Yrsa Roca Fannberg



The beauty of The Catalan Press and Barcelona Football Club

What happened out of a sudden? Remember last year, when Barcelona cruised through the league, unjustly like the holy man thrown out of Champions League by Chelsea and his Mourinho. Go back in time, remember:

Barcelona played beautiful football, the purest of it all, reminiscent of the golden era of Dutch football, the best of the Dutch, Brazilian and even a little bit of Italian. Every single person, especially, In Catalunya praised the team and saw a future laden with only glory. The president was behind the team; even a fierce and nasty rift behind the scene was unable to disrupt a harmonious dressing room. God was on Barcelona's side. The press truly believed in them.

How things can change just over a summer:

Now there are serious doubt installed in a system that worked so well over a year and a half, the players are no long what they used to be and the press is neurotically analyzing each molecule, not only to make the team tick but also to be the one coming with the solution. Rijkaard is now seen as incapable of making any decision, Cruyff told him to rest Deco and Ronaldinho, the press to rest Xavi and they even try to portray Messi as a burden on the team. Las season Rijkaard had to make few tactical choices as so few players were available, this year it is seen as a problem to have a squad. They just don't seem to agree and this is the beauty of the club and its entorno. Every single person has an opinion and there are a few people which opinions get echoed at 150 DB. Like Cruyff's, now you have Deco pissed off and claiming the dressing room is not as good in Portugal, he later had to retract that comment, a former candidate for the presidency is seriously thinking about a lawsuit against the club for lying. After all Laporta seems to have lied about crucial issues, personally I don't believe he lied regarding Beckham, he only confirmed he had a deal with Manchester United - true, however other lies seems rather serious or he is becoming over pompous. It is difficult to see if he is being attacked from all sides, but they definitely have become masters of guiding the fans and members into various corners.

There is the lie regarding his wife's brother, who is a director of the club, originally he entered the club as a security chief, as Laporta had been threatened by some fans, later he proved extremely capable of using his power in Madrid to obtain express passports for non EU players. However those connections are the very base of the problem, he is or is not a member of the Franco Foundation. What happened to a club, who claim themselves to be the voice of the Catalan people, the board is very very nationalistic, now having a director who is a fascist or supports Franco, that is not the most serious issue, but that Echevarria lied about it, denied that he had ever been a member of the foundation. Laporta also denied it, or rather (the white lie) that Echevarria had told him he was not. Some members of the club have done some research and discovered a document stating that he has or is a member of the Foundation. We will have to await the next chapter of this.

The next lie is the one with the Chinese sponsors, here it is also a dubious as the club perhaps believed they were extremely close to a sponsorship with the Chinese government, something hard to believe, but it was some kind of a complex deal including a gift from a UK company to the Chinese government (the sponsorship), hard to believe to be honest, but they have totally denied that the deal is dead or told the whole truth on the matter, all some kind of Chinese Whispers.

On top of all of this the team has been playing badly and the press has had to fill its pages, for 10 days with international football. You know there are two papers in Spain dedicated to Barcelona, plus two hours radio programmes, EACH day.

In Madrid the difference is that Florentino has total control over the media, when one could argue that the media has control over the club in Barcelona, to make matters more complicated, many many reporters were part of the Nuñez (a former president) regime and have taken the part of Rosell, many also believe that Rosell is behind some of the issues, and guilty orchestrating his campaign for the presidency. As Laporta once acclaimed that as a young boy you dream of playing for Barça and as an adult one dreams of becoming the president…
He seems to have indulged fully in the presidency and at times seems pompous and enjoying the power it has given him.
Then he also believes and many with them that there is a conspiracy against the club from other teams, as in the federal elections he was the only one still voting for Villar, who stayed perhaps due to that vote,

Many believe that he is paying for his support for the current president of the federation and that in order to thank Laporta for the support, he knows control the referee's… And they have proof; after all in six games Barcelona have ended up with one or two extra man five times. That must be it. No one ever mentions the dubious penalty that Barcelona got against them against Valencia or that Barcelona had to repeat a penalty or that as the title holders teams are dying to beat them and of course with Ronaldinho and co, one of the few baits to stop them is the classical knock them down.
Also the teams are desperate to stop Messi playing, not only as Messi is very good but he got an express passport, and his license is not in order and so on, finding excuses to harm the club and an easy way to do that is making life difficult for an 18 year old. However if Barcelona did something not in order, then they should be punished.

The best of it all is first the team played wonderful football, then evil Mourinho came along and kicked them out of CL, the players claimed to have learnt a lesson. Mourinho was seen as a certain Bin Laden, playing ugly resuldadista football, arrogant and ruthless.
Now with Rijkaard seen as bland, no personality (suddenly) some quarters are begging for Mourinho to come back, to show them how to be winners. It has all be forgotten, the identity of the club, who cares about that, win win win is what we want. Not play beautiful football. Cruyff is seen as an old boring dog, and Mourinho as the saviour, perhaps it is just another method to try to wake up the club and the team and fight for Rijkaard. Perhaps the problem lies in that Rijkaard has a bigger cock and thereof less to prove than Mourinho.

Deco was seen last year as Barça's best players, now he is there worst player, who only thinks about the fat contract he signed last summer. Ronaldinho has even become more galactico than Beckham appearing in many many adverts, wearing golden boots and not preparing properly for games. What happened to beautiful Barça, they are not pressing as they did before, last year remember how quickly they got the ball back when they lost it, most of the time they got it back in the opposites half, this time, the team seems broken, lack of ideas, I belief that at times, when the match gets dirty they lack a plan b, something arsenal lacked, when other teams park the bus they will need a different style of play or they will need their attitude back and prove that they are not full with only one title. One has to remember that most players in the team have not won that much.

God bless Mourinho, it would be interesting to see how he would cope at Camp Nou, I reckon he is far too arrogant to be able to work there, the press would be waiting for the moment to attack him, Rijkaard seems like the ideal coach, the one who is very good at isolating players, remember that Barcelona have many many Catalan players, where there families listen and read to all the press, making it difficult to stay immune.
Mourinho would very quickly get the press trying to get him, and when things were not going so well it could get nasty, but of course, that is not something the press is considering: as Mourinho is a winner.


During the cold winter months, I would distract myself by watching football, rather said, I would watch F.C. Barcelona's games. No other teams.
It is a mixture of two things.
• I find it sane to have a passion for something you can't control, that you canal your emotions through something that is distant from yourself, but you feel part of it, you feel it.
• As a child I would travel to Catalunya to visit my father. I started travelling on my own as a five year old, only speaking Icelandic and after about two weeks I would speak some Catalan as well. I learnt very quickly that if I support Barça it would bring me a sense of belonging. It quickly became my connection with the country my father is from.
These writings are an extension of these two factors.