Some will say that praising Josep Maria Bartomeu after an unsuccessful few years is ridiculous. In fairness, those people wouldn’t be wrong. The president has made some glaring mistakes in his tenure which have gravely endangered Barcelona’s supremacy as a European powerhouse. The sporting project is still just an amalgam of talented players thrown into the pot and the club’s potential interest in Antoine Griezmann adds more questions.
Why, then, do I feel that Bartomeu is not half as bad at his job as people make him out to be?
For starters, it is his focus on branding and commercial growth that has allowed Barcelona to generate significant revenues and be competitive at the top of the food chain. While some feel this obsession with marketing has overtaken the actual sporting project, money is still essential to institutions and while it is not a holistic approach, it enables Barcelona to make important, extravagant purchases that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.
Another big factor that speaks in favor of the president is that he listens to the fans. While this is not true all the time, Bartomeu has often taken the opinion of the fans while making decisions. While some boards are capable of making decisions on their own which are widely accepted, Bartomeu feels the temperature of the water before making a jump.
His actions may primarily be for self-preservation but they give the fans a certain amount of power in the club’s decision-making. When put under enough pressure, this board usually gives in to the fans and that’s not a bad thing at all. It means we, as fans, irrespective of where we are in the world, can influence what goes on at the club.
Social media has empowered the supporters and as a club that takes immense pride in its social media presence, Barcelona will succumb to the popular opinion more often than not.
After the departure of Neymar, everyone clamored for Ousmane Dembele and the club delivered. Many fans across the world wanted to see Coutinho in a Barcelona jersey and putting aside all the murky business with Liverpool, the Brazilian is Blaugrana today.
Whatever your opinion is--if you’re loud enough and have the support, this board Will listen to you. You just have to take away their choice.