A salute to the forgotten man of this treble season, Andoni Zubizarreta

zubizarreta

It seems appropriate to take a moment to give a shout-out to the man who made so much of this Treble season possible, a forgotten man by many culers in their Triplete zeal but who was essential, a man who got shout-outs from the likes of Xavi, Rakitic and Puyol for his work.

No, not Luis Enrique, but Andoni Zubizarreta.

It was, during the summer and early season, difficult to find a man more reviled than the fired Barça sporting director who now has a tattoo of bus tire tracks on his back. Back in December, when he was still the most hated man at the Camp Nou, Levon did a breakdown of his transfers:

But now, in the reality of a Triplete, it’s time to give credit where credit is due: ZubiZa kicked ass.

This will, of course, be the moment when people say “Oh, it wasn’t just him,” or “His other sins are why he deserves to be pilloried more than his work for the first team,” “What about that CB we needed,” etc, etc. Or the tried-and-true one, “Douglas.” ZubiZa even recommended the hiring of Luis Enrique as the first-team coach.

Here are the transfers that happened during his tenure:

Neymar
Cesc Fabregas
Mascherano
Alexis Sanchez
Alex Song
Jordi Alba
Adriano
Douglas
Thomas Vermaelen
Ivan Rakitic
Luis Suarez
Jeremy Mathieu
Claudio Bravo
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen

It’s worth looking at that list in the context of the inexact science of transfers and risk. The only clunkers on that list are Alex Song and Douglas, and even these two are incomplete. Song played excellently when used in his favored position, which happened rarely. It was a poor transfer because his favored position was occupied by better players. Douglas has the burden of pre-made minds but as a project, hasn’t played enough to warrant a full assessment. Thomas Vermaelen, after a surgery and long recovery that ended right on schedule, played against Deportivo, a side battling relegation in the last match of a Liga season that was already decided for Barça. That he was excellent in that match is a nice harbinger, but his grade too is still incomplete.

The rest of that list includes players who were essential to the first team winning trophies, up to and including Fabregas, despite the scorn attendant to the mere mention of his name.

When Rakitic was purchased, ZubiZa was stupid for not buying Kroos instead. At the mention of Bravo, again he was stupid for not picking up Ochoa on a free, or Keylor Navas, a keeper who can’t even sit a past-his-prime Iker Casillas at Real Madrid. Neymar was a YouTube sensation, Sanchez overpriced, Jordi Alba another midget when there were so many better full-sized LBs out there.

In general, people don’t like transfers that a sporting director makes, but it’s difficult to find one more reviled than ZubiZa. And yet, his signings panned out. Bravo was exactly what the club said he would be. Ter Stegen was good enough to be the Champions League keeper, rather than being supplanted for the big matches as Pinto was. Rakitic proved crucial to the team’s midfield play, in addition to helping Alves lock down his side of the pitch. Suarez goes without saying. Mathieu scored two massive goals this season, and was a back line stalwart. It’s not at all a stretch to say that without the transfers of this season, Barça doesn’t win the Triplete.

Yes, ZubiZa has sins in his past. What we don’t know is how many of those sins were fully his fault, just as the transfers weren’t fully to his credit. He was for years hamstrung by a board preaching austerity, and propping up boondoggles such as “Thiago Silva or nothing,” to use as a sop for its penny-pinching ambition. The B team had a significant upheaval that resulted in the loss of coaching talent that has resulted, in part, in the team falling to Segunda B. Those are part and parcel of the reign of ZubiZa, but only the most hipster culer would suggest that the first team wasn’t his principal mission.

And that first team made history this season.

Barça Twitter and this space have been notably silent in mentions of ZubiZa, but I am one of those who believe in giving credit where credit is due, like our Capita, Carles Puyol. So wherever he is, I hope that ZubiZa is smiling instead of looking back in anger, remembering the parades and celebrations rather than the boos that cascaded down from the rafters of the Camp Nou when his face was shown on the screen during a video presentation. Because satisfaction sometimes comes later, in the wake of a job well done.

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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.

74 Comments

  1. Dar_vincy
    June 15, 2015

    Gutted he happened to be the fall guy considering he comparatively did better than T.Bergristain.

  2. Jim
    June 15, 2015

    Yeah, a well deserved shout out. Still not sure what precipitated the bullet. Would love to know.

    • June 15, 2015

      On Canal+, after the Anoeta game he answered a question about the transfer ban with: “Bartomeu was the sporting Vice President at the time and he knew the situation better than anyone.”

    • Jim
      June 15, 2015

      Yeah, your mind automatically springs to the ban, doesn’t it ? Barto didn’t really answer it in his marathon pressed just after, where I thought he was excellent, btw. Are we assuming there is a NDA in place ? Or is it something else ? Round about that time there must have been a feeling of doubt around the appointment of LE I’m guessing. I don’t get why his picture was greeted with hostility from the fans though. Is that their take on it ?

      Guess we’ll never know about the root cause or indeed how much the acquisition of Neymar / Suarez was on his say so or against his better judgement. Maybe he took Kxevin’s line regarding Suarez and that, as we say here put his coat on a shoogly peg ?

