Who Would You Vote for?

Tomorrow the polls open in the FC Barcelona elections and we here at BFB are not unaware of this. So we teamed up to bring you the most definitive guide to the elections you’ll find anywhere on earth. And also Pluto.

Levon: Why I’d vote for Laporta

In a perfect world, Benedito might get my vote. He seems responsible, he has a decent program and we would get rid of the he says she says between the Roselistas and Laportistas. In other words, he represents a clean break. He also seems less dishonest than the other candidates, but this is possibly because he hasn’t been in a position to lie to us as often. Alas, prognosis shows that voting for Benedito, Agusti will make about as much difference to the final results as voting for Isaiah would. So the choice is, effectively, between Josep Bartomeu and Joan Laporta. I’m sorry to say that my vote would be more of an anti-vote than a pro-vote.

Barto has done a number of good things during his year and a half at the club.

  1. He appointed Luis Enrique. To many this was a no-brainer, but still.
  2. He supported the coach while many of the media and public were calling for his head during the first half of the season.
  3. He won the treble.
  4. He has, for the most part, been less outwardly conflictive than Sandro Rosell.
  5. He has tread the fine but difficult line very well between representing Catalunya while at the same time avoiding to steer the club too deep into the independista quagmire.

However, counting against him are:

  1. He was vice-president (and president of sports) when the club signed young, foreign players for the academy in direct circumvention of FIFA rules.
  2. As president, his ridiculous la Masía no es toca strategy was disastrous for the club’s image and the young players involved, and was possibly counterproductive as the club got hit with a one year transfer ban.
  3. Barça B was relegated on his watch and no academy player has broken through since 2009/2010. For a detailed article about the negligence of the Masía during the last five years, there is an excellent article by Rafael Hernández on Grup14.com here. It bears repeating that for the duration of Rosell’s presidency, Bartomeu was president of sports.
  4. He is involved in an ongoing court case that might see him land a three-year jail sentence during the next presidential mandate.
  5. Qatar. I agree with Laporta and Benedito that there are probably other sponsors out there that will give us the same amount of money or more from sponsorship deals. As a matter of fact, Benedito has stated that if (when) he loses the campaign, he will hand the elected president four or five companies with which he has held advanced talks that are willing to offer more money than the current deal. For Bartomeu to insist that he has investigated the market (through a third party) and that there are no better deals available rings false and, even worse, smells of corruption. Somewhere, someone is making money off of this and, besides the fact that having the very controversial 2022 World Cup host on the front of our shirt does us no good, to entrust these people with a 600 million dollar project of renovating the stadium is madness.

These last five reasons are sufficient for me to vote for the main alternative. Laporta has his faults and I wish he assumed them instead of his current holier-than-thou approach, which rubs me wrong, but the deal breakers for me are that we’ll get rid of Qatar as soon as legally possible and that the Masía will be better run. At a very unscientific level, I simply distrust Laporta less than Bartomeu. Besides, when has a club advised by Cruijff ever gone wrong?

Kxevin: Why I’d vote for Benedito

As Public Enemy said in the intro to “Whole Lotta Love Goin’ On in the Middle of Hell,” “If you don’t stand up for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

It’s the biggest reason that my presidential vote would go to Agusti Benedito. Principles count for a lot, and I am a huge proponent of them. Laporta and Bartomeu represent two different piles of crap that differ only in size and potential shoe damage. People say that Bartomeu is far worse than Laporta, and that might be true. But it is also important that socis allow themselves to embrace a viable third option, something that, as many of you know, I have long advocated for.

This is an extremely important election for the club’s future, and future direction. Some believe, in a hyperbolic rapture, that the club will be destroyed if Bartomeu wins. I don’t share that sentiment even as I worry quite deeply about what giving him a mandate and six years will do to the club that I love.

But I have similar concerns, though not as cold sweat-inducing, about giving Laporta a mandate and 6 years.

Laporta’s presidency stands a strong possibility of being like the opening scene in the movie “The Hangover.” Broken glass, passed-out naked people, empty cava bottles, phones off the hook and a chicken running around. It’s a mess, but housekeeping can clean it up.

Bartomeu’s presidency has the potential to look like the aftermath of the Sack of Troy, to do more significant harm to the club, particularly on the fiscal side of things. It would take housekeeping a lot longer to clean that up, potentially defining the direction of future administrations in everything from player sales to the youth system.

Prima facie that would seen to argue in favor of Laporta over Bartomeu, and it would were it not for that third option. But it just isn’t that easy. It never is. Jimmy Burns, in an excellent recent blog post, makes a case for abstention. He isn’t going to vote in the election for reasons very clearly stated.

The other problem is The Fear, that a non-vote or vote for someone other than Laporta means a vote for Bartomeu. But the thing about principles, about standing for something, is that fear and other mitigating factors shouldn’t matter. You should look at the three candidates and decide, for yourself, who is best or at absolute worst, who would do the least harm.

It has been said of Benedito that he hasn’t really done or said anything, that there are too many questions about his platform and plans for the direction of the club. And by singling him out for that criticism, pundits ignore the fact that none of the other candidates really have, either. Freixa has been the closest to laying out a real plan. But they are all too busy explaining why their opponents are evil. And that’s a problem even as it is a typical election campaign, no matter the elective office or location of the efforts.

Both Bartomeu and Laporta are, in effect, running on the past, on “Don’t you want more victory parades?” Laporta is spiking his retro libation with liberal doses of “Cruijff,” “Guardiola” and “values”, the last being most interesting as a question about values would be a legit ask of a man who paid investigators to spy on club and team members.

Is the devil you know always the best choice?

Bartomeu is running a very intelligent race, acting presidential as an incumbent is wont to do. He isn’t bothering to sling mud at or with the other candidates because that isn’t what the front runner does. What a legit front runner should do is sail serenely on through an election that will reach an inevitable, logical conclusion.

I decided to endorse Benedito before the Tuesday candidates’ debate, in which I thought he mishandled things while Bartomeu handled them exactly right, coming out as a winner of sorts even as he was attacked from all sides, with opponents landing significant blows. Bartomeu didn’t win the debate per se, but he did what he had to do which was look like the front-runner (his attacking opponents helped him there), and not screw up.

The other candidates erred in attacking Bartomeu in an effort to sway voters by landing haymakers, rather than convincing them by acting presidential, like an equal to Bartomeu. There was a moment of weakness when Bartomeu said that he was being prosecuted for actions of the club, in an attempt to stave off the baying hounds. Don’t throw the club under the bus. The president is the club. It’s an important distinction.

To say that Bartomeu’s candidacy isn’t distressing would be foolish. He was part of a board that has a number of shady acts in its past. Is he the board? Good question. Has he distanced himself from that board and the sins of it? Another good question. Here’s another one: If he isn’t that board, why did he stay?

“Although the bylaws specify that I continue as president after the resignation of Sandro Rosell, I am not comfortable with the decisions of the board that I was a part of, nor do I believe that a president should serve without the blessing of his electorate.” Bang.

When Sandro Rosell was bothered by the actions of Joan Laporta, he resigned from that board as a sign of protest, in the belief that though he could stay and work from within, that might imply agreement with that president’s direction and his actions. Bartomeu and Freixa have the same problem, of being unable to criticize or distance themselves from the actions of their predecessors, because they were part of parcel of those actions.

But sitting tight worked for Bartomeu. He became president, presided over a treble and looks in the catbird’s seat. But if he stands for something different than Rosell, what is it? No idea. If it is more of the same, no soci should be in favor of that direction. But there is the uncertainty. Bartomeu hasn’t done anything wrong or bad during his tenure, and the team has accomplished good things. People scoff at him taking some credit for the treble, but it’s every bit as valid as Laporta taking credit for the good that happened under his watch. Like it or not, there is the very real possibility that Bartomeu might not be a horrible president, even as it is easy to cast him as Rosell Jr.

The shirt will return to tradition next season, and Bartomeu is discussing sponsors that are not Qatar, even as it disappoints me that he is discussing any sponsor at all. Has he learned from the errors of the past? Another excellent question. I’m unwilling to risk the future of the club that I love on the answer to that one being “No.”

Laporta stands around whispering about the ghosts of the past: Cruijff, La Masia, Guardiola. He understands that nostalgia is a powerful lure, even as it distracts from talking about what you are going to do in the future. He talks about returning UNICEF to the shirt front, ignoring the speculation presented by many that UNICEF was just a placeholder for a paid sponsor, that Laporta was testing the waters rather than being the Great Humanitarian. Unknowable.

