Tale of Two Cities: Manchester & Madrid 1957-1968

John Ludden

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From the publisher:

This is the tale of two cities divided by football and united by tragedy. The story begins in emnity when United's Busby Babes face Santiago Bernebeu's Galacticos in the 1957 European Cup semi-final.

United were a team made up of hand-reared British and Irish youngsters who had conquered British football with relative ease. They faced Madrid's reigning European Champions led by 'The Blond Arrow' Alfredo di Stefano. Inevitably United lost that tie over two legs but the pair seemed certain to be rivals for years before the Munich Air Disaster ripped apart Manchester's pride and joy.

In the years that followed Real Madrid's president moved heaven and earth to help his club's former foes and a series of friendly matches were played to help United's languishing coffers as Real completed their now legendary 5 European Cup victories in a row from the inception of the tournament. Following the Mancunian side's recovery and rehabilitation, the clubs met once more and this time it was for real.

United's aging side battled through to the 1968 European Cup semi-final to face the Madrilenos once more. Madrid, by now six times winners, looked certain to go through when they raced into a 3-2 aggregate lead in Spain before David Sadler and Munich survivor Bill Foulkes scored late goals to send United through to a date with destiny against Benfica in the Wembley final.

This riveting footballing story featuring most of the greatest players of the fifties and sixties but most importantly two great rivals and friends: Madrid President Santiago Bernebeu and United manager Matt Busby.

The author:

John Ludden is an acclaimed author from Manchester. He has written over twenty books and his work has been translated into several different languages. His cult classic 'Maradona: Once Upon a Time in Naples' is currently the basis for a forthcoming documentary film by Oscar winning director Asif Kapadia due for general cinematic release in 2018. A Manchester United fan, John's work has chronicled the history of his club with the highly acclaimed 'A Tale of Two Cities' and 'From the Stars'. John has also written a series of well-received novels and factual works, these include the intriguing Quality gangster series mixing fact with fiction that take in the Manchester crime scene from the 60s,70s and onwards. John worked closely with Michael Gomez on his acclaimed biography in 2016 and has now moved on to study the history of one of the most famous boxing gyms in the world.


Empire Publications
20 x 13 cm
320 pages
December 2011