The Malcom transfer served as excellent material for the ever-growing group of Barça-haters to push the popular narrative that the slogan “Més que un club” is just a hypocritical, romanticized, and outdated motto that currently serves as nothing more than marketing purposes.
And why not? When the plane that left Bordeaux arrived in Rome, the eager fans (one of which was Malcom’s mom!) were left stunned when they found out the man of the hour was actually not on the plane, but rather on his way to Barcelona instead.
The end of this story we all know by now, and the manner in which this transfer took place (ONCE MORE) doesn’t necessarily shed a very friendly light on our club. But we all should remain realistic.
Was what the FC Barcelona execs did illegal? Certainly not. If nothing has been signed, verbal agreements are useless. And if Barça come into the picture (unless the player is a diehard Madridista/Perico or in this case a Roma fan) it goes without saying that our club would be the player’s preferred choice.
Was it ethical? Roma’s president Pallotta seems to think it wasn’t. But is he conveniently forgetting the way they poached Sanabria from us, back in the day when the youngster was about to sign his first professional contract?
Was it amicable? No. Ideally this would have been done in a different manner. Barça have in fact offered an apology, which understandably has not been accepted by Pallotta. If tables were turned around we’d feel hard done by as well. But here again I miss the mentioning of Girondins in all this.
However, judging the recent years with a bit of self-criticism, our club has seen its share of dirt being associated with it since the days of UNICEF, and playing the best brand of football the world has ever seen. From the Neymar signing/selling fiascos, ex-president Rosell resigning and ending up in prison, swapping UNICEF for Qatar, to seeing other values the club once stood for slowly but surely fade away, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that “Més que un club” is frowned upon like never before.
A slogan, which is even being put into question by the Camp Nou itself as this week marks the 50-year anniversary of when FC Barcelona’s 32nd president, Narcís de Carreras, pronounced those words in a speech in July of 1968. Currently, the stadium commemorates “What does Més que un club mean?”
In an attempt to answer that question, for me “Més que un club” is a value proposition. It is a historical and cultural connotation. It’s a fact. Just like our history, our club’s motto can never be erased, regardless of which board of directors is currently in charge and irrespective of the direction in which they take it.
It is and will always be our club with a dictum, which has a different meaning for each and every one of us. The socios and fans who support the club season after season, through thick and thin, before and after Messi, and most certainly with or without Bartomeu & Co., are the ones who decide what “Més que un club” stands for.
Barça’s history is our pride. But for those critics, who wish to continue to poke the stick, why don’t we compare FC Barcelona to other another global conglomerate such as Apple?
Apple’s value proposition is “The Experience IS the Product”. Did this cease being the case when Steve Jobs passed away? Does this change as their products evolve over time? No and no. For good or bad, Apple will remain dedicated in their quest to comply with their company’s motto.
It is the same in Barça’s case. We’re a club with a rich history of overcoming obstacles. Historically, we’re massive overachieving underdogs. A change of board with questionable practices doesn’t erase what this institution stands for, for the millions of people within Catalunya, Spain and the rest of the world.