“The world didn’t end,” a.k.a. Today’s news, and more


Despite this frightening moment during last night’s Gamper Trophy match, one that had scientists everywhere running around like frightened rabbits, shouting something about “The Toure Doomsday Scenario,” the earth is still on its axis. Whew! We worried about what might happen when both Toures were on the same pitch….imploding galaxies, small children being sucked into a vortex, time standing still.

But thankfully, we’re all fine.

And in other news, now that the world can continue:

–Regarding his selection for the Gamper match, Guardiola said “Bite me.” Okay. Really. “I did not want to burden the senior players with minutes, taking into account the important committments that will come.” He added, “Despite the result, I’m happy with the way things turned out. Anyone who doubts me just needs to go and read barcelonafootballblog.com, where the match review will make clear why I am happy. So there.” (Only some of this quote is made up. Really.)

–I really, really hate to bring this up, now that we’ve hidden the dead, radioactive carcass of the beaten, nuked horse from public view, but Txiki B. said yesterday that the call to sell Eto’o was all Guardiola. “We wanted to keep Eto’o, recognizing the quality that he has,” said our sporting director. “But according to the coach, we knew that the management of the squad would be easier without him. There had to be change. And that change was Ibrahimovic.”

Sport says that no, really, this will be the day that Chygrynskiy leaves, if Shakhtar sucks it up in Europa League group stage play. We swear.

–Douchebags cost money, is the word that came down from the Assembly meeting that was held yesterday. In specific, the censure motion drummed up by Oriol Giralt cost the club a million Euros, and the legacy of the Nunez presidency, thanks to fiscal irregularities regarding the payment of player salaries, will cost the club another 60 million. It was voodoo tax economics, in which players were paid through a company that owned their image rights, to take advantage of a lower tax rate. The first ruling, from this decision, is about 25.5m. There is another, pending decision which is expected to go against the club, that will account for the remaining 35m. Ouch.


–In other fiscal news, we’re raking it in from TV and Nike’s sponsorship. Our deal with MediaPro, according to Joan Boix, is worth 120m per year, and with another 30 (40 if the jams are kicked out and titles are won) from Nike. On the debit side, between various bonuses and incentives related to winning the treble this season past, the additional cost to the club was some 30m, in total.

–The club will be working with 405m total budget, the biggest in its history. You folks who are socis should know that club fees won’t go up, despite the 6+ percent budget increase. Call it pessimism or fiscal common sense, but Boix added that the club has only budgeted reaching the 1/4 finals of the Champions League, because you just can’t count on that level of success repeating itself. A further 25m is foreseen from the sale of some players (Hmmm….). It is expected that when Heavy J and the Boyz step down, they will be leaving the club with an eye-popping 144m in profit for the term.

–Our total sporting payroll, by the by, is 202m. Not a ton of dough for the success that we’ve achieved. But I can’t imagine, once Puyol is signed for life, and Iniesta receives a contract that, in the words of Txiki B., reflects his “true value,” that number won’t go up significantly.

–Terms of the President and his board will now be six years. There was a last-minute proposal offered to make Laporta Emperor of the club “forever and ever, amen.” But it wasn’t taken seriously, despite some backroom wrangling. Laporta added, “I rock, so the people that I support will also rock. So be sure, if you want the club to keep kicking ass and taking names, to support them instead of that other dude. Word.” (Only some of that is made up/paraphrased.)

Pedro! signed his new contract, that includes a 75m buyout. He’s signed until 2014.

–You like the kids, I like the kids, we all like the kids, but none of them will be promoted, said Guardiola after last night’s match. Of course, expect them to be earning travel miles as they shuttle back and forth for various competitions, particularly Muniesa, Johnny Two-Time and Fontas.

–That “Ding!” sound that you kept hearing was the cash registers ringing, as more than 94,000 fans, a Gamper Trophy match record attendance level, pumped more than 3m into the club coffers. This doesn’t include the feeding frenzy that almost certainly ensued at the Botiga. You live Gamper vets know what I’m talking about. People jam their way into the store, buying any, all and everything, from shirts to pens. The aftermath is stuff laying on the floor, and feverish sales staff. It’s an awesome sight. 😀

Finally, lest anyone think Ibrahimovic wasn’t putting out for the side, check out the bloody knees (above)!

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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. Kxevin
    August 20, 2009

    In the previous post, some have said that they don’t put much in our “mes que un club” slogan. I’ll buy that. But when you look at the club’s history, its roots in Catalan nationalism and the philanthropic causes that it supports, it is indeed “mes que un club,” whether folks buy into it or not. Word.

  2. Kxevin
    August 20, 2009

    And whaddaya know, the nattering bit of pustulence that some call AS is trying to stir the pot by saying that Guardiola’s starting lineup showed a “lack of respect” to the fans who showed up.

    Loathsome rag.

    Here’s the thing about the Gamper: It’s a coming-out party for the club, at home, in a match that means, in the sum total of things (barring any significant injuries), about zero.

    People get to meet and cheer for the club in a relaxed atmosphere, the tourists pack the seats, the Botiga rings up big sales, and life is grand. If the club comes out on the wrong side of the match, people aren’t all that stressed, really, because it’s a show.

  3. August 20, 2009

    CP, I was hunted in the last post, this is my answer regarding what you mentioned there:

    CP, I saw your comment about it on the Live blog. But My pc passed out before responding.

    Hector will experience the same thing with time. I am telling you. There will be people translating the articles to other languages but still referring to the source (And I appreciate their effort). They even look for your account on facebook and send you messages and write on your Wall. Some paste it in other forums with my name under, because they feel better discussing it there (leaving only the ones who hate it to whip you in comment setions:D ). While there are some others who do something like the links you mentioned. Some people copied the whole articles, not only a part of it.

    I sometimes believe that the way I write my articles and comments make it sound as if I have a soft spot to that. But in fact, its all fun, and I only take what make me enjoy it and ignore what may bother-if it worth in the first place.