Laporta and Bartomeu are risky choices for rather different, yet similar reasons. Benedito is something of an independent choice, a devil we don’t know who is, to my view, worth a punt.

Benedito isn’t linked to the Rosell board in any way, and his ties to Laporta are tenuous, verging on ephemeral. His principles led him to resign the Laporta board in 2009. His approach and platform, his very demeanor speak of seny, that Catalan quality that implies calm and logic. He loves the club and what it stands for, and has ideas for a strong future. He wants the club to be for everyone, and would lift the membership restrictions that exist. This is huge because although Barça is a Catalan institution, it wants to be a global club. So act like one, and stop using restrictive policies in an attempt to preserve a mandate. Rosell did it, and Bartomeu shows no sign of finding it at all distasteful. That’s wrong.

Yes, it disappoints me that Benedito bandies around names such as Monchi and Veratti when it’s abundantly clear that neither will be coming to the club should he win. That is a part of campaigning that I would have preferred he stuck to the high road on. Benedito has been asking the right questions, not just slinging mud. He also didn’t help his cause by “unveiling” a shirt sponsor, an energy drink company that sounds like a half-baked vanity project at best. Appearing desperate and gullible is not something the third-place candidate needs in a race with a large number of potential undecideds.

My principles and my love for the club dictate that I cast my vote for president with a man who I believe would be able to steer the club into a healthy, viable future, irrespective of how viable that person’s chances are of winning. I don’t want someone telling me a new stadium project is going to cost 600m and will pay for itself within 5 years when logically we know that can’t be true. I don’t want lies about austerity that get kicked in the teeth by mega signings and another 60m+ transfer summer. I don’t want administrative errors.

I also don’t want someone who thinks that spying on club and team personnel is okay, and I don’t want Great Uzbek Adventures, even if they only tarnish the president. The president is, after all, leader of the club. Conservative socis are also rightly distressed by some of Laporta’s comments that attempt to link Barça with the Catalan independence movement. Yes, the club is Catalan and a Catalan institution. It wears the flag proudly. But don’t use the movement as an electioneering tool. That isn’t right.

Curiously, the best campaign has been run by Toni Freixa but his litany of acts are such that I could never, ever be comfortable with my vote going to him.

Benedito, when asked if he could work with Laporta, said no because “I don’t trust him.” That is ultimately my biggest difficulty with King Joan. My biggest difficulty with Bartomeu is that I fear what might happen to the club. Benedito is an unknown with excellent ideas. As the club takes a leap into the unknown, excellent ideas are a top-notch foundation upon which to build.

blitzen: Why I’d vote for Laporta

I wrestled with this one, I really did. I’m not a fan of strategic voting, and all other things being equal I would cast my vote for Benedito. That is, if I had one, which I don’t as I’m not a member. I was initially going to write in support of Benedito as I truly believe he is the best candidate still standing. I thought, since I can’t actually cast a vote I may as well support the man I actually think would make the best president for the club. Benedito comes across as rational, trustworthy, and fiscally responsible. He would revisit the plans for the new stadium, end the club’s relationship with Qatar, open up membership to all, revitalize La Masia, and welcome back Cruijff’s philosophy and input to the club. He’s also avoided throwing around the names of players he would like to bring to the club, which I approve of (yes, he’s mentioned Verratti once or twice, but not in what I would consider a serious way). And if he would still put a big corporate sponsor on the front of the shirt, well, I’m less militant about that than some. As long as it’s not a company in direct opposition to the values that the club claims to represent, I can live with that.

