Changes, and evolution of BFB, aka “No AKA today.”

So. Life happens. To all of us. Your team at Barcelona Football Blog consists of lawyers, medical students, computer techs, writers and journalists. We have lives, husbands, wives, children, jobs and various other things pressing for our attention, in addition to this thing that we all consider a labor of love.

But, like life, change has to happen. Yes, some of it is related to the joyousness that greeted my return from hiatus. But most of it is just life, and what it does to time constraints, etc. So to be brief, BFB is changing.

Whether that is for the better or worse remains to be seen, and this change is still a work in progress, but the long and short of it is that, like the days of The Offside, BFB will again become a blog of passion. Heretofore, there have been the obligations: LoveBlobs, previews, reviews, analyses, tactical and otherwise, etc, etc. Even with a team the size of ours, that is a lot of content, mostly because we all take extreme pride in the quality of our work and writing.

So what the hell does that mean?

Well, you know how SoMa will descend from Olympus with a gem, then mount her chariot and return to the bosom of the Gods? Well, the chariot has become a bus. That is to say, the “obligation” posts will be fewer, even as the passion is greater. So rather than “Today’s preview day,” it might be nothing, or it might be an impassioned piece about RoSELL, Texeira and why 10-year-old girls need a million Euros in their bank accounts. It might be, “Wonder what Party Boy is up to these days,” or an analysis of yet another rabble-rousing Facebook note from Alfons Godall. Might be a fun talk with a sports physiologist on just why in the hell Messi can do what he does.

In short, whatever the writers are passionate about. A model might be Brian Phillips’ most excellent Run of Play, for those who know that space.

Yes, there will be previews. Yes, there will be reviews. But not all the time, and not in that sense of being able to set your clock by them. Because frankly (and I believe in full honesty with the BFB family), continuing down that path was almost certainly going to kill this blog.

So we’re thinking that having things be driven by passion, rather than obligation, will help. And perhaps someone getting battered about a review that was more necessary task than obligation, won’t sap joy and …. there’s that word again …. passion. So that Valencia review, had I followed my first mind, would have been a piece about Pedro, Cuenca and Tello, how they’re one and the same, yet different, linked to the galvanic effect that Tello had when he entered the match. This is one example of how the space might change.

It goes without saying that big matches won’t be ignored, but if we go to Hee-Hon and whip on them 8-0, there might not be a review. Or a preview, for that matter. There might not be anything, or there might be lots of things. Who knows? What you can count on are many surprises, and a continuation (or should I say return to) the passion that drove Isaiah and I to make The Offside thrive, then leave there to found this space. As for the rest, time will tell. There will also be opportunities for many of you to contribute. We have had guest previews, Views from the Stands and other family-generated content. Expect more, and if you all have ideas, shoot a note to, and off we go. All suggestions and bribes will be considered.


On a content-related note, as probably all of you know, one of the pre-eminent footy journos around, Graham Hunter, has written a new book about our beloved club. It’s called “Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World,” and is available via or direct from Back Page Press. I will soon have a copy for review, which will be appearing in this space. There will also be a Q-and-A with Hunter that will appear before the review, since I have to learn to read before I can actually review a book. If you don’t already have a copy, you should get one. Advance reports are that it is brilliant. And even if it isn’t, it’s still about our club, so you need it.

And that’s what I know for now.

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Xingxian
    February 21, 2012

    I was going to scream “but I hate change”, but after reading this I find myself… excited.

    Not that I didn’t love how The Goode Olde Days (I can call it that now, right?) worked

  2. Ryan
    February 21, 2012

    Just ordered the book directly from your link; looking forward to reading it and your Q&A/Review!

    As to the evolution of BFB, I’m sure the great community and quality of content will remain the same, even if the routine changes.

  3. Laurentiu88
    February 21, 2012

    Congrats’ on the new changes! The idea sounds really good. We all want more than previews and reviews right now… 🙂

    Best of luck to BFB family!

  4. andrecito
    February 21, 2012

    still gonna be my favorite site…

  5. Ryan
    February 21, 2012

    Russia seems to have taken its first victim in Benzema…

    • Ryan
      February 21, 2012

      Second strike from Russia – an equalizing goal in the dying minutes!

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 21, 2012

        Yes indeed. One injury, check. And no clean sheet, check.