    I love football, and obviously Barcelona. I work in football, though still on the first step of the long ladder. I like to inject some tempting ideas (and sometimes irritating? that makes some people feel some unease) to enrich Barcelona discussions, and even to give a reason for upgrading here or updating there (I try at least). As long as these words are taking their way to more people, I am happy. Regardless of how it goes. Lets only see the bright side

    When you become a coach, the tactics you apply in one game will bounce on you in the other. You will find coaches who are hired for stronger clubs applying your tactics and achieving more then getting the credit for it. If you cant live with that, change your job

  4. August 20, 2009

    Agreed with Kevin on the Mes Que Un Club thing; I personally buy it and buy it wholeheartedly. Consider me a bleeding heart footballist if you’d like. Oleguer wasn’t a great player, no, but in so many ways, he embodied what the club meant. In my mind, it’s hard to remove Oleguer the player from Oleguer the political observer; he was, and I think still is, extremely active in the Catalan community. He was, and I think still is, popular with the soci base because of his views, which not only jive with the local population, but with the club’s self-image as a whole.

    If you’re arguing purely in sporting terms, then yes, Oleguer should have been booted from the club before he was. But his farewell to the club was brilliant and I loved reading it. It was great. And it made me sad that he wasn’t good enough to make it in our squad. He is very much like Raul, who has stayed on well beyond his usefulness because of politics, but Oleguer happened to have less talent. They are, of course, political opposites, Raul and Oleguer, but they do share the common theme of caring about the political realities within their clubs more than the common player, which makes them idols in a lot of ways.

    I still miss Oleguer, every now and then, but never during matches.

  5. Cesc Pistol
    August 20, 2009

    Ramzi, I replied there itself, but I’d like to repeat that I understand and appreciate your view on this, it’s very mature of you.

    @ Kevin and Isiah: Don’t get me wrong, I both understand and love the Mes Que Un Club part. There’s a reason why Cruyff is a god for Barca and Catalunya. And that is a huge reason why he holds so much importance for me as well.

    The thing is, now it’s more of a USP of Barca. The deep social and political meaning of it is no longer there. It is historically still there and it is something alot of cules try to identify with and that helps promote the catalan cause and catalunya and it’s culture in general.

    But that’s about it. Now we’ve extended it to mean every positive thing under the sun, from charity to our other sporting teams. It’s now a phrase that every cule will say at the smallest of things.
    “We won and we played beautiful football. Visca Barca. Mes Que Un Club”
    And then you can see why it seems to be losing it’s meaning. Why it’s loosing exactly why the club is more.

  6. Han
    August 20, 2009

    Has anybody of you guys an idea about our “official”/ real debts? The board made it abundantly clear we have zero bank debts but I never heard a consistency (regarding figures) on our non-bank debts.

    Anyway, this site is fast becoming my first stop on the net and soon all my barca-loving friends will do likewise (I assume). So keep up the good work.

  7. August 20, 2009

    I agree and disagree, CP. At some level, yes, “Mes Que Un Club” has become more of a motto than a meaningful description, but I think that extending it “to meaning everything under the sun, from charity to our other sporting teams” is not necessarily cheapening the phrase.

    Charity and the causes that are championed by those charities are, in my mind, the reason that mes que un club can be used in reference to Barça. The other sports teams I don’t think is actually what anyone means when they say that simply because a lot of other teams also have multiple sports associated with their clubs (RM, for instance). The more that Barça is involved in “solidarity” movements and continues to practice what it preaches, the more meaning “mes que un club” has for me. It is not merely a Catalan institution — though it certainly is that and I, a non-Catalan, would like it to remain primarily as such — but it is also now a global brand. That can lead to some “cheapening” of the motto from some perspectives, but I don’t buy it. I think it increases the value of not just the motto, but what actually lies behind it.

    But yeah, it’s a business and it can be easy to use “but we’re mes que un club” as a self-agrandizing mechanism. That we have to protect against (though it’s weird to feel like you have to be less into your own club’s awesomeness so that others won’t think you’re putting yourself on a pedestal). I wish more teams were up here with us, hanging out in the lofty heights of being better than others at both the actual game and the solidarity thing.

    One more reason to dislike the EPL, eh?

  8. August 20, 2009

    Han, I don’t actually know the answer to that. Does anyone out there know if the club has any sizeable debts with organizations other than banks? I sort of feel like that’s illegal, but I guess I don’t really know all the nitty-gritty of institutional debt.

    I’m glad you like the site. We’re trying our best to serve the community through witty banter and an inexhaustible supply of cule faith.

  9. Soto
    August 20, 2009

    I think for those who understand Catalan history, “Mes Que Un Club” will retain its meaning, precisely because it’s in Catalan. But the great value of any symbolic concept is that it can be embraced by those who don’t have the same background. Those who know little or nothing about Catalunya can still find meaning within the actions of “Mes que un club”. The heart of that meaning is that same whether you see it from a Catalan perspective or not.

    I hope I am making sense.

    (As an aside, here’s a fun mash-up of Guardiola’s coaching:
    I found this courtesy of the The Original Winger blog.)

  10. Hilal
    August 20, 2009

    Uh a bit off topic, but what did you guys think of Henrique yesterday? I thought he played pretty damn well (unless i confused him with somebody else, my feed wasnt great). He looked strong on the ball, composed, he pushed forward several times and his passing seemed fine. I am really not sure why he is going to be loaned out, especially when he can play both CB and RB….

  11. OhYes
    August 20, 2009

    I think a good analogy to the Mes Que Un Club thing is the USA’s “Life Liberty Happiness” phrase.

    How often do you hear that in situations that are completely irrelevant? But that doesn’t mean it will ever lose it’s meaning because those phrases are backed by something substantial that never goes away.

    They’re completely different from fads and memes that are backed only by repetition, and nothing more.

    So the club and fans can say Mes Que Un Club as much as they want to, stamp it on all kinds of products, but that just inflates it a little bit. It’s true meaning is essentially there as long as the history books are there.

  12. poipoi
    August 20, 2009

    I went to Camp Nou yesterday and I want my money back… the presentation and the show was nice but the game was not that nice.we have some great youngsters ok (I’m kinda in love with fontas and thiago gai muniesa JDS played very good), we may have canteranos for the next 10 years but what about THIS YEAR??!! Sign someone txiki please!! If non of xavi or iniesta play our team becomes a regular team,I think.

    btw… I went to see ibra and it was an absolute dissapointment.

    visca el barça…. let the real competition begin!!

  13. Jnice
    August 20, 2009

    La Sexta broadcast of the match:


    I was wondering if it was going to be AS or Marca that said something about the lineups and tradition and the worst out of the two got the job done first. Madrid disrespected their fans when they let in 6 goals at home in a must win game. How about that?