However. I then had to think about what I would do if I could actually vote, and whether it would make sense to vote for the best candidate who is certain to lose rather than the least worst best candidate who has an excellent chance of winning. Benedito’s platform is good, but does he have the necessary business acumen and contacts? His recent proposition for a new shirt sponsor left me with a LOT of questions on that score. How important is it to me to get the club out of the hands of Bartomeu and his cronies before they can damage it any further, and how much am I willing to sacrifice for that to happen? Levon has already listed many of the crimes, both moral and literal, of which Barto and his board are guilty, to which I would add:

  1. Threatening to expel and sue a socio for asking questions about the Neymar transfer. (Toni Freixa is to blame for this one too, in case you were thinking of voting for him.)
  2. Mistreating and disrespecting loyal employees of the club, including Zubizarreta, who was made the fall guy over the FIFA transfer ban even though the entire board had the knowledge and responsibility for that debacle. And let’s not even get into the whole Abidal debacle.
  3. Voting to launch a punitive lawsuit against the previous board which was motivated solely by personal vindictiveness on the part of Rosell and was based on questioable accounting in the first place.
  4. And of course, failing to call an election at the first opportunity after Rosell resigned, which in my opinion should have been done at the end of last season. Initially Bartomeu planned to continue until the summer of 2016 despite not actually having a mandate, and it was only under pressure from the board (his own board!) that he condescended to call the election for this summer instead. The arrogance of his attitude has been amply illustrated in his demeanour during this campaign *even after he formally relinquished the position*, as he has continued to make announcements on behalf of the club and act in almost every other way as though he is still the acting president.

So, yes. My vote would be more anti-Bartomeu than pro-Laporta. Laporta has the best chance of getting Bartomeu out, but he comes with his own set of problems. He’s likeable, but he has his own brand of arrogance and sleaziness. I haven’t forgotten his fiscal misdemeanours and questionable signings. He has more than a whiff about him of the old boy/backroom/gladhanding politician. But I also believe that he genuinely wants what is best for the club, and he has very good people around him. Enric Masip, especially, is someone I trust and respect and who I would have liked to see run on his own merits. He will bring back Alexanko to fix the damage that has been done to the youth system and plug the leaking of young talents to other clubs. Eric Abidal may be untested as a sporting director, but he will have support staff and will surely bring the sort of intelligence and fair dealing to the position that has sorely been lacking (sorry, Zubi). Laporta is saying all the right things about cleaning up the image of the club and getting back to its core values. Cruijff has publically come on board and endorsed him. Many of the players and Lucho himself already have a good relationship with him. Selling Messi would never cross his mind.

Laporta’s not a perfect choice, but neither is Benedito. I have to hope that Laporta has learned from his previous mistakes, and I believe that he would put the best interests of the club first. He’s also the most realistic option to get rid of the current cancerous board. If only he would shut up about Pogba. So pour yourself a glass of cava and vote for Laporta. It’s the least worst most OK thing to do.

Isaiah: Don’t make me decide!

I swore when this whole election process began that I’d find the best candidate and stump for him. I’d write a brilliant essay, I told myself, that would convince the world to vote for him and make him president of this club I love. I’m a voting member of FC Barcelona, so despite the fact that I won’t be able to vote in Saturday’s election thanks to geographical differences between myself and the Camp Nou, I’m theoretically capable of doing so if someone stumps for my airfare to and from the city. No takers? Oh well. Maybe next time, if there’s a real reason to care.

Because these guys are basically the same except one likes Qatar on the shirt and the rest have taken the politically expedient route against it, the only way to really tell them apart is to be as frivolous as they are. So let’s do that. Let’s get stupid.

Round 1: Face off!

Candidates

Yeah sure, he’d win the “looks my like Uncle—the one I actually like” category hands down, but that’s Benedito’s official candidate picture and he can’t even look at the camera. What better stuff do you have to look at right then? Everyone else: not afraid to look forward. Agusti? Dammit, man, whatever is going on over there to the photographer’s right, it can wait like literally 2 seconds. But I do like that he’s the only one not wearing a blaugrana tie that looks like it came from the “Candidate” section of the Botiga. So I guess there’s that.

The rest of you don’t get off that easily, though. Oh no. I see you, Barto, with your leaning back like you’ve already won. You haven’t—don’t interrupt me, Barto, with your smug grin. And don’t laugh, Laporta, you’re clearly completely dead inside, that vacant stare is more Walking Dead than electable. Yikes. His eyes follow you around the room. Even when your monitor is off.

Round Winner: Freixa, because he looks kind of professorial and like he took this whole picture thing seriously. Runner up: Benedito, because ties and looking like my uncle are okay, I guess.

Round 2: Campaign logos!

Just look at the logos and slogans here.

  • Good for Barça
  • For Barça
  • We Know What’s at Stake
  • Now is the Time, Let’s Do it Together!