        I have no illusions that CSKA will down the LWBs in this tie. Nevertheless, I always do a little jig when those mothers get scored upon, especially late on, and Iker fails to get a clean sheet. Even better when it’s all followed by an Iker face 😉

  6. barca96
    February 21, 2012

    “No AKA today”

    I don’t get it. No more reviews from you?
    The title suggests that you are quitting but the content of the article doesn’t say so. I’m confused. Whatever it is, I hope you’re not quitting. You’re the most important member! (others are great as well but Kxevin is like the pack leader and a chaos generator with his ratings =p )

  7. kinukinu
    February 21, 2012

    A change in format? Kind of like a BFB version of a 3-4-3? I like it! And Kxevin, you’re like the Pep Guardiola of BFB. (Will he or won’t he stay? Inquiring minds want to know…)

    I do enjoy the reviews because they make me see things that I’m not smart enough to get on my own, but there are enough expert commenters on here to have that covered.

    My only concern is this: If the post on a given match day is not a review or directly related to the game, people are still going to want to discuss the game. The comments would inevitably end up ignoring the content of the post and turning into a match analysis forum.

    A suggestion: even if there is no review, you could create one space on match day dedicated to pre-and post-match discussion.

    That way, if there’s other tangential content, it could maintain it’s own discussion in a separate post. Truthfully, I never understood “Hectoring”–why does one interesting thread have to end just because there’s a new post? Maybe if more than one thread is active at a time, you could encourage everyone to be topic-specific in their comments? (I know this has happened from time to time, but it’s never really been the protocol)

    I dunno–just a thought…

    • icemel
      February 21, 2012

      I second the motion. I rely on Isaiah’s previews for game time even if I don’t read the whole preview. But I do sympathize with the tyranny of the “obligation of it”…even as a reader I feel it in the form of guilt for not reading every line.

      I bet there’s a member or two of the larger BFB family who may not write like a demon but would relish posting a paragraph with just the facts pre-game/post-game. Some people live for that feeling of obligation.

      Pep? I always thought of Kxeven as the Messi and Isaiah as the Ronaldhinho (who never left and didn’t get fat… journalisticly speaking) …but then I’m old enough to remember Kvevin’s debut!

      • hansh
        February 21, 2012

        Just a heads up, has a countdown to the next Barca game on the top right of their homepage at all times, so you can get game times from there.

        Also, I have no idea where you live, but in the US you can use the great site to see times for upcoming live broadcasts both on TV and online.

        And I third the motion! Everyone loves to discuss games, and I wouldn’t want any writer’s passionate work shuffled off to the side in the aftermath of a game.

    • February 21, 2012

      Kxevin has been encouring to keep commenting on old posts, which don’t just “die” after a new one has been made, since pretty much the inception of BFB. Hence the “digest” sort of front page.

      But in the end everyone does what they want, and no one seems to want to keep rambling on their own in the deep end of a 100+ comments post, so there.

  8. ooga aga
    February 21, 2012

    The important thing is for people to have fun. If not having fun, something needs to change.

    And to not take things personally. A disagreement about football should never be phrased nor taken personally. We are commenting on peoples opinions about soccer, not about the people themselves.

    We also have to take the rough with the smooch. You comment publicly, you are putting yourself out there to be disagreed with. It’s like a celebrity who doesnt want their picture taken. You just cant have it both ways.

    I am glad this is the new direction if it is what kxevin and everyone wants. hopefully we will all spend less time on the internet this way 🙂

    To the extent that i have ever crossed the line in my comments to kxevin, i apologize. Because no matter how you slice it, he is why i became a fan of this site years ago (as ballbeav).

  9. mom4
    February 21, 2012


    HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    • Ryan
      February 21, 2012

      Full time, 1-1!

      Massive game from their keeper – TB could’ve had a hat trick.

  10. ooga aga
    February 21, 2012


    • blaugranaDOOM
      February 21, 2012

      Today is the reason I always watch Real games (if I can) when the difference is 1 goal or less. The return match should be interesting as CSKA look like they have some good counter attacking players.

  11. icemel
    February 21, 2012

    4 more of these in La Liga please!

    • Roberto Senyera
      February 21, 2012

      Now that’s asking for too much and is simply unrealistic. Just sayin’.

  12. jordi™
    February 21, 2012

    Our 7 straight wins in the cl record still in tact 8)

    • February 21, 2012

      That was almost 10 years ago. I remember the games. Feel old. *shrugs*

    • Roberto Senyera
      February 21, 2012

      Sweet. I’ll toast a glass of Shiraz to that 🙂

  13. mom4
    February 21, 2012

    Change is good, but often uncomfortable. Mixing in a bit of the old comfort food when the mood strikes y’all might make for a good transition. Looking forward to the passion.

    U asked for ideas—
    One idea for posts, and granted it would require some coordination of the mods’ part because of the mod availability required, is a Q&A session. Chances to ask those in the know the little things about which we wonder.

    For example:
    -asking Euler the difference between a false nine and a trequarista
    -asking Isaiah about the origens of the whole Messi/Lego thing
    -Kari about B teamers
    -Kxevin about club issues

    • zashaw
      February 21, 2012

      Mourinho knows so many languages, but doesn’t know how to say “hypocrite” in any of them…

  14. Gogah
    February 21, 2012

    I follow the Moskva
    Down to gorky park
    listening to the wind of chaange…


  15. February 21, 2012

    I can totally understand that on some days the review just seems like an obligation and no one wants to do it.

    Perhaps 2 or of the staff can join in and post their “thoughts on the match” afterwards or maybe have a conversation type of review where most points are discussed (<- should try this once)

    BTW if you guys need to add to the staff I'd recommend blitzen! Because having blitzen awards as part of the review will kick butt.

    Another thing I was thinking was that because of twitter the Cule-community seems quite familiar with each other, so maybe we can have guest articles from The offside gang (Ramzi included!) , the fcb_live girls or even one of the totallygoats people (They’re cules right?)

    • Chiu
      February 21, 2012

      Count my vote for Blitzen Award as a post. This can be posted alternately with the normal review. It’s would be a great starting point too to start the discussion in comment section. At the end, the comment will naturally talking about the review of the game itself from everyone perspective.

  16. mom4
    February 21, 2012

    Strange little game, Napoli v Chelsea, that’s keeping me away from doing anything productive. All I can say is that I wouldn’t mind us going up against either of their defenses next based on the way they’re playing today. So much space.

    • Ryan
      February 21, 2012

      Gotta love how the English commentators are going on and on about how Chelsea and City are so much better than Napoli, despite both scorelines. 🙂

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 21, 2012

        Typical myopic English.

  17. Brosep
    February 22, 2012

    I think Triplo Volanti and icemel have the right of it – there are numerous intelligent and dedicated members of this community who likely would step up and post from time to time to ensure the site’s articles continue to be produced regularly. There are so many posters on this blog whose comments I read with the same regularity as I do the articles – Blitzen, Jnice, nzm, and many more come to mind. If comments and discussion are produced on a constant and reliable basis, and always with great fervor and intelligence, then surely articles can be constantly produced, too. A volunteer basis seems totally workable to me, and it’d be cool if Triplo Volanti’s excellent suggestion of conversation-style reviews got a trial run. Introduce a moderator to that idea, and you have the format of any televised sports discussion.

    If reviews and previews aren’t going to be regular – or in other words, if the site will lose what its now (commendably) professional reliability – then there is no need to check it regularly other than for the reliably-constant discussion. And if one is to check this site primarily for the discussion rather than now-unpredictably published articles, it might be better organized to cater to this discussion itself, with room for the writers when they feel passion.

    I am sure any kinda small change (like this one) will go over fine, since the audience and administration here are so stellar. But I am uncertain that this change, rather than some other change, is optimal (or even an improvement) without considering other solutions to the problems alluded to in the article.

    On that note, thanks for this update. Its thoughtfulness and honesty hit right at the heart of what makes this place special.


  18. chillipod
    February 22, 2012

    Morning all,
    I’ve just finished Graham’s book and it’s a marvelous way to spend 4 hours of your life. It’s full of interesting facts, anecdotes and inside info that at times just leaves you astonished.
    You get a real insight into how fickle and ruthless top level sport is today, and how lucky we are that a whole heap of things came together to produce this team which we love so much.
    In a nice touch he signed it too, as I’m sure he will do for some of the other BFBers.
    I look forward to reading the thoughts of you all in due course.

    Força Barça

  19. justsayin
    February 22, 2012

    I came for the writing (Kxevin, Isaiah, Euler, etc) but I stayed for the posters.

    I find the posters on this site know the game, are passionate about it, can discuss it intelligently without degrading to name calling and return regularly to post. That’s difficult to find.

    I feel that this “change” comes on the heels of the Valencia discussion regarding Messi’s rating. Sorta like we’re being punished for disagreeing with your reviews. Yes, I’m am more than certain that the articles are tedious and time consuming so I can see how it would become work instead of pleasure after awhile. But, I thought people wrote blogs in the hopes that others would find it, follow it and comment on it? I dunno .. maybe I’m mistaken.

    You mention and I do enjoy reading them as well (especially Ade C). So, if BFB posters are interested, The Offsides continue to write pre/post match reviews, so if BFB doesn’t have an article up, we can take the discussion over there if we want the continuity of the same group of posters discussing the games.