  14. SC
    August 20, 2009

    Agree with Isaiah. Mes que un club is more than just a motto (or tagline, if you will). It’s an identity, an experience… and I kept saying it in my head over and over again during the CL final against Man U. If you didn’t notice, they were sporting shirts sponsored by AIG. Ours? UNICEF through a partnership (not sponsorship). So “Mes que un club?” Nothing is a more fitting description of Barca, IMO.

  15. Cesc Pistol
    August 20, 2009

    Isaiah: Firstly I’m glad that this issue came up, made me think of a few things again and I’m sure alot of people will learn more about it and can better form their own opinions on it.

    And before I talk about the deeper issues, it is definitely associated with our other sporting teams. I can’t argue this as there’s no way I can prove it but it’s associated both in Spain and outside. And it’s much different than other sporting establishments.

    Now coming to the main point, the first thing to realize is that it now serves more as a brand builder. I’m sorta proud of that fact and alot of credit should go to Laporta (and not Rosell at all) that we are much more advanced in marketing just the way we are in football. We do positive brand building with our charity efforts.

    Why else do you think we have Unicef on our shirts? Is Barca more popular than Unicef? Ofcourse we promote them as well but mainly it is the fact that having Unicef over our shirts gives us an advantage and helps build a big positive image about Barca. And it makes people curious and reinforces and validates that they are supporting the right team.

    The fact that pisses me off is that cules tend to turn a blind eye to the fact that we are indeed pragmatic about it and we do have motives and benefits from it other than just philanthropic reasons. It’s probably why I tend to have a more cynical view of these things than I should.

    Secondly, there is no longer a cry for independence. Hardly any catalan wants complete independence anymore. But you’ll still find alot of ignorant cules being anti-Spain just because of it. There is definitely still bias against catalans and many rights are still only in name, but the solutions to be sought are much different and with co-operation and pressure. The ignorant anti-Spain and anti-establishment feeling simply because you’re a cule is pathetic IMO.

    Then there is the fact that being a cule automatically makes it ‘cool’ to be leftist. Sorry, but I don’t subscribe to that at all.

    Lastly, I never said that how the management has expanded (and improved and made relevant in the modern context) is cheapening at all. Cheapening is when we cules, use it at the drop of a hat without knowing even half it’s meaning.

    If you read what Oleguer himself points out it is far less controversial than what it was made out to be. He discusses some ‘real’ issues that are present today but it is taken out of context because he also targeted historical aspects where, without a shadow of a doubt, Franco and Spain were wrong and committed many atrocities.

    BTW irrespective of the sporting relevance of Oleguer (he wasn’t bad at all in our double winning year) he is a very intelligent man and that should be respected.

    In conclusion we may agree or disagree but IMO it is our experiences that seperate our final views but historically I love the mes que un club part. Just want to make that doubly clear.

    @Kevin: You probably aren’t amused how this conversation has severely departed from your post 😛 so I’ll get back to it.

    Kudos for mentioning the main issues! I’m sure alot of cules came to know more about Barca. And you did it in humourous way to make it a good read too!

    Though be honest, you wouldn’t have done it without my saying so would you? 😀

    BTW Despite talking about all the “Mes Que Un Club” aspect you didn’t mention a single Statute which addressed that 😛

    (I know they’re minor things mostly, I’m just teasing 😀 )

    PS – If no one answers regarding the debt part, I’ll address it. But later as I’m too lazy to type more. 😛

  16. Tutomate
    August 20, 2009

    Popoi you were disappointed by Ibra? why? because he didnt score?:-)

  17. August 20, 2009

    Cesc Pistol, read there and responded.

    Regarding Barcelona Marketing strategy. Even faithfull people pray to God because they want to go to “Paradise” and not to “Hell”, regardless of what everyone of us think about this issue. But doing the right thing for a personal benefit, does not pull the work you do low.

    You can earn direct money by putting a Betting brand on the shirt. And you can earn money putting the Unicef that will encourage people to buy more shirts and get more involved so you end up generating the same amount of money. We choosed the right option. Good for us. Its a win-win deal for both Unicef and Barcelona. Its not that Unicef is more known, but its the money this project is earning the Unicef, beside the collaboration projects. The question is:

    Are we serving the Unicef objectives in this partnership? Are we delivering any benefit for that case? I think we are, so we are proud of it.

    Noting that I know we have betting deals 😉 but you got my point. And I am aware its more a step Laporta felt he needed to take so the public feel more OK to have brands on the shirts (they refused commercial branding before), so may be thats a step leading to this. But we can’t judge intentions. The way its going now is great. later? This is what I will come to now:

    I dont really care how the board plan the club image, mission, or Motto. You know why? Because we, the fans, can dictate it in the end of the day. If we show that this is how we like the club, and thats how we see it, they will not dare to change it. They want to sell shirts?for who? for us! so they will make it the way we like it. With Unicef! If they decided to put Microsoft instead and we refused, they will not, because they cant, and they are smart to know it. If we reactedpositively to charity projects , they will do more. We create or dictate the club image, not the other way. Its a club owned by public not privetly owned, and thats what keep it on the safe side.

  18. SC
    August 20, 2009

    CP- where are these thoughts coming from?

    -“cules tend to turn a blind eye to the fact that we are indeed pragmatic about it”
    -“Then there is the fact that being a cule automatically makes it ‘cool’ to be leftist.”
    -“The ignorant anti-Spain and anti-establishment feeling simply because you’re a cule is pathetic IMO.’
    -“Cheapening is when we cules, use it at the drop of a hat without knowing even half it’s meaning.”

    Sorry, did I miss an anti-Spain, leftist, pro-independence, cheapened use of the term ‘Mes Que un Club’ post written by Isaiah, Hector or Kxevin? Did I miss some related comments posted here? Just trying to understand where your rant is coming from. I consider myself a proud Spanish cule (from Basque grandparents and mom) and none of those descriptions fit me, or my views on Catalunya or Spain. I’m also a marketer by profession so I don’t need a lesson on how brands are built, or how “cules turn a blind eye…” to marketing designs. Please be specific a little more specific when you reference “We cules,” because I have yet to come across anyone on this forum that fits your blanket description of what cules think, or how you think “we” are.

  19. SC
    August 20, 2009

    and back to Kxevin’s post…

    Kxevin, do you know who the front runners are for elections? I vaguely remember some rumors this summer about one of them having an agreement with Fabregas… of course, I believe I read that in AS.

  20. poipoi
    August 20, 2009

    cesc pistol: “més que un club” is mainly because FCB is the army of Cataluña the nation as someone said, I don’t remeber who. Since Cataluña has no real national team their people see FCB as if it was one, even if a lot of foreigners play in the team.

    I don’t know when the motto started but… Any historic community of spain (those who can claim indepence) has at least two teams: bilbao- r.sociedad-osasuna / madrid-atleti / sevilla-betis-malaga-almeria / valencia-vilareal-levante / celta-depor / oviedo-gijon / zaragoza doesn’t have a nemesis but they are kinda proud of being spanish so…. 😛 ) Cataluña has two also, we also have RDC Epanyol but that team doesn’t even represent cataluña since his name contradicts the so called “independence” of Cataluña. There is little people in Cataluña that hate FCB, not the same amount or percentage than the ones that hate Atleti, Real, BIlbao or Valencia in their own areas. If you go to Tarragona, Lleida or Girona (other areas from Cataluña apart from Barcelona) you’ll see that everyone loves FCB and its catalanity, which has gotten even bigger with Laporta btw. Even in Mallorca and Valencia they love FCB! Other players from Girona Tarragona or anywhere in Cataluña love FCB. If you go to the field in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia or Sevilla you’ll see how different the supporters are… FCB supporters are everyone, even the people that don’t understand a word about football.

    Plus, in the dark ages when Madrid was the team of the establishment FCB was cetainly more than a club, it was its oppressed people and their demands of recognition and Madrid independence.

    This all sounds very nice but I like to think we are “more than a club” not only for political reasons but footlball reasons also. We are a philosophy of playing ball, espectacle, beauty, touch & go, triangles, pressure, ball possesion, 4-3-3 and all that. Although since FCB is not only a football club the political reasons sound more plausible 😉

  21. Cesc Pistol
    August 20, 2009

    @Ramzi: I’m saying exactly the same thing! I’m proud that we are forerunners in such a strategy. Alot of credit for this masterpiece of an idea should go to Laporta and co.
    (and again, not to Rosell who was against the whole thing)

    @SC: I was a cule much before I came here and have had many many interactions with hundreds of cules from all over the world. And to be honest the ones I described are almost exclusively not from Spain and know little about the history of Spain. I was refering to those people. Not anyone here.

    This place seems to be the where the best discussions take place without anyone getting personal or starting a flame war.
    The level of arguments and knowledge of everyone here is commendable and I count myself lucky to be one among you guys. 😀

    That’s a small way of saying what an AWESOME job everyone does here!

  22. Cesc Pistol
    August 20, 2009

    @poipoi: I already know everything you talk about. My whole argument was based on what you elaborated, so i don’t see why you’re saying that……

    And btw it was Sir Bobby Robson who said: “You have to understand that Catalunya is a nation and Barca is it’s army”

  23. Tutomate
    August 20, 2009

    SC, i agree with CP in that SOME cules do those things. but no-one here and i dont think that CP meant that anyone here cheapened the slogan. There are cules tha go to stadiums with a “catalunya is not spain” banner. Im not saying that solely because of that they cheapen the slogan since maybe to them it means just what Poipoi was talking about in other words a national team for their country, Catalunya. Thats whats beautiful about “mes que un club” it means many things not just one because it’s subject to interpretation.

    Personally to me, it means that it’s different from any other club. That it represents a type of people, who are a proud people, not just Catalans but Cules. Because we see the game from a different angle, because we have a specific way of playing, an identity, because we develop players, because we care about charity, because we go againts the form and stick to our guns and ways. And because of the history.

    Sure there are other club similiar attributes but we have all of that. “mes que un club un sentiment” for me. A feeling that a cule can not feel from another club because they are cules. So to us cules it’s more than a club but to a non cule it’s just a club with a history.

    Sorry it’s just my opinion.
    By the way I don’t know if “sentiment” is the Catalan word for “sentimiento”

  24. Kxevin
    August 20, 2009

    Sandro Rosell is the presidential front-runner. It’s the reason that Laporta is trying to sign, seal and deliver Fabregas before his depature, so that he can remove a fundamental plank of Rosell’s candidacy.

    Another critical thing, for those who actually believe “mes que un club,” is that Catalan is now the club’s official language, and Catalan citizenship is required to be considered for its presidency.

    If that doesn’t underscore the symbiotic qualities of club and nationalism, I don’t know what does. It’s something that isn’t all that important as regards the day-to-day operation of the club, but for those with deep roots, it’s huge.

    CP, the club and its business are part of this blog, irrespective of what anyone says. Never forget that. Had nothing at all come of the Assembly meeting, nothing at all would have been mentioned. There have been meetings at which nothing has happened.

    This doesn’t even get into the real underlying mood of the meeting, which was as a massive rally for Laporta and, by inference, his successor. Nothing a triplete, massive profits and your smiling face to underscore the potential foolishness of electing someone who doesn’t hew to that party line, right?

    “Mes que un club” serves as a brand builder if that’s how you view it. It doesn’t mitigate its power for those who hew to a deeper meaning of the phrase. Those who suggest otherwise cheapen the sentiment behind it.

    It’s fine to feel one way about something. It isn’t fine to assume that that way is the only way, and to denigrate others who might feel differently.

    I’ll get off the soapbox now.

  25. eklavya
    August 20, 2009

    Awww man…looong comments…. 😕

  26. Kxevin
    August 20, 2009

    Good points, Tutomate. It’s weird to experience the blowback sometimes. I wrote a piece in the Tribune about my visit to Barcelona, and got into Catalan history and nationalism a bit.

    The intensely polarized e-mails crammed my box. La Vanguardia wanted to talk to me, and gushed about the article, calling me a cule Americano.

    Others wrote in saying how dare I even suggest that Catalunya is what it is (an autonomous region). Madness. It even cuts into spelling. I spelled Catalunya thusly, and our copy desk said “No, it’s Catalonia.”

