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on February 6, 2004
Morbo is fantastic. Phil Ball, as he always seems to do in his regular columns on Spanish football, manages to capture the essence of Spanish society through the culture of the game. This is a story not only of the greats - di Stefano, Barcelona, Real Madrid, etc - but of the cab driving Betis supporter of Seville and the forgotten cities and clubs of Huelva and Irun. For the American reader possessing a passion for the game with sources unknown, this opens up a culture for further exploration. It is not a complete history, nor was that ever its intent. Rather, as the title suggests, it is an eploration of morbo - the passion and rivalry of the game set against a backdrop of franco, poverty, wealth, isolation, regional pride, and most other issues that form the very foundation of Spain during the past century-plus.
Morbo is a brilliant place to start for the un-initiated and a delightful treat for those who already know the culture of the game.
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on January 23, 2014
The book does a fairly good job at overviewing, from an outsider's perspective, the way in which football serves as a proxy for socio, economic and ethnic politics in Spain. No doubt there are subtleties and nuances which Phil is missing, but the book nonetheless gives an outsider a glimpse into the complex social fabric that underpins the football world in Spain. Unlike so many of the other books which have been recently written about La Liga and its clubs (e.g. books by Graham Hunter and Jimmy Burns), Phil tries to take an objective look at the scene as a whole without being biased by the cause/perspective of one particular team/ethnic group.

Phil's writing style is easy to read and the book doesn't delve into unnecessary detail which would only confuse the average reader. This book is a must read for any La Liga enthusiast.
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