Tuktuk Day 91

I was talking to FB friend Chris Lee this morning about books, Spain and football. After 60+ years as a bookworm, 20 years in Spain and 60 years following football these are three topics I am meant to know something about. OK, let’s rephrase it. These are three topics I am fascinated with!

Chris has updated the Outside Write “Best Spanish football books, podcasts and blogs.” We were asked to comment.

Let’s look at the “runners and writers” ….sorry, I’ll get my coat

Following the success of our post on the best Italian football blogs, podcasts and books, I have put together a similar collection for another country that gets a lot of interest on Outside Write – Spain. It’s a country I know well, having lived in both Madrid, where I wrote my final year dissertation on Spanish football and regional identity, and Valencia.

Chris, “Here are the best Spanish football books, podcasts and blogs that you need to know about”

Steve, “I am not the right person to comment on podcasts but as for books we are pretty much in agreement! That in itself might be some type of record for football fans who can normally start World War III over the size of the corner flags.”


Steve, “If you have not read this, you don’t understand Spanish football.”

Chris, “If you read one book that summarises the entire history of Spanish football, from Spain’s first football club, Recreativo de Huelva, up until the success of the 21st century, then read Morbo. ‘Morbo’ is a Spanish expression for the tension between two sides, and sums up the intensity that can exist in Spain. Ball chronicles the entire story of Spanish football, putting it in the context of the political, historical, regional and cultural circumstances that have influenced – and continue to impact – the Spanish game.”

Fear and Loathing

Steve, “If you have not read this, you don’t understand Spanish football.” (Yes, again!)

Chris, “The epic rivalry between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona is brought to life brilliantly by Sid Lowe in Fear and Loathing in La Liga. The reader is taken on a journey from the very first meeting of the two sides in the 1900s, through the Franco era and controversy around Alfredo di Stefano’s signature, through to the democratic, uber-commercial era.

Lowe myth-busts any preconceived ideas around politics and identity and sets them into historical context.”

Los Leones: The Unique Story of Athletic Club Bilbao

Steve, “I absolutely need to read this!”

Chris, “This 2024 release from debut author Christopher Evans is an absolutely superb and comprehensive insight into one of the world’s most historically significant football clubs, Athletic Club de Bilbao. As well as reading Los Leones, please listen to our podcast with Gaizka Atxa, from the Athletic Club peña (supporters’ group), Mr Pentland Club, about the history and culture of Athletic Club de Bilbao.”

La Roja: A Journey Through Spanish Football

Steve, “An excellent read although normally I am fairly indifferent to national sides.”

Chris,” In La Roja, Madrid-born Jimmy Burns tells the story of the Spanish game with some key interviews to articulate how the Spanish game became the unique and admired entity that it is. How has the Spanish game been influenced by affairs off the pitch, and vice versa?”

As you can see, Chris is more incisive than I am! Best bet is to pop over to the blog and enjoy the full overview.

I am going to add a couple too

Gary Thacker’s two books about Spanish Non-League Football are quasi fiction and everything you read is implausible …. but highly probable! Absolutely recommended. Gary has also written non-fiction about English and Dutch football.

Bring Me that Horizon

Written in English by  Miguel L. Pereira, a Madrid-based author, about the PORTUGUESE game. Lots of interesting parallels and, of course, since early days of football many of the very best Portuguese players have plied their trade in Spain. Miguel has also written about Spanish football in Spanish ….and, a little birdie tells me a definitive book about Spanish football is due soon. Publishers, queue up!

Toni Kroos : Anatomia de un genio for Al Poste and published in 2014
Noches Europeas: 1897-2015 for TB Books in 2015
Sueños de la Euro for Panenka in 2021

…and finally, at a tangent,

Ghosts of Spain

No, this book is NOT about football but if you want to understand football in Spain, I would argue that you need to understand modern Spain. Tremlett’s book is “the one.”

The New Spaniards.

Another excellent read about Spain – John Hooper’s book, if read, in conjunction with Ghosts of Spain should give the reader a great overview of Spain in 2024.

Talking about Spanish football, l hope FC Deportivo Galicia are always in your thoughts. This was set up as a migrants’ team in London in the 60s. lt has thrived and is now looking for promotion to Step 5 in the English pyramid. Please remember that the purpose of this 90 day challenge is to raise funds for the club and an equal amount for Prostate Cancer. As always, I HOPE you are all enjoying the tour of the UK and that you will consider a donation to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK If everybody chipped in £1 I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier in West London whilst the charity continued their great work. A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can.


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