    From my worldview, Catalunya is what you prefer it to be. For youngsters, flush with nationalism, with parents whose mother tongue was banned for decades, perhaps Catalunya is not Spain. And they are perfectly right to traipse around with their banners.

    Admittedly, spending time with Catalans (Genis, his wife and mother) for a day, and understanding how they think a feel, just for a bit, shook me to the core.

  27. Kxevin
    August 20, 2009

    Sorry, eklavya. We’ll strive to be better. 😀

  28. Tutomate
    August 20, 2009

    Thanks The Kxevin, that’s exactly what I mean in that it’s subject t to interpretation, I think the whole Catalan issue, the language, cannot be bifrocated from the club and what’s it’s stands for. I don’t think that Nationalist Cules who say “Catalunya is not Spain” are wrong, but keep in mind that many Catalan’s are not Cules and many pericos also wave the same banners.

  29. Cesc Pistol
    August 20, 2009

    Is it just me or are my comments being taken completely out of perspective here?




    Got that outta my system. Thank you.

    @ Kevin: The official language and citizenship were exactly what I was hinting at when I said:

    “BTW Despite talking about all the “Mes Que Un Club” aspect you didn’t mention a single Statute which addressed that 😛 “

    We also further strengthened ‘the foundation’ and it’s efforts and made strict punishments for racist an xenophobic behavior among other things.

    Then there were some things relating to Socis and Penyas…

  30. Alexinho
    August 20, 2009

    My Lord! Did I get scared when I saw some unknown posters on the offside, scrolled down, and saw that you were apparently–aruptly!–resigning! What a scare.

    But the new site looks great. A bit more polished than the Offside, and I can’t wait to see Hector and…who was the other additional writer?…in action here.

    But anyway, I just looked today after a few days in New York how we did in the Gamper, and frankly I’m shocked. But I’m glad we at least looked good. I need to find this game.

    Apparently Henrique’s moved on? Too bad. Especially if Guardiola really isn’t promoting one of these kids. Was that the best move we could’ve made?

    Loving to hear that Yaya is given Xavi time. Could it be?

  31. poipoi
    August 20, 2009

    sentiment is feeling indeed tutomate.

    politics makes me so sick… we are more than a club because we play more than football.

    visca el barça i visca fuentealbilla

  32. Kxevin
    August 20, 2009

    I know, CP, but those have absolutely zero bearing on any kinds of news that anybody with an interest in the sporting side of the club cares about.

    The language thing was just a formality. My soci documents and club rules have arrived to my doorstep in full-on Catalan for as long as I have been a member.

    Roger that, poipoi. Like anything in life, Barca is what you make of it, and bring to it. It’s funny, because I’m learning Catalan, and a colleague said “Oh, you’re one of them now?” My very simple reply was that when I visit anywhere as often as I visit Barcelona, I should be conversant in the local language.

    Again, a loaded response based on his worldview. Fair enough. He also didn’t understand why I felt it necessary to speak French when visiting France. Go figure.

    Welcome back, Alexinho! Adriano hasn’t officially moved on yet, but they are shopping for a new loan place for him. The kids (Fontas, Muniesa) have looked better than he has every time out.

    There’s also crazy talk that Jeffren is on the “to be loaned” list, something that would boggle my mind.

    Also, for you Hleb fans, in Txiki B’s words before the Assembly yesterday he spoke of the club’s “program” that sends players who need to develop and therefore, won’t get pitch time, off on loans. One of the players he mentioned as quite possibly returning under this worldview, was Hleb. He also mentioned Botia and VicSan.

    How ’bout that?

  33. Eduard
    August 20, 2009

    I think “mes que un club” means something different to everyone.
    To me it means that fcb is more than just a business, it’s part of the community(people’s, culture, language, charity, virtues).
    While other clubs might be infused with other cities(tottenham hotspurs, Ajax, etc..) and have rich histories besides futboling they do very little to support their communities. Where as Barca those.

  34. Cesc Pistol
    August 20, 2009

    I know it had zero bearings which is why I said this immediately after that:

    “I know they’re minor things mostly, I’m just teasing”

    And I’ll give an example of what I meant by ignorant anti-spain comments:

    I watch watching Italy-Spain in the Euros with quite a few cules and they were shocked that I was hoping for Spain to win and happy when they finally did. Why?

    Because according to them if you’re a cule you’re supposed to hate Spain. Why?

    Because of what Franco did. What did he do?

    They had no idea. Apparently he hurt Barca and Catalunya. How?

    No idea.

    So I hope you understand by what I meant back there. Alot of cules are obviously not like this but many more are.

  35. Cesc Pistol
    August 20, 2009

    @ Eduard: There are quite a few other clubs that are associated with their people (not as much as Barca but still..)
    For example, Ajax are strongly linked with Jewish ties while Celtic with Catholics and the Irish. Then there are a lot of clubs which represent the working class/ rich folk divide.

  36. August 20, 2009

    I agree Cesc to some extend. For me, I am not a Catalan. So I cant really see the club’s ties to the catalan culture as a tempting thing for me, and cant understand how it is for others. I am not a catalan national, nor the anthem means anything for me. So its not a special club for me because it represent catalonia or anything.

    But the history of the club is something to invest for good. It was the Democracy against dictatorship , the right for every group to express itself without being completely dissolved in another identity. Its where football and football stadiums (Camp nou) turned to be the place to express and promote great values when it wasnt possible to raise the catalan flag anywhere else. Which upgraded football to an orbit that goes far from only kicking a ball to the net.

    The board may do things that put these thngs under dust, another board will come and do another thing, and so on. But that history will always be there to invest it for the good case. I am not sure you can find other clubs that can offer you that opportunity.

  37. Eduard
    August 20, 2009

    You can’t deny that Franco didn’t do anything against Cataluya or the Basque. And although “Franco tiene un culo blanco”(if anyone remembers that children’s song) he still died over 30 years ago(for those that haven’t gotten over it). So as much as I loath E.E. and as much as I support the Catalan national team, I’m still Spanish and enjoy everytime la selection win and cry when they don’t

  38. poipoi
    August 20, 2009

    Sorry tutomate I didn’t read it before
    Ibra dissapointed me because of the 10 balls he touched he missed 14… or so 😉
    I was in camp nou and I didn’t stop looking at his moves, I had never seen a complete game of his but Spain-Sweden… and he sucked btw

  39. Kxevin
    August 20, 2009

    I’ll start off by saying that I understand your sentiment and point of view. And well put, Ramzi.