      Guess we’ll have to wait for his book . . .

  3. Tommy11
    June 15, 2015

    I have been an addicted reader of this blog for almost 4 years now and I want to apprciate all d writers-then and now; it has been a pleasure to be part of this(from the outside).
    Our ex sporting director needs to be congratulated and taken as part of the success of 14/15 season, no matter how little he was an instrumental part ( he recommended the coach that 1) kept d whole team fit till May, 2) cured our set piece cancer defensively and offensively.
    OFFTOPIC: Football’s GOAT scored 43 league goals- 26 from his left foot,12 from his right foot and 5 from his head, whereas CR7 wt 48 league goals has 29 from his right, 6 from his left and 12 from his head. one of them is more complete than the other.

    • ciaran
      June 15, 2015

      I don’t really know who you are trying to say is the more complete than the other based on the goals scored you’ve listed. Messi has more goals scored with his weaker foot but Ronaldo has more goals scored with his head. In fact both players have 60.4% goals scored with their preferred foot.

      I agree that Messi is a more complete player but you’d have to look at the type of goals scored and distance scored from rather than the means of scoring them.

  4. MjayJr11
    June 15, 2015

    ZubiZa deserves credit indeed

  5. ciaran
    June 15, 2015

    Zubi did a great job at hiring. The funny thing about a sporting director is that often they are judged by who they don’t hire.
    You mentioned Thiago Silva which is fitting. People called for Zubi’s head because of his non-signing of Thiago Silva, then Marquinhos, then David Luiz (dodged bullet).
    Vermaelen is only in the unsure category due to the fact that we stayed injury-free in defense and won the treble, if we hadn’t and were reliant on him then it would have been a disaster.
    I don’t believe that we could consider Douglas as incomplete. In twelve months he has managed to earn 108 minutes in La Liga. This is all the proof needed to determine his transfer as a failure. If we can get most of his transfer fee recouped then it will be close to a success.
    Alex Song was brought in for a big fee for a position he is ill-suited for. He obviously failed at that position and now is going to be sold on for a fraction of fee.

    These are failures but the successes outweigh them. Transfers in general are 50-50. Even with big fees like Ibra, Chyggy & Hleb under the previous regime or back further like Petit, Overmars, Rochemback & Quaresma. Yes there have been plenty of success stories that changed our history but the chances of a successful transfer must sit somewhere around the 50-50 mark.

    Zubi’s success was much higher than that. Gracies Zubi.

  6. Inamess
    June 15, 2015

    It’s hard to know without being inside the organization where Zubi deserves credit or blame. The list of successes and failures for the Barca that he may in part part be responsible for include:

    1) The acquisition of clear successes: Neymar, Suarez, Alba, Mascherano, Rakitic, Ter Stegan, Bravo

    2) The transfer ban

    3) Failure to buy a CB for two years whith in the end really hurt our 2012-3 and 2013-14 seasons.

    4) Not getting anywhere near value in selling Ibra.

    5) Transfer failures: Song, Douglas, Vermellon

    6) Questionable clauses in contracts which came back to hurt us:
    Keita, Thiago and perhaps Bartra.

    7) Problems related to La Masia and the relegation of the B team.

    What I find most vexing in his case is that somehow former players are given these positions not necessarily based on merit but because of their status with the club and appeal for votes in elections. For example, not sure why Puyol should even be considered for the new position since he has almost no experience in this area.

    Again, without being privy to the inner workings of Barca for the last five years it’s hard to judge, but one thing we can look for in the case of Zubi is how many clubs will want his services in the years to come.

  7. agar2515
    June 16, 2015

    Credit where it is due , he snagged Raka and Ter Stegen. Everything else, eh that’s your own opinion. However, I will never apologize for my disdain of Cesc, especially when Ivan has put forth more work in one season than Walking Cesc did in years.

    • June 16, 2015

      Wait, it’s the writer’s opinion that the above transfers happened, and the only transfers ZubiZa gets credit for are Rakitic and Ter Stegen? Not sure I follow the logic, so want to be clear for the sake of others who might want to track or discuss your comment.

    • agar2515
      June 16, 2015

      It’s your opinion that basically ” Poor Zubi”. Look, I get that you 9/10 times have an opinion that has to paint our fanbase has cynical and horrible, but I didn’t see this like you claim:

      When Rakitic was purchased, ZubiZa was stupid for not buying Kroos instead. At the mention of Bravo, again he was stupid for not picking up Ochoa on a free, or Keylor Navas, a keeper who can’t even sit a past-his-prime Iker Casillas at Real Madrid. Neymar was a YouTube sensation, Sanchez overpriced, Jordi Alba another midget when there were so many better full-sized LBs out there.”

      I loved Raka Day1, people wanted he AND Kroos not one or the other. Maybe
      A few wanted Ochoa but La Liga watchers would know Bravo was decent. Very disingenuous about Navas, you think Iker benched him because hes better? Politics.

      Neymar has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Many were a fan but NOT a fan of how his transfer came about under such shady circumstances and would you look at that? They were right.

      Sanchez was expensive but was a beast for Udinese and we needed another attacker desperately so it seems ok.