    • February 22, 2012

      Actually. Isaiah and I have been discussing this change for some time. So your “punishment” notions are misguided. If you want to head over to The Offside, you are more than welcome to do so. This is a free Internet, and Ade and the gang do nice work over there. The Valencia match hooraw, in full honesty, had me ready to quit. Period. Not because of the disagreement. I expected that. But because of the sheer demands of it all. Time. Always time. Isaiah resurrected our past notions of change as a way of finding some way to keep me in this, rather than just saying “Good riddance, you has-been.”

      But in the cognizance that I haven’t spelled this out before, each and every review costs me:

      –About 4 hours (watching the match 2x, following players, slo-mo, etc.)

      –1-2 hours on the writing (dependent upon how quickly it all takes shape)

      That’s almost a full work day, on a day where I would also like to spend time with friends, my wife, eat, rest and train, in addition to the off-hour demands of my real job, i.e. the one that actually pays me. This smacked me upside the head as I was sitting in the TV room of my new (to me) house with a laptop, banging away while listening to my wife have dinner by herself, head off to read a while, etc. As opposed to our usual thing of having dinner together, talking to each other and doing that happily married couple stuff.

      And that’s just me. As noted above, ALL the mods are wrestling with real life demands, just like I am. Quality takes time. If it were easy, anybody could do it.

      You further make the erroneous assumption that BFB is the sort of dictatorship in which one vexed mod can, in a huff, unilaterally change the way that the place works.

      Not so. Look at the names you haven’t seen on posts for a while: SoMa, Luke, Linda, Euler, and ask yourself why. The simple answer is as above: life and its demands. They won’t wait, and when they won’t, we all look for something to cut back on. Again as noted above, life changes. When I came to this task, I wasn’t racing. I have only recently resumed racing, and bicycle racing is something that you just can’t half-ass. I came home with the wrong color medal from Nationals last season, and I intend to work as hard as I can to rectify that matter. So that’s time, and lots of it. Because instead of staying up until 2 a.m. working on a review on Champions League match day, and having dead legs the next day, I’m choosing to take care of my body. Life has changed for all of the mods. Isaiah got married this past year. That change is immense. Luke and Linda are lawyers. If there are any lawyers here, you know about those first years. Time, time, time, time.

      It’s why I said that the current way of operation would kill this blog. Because time is brutal. I love my wife far more than BFB (sorry, kids). Same with bicycle racing/training). The other mods have other demands. That’s life. The proposed change is one way of dealing with it. I love some of the suggestions, and if anyone is interested in contributing in a meaningful way (LiveBlogs, previews, reviews) drop us a line via, and we’ll talk.

      But for now, we would all love the luxury of unlimited time and few demands. None of us have it.

      • blitzen
        February 22, 2012

        Luke? Does he even still work here anymore? I thought we traded him for Calvin. Or sent him off to be Hleb’s personal assistant. 😉

      • justsayin
        February 22, 2012

        I get it. Writing articles for this blog is time consuming.

        You’re not a bunch of kids with nothing but time on your hands, but intelligent hard working men and women and believe me, the blog reflects that and I think that’s why you get so much repeat traffic. Precisely why we feel it’s worth our time to stop what we’re doing to come back time and time again during our day to comment on your Valencia review. Not to slam you or make your day difficult or to make you regret even spending the time to put something up. On the contrary, we respect your point of view and we debate different points because it’s fun.

        I wouldn’t want to do what you and your team does. I’d probably start to not look forward to games thinking that I’d have a 6 hour job waiting for me.

        But, that’s on you. Nobody is expecting you to take away time from having dinner with your wife nor lose sleep. Who knew that was going on?? I think we just want a forum and if that means that someone just unlocks the door to the party so we can come it, that’s fine. It doesn’t always have to be a 6 course meal, … sometimes the buffets are nice too.

        • February 22, 2012

          Yes, it is absolutely on me, just as the decision to find ways to mitigate the load is also on me and further, trying to do so in a way that doesn’t compromise the writing quality in this space. No punishments, real or implied or otherwise are in the cards.

          • justsayin
            February 22, 2012

            Balance. Completely understand and encourage it. I’ll just mention one more thing and then thank you for your time. Looking back, it’s the reviews right after the game that people are just chomping at the bit to discuss. It’s the review that gets the most postings. If your team could just do a short intro, I’m certain that the posters would take it from there. Just a suggestion so that your base posters know they have a place to go and discuss.

            Thanks for the time you put into this blog and please go and eat with your wife, … better yet, take her out to dinner!

  20. February 22, 2012

    Having toiled as a Barca blogger myself in the past, I know how reviews/previews can become somewhat of a chore – less so after big games that roil the fanbase, but still something that can suck the passion out of a place from time to time.

    If less reviews mean more longform, interviews, special interest pieces, I’m all for it. The Run of Play is bloody brilliant, so I look forward to it.

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