    But in the situation you reference, CP,the cules are simply ignorant (in the lack of knowledge sense rather than the more loaded sense of the word). But perhaps they learned anti-Spain sentiment from their parents, without necessarily knowing its roots.

    It’s kind of like when a kid throws out a racial slur at someone, solely because he’s seen his parents direct said slur at a certain class of people. He thinks that it’s what he’s supposed to do.

    Does that lack of knowlege make the feeling any less intense? No. Sometimes, it’s even more acute. So I, personally, wouldn’t be so quick to call BS on anti-Spain sentiment being carried by cules who might not know the history of the club, the war, the assassination of the club president, the banning of the Catalan tongue, etc.

    Sometimes learned behavior can be every bit as powerful, even though it might be rooted in a lack of knowledge.

    Nor does it matter how you come to a club, or how you deal with your affections. Eduard is an excellent example. I’m American, but love Barca with all my heart, and cried like un bebe Afrique when Les Bleus lost the World Cup. My affections are rooted in my particular set of sentiments and biases, as they are for us all.

  40. poipoi
    August 20, 2009

    cesc pistol: I’m not a very informed guy in terms of politics but I know a couple of things.
    1-di stefano went to madrid because of “tito paco”
    2- he also forbid Catalan language and culture, things that catalans love for sure.

    copy & paste and translated from a supposedly informed person, a spanish journalist:

    “After the war, FCB is forced to perform an act of patriotic affirmation to clean the whole idea of separatism. It was a somewhat sinister ceremony held in Les Corts, filled to overflowing, and the historian Rafael Abella titled “Exorcism in the area of Les Corts”. That kind of humiliation was not imposed on any other club. Barcelona’s “socis”, many on both sides, died or were in exile. By then FCB had only 2,500 members and some assets which, after successive seizures, were worth barely a million “pesetas”. But soon the club came back with a momentum and a force superior to that possessed before the war, its identity and became revered as a symbol of the strength of the defeated people (the “unarmed army” of that people, years later he called Manuel Vazquez Montalban). So in just five years, came to have more than 20,000 members and, despite the fact that the president was also imposed, Enrique Pineyro, Marquis of the Bureau of Asta, the harmony between the team and the Catalans gave him a tremendous boost something akin to that which occurred simultaneously with Athletic de Bilbao. In both cases it was the “pactist bourgeoisie” with the regime which took over the reins of the club but it was the popular base, the not-so-rich catalans that filled the field and gave encouragement to the team”

    from: http://banyeres.blogspot.com/2005/03/bara-madrid-y-franco.html

    gosh, the translation was tough 🙁

    And remember democrats or left wing people will ALWAYS be the good guys and fascists the bad ones… or at least in Spain…. I guess Bush and Obama are proof also.

    Stop the politics arleady! Me also! 😉

    visca el barça

  41. john
    August 20, 2009

    CP – I’m thrilled that you’re sticking your neck out by giving honest commentary on the complex nature of Catalunya & Spain, Nationalist idea & advertising, history & sport, et cetera. The discussion here has proven a valuable read, and I give you credit for prompting it, and defending/clarifying your statements. And in hopes of doing your blood pressure some good – no matter how high the intellectual level of this blog gets, it’s still a blog (or, mes que un blog, anyone?) and anytime you bring up subjects so heated and complex, people are going to misunderstand and take phrases out of context. Kudos, dawg.

  42. Kxevin
    August 20, 2009

    Agreed, john. It’s the nature of discussion and debate.

    Jnice, play nice….

    poipoi isn’t showing Ibra the love, and that’s okay. Live, you can often see things that people can’t while squinting at fair-to-middling Web streams.

    But I would like for poipoi to give his impressions of the spectacle in general, so that some of us can live vicariously through him.

  43. Tutomate
    August 20, 2009

    Ibra is going to be another Henry. In that some will just love to hate him no matter what he does. Even if it’s a triplete, we just have to live with that.

  44. ElShowDeJason
    August 20, 2009

    I’m so over streaming games.

    i want some g’damn television broadcasting now!

  45. Jnice
    August 20, 2009

    LOL, I’m not being mean, but I’ve been look at how he writes, the things he says, Henry is soft, “visca el barça i visca fuentealbilla”, the winky faces etc, and I’m convinced that is indeed him. Just sayin’. But I’ll stop.

  46. Ciaran
    August 20, 2009

    By the way, WTF is up with Dunga’s love for Josue, the tiny midfielder from Wolfsburg?
    He is shit and consistently gets picked for the national team.
    Surely, with the amount of talent that is available to him, he could pick players with something good for him…

  47. ElShowDeJason
    August 20, 2009

    Coaches are always going to have biases on who they consistantly pick. Everyone has their favorites, and those who for all the talent they might have, just dont strike their fancy.

  48. jordi
    August 20, 2009

    Adriano made the squad too.I wont be surprised if he plays over Pato.

  49. Carles P
    August 20, 2009

    Here’s a question for everyone, Pedro or Jeffren?… if we had to pick one. I like Pedro, mostly because of his work-rate, although Jeffren is also a hard worker. It just seems Pedro is a little more mature in his game, and just seems to move into the right areas (although not all the time, but seems to do it more often than Jeffren).

    Just interested in people’s thought on the matter…

    Also, J Dos Santos seems to be quite a player. Everytime I see him play he does the right things, and looks fearless out there. He definitely needs to be involved in Cup games, and hopefully more.

  50. Jnice
    August 20, 2009

    Dunga likes those hard-working types who run around all day, shutup the middle of the park, but lack creativity. For that reason, he starts Gilberto Silva and Felipe Melo at the same time. (Eww)

  51. Jnice
    August 20, 2009

    For me, Carles P, it has to be Pedro. Like you said, he has more maturity in his game and I feel that in general, he is a level above Jeffren. He has a better understanding with the team and what Pep wants which undoubtedly comes from Pedro training with the first team for most of last season regardless of he played with them that weekend or not.

