I will begin by saying that I understand precedent, I understand that legally, a deal is a deal, even if it might not be a deal. I get it. All of it.
But surely, there is a more effective way for our club to extract what it asserts it is owed from Sporting Gijon for the Alberto Botia transfer than to institute legal proceedings. For those who don’t recall, when Botia was tranferred to Sevilla, we were due 30% of the 2.5m transfer fee. That money wasn’t paid, so now we’re exploring the possibility of going after those deadbeats.
Gijon says that it doesn’t owe us anything, and everything was legal and by the letter of the arrangement. So preliminary proceedings have been instituted by us, and we’ll see what transpires. So as I said …. I understand all of the legal, globosocial and potentially nuclear ramifications of Sporting Gijon not ponying up. But there has to be a better way.
The story, for those of you who read Spanish or are slick enough to work Google Translate, is here. The number at issue is $750,000 euros, I think …. I admit to detesting math.
At present, Sporting Gijon is 16th in the Segunda, one spot below RM Castilla, for those keeping score. At the rate things are going, Gijon is closer to the Tercera than La Primera. $750,000 wouldn’t buy any of our notable B teamers, who currently sit at 8th place in the table. Is it really only money, or does how a club comports itself matter in this crazy, crazy world in which we live?
Rubbing salt into the wound is that Botia’s transfer came with a buyback option, one that we chose not to activate presumably because the player didn’t meet our standards. So in effect, we’re suing someone because we sold them a watch that we didn’t want any more. Then, down on their luck, they sold the watch second hand and now we want our cut of the deal because, we allege, we had a deal that we had a deal on the watch deal. Maybe.
Big, bad FC Barcelona tilting after a second-division club for a piddlin’ EUR750k is, from a public relations worldview to this scribe, kinda like the big, muscle-bound rich kid taking after the cobbler’s son and trying to steal his lunch money. Gijon sold Botia because the club needed money. And the dispute continues in the form of the proceedings instituted, which amount to a preliminary hearing. Nothing more could happen, or things could escalate. Time will tell.
But for me, this makes the club look petty. Cheap and petty. The principles are what they are, and if we let Gijon get away with it, what’s to stop a bigger club with a lot more money in the coffers from trying to get away with it? After all, were we to do the gentlemanly thing and find a way to write off $750k — RoSELL managed to find a way to turn a slight surplus into a massive deficit, so surely his accountants would be up to dealing with such a small sum — who knows what sort of madness might ensue? Big club-hired ninjas might just break into the new, glitzy La Masia, stuff one of our talented fledglings in a gunny sack and steal away in the night. Then next day they would ring up and say “Yeah, we got him? What are YOU going to do about it? You let Sporting get away with not paying you!”
I get it, I get it, I get it …. which doesn’t mean that it sits well with me, romantic that I am.
More deals, and the import of history
Via the Twitters and the super-groovy @Barcastuff, I confess to having forgotten that, a long time ago in a galaxy far away, our beloved football club was about to sign one Gerd Muller, the very same dude whose record Lionel Messi is 1 or 2 goals away from, depending upon whether your believe official records or MARCA. Then the Germans and Bayern vetoed the deal, and the club moved on to the No. 2 player on its list …. (drumroll please) ….
There’s a little story here, and those of you who follow @barcastuff are already filled in.
Sometimes, you wonder about roads not taken, and begin to muse about fate and all that stuff. When I met my wife, and got to thinking I was the luckiest man in the world, I also got to thinking about all the stuff that had to happen to make our paths intersect at that precise point in time. A month earlier, she’s unavailable. If I decide to go to Nationals, I’m not around. Med school instead of journalism, no asthma so no fat tennis player who took up cycling …. Crazy! So it is with this transfer. You almost expect the club to hold Messi out of the rest of the year’s matches, out of gratitude for the deal not done, even if Muller wasn’t really behind its not coming to fruition.
Had the Muller transfer happened, would Cruijff still have come? Would his principles have become part of the club’s way of thinking? What of La Masia, and the magical sprites it has produced? Our roster is the most expensive in world football, and most of it, we didn’t buy, nor could we afford to. But we sure could afford to raise it, and train it in a style, a manner of play that has, in the hands of those wondrous little beings, made us the best football club in the world.
Pretty crazy, when you think about it.
The names that are returning just keep coming. Alves, Bartra and Sanchez have rejoined the group. Iniesta is also ready. Messi is allegedly chomping at the bit, mere days after inducing a global seizure. Cuenca could rejoin the club next week and suddenly, the only name absent from the squad list would be Eric Abidal, who had to deal with nasty rumors (denied by the club) that his contract was going to be terminated in January.
Can the rich get richer? Apparently so, and just in time for the rest of the busy, busy season. Can’t wait.
That’s all I got, folks. Discuss!