      Who said that about Jordi? What is a ” full sized” LB?

      All of this is your opinion that these were the dominant points of view at the time. I find it insulting that you so SO often generalize and take fellow fans to task for their initial emotional, heated reactions. .

      May I remind you how you felt about Suarez? How you were ready to give up soci status ( something thousand, millions, wish they could have) because of ONE man? We are all guilty of it at times. It’s just getting really old to read, I GET it. Can we please move on and think about the future instead of this.

    • agar2515
      June 16, 2015

      And Before you accuse me of personally attacking you, I’m just saying that it’s able to write an article looking back without thumbing your nose at people who are now proven to be incorrect. It just leaves a foul taste, and feels completely unnecessary. We should still be euphoric over our treble not regressing into more “cynicule” parting shots.

      Especially when you have been guilty of some of those same reactionary emotions as they were.This is not me personally attacking you. This is something that happened and I hope you are able to see the correlation, that’s all.

    • June 16, 2015

      Actually, it is a very clear, and VERY personal attack. Call it for what it is, and don’t be shy about it. I will add that I have no idea why you come here if you are so tired of the things I have to say, but I will be writing for BFB for some time to come.

      I chose to ask the question in the hope that it would clarify your comment for someone who might choose to respond. Because your comment was unclear in that it, on the surface, only gave the sporting director credit for two of the transfers that happened on his watch. It wasn’t a call to battle.

      You and I don’t debate in the same fashion. My reply would have been, “What I meant was … ” and then explained the comment. That, to my view, was all that was required.

  8. luisthebeast
    June 16, 2015

    Everybody have an opinion.If we look at stats of Zubi in 5 seasons we won 3 ligas 2 cl and 2 cdr.Not bad.Offcourse some they will say that with better management we could have won more…maybe yes maybe not…who knows.On the other side if we look at sporting directors of teams like City madrid arsenal united chelsea e.t.c Zubi looks like god…

  9. luisthebeast
    June 16, 2015

    Can we have the numbers of Zubi transfers from buys and sells??

  10. luisthebeast
    June 16, 2015

    Oh and Rafhinia is in my city for holidays…poor kid…brazilians love night life here;-)

  11. June 16, 2015

    Am travelling and dont have net access always. Logged in and read the article about TAta Martino. And also read his comments about his subs – Higuain and Tevez – as if he wanted to take risks.

    “You have a moment to decide. I have a clear idea of the risks, when to take them, when it is convenient and when it is not, and I decided that the quality of TEVEZ and HIGUAIN could decide the game in our favour. The tendency will always be to take risks.”

    Is there something wrong with Mr. Martino, why should he take risk, when his team is leading 2-0? Martino seems to be an Yes man. He just want to please the media or the people ahead of him, who are all Tevez fans. Which coach in the world will want to take risks, when his team played excellent football – even by his own statement, the best football in long time – and bring in two more attackers, making it look like Maradona’s team? Any coach with common sense would have tried to shut the shop down or just played possession.

    I feel sorry for all those Argentinian players of this generation. It looks like they can all forget a trophy during their senior career with the national team.

  12. agar2515
    June 16, 2015

    Look Kevin, if you think I am attacking you by pointing out what I feel to be a overly negative tone in regards to put fanbase, that I am simply using a time when you commented on much the same fashion as the same people you so often rail against…
    I am not inventing anything, I am not being aggressive.

    If I were to take issue with people bandying about severe opinions you could easily go back and say how I did the same in January in regards to Enrique.

    I would then admit that you are correct, and maybe I should look at myself before casting any stones. It would not be an attack, it would be a reminder of perspective.

    All that aside, my issue is, why even continually bring up what other people say rashly n Twitter/ social media? Why not move ahead and stay positive? What does it accomplish?

  13. agar2515
    June 16, 2015

    Why not use the temperate fan reactions that were present at these signings ?
    ” Rakatic led his team to EL glory, he’s coming cheap”
    ” Jordi has Masia blood”
    ” Bravo is a seasoned vet”
    ” Alexis has a second to none work rate”
    And so on

    These were views present ^ I find it a real disservice to our fanbase to constantly focus only on what the loudest, rashest cules say

  14. agar2515
    June 16, 2015

    If I were to have the convo in person it would be as simple as
    “God can you believe all these people? Wailing about these signings?”
    ” Can you blame them? didn’t you do that when Suarez was signed…?”

    Is that an attack? Come now, surely you jest. Also you’re borderline using the ” if you don’t like it get out” on me. Really? I expected better from this space.

    • cain_aconia
      June 16, 2015

      Hi agar I know Ciaran and Kxevin have commented on this below but I would also like to offer my perspective. Any opinion piece (or online messaging board in this case) takes the character of its author or moderators. Same is true for any sort of readership be it a newspaper (whose readership is shaped by the editorial board and content) or a magazine of any kind. As an example, if I support the right I am not gonna go protest at a left-leaning messaging board. it will be a waste of my time.

