And so it begins. Today, Sandro Rosell became the newest president of our beloved club, FC Barcelona. He has some immense shoes to fill in those of departing president Joan Laporta, who presided over a glorious, unprecedented period of sporting and fiscal success. And Rosell has to hit the ground running, because:
The club has many issues, including:
Solving the matter of The Yaya. Simply put, Pep Guardiola doesn’t want The Yaya to leave, despite commonly held wisdom. He and Rosell will have talks with The Yaya, but at the end of those talks, The Yaya is probably outta here. So one of Rosell’s first acts will be a failure, most likely.
Resolving the issue of Cesc Fabregas, who has said most recently that it is not at all out of the realm of possibility that he will remain at Arsenal. This seems a bit silly, given that he never really said that his leaving Arsenal was within the realm of possibility. And his coach, Arsene Wenger, has said that Fabregas isn’t for sale, no matter what we offer. So this is a done deal, we can only hope, and the club can return to the task of building a football juggernaut. But figure Rosell’s second sporting task to be another failure in the eyes of many cules who are, foolishly, ready to plunk down hard-earned dosh for their Fabregas shirts.
Keeping the Boixos Nois out. There is some contention that Rosell is rather cozy with the FC Barcelona ultras, a contention that he has denied. Time will tell, but one of the successes of Joan Laporta was getting them out of the stadium, and keeping them out of the stadium. A violence-free Camp Nou became a much better place to watch a football match.
Reining in the club’s finances in light of the new FIFA “Pay your own way” regulation, which states, simply enough, that any club wishing to play in Europe must (with a three-year phase in) pay its own freight via TV contracts, shirt sales and other club revenues. No overwhelming debt, no oil-rich billionaires throwing around bags of cash. The real story of the fiscal picture of FC Barcelona depends on who you believe, but Joan Oliver reports that we finished the season with an 11m surplus. One plank of the Rosell candidacy was fiscal common sense. Now we get to see.
Continuing the sporting success. Like it or not, with a club such as Barça, the president takes the credit and the blame, even more than the head coach. Never forget that Joan Laporta was a few thousand votes away from censure and removal from office. What might have happened had such a thing occurred? We’ll never know, but the unrest and vote came after a two-year period of sporting failure. Just. Two. Years. The bar is high, and Rosell will have immense pressure, right away.
So, let’s put aside any remaining rancor, distrust and give our new president a clean mental slate. He is taking over one hell of a club, one that is poised, with the addition of David Villa to the attacking force, to become even better than the treble-winning side, if such a thing can be imagined.
Welcome, Sandro Rosell.
UPDATE A few words from our new President. Let’s see if he can live up to them:
“I put myself at your service to make this Barça the reflection of its fans and a reference for all other clubs in the world. We have set our goals high and there is a very high precedent, but we need to try for more. We are Barça, the club that has the most players playing at the World Cup. But we are more, thousands of members, millions of fans, and a common purpose that makes us invincible. We are Barça and we assume that challenge. I promise you we will be at the top. ¡Visca el Barça!
“I assume these responsibilities and I do not have any doubt that we will achieve them.
“We will have transparency and the values of this club will be our own. We want a sustainable project, but also an ambitious one. We will have the Camp Nou remodelled to reflect the cutting edge.”