Today is the first day of the NFL Draft. That means I will be checking my phone and texting with some buddies throughout the night while I am out to dinner with the lady and her mother, who is in town visiting. It also means (at least according to all the pundits) that Sam Bradford will be getting a massive contract valued at somewhere around $50 million in guaranteed money and $12-13million in average annual salary. That’s a lot of money. It is also meaningless when we consider that this is a Barça blog, but it’s certainly something to distract from the various media reports zipping around the Internet like the annoying mosquito that kept me up most of last night.
I’d rather think about the incredible story of Portsmouth’s decline than talk more about Tuesday’s loss in Milan. I mean, come on, Portsmouth had a potential international arms dealer’s son backing them and the extradition request from France for Arcadi Gaydamak might have led to creditors demanding repayment earlier than anticipated, thus dooming the club to relegation and financial meltdown. Whoa. [It was Peter Storrie, Portsmouth’s Chief Executive saying that Arcadi Gaydamak’s dealings were the reason the creditors came calling; he made those comments back in February to Sky Sports here]
Also, FCB isn’t embroiled in a horrible post-takeover march towards possible insolvency thanks to being laden with foreign debt. The Red Knights and the Manchester United Supporter’s Trust (cleverly shortened to MUST) are pushing to take over Manchester United from the Glazer family, which, if I’m understanding correctly, leveraged the club’s assets in order to take over the club in the first place. Then the family and the club announced refinancing packages to lower the annual interest payments on the loans and in so doing revealed a rather sizable debt. There’s much more about it here, but suffice to say that FCB is not anywhere near that kind of debt. I still don’t get exactly what the Red Knights and MUST are attempting to gain out of this, but if they’re working towards being a membership club again (a real club), then I’m all for it because I like to see the fans have a say in the goings on in the club. Maybe ManU will pay a charity to put their logo on their shirts…ha!
Barcelona itself is in a state of mourning, not because of the loss to Inter, but because Juan Antonio Samaranch passed away this week. He was, if you weren’t aware, the honorary president of the International Olympic Committee after having been the actual president of the IOC from 1980 to 2001. He was even appointed Marquess of Samaranch by King Juan Carlos back in 1991, so I guess he was a big deal. He was a Republican during the Civil War and then a Falangist afterwards; this, I’m sure, is why he was appointed minister of sport, then head of the Province of Barcelona, and finally ambassador to the USSR and Mongolia. There’s a bit more on him here, though the criticism section seems to have been cleared of most information (probably for not meeting Wiki’s standards for citing sources; standards that are upheld only when dealing with a recently deceased person). I have to imagine that there will be a minute of silence before all of the Spanish league matches this week in honor of Samaranch.
Here’s something surprising: Dani Alves‘s nonsense red card against Espanyol is being upheld. Naturally enough, this comes one week after Kameni and Albiol got cards overturned. I’m not crying conspiracy or Villarato or whatever, but I think it’s rather absurd that several times so far this year we’ve had cards upheld where they would normally have been rescinded. I have to ask: are our lawyers or whoever presents these cases to RFEF and the Competition Committee completely incompetent? Seriously, are they? Is that the problem? It has to be. I won’t accept any other explanation because it leads us down a slippery slope.
Victor Valdes has it right when he said today that the team can’t wait for Wednesday to show everyone that they’ve got what it takes to make the CL final. We left ourselves in a big hole, but it looks like the team has come around mentally and are sounding like they can kick some serious behind. Xerez, though, waits in between us and Inter, and they should probably be scared little kittens in front of our threshing machine. Victor Sanchez, you’re going down!
All I have to say about him is that Luis Figo pisses me off. Asshat. I hope we crush Inter so badly on Wednesday that Figo’s face falls off.
Back tomorrow with the Xerez preview (kickoff at noon EST on Saturday).