      I guess you come here for content as well as the rich discussion. And I guess like all of us you are welcome here. But the thing to keep in mind is that the tone the moderator sets (in this case Kxevin, whether he likes it or not. And he has made it abundantly clear that it is a role he finds uncomfortable) for the discussion here is more reserved then what you are comfortable with. You like more confrontational approach which can be more suited for other messaging boards but not this one. If you cannot make peace with that you will continue to have issues here and make it unpleasant for the rest of us.

      I myself have been purely a reader for a long time (and a very avid reader) and never really contributed here but with my experience of being an editor and understanding of how much of your soul goes into maintaining such an immaculate space I have nothing but respect for this space. I hope the same respect (or sense of gratitude) makes you look back at your comments and understand where it conflicts with the tone of this space. From the moderation rules here, I understand even this comment might get moderated (and again I will understand it) but I do hope that at least u get to read this before it is.

    • ciaran
      June 16, 2015

      I would see no reason that your comment could possibly get moderated. I fully understand your points.
      Kxevin has put his everything into this place for years and if one of the main reasons someone chooses to speak is to put down his writing, not his opinion, it is not nice, fair or warranted.

    • Inamess
      June 16, 2015

      I have to to defend agar here. For me this space works best when there is lively discussion and debate. People will have different rhetorical styles and perspectives and should feel free to give their opinion and not worry about whether it conforms with a certain “tone” or ideological point of view. As it is we all love the same team but understandably not in the exact same way and don’t have to have the same perspective.

      What seems to characterize many blogs including this one is the importance of being seen as “right” and to have somehow been able to predict the course of the events this season. The truth is that nobody knows for sure or they would be able to quit their day jobs and make a fortune on betting sites.

      As it is we can only give our opinions as to whether a player, a coach, a system, or a sports executive is doing a good job and cheer the team on as we see things unfold. AS it turns out, things went better this year than almost anyone would have predicted so in the end we were all wrong and should be ecstatic about it as our team, whatever its impefections, regained its rightful place as the best in the world.

    • June 16, 2015

      Discuss the ideas. Not the person. Attack the ideas. Not the person. No matter how many times I or anyone else says it, there is no desired “tone” or ideological point of view. There never has been. But if we don’t respect each other, then what’s the point?

      I have said before that a room full of people nodding their assent at everything said isn’t an interesting one. I love when people attack my ideas. Anyone should. If the idea is sound, it will stand up to debate, no matter how rigorous. I don’t want anyone to agree with me, I don’t care if anyone agrees with me. The ideas are the point.

      But debate the idea. Not the person. The notion that people are somehow not being allowed to say what they would like about an idea … that has never happened, and will never happen.

      Lively discussion and debate are fine … about the ideas. I see absolutely no reason for any of it to get personal. None. And I never will. When things get personal, it stifles discussion of ideas. This post is the classic example. I’m a “bully” who “marginalizes” someone who doesn’t see the world my way. I can’t begin to express how far from the truth that is.

    • agar2515
      June 17, 2015

      Thank you Inamess, I dont know how much clearer I need to make my POV here, it’s really frustrating

    • June 16, 2015

      cain_aconia, thanks for the comment. No idea what would make you think your thoughts would be in any danger of moderation, but I’d like to know more about where that notion came from.

      You are correct. I dislike confrontation. That always gets personal. This should be a space where any and all ideas are welcome, no matter who presents them.

      That isn’t how The Offside used to be, and it isn’t how BFB used to be. It used to always be about the ideas. It’s different now, and I’m not sure what happened, but I worry about it constantly.

      A comment shouldn’t make anyone defensive, or spark an attack. It should be dealt with as an idea, a pure notion. A comments space is debate. Intelligent debate. A message board is just people screaming at each other in the battle to be right or at least have the last word.

      Somewhere, this space went wrong. It’s one of the most discouraging things about writing for BFB, so much so that Isaiah returning is the only reason this blog hasn’t been ended. I write a post, but know I can’t comment because this will happen. So I write a piece and leave the comments, watching them only as a moderator. I thought the question I posed about agar’s comment would be helpful for someone. It wasn’t. And that’s unfortunate.

    • cain_aconia
      June 16, 2015

      If it was construed as a personal attack on agar
      Don’t worry about how this is not what BFB used to be, all readerships evolve as the content evolves. In this case I think a part of it has been due to the emphasis in the blogs shifting to the more ‘feeling’ part from the more tactical and game review parts. If you remember even those blogs had enough criticism around ratings – though maybe not so much personal as it came from a different angle.

      And I think you feel extra concerned because you have been the so-called ‘sole voice’ in the room and you are conscious of that. The moment a readership hits an uneasy equilibrium – that is when you know a space is dead. From my experience, we are far from that.

  15. Dreamteam
    June 16, 2015

    Well look at that another person with a dissenting opinion being marginalized and trying to get run out of town. Bully much?

    • ciaran
      June 16, 2015

      I wouldn’t say that dreamteam. agar and Kxevin’s disagreements have always been in the same vein for me, Kxevin makes a comment on the overall negative press that someone within the Barca community gets e.g. Lucho or Zubi and agar responds with how he dislikes this space and Kxevin’s opinions.
      It’s getting old really. It’s true that agar doesn’t have to come here if he is going to comment so negatively on Kxevin’s writing.

