Boy, we’re doing great, aka “RoSELL magic or creative accounting?”

Color me skeptical, as many of you already do, but our economic vice-president, Javier Faus, held a presser yesterday in which it was announced, praise be, that we’re doing grrreeat!

Now as many of you know, when our current president Sandro RoSELL took office, there was everything short of burning past president Joan Laporta in effigy in an effort to convince us all that he was e-vil. Not only in his very soul but more importantly (shudder!) fiscally.

But fear not, as RoSELL and his lads were going to come in and straighten it all out.

To wit:

–We only lost a piddling EUR9.3m, less than half of the expected (and projected) EUR21m
–Operating income rose to EUR473.4m, against a 10.4% increase in costs (those pesky bonuses for winning, don’cha know?)
–Debt shriveled from EUR430.6m to UER363.7
–Losses from sales of Ibrahimovic, Caceres and Txigrinski netted a loss of EUR44.2m, and if not for those, the club would have seen a pre-tax (are you sitting down?) profit of EUR33.5m. *The subtext here of course, is “Had that jackass Laporta not saddled us with albatrosses of players we didn’t want and had to blow out, things would be even better!”)

“Our obligation is to make a profit from next season and we will do that,” Faus said. “For the first time in two years we will present a budget that foresees profit.” (I’ll spare you more subtext with this one, because well …. pretty obvious, ain’t it?)

Now I don’t presume to know numbers, because I’m a journalist. 2+2=4 is one that I have to take on faith if my hands are occupied and my shoes are on. But in a series of controversial moves, the most significant of which was selling the shirt to the Qatar Foundation, it doesn’t take a genius to suspect that the numbers have to bear out such moves and that further, the numbers have to bear out the contention of RoSELL that he was the man to make our club not only successful on the sporting front, but the fiscal front as well.

As a soci, I am pleased to see that our club is well on the way to being as fiscally successful as it is on the pitch. As a skeptic, I wonder about what was done with the numbers to have such a magical financial season. If nothing at all was done to them, you’ll hear it from me first, by the by.

We do know that the FCB Museu had a banner year, boasting a 27% increase in attendance. And of course, we aren’t making color copies any longer, saving untold amounts of Euros with that bold, ambitious move.

People with bigger brains than mine are going to analyze the numbers, and they will either call me a cynical, suspicious old bugger, or vindicate my raised eyebrow. I’m fine with either one, and would even prefer to be the former. But I do want to put the matter out there there for discussion. Prima facie, it’s great news, particularly that part that we are going to be profitable next year. Wonder what the people will say then about a club that is profitable AND successful? Which, of course, assumes that we weren’t already profitable and successful. An excellent analysis by Swiss Ramble laid out some of the hijinks that can ensue when someone gets to re-define the terms of profit and loss.

For now, what say ye, family folk?

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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.


    • stowe
      July 27, 2011

      I thought that “TB” was thong boy

  1. blitzen
    July 27, 2011

    I am already on record in my belief that money isn’t real and numbers are just illusion and magic. I have nothing to add.

  2. mei
    July 27, 2011

    The money is very real and numbers are not an illusion.
    Specifically this year there’s also less ground to spend for interpretations regarding barcelona’s debt levels , because of several disputes over players sold / companies that hold our tv rights settled.

    All in all, probably according to what rosell’s entourage says the numbers do look good , yet this is not surprising.
    And its not because someone is manipulating this year’s numbers , its because several players that had a huge salary werent on our payroll last season (ibra, marquez henry) and now bojan – and they were replaced with players who warranted a lower paycheck.

    There’s also the fact that we haven’t paid any money for any transfers yet , except for kiko and received 5 million for oriol.
    This is kind of intriguing. Rosell has paid no money for transfers yet ,meaning our 45 million budget for transfers is still intact and ready for some big name.Guesses on who is it?

    • mei
      July 27, 2011

      In short, the club is doing well and it should so.
      Rosell got a clean slate in finances with ibrahimovic out and several other big names that were past their prime – yet having huge salaries departing.
      He also made deals that look quite promising( especially in the way the fees are gonna be paid and how much risk each agreement includes) while the disputes about tv rights are over.
      Hes got a successful club that is currently the biggest brand in football.
      Well good job for turning profitable , but you were expected to do so , sir.

    • July 27, 2011

      I already decided not to comment on roSELL’s numbers anymore, as this may give it some undeserved value. Yet as a general information:

      – Transfer spending (especially this season) has nothing to do with the debt numbers. Transfer budget is an independent account. It means if you have 50M budget, it is already deducted in its own account and the balance sheet takes place afterward. If you dont spend that money, it will keep being in that account till the end of the fiscal year and thats when you weaver it to bank account, another account, or keep it in the transfer account for the following year. so there is no relation between the amount not/spent and the debt registered for this year.

      – As for the salaries expenses. We shouldnt really take it as a financial boost. We sold Ibra, but we have to pay his agent 10% of his annual salary (for example) add that to 3M paid for buying Afellay and here you go, at least that equals Ibra’s previous expenses.

      More over, we shouldnt forget that we renewed lot of contracts during the season – which means paying initial payments and enhancing contracts conditions. If you calculate the increase of salaries of current squad players and compare it to last year and add that to the salaries of the new players whom we bought instead of the ones left (Mascherano, Afellay salary, Villa, Adriano, not sure if i forgot any), i dont think salaries changed to an extend that turns a broken club to a man city.

      As for the rest of roSELL’s argument about the current situation, I already predicted it 9 months ago -as it came. No surprise. so why would i comment now.

      Let the club work well, and I can give up on my fairness campaign toward previous board. As long as he START doing things right, I can live with his antiques.

  3. Gogah
    July 27, 2011

    I am somewhere in between in my belief whether all these numbers are real or not. I do believe though, that rosell definitely planned to paint this contrasting picture when he took presidency. he not only discredited laporta’s numbers by revealing a shocking difference of over 60M, he also took a loan of 150M to pay his players. i am not entirely convinced, But i will never deny that rosell is a shrewd business man, and maybe the numbers released by faus have some element of truth to it. A big part of the president’s job is to convert the sporting brilliance into fiscal brilliance too. he may have sold our soul to qatar for 150M, but i believe that sandro will, over time, go a long way in increasing the global barca ‘BRAND’. that, he knows to do, given his background and i understand that, as a designer. He may piss a lot of people on the way (like cryuff :D) but i respect a person who is not afraid to piss people off, take major decisions for the greater good. So lets look forward to a …
    oh yea, that saving on color toners is just bullshit, i mean come on!

    p.s – what is that machine in the image man? what does it do actually? looks interesting..
    p.p.s – Defender…striker…no?

  4. just listenin
    July 28, 2011

    The picture is funny. You can see Rosell in a back room with one of those bankers visors on… Let’s see, Ibra – click-click-click, buzzzzzzz. Bojan – click-click, buzzzzzzz, Qatar? click-click-click-click – buzzzzzzzzzzz…

    I have felt all along and said in previous posts that the financial concerns were part of a very public negotiating strategy to not get taken to the cleaners in an inflated transfer market while you’re on top of the hill. The accompanying austerity measures are to motivate discipline and eliminate waste when things are good. I said before and have felt there was going to be a “money under a mattress” surprise somewhere.

    I think for all the angst about RoSell, he may be proving to be a fairly shrewd and adept financial manager – I still don’t agree with the shirt as a revenue source, but… we’ll see. But if he is indeed taking a patch the holes in your roof while the sun is shining approach, that’s progressive and forward looking rather than getting caught short when the rains start to fall.

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