#44 – Emotion & censure
No matter how old you are, you know that the pyramids of Giza – Cheops. Khafre and Menkaure – are the last remaining vestige of the wonders of the ancient world. They are an icon, a feat of architecture and the main reason why each year millions of tourists plant their feet on the dusty ground South of Cairo. But if you look at it from a different point of view, the pyramids are only mountains of stones placed on top of each other, they’re nothing vitally important and they have no incidence on our day to day life. Even more, any one of us could die without visiting them and it would be ok. But you know what? If I find out that a group of madmen wanted to blow them up – for religious reasons, ignorance, or just plain spite – I would surely panic and do everything I could to avoid that. Because there are elements that are part of our essence as cultural beings and we can’t afford to lose them and once they’re lost they’re irrecoverable.
Well then, this thing about the pyramids of Egypt also applies to my relationship with Barça: it doesn’t provide me with food, my life doesn’t depend on it, it doesn’t define my day to day life, but I will fight with everything I have if I face the fact that someone is destroying it. Today, in September of 2017, I have this certainty.
Let’s look back a couple of years, on the eve of the club’s presidential election that happened on July 18th 2015. On this blog, I wrote a few pieces explaining why we had to dislodge Bartomeu and his board from the leadership of the club. I said this:
“On Saturday, July 18th, Barça’s members have the opportunity to avoid their club’s fall into the abyss. During this series of posts we have given enough reasons why everyone should be aware of the fact that the management of Rosell and Bartomeu in the last five years has been much worse than the majority of the media have informed. If this neonunyisme leadership were to win again and run the club for the next six year than we would be facing the last years of this club as we’ve known it. The accelerated loss of values (Unicef, academy, Qatar) along with the danger of them turning the club into a public limited company would make this new entity very different from our Barça.”
“Seeing this summary of proved and irrefutable actions it is easy to conclude that voting for Bartomeu can only happen for one of the two following reasons: being completely misinformed or having a personal interest in him continuing. Anyone who is a true Barça fan should be very far from reality in order to keep supporting a board that is in the process of demolishing our esteemed club.”
We are aware of the fact that in that moment some readers though that “it was all looking very bad”, but they weren’t aware of the chaos that was already taking root. What’s more, 25 months after those elections we are worse than we expected. Let’s summarize things.
During the 2015 campaign we knew a lot of things about the board: that they had replaced Unicef with an Islamic dictatorship because Rosell and his pals had a personal interest in doing that; that they didn’t care about the model of play of the first team in the least; that the academy was a bother for them and that, in general, they couldn’t stop lying. Laporta’s three best decisions – in the words of Rosell himself – were “Unicef, kicking the violent fans out of the stadium and hiring Pep Guardiola”, but curiously, shortly after, we saw that we had Qatar instead of Unicef, that the violent fans were back in the stadium and that Pep Guardiola was far away and despised. And to top it all off, lies about everything: the exits of Thiago and Abidal, the games that were promised to be scheduled at times accessible for kids, Neymar’s price or the FIFA ban. (If anyone wants a complete and structured story of all of these actions you can find it in this series of pieces that I mentioned before.)
We knew all of this, but we didn’t yet know that Sandro Rosell would end up in jail for money laundering and that his successor Bartomeu would be so shameless as to get the club convicted in order to save himself of a crime that he had committed, like he did in the Neymar case. We also didn’t know that they would end up losing the suit they had filed against Laporta’s board and that in the process they would lose the club money in attorney fees for the Cuatrecasas firm. In other words, we knew that the suit was unjust and even immoral, but the verdict of May 2017 laid clear the fact that it had no legal basis. In those days before the elections we also didn’t know that Bartomeu’s board would do shady deals with the seats of members behind their backs and we also hadn’t witnessed the delirious summer transfer market activity that happened this year, in which the club, and especially its hypertrophied sporting structure, made a historic mockery of themselves.
It would be interesting to go over the club’s accounts from 2016-2017, but it hasn’t been possible because they aren’t yet posted on the club’s website and they haven’t officially presented them yet.
It’s clear the the management of Rosell was very bad, but this appendix in the form of Bartomeu that destiny (or rather 25823 confused members) has given us goes above any bad prevision we might have made, transforming Joan Gaspart into a just student of the world of nonsense.