      I will say that any overarching negative assumptions were not universally accepted nor agreed upon.

    • June 16, 2015

      Thanks ciaran. That was pretty clear. My comment wasn’t “If you don’t like it, get out.” It was wondering why someone would endure something unpleasant when they don’t have to.

      And ciaran is right. It IS getting old. It’s the reason I stopped commenting.

      “Bully much?” is actually inaccurate. agar hasn’t been moderated, nor bullied, nor have I attacked in kind. I asked a couple of simple questions. Nor has he been “marginalized.”

      We set up this comments space so that everyone would have an equal voice. The only comments that are moderated are ones that involve things that violate the spirit of debate in this space. That isn’t going to change.

      I don’t care if anyone likes the pieces I write, or what I have to say. But I don’t comment because every time I do, a shitstorm ensues, and far more bandwidth is expended on attacks than the point of discussion, which is the above post.

      Perhaps that’s part of the reason blogs run their course. The Real Madrid Football felt a lot like this space, one person working to keep it afloat, and people getting tired of that person’s voice. Fewer and fewer comments, and then that person wonders what the point is. It’s a valid ask.

      Dreaamteam, dissent is the point. But dissent is different from attacking. Not everyone feels that way. That’s why message boards need moderators. I always have hopes this space will have a higher standard, but it has become a message board, and it’s a shame. It doesn’t have to be.

    • agar2515
      June 17, 2015

      Haham I am sorry my opinions are getting”old” for you

    • agar2515
      June 17, 2015

      Why on earth wouldn’t I comment on portions of his writing if I took issue with them? What an absurd thing to say.

    • agar2515
      June 17, 2015

      This is exactly what dream teamis talking about. I took issue with some points you made, and said ” Why be so smug at those who questioned signings?” when you yourself have done so in the past… and all of a sudden I have you and CIaran teaming up and say how “old” it is getting and he suggesting I keep anything “negative” to myself? And yet you welcome all ideas and POV’s?
      I am clearly not the first or only person to feel that their scoffed at or deemed guilty of ” personal attacks” when articulating against the grains opinions.

    • Jim
      June 17, 2015

      A bit of perspective – well, actually just my perspective dressed up as objectivity 🙂

      I think Cain_Aconia has a point when he says he feels there has been a shift from tactics to feelings and that is more fertile territory for misunderstandings, especially of tone. We have had some great discussions about how the team is playing, backed up by incidents from matches and debates about how important the midfield is or isn’t these days. However, when the discussion centres round an issue as in one of Kxevin’s articles he quite often opens it in the context of what the differing sides of the issue think and as a good writer puts them in such a way as to attract the reader’s attention. If you regard that as the writer’s actual opinion ( and when I first arrived in the old offside days I did !) I can see why Agar feels that the emphasis is sometimes on how ungrateful Barca fans are considering how amazing our team is in general. However, when a writer busts a gut to produce an article, even if we disagree wholeheartedly with the thrust I reckon it behoves us to put it in a way and tone that opens up the ideas, not wounds on the writer. Bottom line for me is that I don’t put my butt out there by writing articles so I should appreciate those who do and give us the forum to debate the team we all profess to love.

      I tend to regard the articles as trying to open up the discussion on that topic which they do well. I also freely admit to the fault of continuous improvement in that even if we are winning I tend to concentrate on what we could do better rather than just add to the self congratulations despite the fact that I get as excited as anyone at a Barca victory.

      I’ve said before that I do regard this space as totally different from any other which I’ve visited – and much better, both in terms of quality of views expressed and the way these are put over. I would hate to lose it. I’m not on Twitter ( or Facebook as it cost me more pain as a teacher over the last ten years than anything else) because I hate it with a passion and nobody will ever convince me it is anything other than a vehicle for ( the largely illiterate) shouting at others. For that reason I seldom bother looking at the comments on other sites which follow articles as I know what I’m going to get.

      We NEVER get to that stage here, either through moderation or posters gently pointing things like tone out. That is something we should, like the team?, frankly celebrate and not worry about. It’s easy to get fired up about something on the Internet and a lot harder to hang onto something as precious as this space.

  16. luisthebeast
    June 16, 2015

    Celebrations oe twitter about the second coming….but dont forget that the second time history repeat as a farce…i hope it s not true that Laporta will have Mendes with him..

  17. ooga aga
    June 16, 2015

    I for one think that Zubi probably did a good job. Just like you probably are by definition a great player if you start for this barca or are one of the first off the bench, so too I doubt that Barcas successes are *despite* any supposed poor efforts of the behind-the-scene technical team. Zubi might have had as big a hand as anyone in crafting this team and as such he is a success even if he isn’t perfect. Like someone else said we will have to wait for the memoirs to know what really has transpired.