  52. Jnice
    August 20, 2009

    I think Kevin touched on this a bit yesterday in his match review, but

    With the emergence of Pedro and maybe Jeffren on the wings, do you think Bojan is maybe thinking that going on loan isn’t a bad option after all? I mean, he got a lot of his minutes on the wings last season, but Pedro looks to be ahead of him in the pecking order and maybe Jeffren if he stays, so maybe Bojan is like “fuck, I need to get minutes somewhere else.”

  53. Carles P
    August 20, 2009

    Jnice, what a sensitive issue… I think Bojan was probably prematurely moved up, when he probably should have been alternating between B team and the “grown ups”. Regardless, it is a dead issue now, because he has been on the team for 2+ years.

    I think he worries about the emergence of the two players, but I think if he stuck to his game and forgot about the internal competition, and played the game like he was playing his first year (without the hesitancy, and abundant pressure) he would be OK.

    He seems to be thinking and dribbling, instead of touching, passing, then moving to open space (kind of a generalization, but you know what I mean), which is what our system requires. Don’t get me wrong, he has games where he is efficient here and there, but it has been a while since I have seen him play a good-complete game.

    Just MHO…

  54. Carles P
    August 20, 2009

    Ooops… Forgot to answer the question…

    I think a loan would be a good option, but not something the organization would do. Maybe last year it would have worked out better, but I think this year they are going to try and integrate him and give him more minutes to build his confidence.

    I don’t think anyone denies his talent, but I think at his age (18), he is going to make mistakes. Let’s just hope he becomes a better player from those mistakes, and does not continue to do them.

  55. ElShowDeJason
    August 20, 2009

    @ Carles P, i think the answer to your question, Pedro! or Jeffren is quite simple.

    I say Pedro! all the way, and clearly Pep agrees, since Pedro! is 100% Senior team this year, and Jeffren will be alternating (what Pedro! was doing last year) It seems Pedro! is a year ahead of Jeffren career wise.

    This is not to knock Jeffren down, because he is an amazing talent. He is a hard worker, and quite feisty in his attacks. But Pedro!, it seems, is ahead of him in the mentality and maturity.

  56. Maximus
    August 20, 2009

    The lovely thing is we don’t actually have to choose…we can have them both! Pedro AND Jeffren!

    I’m starting to think Bojan should be converted into an attacking midfielder rather than a winger.

    When he isn’t over thinking it he has a lovely through ball, a good passing range and great speed. What’s more he can finish and his low drive from the edge of the box isn’t bad.

    He kinda reminds me of Guti* in the sense that he is looking for a position to play at the club he grew up in. He is still very young though so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

    *If you didn’t know Guti went from striker to AM, to CM, to SUB.

  57. August 20, 2009

    Interesting move. I obviously hope they underpaid for him but he’s a very good target man. A while ago I actually advocated trying to sign him and turn him into Eto’o part deux. This could have serious La Liga implications.

    For Sevilla, either:
    a) Fabiano is finally getting sold although to who I have no idea, seeing as how Milan already got Huntelaar,
    b) One of Kanoute, Fabiano, or Negredo will see the bench. Considering all three of their forms last season, the likely candidate would be Fabiano but he is a ticking timebomb and a huge ego.
    c) Kanoute gets moved back as a playmaker (which given his skill set and declining pace could very well suit him) with both Fabiano and Negredo playing up front.

    This is good for La Liga. If Palop retains last year’s form, Navas is consistent, their defense gains some sort of stabilty, and Capel learns to look up once in a while and something other than diving and looking like Fabio’s doppleganger then they may well make some sort of run in the CL. In seriousness, that team is talented but I’m just not sure about Jimenez. I’ve been impressed with Emery considering the madhouse that is Valencia but Manolo has a ways to go to prove he can win.

  58. Jnice
    August 20, 2009

    Amazing find, Corrine. His dance moves are…interesting. 😀

  59. Jnice
    August 20, 2009

    One of the comments under the video:

    “i want to bone pepito so hard!!!”


  60. messi_fan
    August 20, 2009

    I kind of like Maximus’ idea about converting Bojan to an AM. Dont think he has the speed to be a winger. And like many have said, he gets pushed off the ball too easily to be a 9.

  61. Luna
    August 20, 2009

    Great discussion!

    Thanks for that video link Corrine!

    “Éste es Pep Guardiola…”

  62. SC
    August 20, 2009

    @ CP—sorry, i didn’t mean to blow up at you and then leave for the rest of the day. =/ i think i may have taken some of what you were saying out of context. maybe, it’s because you said “we cules” and made general references to cules. in my head i was like “uh… speak for yourself, son!”

    for me, barca and what they represent is something very personal to me, and it may not mean the same to someone else. i want to leave it at that, but also don’t want to dissuade you from having that conversation here. i’m just going to assume you’re not talking about ME. 🙂

    and in regards to Bojan… I have no idea what to do with him. but something has to be done.

  63. Kxevin
    August 21, 2009

    Pedro! All day and all night. He’s just a more finished player, sort of a Messi Lite potential game changer.

    Jeffren will get there, and pure wingers are hard to come by. I would move him up and down. He’s definitely good for Copa duty and the like. It’s worth moving him up and down just so he doesn’t get antsy, and depart in favor of regular playing time.

    Krkic would make a fine winger, I think. He doesn’t have the outright speed but he does have the quickness, that burst to find space for a shot or pass. And as we have seen, his passing is excellent.

    But yes, at this point the question of why he would be getting time over Pedro! or Final Fantasy is a valid one. Both have shown much better over the run-in to the season than Krkic.

    Yet the club is thinking, “He’s 18. What if he develops into a monster, and we lose him?” Youngsters have had late growth spurts. A few more inches of height and some muscle would help him. Yes, he’s clearly been working in the weight room. He doesn’t seem as fleet of foot this season, so far.

    Corrine, that’s just wrong. So unbelievably wrong. But so right. Thanks so much for that link.

    And everyone, finally my treble t-shirt came today. So. Unbelievably. Cool. I should have gotten two, since I’m going to be wearing this one only like….all the time!

    And thanks for that, SC. We had a great discussion about that situation, lively and very interesting. As you can see, I’m sure.

  64. ivax
    August 21, 2009

    awesommee! i pmsl and that was just at the mention of the Big J haha

    luvin the new blog keepitup guys!