Are you kidding me? Please tell me that Laporta spent like a kajillion euros to hire an advertising firm to design PEL BARCA. My 2 year old would scoff at that logo. Yeah, we’re pretty clear on what you’re running for, buddy, maybe have it say like, I dunno, literally anything else? Why not just put it in Comic Sans or even Wingdings. Definitely do it in Wingdings. It’s the worst logo ever.

Freixa was doing so well, but what the crap are you talking about here? Sabem a Que Juguem? Very inspired, nice blaugrana background too. I mean, good job beating Laporta and all…Next.

And now Bartomeu, who seems like he hired the guy who did Roger Federer’s snazzy logo, but forgot to pay him. Yes, a 3 also looks like a B. That is fantastic. A 3 is how many trophies that were won this year and your name begins with a B and you said Bo Pel Barça which also begins with a B that could look like a 3! You thought of everything!!!!11!

Round Winner: Benedito, by default.

Round 3: Awkward promises!

Laporta: “I’ll bring back happiness.” K.

Benedito: “I’ve lined up a shirt sponsor worth 70-80 million euros a year!” Does it exist yet? Ha ha ha. What a question! You’re such a funny guy, but no, no it doesn’t.

Bartomeu: “I would do the same contract for Neymar again because Barcelona did nothing wrong.” ReallyReally really?

Freixa: We currently don’t have enough spontaneous chants [at the stadium]. We will create new songs…just like in Sevilla!” Yes, spontaneous chanting at synchronized times. That should be splendid.

Winner: Oh screw this, just vote for Joan, what could go wrong?

Bathe In Cava

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Written by:

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

37 Comments

  1. July 17, 2015

    Excellent post this was. Loved the part by Isaiah.

    Laporta!
    But I have a feeling Bartomeu will win.

    • July 17, 2015

      oh sorry, but this article is related, from Sid.

      http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/jul/17/barcelona-presidential-candidate-joan-laporta-elections

      “I have the same principles since 2003. Look at who changed theirs,” Laporta insists. “There are people with me in 2003, who now renounce Cruyff; people with me in 2003 who prefer Qatar to Unicef; people who with me in 2003 who now support [Josep Lluis] Nuñez – a man sent down for fraud. People change but, actually, I think this goes to the origins. Deep down, they were infiltrators in the revolution we led in 2003.” and this from Laporta is xcellent. :)-

    • barca96
      July 17, 2015

      I also have a feeling that Bartomeu will win. 1) they (him and Rosell) seem to be very popular 2) Benedito and Freiza are spoiling the votes for Laporta since they have similar ideas.

      Rosell and Bartomeu won by a landslide in 2010 which was a surprise for me and the majority of the world wide fans. What makes the socis like them so much?

    • July 17, 2015

      They’re ideologically and politically conservative, like a large portion of the older fan base that makes up the soci ranks. The article that fotobirajesh linked above mentions that; it’s a good article well worth a read.

      It is also noteworthy that the conservative voting bloc is extremely silent for the most part, especially when it comes to things like Twitter and new media because they’re generally older, so its easy for a foreign or predominately English-speaking soci to miss their silence. Even if you read a lot of Spanish and Catalan sources, I think that they are pretty silent there too.

    • July 17, 2015

      Rosell gave them what they wanted: Closed socis, creating a nobility, frozen cheap season ticket prices for the duration. Told them they are important and that they control the destiny of the club. Catalan Barça for Catalans.

    • July 17, 2015

      It was also at a time of great economic flux for Spain as a whole and Catalunya in particular. That breeds a sense of mistrust towards those who would “take what’s mine”–xenophobia is probably too strong a word for the general public, especially one in a city as cosmopolitan and international as Barcelona, but there are strains of it in many things that have been said.

      I don’t think that Laporta is much more than a politician, and that’s certainly not a positive in my book, but he IS a politician I agree with more than I do with Bartomeu or Rosell. No one is really going to win this election, the socis are just likely to lose it.

    • July 17, 2015

      We see it the same way, the election is about cutting your losses. Have to choose the least evil 😀

      It’s just our views on who the least evil is differ.

    • July 17, 2015

      For the most part they’re silent, because even the Spanish and Catalan sources available to most of us are electronic format, with articles open to comment, where most who comment are people comfortable with “new media”.

