Barcelona are the envy of the footballing World, their brand of high line defence, relentless pressing and audacious attacking is unrivalled, the most beauteous spectacle of the beautiful game. Couple that with a World Class first team nucleus born and bred from their highly acclaimed youth academy that is also unparalleled and I would argue they are undisputably the best club in the World.
The club’s structure off the pitch also manages to emulate and sustain the superior standards set on it. They are light-years ahead of the competition with regards to their whole club infrastructure, one that many English Premiership teams could benefit immensely in replicating. Barcelona have a Worldwide membership scheme (one of the largest in the World of its kind) where millions of fans are registered members and with that status receive unique benefits. They are actively seen as a core component in deciding the club’s direction, members are not ony free to express their opinion on club matters, with the club happy to offer various outlets as sounding boards but they actually listen and response to feedback which then effects decisions at the top level of the club. Presidential elections are held every four years for presidency of the club and the members are allocated a vote for who they think is the ideal candidate. All this means the club is unlike those in England and the rest of Europe in the fact it can never be sold to an outside party or foreign billionaire sugar daddy and if the fans don’t like the guy in-charge they can choose to exhibit their power and elect a new president every four years and vote on a change of directors every two years, leading to very much a democratic form.
Some might argue that that’s all great but football is like any other business, it’s about making money, well Barca are also one of the richest clubs in the World. To compound matters further they do all this without ever receiving any money from shirt sponsorship, in-fact they currently choose to do the exact opposite and instead pay the charity UNICEF to sponsor them! Can they do no wrong?
Barcelona’s structure differs from Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid etc. Who may have success backed by mammoth transfer spending but in comparison any win is a hollow win as they have exclusively bought the success by allowing millionaire business men to make the club their plaything. Manchester City haven’t bought well and with all their spending ripped out the beating heart of the club by allowing their talented youth products to become bit-part players . This is a hefty price to pay, especially given their failure to achieve the minimum pre-season objective of 4th place in the Premiership. Stephen Ireland who was fantastic the season before last has been completely overlooked since Mancini arrived. Fellow youth player Wright Phillips who has always been good value and the club’s creative force has also been displaced by new signing Johnson. Youth defender Richards is solid and has shown huge promise also outed. Youth striker Daniel Sturridge who is a very promising player was also let go off without being given enough game-time and has since gone to Chelsea who also continue to ostracise him. Chelsea and Real Madrid are just laughable clubs really, like something out of a football manager game, you lose something when your club have little or no youth or club identity and just import in player after player after player. With the club now being dictated by some random foreigner , a club that used to be a local traditional club, where fans had a voice.
I hate everything about Chelsea in particular, the players arrogant attitude on the pitch, Drogba’s diving, Terry and co. harassment of referees, and Ashley Cole and Terry’s antic off the pitch. They are rightfully champions and I usually would adore any team that wins and plays/scores as they have done this season but I just feel nothing but contempt for them really, as they are such an easily hateable team. Given the players character, the smugness of the average Chelsea fan and the way they have acquired their wealth and trophies. It’s not honourable they have not won by playing on a level playing field and by fair means. They have won purely because a random billionaire chose them over another club, it all feels so soulless.
Barca’s is the surely the pure ethical way to run a club, they have a more pronounced club identity/unit than any other club, don’ t poach the stars of tomorrow like so many others but create and mould them in their own image. Highlighted more recently by promoting ex-player and Barcelona Guardiola from B team to first team manager, Pique’s immensely impressively return and Fabregas’s clear desire to return home after deciding to depart Barcelona’s academy at 16 in favour of Arsenal’s fast tracking system for talented foreign youth. This kind of relationship with Barcelona’s graduates is testament to the bond. No pre-madonnas, no egos, no me! me! me! like some *cough* Real Madrid/Ronaldo*cough* they all play as one knitted compact web that attack as one, press as one and defend as one. They are taught to be humble, and play as a team, expressive themselves and be tactically and technically aware. If you analyse the first team games this is exactly what you see, and it is enstilled right through every level of playing and coaching staff, blue prints handed down by Barca’s dream team of the 90’s marshalled by Johan Cruyff. They don’t just want to win they want to entertain and be universally accepted as the best irrespective of results. It runs so much deeper than your average player-club connection they don’t just enjoy being at a club environment they almost feel an obligation to go back and an affinity to stay. This family like relationship is further highlighted by the Catalan identity embomied by the club motto mes que un club (more than just a club) which amplifies the fans viewpoint on what Barcelona means to them. It is a way of life, a Catalan philosophy that differs from the rest of Spain and is the mirror image of Barcelona’s arch rivals Real Madrid style. Barca are the Luke Skywalker to Real Madrid’s Darth Vader.
Even Barca’s kits for next season look like World beaters, love these new designs and unique colours: