Ajax - UEFA Champions League
Real Madrid v AFC Ajax - UEFA Champions League / Angel Martinez/Getty Images

You've got the dreaded notification from the 'MARBELLA LADS 2013' WhatsApp group - it's your turn to host the Wednesday night football Zoom quiz, and your fellow participants were categorically NOT a fan of your 'Allsvenskan All-Time Scorers' round last time out.

Luckily for you, with everyone and their dog locked into a schedule of about ten quizzes a week as the world tries to find some sort of substitute for The Outdoors™, there's an exact science to the perfect quiz, and it revolves around the three Es (which I've just made up): Educational, Entertaining and Equally Difficult for Everyone.

Here are 90min's four dos and two don'ts which will turn you into the go-to pub quiz maestro...

DO: The 'Piece of Cake' Round

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Probably the most important thing to remember is that a quiz is meant to be a bit of fun, and it's definitely worth including some questions that your mate Lee (who is 'more into cricket, to be honest') can get.

One way to do this and keep your more switched-on buddies interested is asking them to name all the players in a fairly simple starting XI - even if you get nine or ten, you're always going to forget the odd Fernandinho.

Example: Can you name the 2018/19 PFA Team of the Year? (One mark per player)

DON'T: Go Needlessly Obscure


Yes, you can quote Richarlison's xG from memory, you know everything about the great Saint-Etienne side of the 60s and you listen to podcasts, but this doesn't apply to everyone (not least Cricket Lee).

As a rule of thumb, try asking your mates questions about whatever international tournament was on when they finished their A-Levels - it's almost guaranteed to be permanently etched onto their memory - but avoid anything from when they were 4 years old.

Example to Avoid: Who was the top scorer at the 1930 World Cup?

DO: Tap Into Some Nostalgia

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In a world where videos of Adel Taarabt or Hatem Ben Arfa doing step-overs seem to go viral every week, there's nothing more powerful than (sometimes misguided) football nostalgia, and it's a foolproof way to give your quiz that warm, fuzzy feeling.

It could be a round on classic Premier League shirt sponsors (why were they literally all lager brands? Were Blackburn really sponsored by actual paint?) or you could conjure up glorious visions of the adidas Jabulani and Nike T90 Aerow with a 'Guess the Football' round. Either way, you'll be throwing the quiz back to treasured memories that the streets haven't yet forgotten.

Example: Can you match the classic football boots to the legend who wore them?

DON'T: Pick a Topic that Nobody Cares About

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You're halfway through an easy enough multiple choice 'Which Championship Ref Is This?' round, and your participants are dropping like flies, excusing their bad WiFi connection left, right and centre.

The problem is, just because you can do a round, it doesn't mean you should, and it's always worth asking whether your round produces any interesting trivia that would impress your mates, or whether it's just there because it's vaguely connected to football and people will be able to guess a few.

Example to Avoid: Can you match the Premier League club to the shorts worn on their away kit?

DO: Separate the Men From the Boys With a Brain Teaser

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I said earlier that the most important thing to remember is that the quiz is meant to be a bit of fun, but I lied - it's actually about winning.

You've given Cricket Lee and Dave (who watches three Liverpool games a year) their fair share of doozies, but the last question of the round has to be for the folks who know their Redondos from their Riqulemes, and a good old-fashioned brain-teaser should do the job.

Try and find out a unique fact about a football club or player, and then work backwards from that to get your friends to guess who it is. Why not throw in some bonus marks for some extra spice, too?

Examples: Which former Ajax, Barcelona and Liverpool player is the only footballer to represent his country in four different decades? or Which is the only Football League club without the letters of the word 'Mackerel' in their name?

DO: Stick in a Weird Round

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If all else fails, you can at least have a go at making your mates laugh (or at least disturb them a little).

One off-the-wall category which never fails is the 'Face/Off' round - using one of the internet's many wonderful websites or apps, combine each of your mates' faces with a Premier League footballer's and guess who's been mashed together with who - will Steve from 5-a-side look the same with Harry Maguire's forehead?

Example: What, 'Face/Off' wasn't good enough for you?