  2. July 17, 2015

    Yesterday Laporta’s Twitter account was talking about a friend of his from Rosario, who will vote for him.

    Xavi Sala-i-Martin’s Twitter was explicit: Messi is the friend from Rosario and he has come back to Barcelona to vote for his friend Laporta.

    Currently Messi is either en route, or landed in Gabon, on invitation by the president to put the first stone of a new football pitch.

    Jordi Pascual, a fierce critic of Rosell and Bartomeu, once wrote “They lie to us and take us for idiots!!!” I wonder what he would say now?

    All the indignant people, pissed at Lucho for offering thanks to the managing board for signing Arda as soon as possible, what are they thinking right now?

  3. barca96
    July 17, 2015

    Laporta all the way. Freixa and Benedito should just give up and join forces with Laporta. If not they will spoil the votes for Laporta and Barto will be the one benefiting from it. Both these guys have more in common with Laporta than they do with Barto so they should just join forces with the former.

  4. ciaran
    July 17, 2015

    I can’t see the logic behind ‘vote for Laporta because Bartomeu is worse’.
    When he was our president we couldn’t get rid of him even with a 60% vote.
    His election campaign is disgraceful; basically shouting words that cules love… ‘Masia’, Cryuff’, ‘Unicef’, ‘Abidal’, ‘Pogba’, ‘Messi’.
    His campaign is based on apparent values that he never seemed to abide by.

    Bartomeu is the devil, I know, I know. He also has made some very clever moves and looks well capable of avoiding the same mistakes of Rosell. He’s not Rosell. If you could have the perfect president I’m sure that he would have different traits to Bartomeu but he does have a workable platform.
    If he put the right people over the B team and La Masia, moved away from Qatar and opened up membership what would be left to improve upon?

    Benedito seems like an intelligent guy, composed and focused. He suggested that he was ahead of Laporta in a recent poll but behind Bartomeu. Funnily enough, if that is true he might steal some of Laporta’s anti-Bartomeu votes but is unlikely to take many of the anti-Laporta ones.

    Toni Freixa? I don’t like him, trust him or believe in his ability to bring the club forward.

    • July 17, 2015

      “If he put the right people over the B team and La Masia, moved away from Qatar and opened up membership what would be left to improve upon?”

      I tend to see that as the crux of the whole election, so for me that’s not much of an argument that Bartomeu is any good. Those are massive issues. I also think your statement ignores a little bit of the lying and obfuscating that Bartomeu has done in the past, which aren’t, to me, particularly endearing. I can certainly understand if you think that Laporta is no better for those exact reasons. That’s a reasonable stance to take.

      For those of you wondering, after reading my post above, would that I could be in BCN to vote, I would think quite hard on whether to choose between Benedito and Laporta. I haven’t decided and probably won’t ever decide except that I don’t think I’ll party in the streets if Laporta wins. If Benedito wins, I won’t party either, actually, just sit stunned for a while.

      The more I read about Freixa, the more I think he’s just a candidate who would probably do okay, but wouldn’t be special. That’s not so bad in this election, actually, but I think that Benedito is enough better that I would vote for him over Freixa, especially given Freixa’s handling of his own past in the Rosell and Bartomeu administrations. I expect his votes to come off of Bartomeu, actually, but I seem to be in the minority there.

    • ciaran
      July 17, 2015

      It’s not that I am pro-Bartomeu in any way, it’s just that my memory of Laporta isn’t as rosy as others. I’m sure he’d be a great guy to go out clubbing with, blackjack and hookers and all but again handing him the reins of a multi million euro club with what he did with it last time is every bit as crazy as bringing back Rosell.
      I just can’t see anything positive about Laporta taking over again.

    • July 17, 2015

      My sentiments exactly.

  5. Jim
    July 17, 2015

    No great surprises here, guys. Basically the article could be summed up by ” Anyone apart from Barto”

    Simple question. What has HE done wrong since he took over which I hope we all agree he was entitled to do ( whether you wanted him to or not) ? To me the views read a bit like a boxer trying to lay a glove on his opponent but not quite managing it. There’s a lot of well he was president while the Bs went down. Have they always been in this division then ? Is there any attempt to look at who was moved up down and roundabout- which is the point of the Bs ; to keep the firsts winning. There seems to be a lot of damning with faint praise going on to me. In the interests of balance I repost from a few articles ago.

