Copa Preview: Almeria-Barça, Wednesday 2pm, GolTV(HD)
Almeria: an enemy of epic proportions. Or, at least, of epic scorelines. 2 matches, 13 goals scored and 0 conceded. It’s hard to imagine a more meaningless match than the return leg of a 5-0 score, but don’t tell that to Real Betis, who are no doubt thrilled to pieces to have gotten a win against Barça. Almeria may very well do the same if the team plays as lacklusterly as they did against Betis, but Betis is probably actually better than Almeria, so who knows.
The Copa del Rey was Almeria’s last, best hope for anything decent this season and they fell to the 5-0 juggernaut with minimal fight. I know I used the past tense in that previous sentence, but it’s technically possible for Almeria to win 6-0 (or 5-0 and then go on to win on PKs), so it would be silly to think that Pep will do anything other than field a ferocious, 1st team lineup. These are the matches, though, where non starters can not only earn valuable playing time, but also demonstrate that they should get more regular action.
With the league heating up–remember, it’s February–the squad needs as much rest as it can get. The Champions League is coming up and that’s not going to be pretty if we’re running on fumes in March. Look at what’s happening to RM. 1 little injury to Pepe and the wheels slowly come unstuck because of fatigue.
So yeah, Bojan should play today and all that. Whatever. Let’s talk about some club business that has me in a bit of a tizzy. The club has announced today (as of this moment, only in Spanish and Catalan) that there is a fourth road to membership. If you’ll recall, the current membership requirements are 1) be related to a current member in the first or second degree, 2) have previously been a member, or 3) be 13 or under. This new manner of becoming a member is open to everyone, but it’s got some caveats.
So, for starters, it’s a carné de compromiso, or a supporter’s card and it takes 3 years of supporter status to “earn” the right to become a full member. It costs less than membership, but it still costs money–they’re quoting €125 per year instead of the membership’s €161.50. And for that, what do you get? Well, you get all the rights members do, well, er, with the following 4 oh so minor exceptions:
- You can’t vote.
- You can’t hold a season ticket or get on the season ticket wait list.
- You don’t get members’ access to tickets for finals (CL, Copa) or significant matches.
- You can’t participate in the Llotja Oberta.
There’s no explanation as to what “significant” means–Champions League quarter finals? Villarreal visiting? You’ll have to wait to find out! It’s certainly exciting!
So basically, you can’t do anything you’d have membership for, with the exception of getting mass emails from team and going to see Zaragoza play at the Camp Nou. Oh and, in case you were all geeked about doing this, you have to show up in person to become one. No, I’m not making that up. You have to go to the club offices in person and you too can give the club €375 to be a second class citizen.
There are so many reasons this is disgusting, but most of them do go back to the reasons why Rosell’s new membership plans are so objectionable. Keep the riff-raff out. If, of course, by riff-raff we mean them. The others. And yes, I read this as a racist response to xenophobic thinking. This new supporter’s card is just another example of how meaningless the foreign fans are to this new administration. I had my problems with the way Laporta approached things on a personal level–he ignored children asking to shake his hand and refused to let the team sign autographs for them at Chelsea Piers when they vised NYC a couple of years ago, for instance. Children who stood in the hot sun for 5 hours because FCB couldn’t show up on time and then didn’t even wave to them. Good for Xavi for coming over and signing someone’s jersey–but Rosell is targeting an entire group because, well, thems ain’t real Catalans.
I’m peeved about this because it’s one thing to say “you can become a member” and it’s another to say “you’re an actual second class citizen, but pay us for the privilege.” Blech. It tastes like hell. And sure, I’m already a member, so I don’t have to worry about this, but this isn’t about me, this is about the club, what it should stand for, and the racism and xenophobia being openly espoused by Rosell and his administration. Most of those who read this blog are not Catalan natives born to the world where carnets are readily available and affordable, but hey, screw you. Yeah, you, you from the Philippines, you’re not a real fan. I know you get up at 3am to watch all of the matches, follow the team religiously, and have studied the club’s history in more detail than most Catalans, but you’re not a real fan. You’re different. You’re other. Same with you, you from Wisconsin, you from El Salvador, you from Nigeria. You’re all different, you’re all other. You’re all not really Barça material, you know? Pass, move, offer. Except for membership. Don’t offer membership to just anyone because who knows what kind of change might happen over the years.
Mes Que un Compte Bancari, more like it.
Official Prediction: 1-3, goals by Bojan (2) and Keita.