13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2002
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, simply because it did not just focus entirely on football.
It tells us how various regions within Spain, such as the Basque Country, Andalucia, San Sebastian and Catalan all thrive for a spot in the limelight on, and off the pitch.
Of course, no Spanish history book could avoid the subject of the Civil War and the regime of Franco that soon followed. How he got satisfaction seeing the great Real Madrid side of the 50s make a clean sweep on the European stage is also well covered.
A superb book with many interesting facts and trivia, and great references to Spanish greats such as Zamora, Di Stefano and Butragueno.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 8 August 2006
There really is no shortage of excellent books on football in particular countries -- Brilliant Orange, Futebol, Tor, Calcio -- but Phil Ball's book on Spanish footballing culture is among the best.
From its star-studded league to the biggest derby in the world, Spain is not lacking in interesting stories to tell, and,thankfullly,Ball is a great storyteller who has crafted a wonderfully entertaining book. His insightful stories of, not only the Madrid-Barcelona rivalry, but also of the rivalries in Seville and the Basque country are erudite yet enjoyable to read. Brilliant, don't miss it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 5 May 2006
Morbo by Phil Ball is the fascinating story of Spanish football. Erudite yet easy to read, full of the quirky characters which inhabit the Spanish game. This book highlights the contradictions and misconceptions which inhabit the heart of the Spanish game and Spanish society. Essential reading for anyone with even the most remote interest in all and any things Spanish.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 August 2009
Let's face it, football books are generally aimed at complete morons. The premise seems to be that if you're into football then you must be an ill-educated, lager-swilling idiot full of testosterone, itching for a fight, some alpha male gorilla who can't even handle words over three syllables. In reality, we know that's not exclusively true and a massive cross-section of society both watch and follow the game. The beautiful game is a passion for people of all faiths, intellects, colours, nationalities, and of varying economic status all over the world. This book is for a true lover of the game. Most people want to read only about their favourite club, but many of us just love to learn and immerse ourselves in football, whichever team or country is concerned, it's all football. This book is a treat for anyone who simply loves the game and can use their brain as well.
I'm a Barca fan, and a regular visitor to Barcelona to watch matches and I know a fair bit about the history of Catalonia and the club. But i was delighted to discover and learn a lot more of the intricate and complicated politics of many other clubs in Spain, far removed beyond the well-known rivalry of Barca v Real Madrid. I also enjoy history and politics, so this book was a treat. footy plus politics plus history...a truly fascinating combo. The story of the Rangers/Celtic old firm rivalry is but one of many similar highly-charged and politically motivated football rivalries in the world that go far beyond just having a favourite football team. Football in the UK (with the exception of the Old Firm) does not carry a political or social aspect or importance, and in some ways we're missing out on all the fun. This will be explained in the books chapters.
Football is often both unifying and divisive of loyalties to regional history, economics and nationality and this is especially true in Spain and Italy. Clubs are not just teams, they are a crucial part of regional and political identities, a focus and rallying point for a collective ideology or yearning for independence. Even the club colours are steeped in history and carry great significance. This is fully and entertainingly explained in the author's travels around Spain, looking at various clubs and their rivalries, gathering opinions and anecdotes of the complexity of Spanish football. I loved it, my only complaint would be that it was a little short and slightly anglocentric in its target audience, but that's a small criticism of what is one of the finest football books I've ever read. excellent stuff. If you like football, history and politics, buy it right now, you won't regret it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2011
Mr Ball kept me interested in all non Real-Barca related matter,he should have done his homework better on these two Giants of Spanish Football.There are a number of facts he got wrong and I ask him to look at the subjects from BOTH sides.The fact he also had called into account Jim Burns book "Barca"to add credence to his point also I felt was not necessary.I felt this was below him and he shouldn't have felt the urge to do so.I learnt alot about football in this Country through the pages which I hadn't read anywhere before.I look forward to the cross reference with other Authors on the subject.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2006
More than anywhere, spain and football go hand in hand. Throughout his deep, balanced and entertaining analysis, Phil Ball manages to paint a precise picture of the complex history of spanish football. A true journalist, he seeks information from the locals -taxi drivers, barmen,...-, he visits the cities, the stadiums, the fiestas and manages to deliver a fascinating portrait of iberian life. Definitely a good read, and recommended to all football enthusiasts.
on 8 May 2012
I read this book within weeks of reading Graham Hunter's 'Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World', which was possibly a mistake. I found the Barca book hard to put down, and found this one harder to pick up. I would not normally compare two different authors but with Mr Ball commenting on Jimmy Burns' book, (which I have also read and enjoyed), I feel comfortable in so doing. Like previous reviewers I did find comparisons between teams in the various areas and cities in Spain very interesting. However, as the book was about Spanish football I found it hard to understand why the earlier period was covered in great detail but the wonderful achievements made by the national side in Euro 2010 and World Cup 2012 were covered to a much lesser extent, not even getting a chapter devoted to the two tournaments. The book left me feeling that something had been missed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2008
If you have any interest in Spanish football and the inescapable regionalism that comes with it, you must read this book.
The author gets under the skin of Spanish football and into the skin of Spanish life and history to tell an amazing story of a conundrum of a country.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2001
En mi sincera opinión, el Sr. Ball, ha realizado un trabajo exquisito, lleno de contenido del cual no se había tratado tan bien en ningún otro libro escrito por un ciudadano del Noreste de Inglaterra, nacido en Canada y afincado en San Sebastián (España).
Una persona que ha tratado directamente y desde su partida de nacimiento una historia del futbol en España, de la cual más de uno se ha podido llevar alguna que otra sorpresa en cuanto a la verdadera historia o la historia que nos han contado.
Nos mete en las raices más profundas del mundo del futbol en españa desde su llegada, como llego y como se afincó. Quienes fueron los que hicieron que este deporte que mueve semejante cantidad de no solo aficionados, sino todo tipo de personas: sponsors, políticos, pueblos, ciudades, comunidades autonomás y un largo etc...
Desde aquí, quiero agradecer el trabajo realizado por el Sr. Phil Ball, que quedará en los anales del futbol no solo como un libro más, sino como una verdadera historia del futbol en España.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2011
A MUST for any football fan! Especially for followers of Spanish League. Well written and full of interesting stories and facts.