We can’t ignore the fact that this mafia that has taken hold of the club – I don’t think anyone can get scandalized over labeling them this way, given the fact that their leader is in jail for being a part of a criminal organization – counts on a lot of support from important sections of the media – the Godo Group and them are basically made of the same substance, while TV3 has taken a stand that is improper of a public station – but in order for them to destroy the club with impunity the opposition has also played a role with its hardly justifiable passivity. The infinity of groups and platforms that orbit the club, made out of members that are unhappy with this management, has been unable to articulate a speech that unites them all in order to get rid of this board, in a lot of cases because of the presidential aspirations of some in the opposition, who are paralyzed by the fear of spending energy before the time is right and have opted to watch impassibly as Barça was falling apart bit by bit.
Beyond this inaction, the opposition has made another transcendental error. They identified everyone who voted for Bartomeu as a classic nunyista who is happy with an odd cup and the club making a profit, which is a distorted perception of reality. I understand that the idealization of the enemy is a common mistake, but if you really want to lead the club you have to make a more accurate analysis of the situation. To start with, there are 85000 members that didn’t vote for neonunyisme, so they had an ample field of voters to work with. Also, and probably most importantly, not all of the 25823 that voted for Bartomeu fit the profile of the stereotypical nunyista who has been brainwashed by Mundo Deportivo’s and viscerally hates Guardiola. They need to open their eyes and see that not everyone lives Barça with the same intensity like some of us do: for some the club only exists on Sundays and Wednesdays, when the ball rolls across the pitch, which the, shall we say, “political” life of the entity doesn’t interest them at all. They vote with the ones in power purely because of inertia. They don’t have the need to be informed over the things that happen outside the pitch. This is group that could have been worked on, this is where the base that could have tipped the scales resides. A union of opposition forces, even if under the name of “holy alliance” or the label of “Siberians”, would have facilitated things. The lunches, dinners and other meeting with various people that are already convinced of the need for change are useless. The important work would have been to bit by bit bring in people that are not informed or badly informed about the club and this could have produced the effect like an oil stain. If you add some more strategic moves, like knowing how to involve politicians in this battle, then the options for success would have been significantly higher. This last idea is not crazy: you just had to know how to transmit the idea that Barça is a key element in the independence process – a state structure, in its own language – for the independence supporting parties to have wanted to support this. How? Very easy: by avoiding that the board of the sport section of the Catalunya TV had fallen into the hands of people that are intolerably servile to Bartomeu’s board. In case there’s anyone who is still naïve at this point in the reading, I would recall you that the previous chief of the sport department, Josep Maria Farràs signed for Barça at the start of 2017, in a clear case of the “revolving doors” system that we criticize in politics all the time.
Now that we’ve diagnosed the situation and brought evidence of the difficult illness affecting Barça, we should look ahead to study how we can get out with this situation in a better condition. First of all, we have to define and secure the fundamental structure of the blaugrana entity. I don’t think I’m discovering hot water here when I state that the following elements are the pillars of the club’s being:
- Property structure (club belongs to the members)
- Personal model of play
- Vector of Catalan identity
- Singular international image
- Other sporting sections
In order to recover these essences (and maybe even save the club from irreparable damage) we have to throw out the current management. Given the fact that they have no intention of leaving of their own accord and that the next elections are in 2021, we have to use the emergency mechanism known as a vote of no confidence. The eternal candidate Agustí Benedito has had the courage of taking a step forwards and initiating this process. Obviously, from this site, we give this initiative our full support. It seems like a difficult challenge, in order to get to the vote itself he has to collect 16570 signatures in a relatively short period of time, but, looking at it from a different perspective, we have to keep in mind the fact that in 2015 Joan Laporta alone obtained 15615 votes, in an election that happened during a single day and in only one place.
Is saving Barça an emergency? Yes, and we can give plenty of reasons for this, but they could all be summed up in this one: this year Leo Messi has turned 30 years old. This blessing that the fate has generously placed in our hands is facing the risk of retiring with his potential being wasted and this would be inexcusable.
It is necessary that all good natured culers get involved in this vote of no confidence. Speak to the members that you normally disagree with, explain the reality to them, proselytize where you go and look for support under every rock. Everything is in play now.
We’re writing these lines filled with the emotion of the developments of the last few weeks, in which we have stared absolute evil, from the ignorant version of it who states that his God is the best, to the nauseating one which inhabits the deepest sewers and hides behind the final letter of the alphabet. But there are also the lines that transcend censure, because if you can you have to investigate and avoid abuses. Living in a society, being citizens, obligates us to not close our eyes to what is affecting our community, even if, but circumstance, the matter might not affect us directly.
[Special thanks to @DianaKristinne]