Morbo (2003, 2011 update) by Phil Ball is a thorough, well written history of Spanish Football. Phil Ball knows his subject and takes the reader on a tour of the major clubs in Spain and the first club in Spain, Huelva.
He provides a narrative based on ‘morbo’ a sort of loathing antagonism to tie his subject together. It doesn’t really work that well but for anyone interested in football his facts and stories provide enough interest. He also tells tales of his travelling around Spain to write the book. At times this is a little annoying but at other times it works well. Ball also has a nuanced view of many of the issues, such as Franco’s support for Real Madrid and points out that people who believe that Franco made Real are overstating their case. Also in looking at inter city rivalries he finds that many are far more complex than are often reported.
For any football fan the book is well worth reading as it would be for anyone who is interested in Spanish history in the twentieth century.


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