  65. madridista
    August 21, 2009

    Why cant we forget the past for christs sake, if all the breeds is animosity and hatred towards fellow human beings, all because of some event that happened in the past. For cules living in Barcelona who have maybe directly been oppressed by some regime, I can understand that you would be anti establishment. But that just fosters more hatred than solve anything. Its completely ridiculous when as CP pointed out people turn out to be anti spain or anti madrid because of reasons they don’t even know about.
    Even warring countries have gotten over their differences of the past and moved on, its ridiculous to hate a set of people because of what their ancestors have done to your ancestors. And its a bunch of BS anyway, I dont see any anti – german sentiment cause of the world wars which killed countless many. People live in harmony now.
    Rivalries are what make sport fun but it shouldnt go beyond the field. I have heard people on this very blog say ” I even hated the stop over at Madrid Airport on my way to Barcelona “. Hating an airport and a culture and a city, is it supposed to part of supporting a football club.

  66. August 21, 2009

    any fellow indians know if we are going to enjoy live telecast of the spanish league on espnstar this season?

  67. Alexis
    August 21, 2009


    Well, we keep an eye on the past so that it does not repeat again. The same way Real Madrid keeps an eye on the past (9 Europe Cups?? More of 3 and 6 amateur tournaments) as they will never repeat it. 🙂

    The past is your history, what you have been made of. So no wonder that people like me, who was born after the dictatorship, still reminds those facts.
    Furthermore, the favours to Madrid are still there. Despite democracy. That is why we still look at them suspiciously (does the high speed train ring a bell to anybody? Why did it take 16 years more than Madrid or Seville to get to BCN? Or why the government invested such a big amount of money on the Valencia’s port,? And years later, after begging, they did the same for the BCN one?).

    FC Barcelona is a whole world. But politics are deep-rooted.
    We must consider that the BCN province has the same amount of inhabitants than the whole Madrid region. And that Catalunya created the 26% of the Spanish economy until recently, when the right wing favoured other regions such as Valencia or Madrid (ruled by the same political party).

    I hate talking about politics, when related to Barca. But some people should be more understanding.


  68. August 21, 2009

    Madridista has a point, to a certain extent. There should be understanding between clubs, but that understanding has to go both ways.

    I am not Spanish or Catalan and do not profess to espouse any Spanish or Catalan ideologies, but I can understand how, upon looking across the divide between RM and FCB, a cule could see the “Real” on the beginning of the name and think negative thoughts. It can be interpreted as standing for many things a lot of cules do not believe in, especially Barcelona- and Catalunya-based cules who view the past as a part of the present. (Whatever your thoughts on Juan Carlos are; I have no particular opinion on his role within the Franco regime nor on his post-Franco role, since I haven’t studied it — I’m merely saying that it’s possible to see the Spanish institutional influence on a teams like Real Madrid as directly opposing the views of a Catalanist because of the title “Real”)

    I was a history major in college, so it’s part of my DNA, in many ways, to believe that history should never be forgotten because of what Alexis said: so we do not repeat our mistakes. Reconciliation after the Franco regime is a question for the Spanish population/culture as a whole and that will trickle down into the footballing subculture. Until Spain comes to terms with its past, it cannot move on or reconcile with itself. There are, no doubt, still people who believe Franco was a savior, just as there are those who think Pinochet was a savior and until there is open and frank discussion of these things (and I don’t believe that has happened often in Spain, despite Baltazar Garzon’s best efforts–the 1977 amnesty is often cited as freeing everyone to talk about everything, but it really just buried everything under “the past is the past” which is never the right move).

    Dialogue between parties and everyone admitting the things they did in the past is the only way to move forward, to gain a sense of balance, and to remove the vitriol between parties. I like that some Madridistas can come here and feel like they can voice an opinion — it’s necessary to hear voices from other sides sometimes, even if they’re criticizing you.

    I hope I didn’t make this too political. I didn’t mean to. I just think that everything has a hand in everything else.

  69. Alexis
    August 21, 2009

    I agree with Isaiah!
    I did not enjoy talking politics on my previous comment. I just wanted to show that some people (like me) see some aspects involving politics-Barca that some don’t. The same way some people see things I cannot.
    Everything is fine, as long as we can argue in a civilised manner! 🙂

  70. madridista
    August 21, 2009

    As i said it makes sense for people who have felt the oppression to be grieving about it for a while and come to terms with it. But for a supporter of a football club to hold the same views is a bit drastic.
    I am not at all sure about the realities that transpired during the Franco era. Both sides have their own view points and both are pretty stubborn about their beliefs as well.
    I love Madrid as a football club and some of its traditions but I dont see the point in taking up someone elses historic fight. I can sympathize with the Catalans who were oppressed but thats about it. As far as I know its fair game in the current era. I dont seeing the point of hating cules or catalans, as much as I love the rivalry. I would rather sympathize with the thousands dying daily of starvation in Africa.
    On a tangential note , spain is a bit of a racist country and thats really sad, so it doesnt surprise me that there are these huge rivalries just because you are born into a Catalan or Madrid family.
    There are so many beautiful things about Barcelona such as the tradition, the style and ghost face. The point is to look at your rival and learn from them and then beat them. I am from India and we have been oppressed by the British for ages, yet EPL is the most favored league outright. So yes we can learn from history, lets stop unjust oppression from ever happening again. But lets not wage wars over past issues.

  71. Alexis
    August 21, 2009


    As I tried to inform you before, Spanish football has almost always been too political (for instance, some might say that Laporta became president of Barcelona in order to end up being a candidate to the Catalan presidency).
    And there are a few things still going on against the Catalan people.
    In many places of Spain you can get a huge amount of votes if you criticise Catalunya.
    The right wing has always used this method in order to win elections.
    I respect your admiration for Madrid. Nobody can be perfect 🙂
    But you must be a bit more familiar with the political situation in Spain (and, therefore, with its football aliances: left wing rooting for Barcelona, right wing for Madrid) in order to be more sensitive with these issues.
    Anyway, greeting from London!

  72. poipoi
    August 22, 2009

    Madridista: I don’t mind getting hectored for this —- SPAIN A BIT OF A RACIST COUNTRY? hell no!!!!!!!

    don’t people from india live under some kind of caste sistem? 😉

    besides “catalan” or “spanish” are not races, they are nations. It’s like two black guys talking to each other and saying.
    – hey what race are you man?
    – camerounian, ¿same as you isn’t it?
    – nah, I’m a canadian


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