  18. luisthebeast
    June 16, 2015

    I hope against Jamaica they will rest Leo.Argentina are the favourites to win Copa America but if the final Brazil-Argentina,as a fan of Argentina i am not sure who i want to win it between Leo and Ney….maybe both;-)

    • G6O
      June 16, 2015

      This was a really painful game to watch after a full season of Barca games. They seem completely unable to create space for Messi to work his magic. Which was a problem they seem on the way towards solving last year, but now it’s back to where it was three years ago…

  19. FCB16
    June 17, 2015

    Wow I can see not much as changed. Like it or not Kevin but YOU have contributed to whatever ” downfall” you think this space has undergone by how you’ve chosen to conduct yourself. People like Agar aren’t even trying to pick a fight with you or anyone, they’re just telling certain things you may not wanna hear and are driven into the ground for it. Now other commenters are ganging up to stop people from being “negative” and instead of calling for temperance you agree.
    Wow, real big of you. What a shame.

    • stefan2k
      June 17, 2015

      Agar is obviously trying to pick a fight. I’ve seen him criticising the AUTHOR in several articles instead of expressing his ideas and thougths. If hes not able or not willing to differentiate those things he might should refrain from commenting here.

      I agree with ciaran, this is getting old and is uncalled for.

    • Dreamteam
      June 17, 2015

      That’s the issue entirely. He’s not trying to pick any fight, he’s trying to illustrate how Kevin is criticizing a behavior that he has been guilty of in the past. He even put himself out there and said people could and should do the same in regards to his past opinions on Enrique.

      This idea that he is “picking fights” is mind boggling. He clearly elaborated his POV, even saying how he did not mean it personally yet people like Kevin,Ciaran, and yourself choose to ignore it and instead dismiss his opinions as ” old” or confrontational.

      That you and others have a problem with someone speaking their mind against some of the ideas presented here is the real issue.

    • Dreamteam
      June 17, 2015

      And his ideas and thoughts are often taking issue with things the writer has put forward! Why is this so hard to understand? Kevin puts out personal opinions everyday on this site.

      SO because someone takes issue with his personal opinion they have an issue with the man himself? What is the course of action? If everything written here is “personal” or an “opinion” than how can anyone dissent without being labeled an ” attacker” ?

      Unbelievable

    • ooga aga
      June 17, 2015

      Agar’s tone has been bad vibe ever since he came into this space. Snide sarcastic dismissive you name it. Don’t blame kxevin.

    • agar2515
      June 17, 2015

      And yours and Kevin’s havent been at times? Things happen man, stop lighting torches.

  20. Ttemple
    June 17, 2015

    But Kxevin, I really don’t understand how agar2515’s comments were confrontational. He basically attacked how you generalised natterings of culers into a scoffing at Zubi’s signings, while there locked in culers that commended the signings. Your opinion, your idea, which he attacked – not You. Strong-worded? Maybe. But directed at your opinion and idea.

    And, it’s no more “old” anymore than your “generalisation” of culer natterings.

    • Dreamteam
      June 17, 2015

      This exactly. If his “attacks” are getting “old” then so too are Kevin’s constant borderline ” I told you so’s” or (as stated above) constant portrayals of Barcelona fans as an army of Chicken Littles.

  21. ian_percival
    June 17, 2015

    FORZA Agar!! You are getting more airtime than the Kardashians. Nice one Bro

  22. ciaran
    June 17, 2015

    I’m not teaming up with anyone. Agar made a point which was basically that he only approved of the signings of Rakitic and ter Stegen. Everything else was eh.
    Kxevin replied asking for clarity which I read as asking ‘what about all of the others mentioned?’
    Agar then responds with a you are always negative and a don’t take this as a personal attack.

    For me it’s like starting a sentence with ‘no offense but …’
    If you are attacking his ideas, in this case, Zubi did a good job building a competitive squad, then do that and back it up with some points but don’t just jump to something that is in no way constructive, bashing his writing.

    I disagree with a lot of Kxevin’s ideas, on the board, on Suarez’ signing, the new jersey and probably on a lot of other things. You can do that without devolving into personal issues

    • agar2515
      June 17, 2015

      He asked what I meant, I responded twofold
      1) It his his opinion that Zubi got a raw deal. There are plenty of voices that would say he got what was coming to him.
      2) It is his opinion that the predominant reactions to those signings were as negative as he stated.

      I then said I took issue with his OPINION/ASSERTION/POV that paints our fanbase as negative, cynical, constantly whining and questioning people. It is something he constantly brings up in articles even when the situation doesnt dictate as such.

      We are still reminded in his writings that people didnt think Masche could be a CB, that people wanted Kroos, that Pique was done, that Rakatic isnt Barca material and so on.

      My question was why? What is even the point after we won the treble?

      I then said I am equally puzzled as to why he so often brings up such ” cynicule” remarks when he himself as put worth such views in the past. We ALL HAVE.

      And see you say I wasn’t being constructive and I would answer that neither is Kevin’s constant jabs at our fanbase constructive either, which is what I was trying to get across.

      I then spent sentence after sentence saying that I am not “attacking” him, only taking issue with how he views our fanbase, and that he should perhaps have some empathy in regards to those who shout down signings and developments.

      I was then met with this torrent of my opinion being ” old” or ” why are you even here?” ” Personally attacking me”.

