A Tale of Two Cities
by John Ludden
Reviewed by Brian Grehan
This great football book details a decade of history between two of Europe’s biggest and best football clubs: Real Madrid and Manchester United. The decade in question is from the late 50’s to the late 60’s so encompasses the decade between the Munich disaster and United's triumph at Wembley winning the European Cup, the first English club to do so.
In the introduction John Ludden details a meeting of the two clubs in the Champions League in April 2003. I was at this game and remember vividly the sporting nature of the teams and the fans especially the standing ovation Ronaldo got from the home supporters. I thought then that the United supporters appreciated a brilliant performance by a special footballer but as I found out by reading this book it illustrated the history shared by the two clubs and the mutual respect they have for each other.
It’s an excellent read for any football fan but I suppose it will appeal mostly to fans of both clubs. Although I much prefer the footballing culture of Barcelona I found I had a little more respect for Real Madrid after reading this book. For example I did not realise that Madrid offered the European Cup to Manchester United in the aftermath of the Munich disaster… an offer that was respectfully turned down as United wanted to win the trophy themselves!
The book details a number of friendly meetings between the two clubs to build closer relations and also to generate financial income to a struggling United team that had been ripped asunder.
This book is a terrific read for any true football fan detailing a decade of history of Europe’s footballing giants.
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