By an anonymous Arsenal fan who would quite like to revisit Barcelona one day
THERE was a time when if you asked any sane British footy fan who their favourite other European team was, they would smile and wistfully say Barcelona. Not any more.
As we all know, Barca is a club steeped in the best traditions of football, which has in the past boasted some of the most amazing players to have graced the game. Now it has another wonderful team – one of the best ever in European club history – with the undisputed best player in the world, Lionel Messi, in its ranks.
Yet the club now seems to be on the verge of becoming the Benny Hill of European football – an annoying and unfunny joke.
This is down to two factors. One is money, the other is the comedy way in which the club is being run at the moment.
First the money. Barca have spunked a lot of cash in the last few seasons on players. It worked – they won the Champions League and were it not for a dogged Inter team, would have almost certainly repeated the feat last May. However, it now appears that the club is broke. The Guardian ran a story which claimed that the club is actually in pretty serious financial difficulty:
“Digger has received financial analysis prepared by Professor José María Gay, the head of the University of Barcelona’s economics and business unit and Spain’s foremost authority on football finance. In the document Gay presents Barcelona’s troubled 2009-10 balance sheet, which he describes as ‘very worrying’. Wage costs have risen 55% from their 2008 level to €262m (£220m). By contrast the club’s stated revenues have risen 33% over the same period, meaning wages now account for almost 64% of income.”
If anything the situation has got worse .
Of course Barca could go cap in hand to the banks and ask for more cash. Well, er, no. If you thought the UK economy