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Barcelona's long tradition of vindictiveness


On the subject of Josep Maria Bartomeu, a generally affable gentleman when it suits him, it is difficult to regard him in the role of the Borgian Pope Alexander VI, but his handling of the situation at Camp Nou invokes images of that controversial figure. The president of the Camp Nou board has whittled through seven vice-presidents in five years, the latest being Emili Rousaud, who on Wednesday lit up the radio in Catalonia with some arch remarks. Ironically, it was precisely Rousaud who was assigned to head up Bartomeu's continuance plan when the current Camp Nou president's mandate expires next year, 

Intertwining accusations notwithstanding, this is yet another straw to the back of the camel that is buckling under the weight of the incredible tension engulfing Can Barça. Bartomeu hasn't enough hands to keep his numerous plates spinning: Leo Messi and the demands of his cabal; the I3 ventures scandal; the problems caused in the club's basketball area by Mirotic's excesses; the lack of income caused by the coronavirus; Barcelona's stance on the Catalonian drive for independence... in the final year of his mandate, Bartomeu's problems are piling up. Some of them have been brewing for some time and others are more immediate, but all are almost impossible in terms of unanimity. Rousaud rattled the cage and Bartomeu responded in kind. 

The two Barcelonas

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There is a long tradition of Cainianism at Barcelona. From Madrid's point of view Camp Nou is a monolithic cause but that is only the case from the point of view of an external enemy, which will always be Real Madrid. At the end of the day there will always be endless disagreement. When I became interested in football, in the 1970s, Real Madrid and Atlético had one fanzine apiece, but Barcelona had two: one was called Barça (and it still exists) and the other Revista Barcelonista, put out by those in opposition to the establishment who accused the club's board of profiting from transfers. I recall my youthful innocence at reading such things. That's why whatever is published these days holds no surprises for me.