    “I’m not sure the not doing much as President is fair. If I recall his first act was to take over and hold a presser on Neymar where he was totally transparent ( more so than I’ve ever known any club be about details of transfers), he impressed me greatly in his demeanour and words around Tito’s passing, he had to run a club which had misfortune tattooed on its forehead for a year, acted to bring in LE despite Tata’s coming close, bought Suarez, a particularly bold move which could have unravelled his presidency, handled the RS debacle well by keeping his nerve but probably working behind the scenes with the senior players ( really impressed by his handling of every question thrown at him in over an hour of questioning by the Press) , called the elections for end of season which was a very clever move as it reduced any tension but didn’t de-rail our season – and then won the treble ? Maybe a little more credit is due than he has been getting ? Certainly must have been the hardest tenure of any President in recent history and doesn’t deserve the accusation that he hasn’t done much.”

    For the record I don’t have a clue who I’d vote for because I don’t really know enough about any, other than possibly Barto. What I do know is that we’ve been told here since the day he took over that he’d be out on his ear and now there is a lot more doubt, whatever the final result. Maybe the answer is that we aren’t representative of the voting block and that a lot of people think he has done some good ?

    FWIW,

    I’m not gonna make moral judgements on Qatar any more than any other Middle Eastern ( or several developed) countries but can we stay real here ? We are still paying UNICEF for the privilege of putting their name on the shirt. It hasn’t gone.

    We need something done to the stadium – it is awesome but showing its age.

    I wanted Neymar and Suarez as soon as their names came up, before in Ney’s case and this board got both. I can’t think of another player in world football I’d rather have than either of them and we got both ???

    Sorry, this reply is just in case it becomes a slag Barto fest. As I’ve said already over his tenure I don’t think Rosell was as bad as painted ( couldn’t be) although I never warmed to him but Barto strikes me as pretty competent and a decent guy. Could be wrong but from a distance that’s how it seems to me.

    • July 18, 2015

      For one, I have trouble separating Bartomeu from Rosell, because I find it hard to believe Sandro acted on his own. For example, both are being prosecuted for the Neymar case. At the very least Barto could have resigned when Abidal was kicked out the club, since it was he who made the promise Abidal’s new contract would be signed upon his comeback.

      Secondly, I have not been overtly impressed by Bartomeu as a president. He has done some good things, all of which I listed above. The defense against FIFA was unbelievably lame, and you cannot blame his predecessor for this. The way his team handled Dani Alves’ renovation left much to be desired. We could have very well ended up with Douglas at RB. Think about that.

      Also, e way they continue to use Mundo Deportivo to influence public opinion is highly unethical (if in doubt, check MD’s latest article that compares the candidates’ personalities based on their signatures).

      All this to say that I can understand the argument that he’s not been a bad president overall, but I have trouble understanding that you don’t see how he has done anything wrong at all.

    • barca96
      July 18, 2015

      Since they didn’t handle the renovation work to Alves’ house, I think my vote definitely will not go to them. I want the players to be happy 😆

    • Jim
      July 18, 2015

      Just opinions, Lev.

      For me, the Neymar case is going nowhere and taking a lot of time to do it. Barto explained exactly what each bit involved ( which was more than Rosell had done).

      Abidal was done ( not a popular view here I know ) and if he was promised a contract then he should have got it but it wouldn’t have been on footballing terms. (Not that it matters but Abidal has also hardly been a shining light in the way he went about things at times in his career) Don’t know if that was Barto’s decision or the coaches. Don’t see any advantage for someone you say is media savvy in such a media faux pas though.

      Personally, I thought Alves showed very little regard for the club, played us for all he could and got what he wanted. Probably agree on Douglas but let’s just wait another few months.

      If he wasn’t manipulating the press I’d want him out of office.

  6. barca96
    July 18, 2015

    Laporta, Cruyff, Abidal, Giuly and some others played a veteran match and they taped up the Qatar logo 😆

    These guys really walk the talk.

  7. barca96
    July 18, 2015

    Contract of B winger Adama (19) says that he should this summer be promoted or leave on loan. Luis Enrique doesn’t count on him for now [md]

    Disappointing.