    • ciaran
      June 17, 2015

      I see your point. Kxevin often brings a negative opinion on cules’ thoughts from (I’m guessing) twitter and makes a comment on it.
      I would say that from reading your replies to his asking for clarity it did come across overly negative and personal which is what I would try to avoid.
      However, saying don’t take it personally is not enough for someone not to take it as so.

      I would never say something along the lines of why are you even here as the more voices in this place the more interesting it is.

      If I had your opinion on Zubi, after Kxevin asking for clarification, I would have put a reason why Zubi shouldn’t get credit for some of the purchases eg Lucho asked for him, he didn’t work out as well as hoped, we didn’t need him, he was too expensive. It would have been more constructive and added to the debate.

    • Jim
      June 17, 2015

      Yeah, Ciaran. It’s more about the way we respond sometimes. I spent my life responding politely to bonkers parents ( can I say that now?) and it drove me demented but actually usually helped the situation ( which usually centered around our incompetence ! )

      The Zubi topic is one which interests me a lot and it’s a shame the discussion has veered off into this. I quite like Barto’s style but the one thing hanging over him for me is why he ditched Zubi. It would affect my view of him if it was just a fall guy to protect him. I’d rather be discussing that but thanks for the measured response to the “alternative” topic.

    • June 17, 2015

      Jim, I would like nothing more than to discuss the topic of Zubi. It’s why I wrote the post. But it seems my fan club is bound and determined to make and keep this personal, which is unfortunate.

      Thanks to you, ciaran and a couple of others for understanding what was going on.

      This space is a mess right now. I’ll be handing off the reins to Isaiah when he’s ready, and leaving. I always said that when it came time that I was damaging the place, it was time to go. That time is here. There is a post in the hopper about the elections that will be published at some point, and I will work out a handover plan with Isaiah.

      Appreciate all the time that you take and put into your comments here, you and others. I hope it will become what Isaiah and I always hoped it could.

      Thanks again.

    • agar2515
      June 17, 2015

      That’s fair but, again, I tried multiple times to illustrate how I wasn’t trying to be personal about it. I don’t think reminding someone of their history in hopes of increasing perspective is anything too harsh?

      I used the situation of, if I were being rash in a comment, someone being able to say how I once disliked Enrique and using that as a way to tell me to maybe calm it down. That’s all. I was letting my opinion on his tone towards his fanbase be known, I certainly didnt want all of this.

  23. ooga aga
    June 17, 2015

    Great. Kxevins leaving. Now maybe there will be more space for agar to expound on his “eh,” “meh,” which of our players and coaches are shit, etc.

    • Jim
      June 17, 2015

      Nah, Kxevin’s just going so he can say he left the same time Xavi did. Wish I’d thought of it. He’s probably got a Qatar blog lined up…. 🙂

      On a more serious note, like Ciaran, I don’t always agree with Kxevin’s views but he’s entitled to them and makes them coherently and articulately. They always add something to the discussion. He also has a pretty high tolerance for posts disputing the ideas he puts forward as witnessed by some of the above posts as well as his patient responses to some of my rants. All he requests is that we keep it impersonal and watch our tone. That doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. Remember this is his place.

      I have to say I’m uneasy about the way some of the above posters have arrived for no better reason than to have a go.

      I’m also just not sure how he gets to the analysis that he is damaging this place. I’d much rather he stayed, stuck to his line of moderation, commented like the rest of us and got some enjoyment out of his and Isiah’s creation rather than leaving but you can’t say he’s not done his stint if he does choose to go.

      Maybe like the team we need a close season so we can all come back refreshed !

    • agar2515
      June 17, 2015

      I love how childish ooga whatever has to be towards me. I clarified multiple time what I meant about my posts. I also have never called anyone ” shit”. Have I disagreed on certain players yes (Pedro) and have I taken issue with Enrique ( and admitted I was wrong) yes.

      It still shocks me how much of a vile individual some people are painting me as.

    • ciaran
      June 17, 2015

      I suppose that this is exactly the problem with this medium of communication. No one can read tone or inflection instead interpret words based on their meaning of them at the time of reading.

      Being honest with you agar, I fully understand your point and would hate to see you painted in a negative light based on a couple of comments but the way I had read your points were as negative as your interpretation of Kxevin’s somewhat cynical view of the culerverse.

      I would hate anyone to stop giving their opinion on everything blaugrana as the completely different views on our beloved team are what make this place great. If this devolved into a Penaldo/uefalona comments space I would pull my hair out.

    • agar2515
      June 17, 2015

      I do feel negative about his view though, at it brought out a borderline ” hurt” reaction from me. I still wonder why it is ok for him to so freely take that view towards our fanbase with no blowback whatsoever. If my initial comment read harshly it is because I have grown weary of those types of jabs in his articles ( but , again, I am not attacking HIM, merely directly, sternly saying ” Come on man why?”)

      Isn’t he constantly trying to keep this space positive?

      That is what irked me, and I wanted to make those feelings known. I had hoped people could but ego aside and discuss just why it was he felt he needs to constantly reiterate the same talking point?

    • June 17, 2015

      Seeing as how youve personally been calling out several people on this blog, yeah you kinda are.

    • agar2515
      June 17, 2015

      The only ” calling” out I am doing is when I feel my voice is trying to be silenced due to my tone or words being misconstrued. I’ve not personally attacked anyone ( although CLEARLY I need to add more nuance to my personal definition of that).

      I am not getting riled, I am not devolving into name calling, I am STILL giving examples of what I have issues with.

      You want to think I am ” vile” for simply having an opinion and then taking issue with how I am being addressed then go right ahead.

    • G6O
      June 17, 2015

      It really got to that point over a few comments???

    • simple_barcafan
      June 17, 2015

      Seconded..

    • agar2515
      June 17, 2015

      Amen to that. Never my intention. All I wanted was to take issue with a way Kevin chooses to write certain things in his articles. Even using a personal example where I myself could be reminded of being wrong.

      Apparently now Im a part of some ” fan club” that is hellbent on harassment or god knows? I am very shocked and shaking my head at his reaction honestly.

    • cain_aconia
      June 17, 2015

      It was his space agar. His and the other moderators’. It is always the editor’s or the moderator’s space. This is what at least i kept trying to emphasize here.

      The readership can migrate to others if they like, they don’t put in the hours and the effort to keep a space up. Getting quality writing so consistently on a topic we all love is so difficult. I guess we will all learn, be wiser and move on to other things.

    • agar2515
      June 17, 2015

      So he gets to put out anything he wants without any feedback to the contrary? I never said he should STOP , I was just asking ” why do it?”
      Everyone is making this a bigger deal than it should be, mountain out of a molehill

  24. Dar_vincy
    June 17, 2015

    If this isn’t an encroachment on Kexvin’s will, I’d personally appeal to him to reconsider his decision. His inputs and that of every other commenters like Agar, Ciaran, et al are what make this space worth visiting time and again. I guess I would take it personal if you or any other commenter leave (just kidding). Again, to echo Jim, this space will continue to thrive so long we keep things impersonal. I do hope all differences are ironed out in peace. #KexvinIsGoingNowhere #SoAlsoOtherCommenters

  25. simple_barcafan
    June 17, 2015

    I thought this is the most mature/ level-headed/ respectable barcelona blog on the net. Need to change that from the present to past tense now…

  26. simple_barcafan
    June 17, 2015

    Btw, a mod leaving has exactly the same consequences as the reason he left (personal attacks). Now those are redirected towards another individual, the commentator…

  27. ciaran
    June 17, 2015

    I reckon that we could all do with a post on our three presidential candidates.

    • agar2515
      June 17, 2015

      Laporta
      Laporta
      Laporta

      I know he is not perfect but I truly believe everything he did and does is with Barca’s best interests at heart, not simply to pad his wallet or boost his ego. Let the best president in our history right the ship and then we can talk about new blood.

    • ciaran
      June 17, 2015

      That’s exactly what frightens me. I loved Laporta at the start but by the end of his reign, or even a few years earlier than that, he was as corrupt and twisted as anyone in our history.
      He barely survived the vote of no confidence, with 60% of the votes against him not enough for the necessary 66%. He got elected on a lie in conjuction with Florentino.

      I reckon that he is dirtier than Bartomeu. Both were on the board at the same time as Rosell at different stages but only one is painted with the same brush.
      In my head, I separate Bartomeu from Rosell. I’d you do that then surely Bartomeu is a better bet than fun loving Laporta and his spying on players and board members.

  28. Barcathegreatestever
    June 17, 2015

    I’ve come here off and on for years, why? Because I tire easily of ESPN takes, have a hard time understanding Mundos translation and don’t get enough out of total Barca. I learned a long time ago not to waste my time wading through any Twitter or other blogs. But I miss a lot. Kevin’s pieces are remarkably consistent personal pieces that I alway relate too, oftentimes unique and refreshing. He often does have a reaction or reactionary tone to the drivel out there and I guess I attribute it to his doing his due diligence in putting these articles together. He’s always posting links I never would have found on my own in doing his research. And I really appreciate it! There’s not an avid Barca fan in my age group in my town, mostly EPL and Mexican league fans.
    Anyone in the service business knows that the easiest malcontents to deal with are the that blatantly break defined rules of conduct.The biggest pain in the asses are usually intelligent and at least familiar with the rules walking a deliberate fine line demanding attention, sucking out the energy of what the collective are doing, and really adding little. On and on goes the nit picky tiresome argument that in itself is badgering and bullying. Open discourse is one thing but unrelenting argument that can’t be satisfied without submission from another is disruptive and annoying. A very good reason to say after a long while “Fuck this Shit” and move on. That would be leave a huge hole in my Barca life and I don’t appreciate that at all.

    The ironic thing is that I was the belligerent agenda driven dickhead a while back probably with a chip on my shoulder from time on other blogs. I Hope Kxevin you stay because a couple of attention starved individuals don’t represent the vast majority of readers that truly appreciate this space you provide to Barca fans. Thanks

  29. Jim
    June 18, 2015

    Not sure how many will see this, Barcathegreatestever, as there is a new post up but thanks for sharing your personal viewpoint which I wholeheartedly agree with. Thanks also for not derailing the next article by posting this there.

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