    • Jim
      July 18, 2015

      Yeah. When are we gonna start playing hardball with these youngsters and saying you’ll be promoted if you deserve it because any other way ruins your career? Look at the well trodden path . . . Places LE in an possible situation. If they’re good enough they’ll show it in their limited appearances and in pre season. If coaches see something they’ll play them. Simples.

    • Davour
      July 18, 2015

      Indeed! It is absurd to include these automatic promotions (he is only 19!). Development does not happen automatically…

    • barca96
      July 18, 2015

      Normally I would agree with you there Jim. The youngsters shouldn’t demand but he has a much higher ceiling than Sandro and Munir and is at least better than Munir right now.

      I wouldn’t really want him to play in the 3rd division and I don’t really want to loan him out. He needs to train with the first team to learn the system and become better player (decision making, looking up, off the ball movement, positioning).

      If he doesn’t get to train with the first team, I see another Deulofeu in the making. He needs guidance, not playing with the B team that’s playing its own way instead of the Barca way or in another club. Even though he might get more playing time there, he wouldn’t train and learn from the best.

      Loaning is usually good for players but in a club like Barca, there is a certain way of playing and it is extremely hard to learn so the kids have to spend as much time as possible with the first team. How to learn by playing with the B team that’s not playing the same style anymore or another club with a different philosophy and style?

    • Davour
      July 19, 2015

      True. But he has been with Barca for a good while now. Perhaps the experiences from playing with a competitive first team is still more valuable than drills to learn the system further in training? Learning to face La Liga players, assuming the responsibility required in a “real” team, etc. I think this, too, are valuable lessons. I do not think Deulofeu’s problem was going out on loan.

      A team like Rayo or some other possession-based team could be a fair solution. If he could settle for another season in the B-team, with some first team action, it would probably also be good. Many of our current first team players were promoted from a team in the third league…

  8. July 18, 2015

    TV3’s poll of 5000 voters has Bartomeu as President with 49.5% of the vote.

    Laporta got 36.6%
    Benedito 7.8%
    Freixa 4.8%

    The socis have spoken. And Twitter is wishing them rotting in hell.

  9. realdox
    July 18, 2015

    Batromeu with early lead after 75% vote counted

  10. realdox
    July 18, 2015

    Official: Election results after 100% of
    votes counted > Bartomeu 54,63% –
    Laporta 33,03% – Benedito 7,16% –
    Freixa 3,70%

  11. agar2515
    July 18, 2015

    And there it is. Really wish all the candidates had banded together To back Laporta. No one else ever stood a chance against Barto.
    This looks like a foregone conclusion when elections were called… a treble later and Barto was a shoe in after a horrendous campaign run by Laporta.if we’re just coming off winning three titles, talking about the past isn’t going to do you any good.

    • July 18, 2015

      According to the final vote it wouldn’t have mattered:

      Bartomeu got 9% more than the other three candidates combined.

    • ciaran
      July 19, 2015

      I think it’s safe to say that socis have proven again that they don’t want Laporta. 60% of them voted him out when he was president yet he stayed and now over 66% voted for other candidates.

  12. barca96
    July 18, 2015

    What a disappointment. What makes Rosell/Bartomeu so popular to the socis? Even if Benedito and Freixa teamed up with Laporta they wouldn’t even be near Barto/Rosell.

    Don’t they read? It’s astonishing how it’s possible for them to remain so popular until now. In 2010 they hardly had any opposition and their plans were promising. Austerity and all that but then came the surprises such as Qatar, closing the socis registration, the racist comments, La Masia, Neymar gate, FIFA gate, etc.

    So fast forward 6 years I expect the socis to see or at least read the things that’s been happening. Now another 6 years with them and the debt is going to increase more and they’re not even able to capitalize on our success.

    I hope Laporta’s complains will be successful and Barto is stripped of his presidency.

    • G6O
      July 19, 2015

      At this point it is safe to say that there is a significant difference in the opinions and views of foreign fans writing on blogs like this one and those in Barcelona.

      It was like that in the previous election too, and seems to be a general rule — people here are a lot more concerned about general principles and the long-term future (as everyone should be), while the average Catalan soci is focused more on short-term success.

      There is a strong self-selection effect on blogs I guess…

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