Camp Nou as we know it is no more. Bulldozed and razed to the ground. It seems an apt metaphor for where Barca find themselves at the moment.
Everyone hopes of course that the ruinous state that the club are in at the moment will soon give way to a ‘phoenix from the flames’ moment as the Blaugranes rise up once again and take all before them.
We’ve been at rock bottom but are slowly gaining momentum, and with Xavi learning on the job having won a league title whilst not playing particularly well, the future does actually look quite bright.
It’s the more immediate future that could cause some unwanted issues.
The Estadi Lluis Companys isn’t the most welcoming of stadia, and with a paltry 54,367 capacity, there’s bound to be a marked difference in terms of atmosphere from Camp Nou.
As the official FC Barcelona website notes, only 49,472 of those seats are considered ‘commercially viable,’ and it’s certainly worth pondering on the fact that season tickets are still available for the 2023-24 season at this late stage.
With culers clearly not enamoured at having to walk up Montjuic and plonk themselves on seats that are miles away from a pitch surrounded by the athletics track that was built for the 1992 Olympics, there’s a side issue of tourists rather than genuine Barca fans getting their hands on match tickets.
Whilst the club won’t necessarily care who has them as long as they’re sold, the atmosphere we’ve regularly seen at the Gamper Trophy could become the norm next season, and that’s bound to have an effect on the players.
It’s often said that the crowd can be the 12th man, and many times we have seen the Camp Nou faithful get behind the team and drive them on to victory.
The Gamper provides a more ‘festival’ atmosphere and that isn’t what’s needed if we want to intimidate the opposition throughout next season.
Even Joan Laporta has admitted that it could be a tricky transition in an interview with Sport.
“It won’t be easy. It will be uncomfortable, but I think Barça fans understand that it is a phase that we must go through if we want to realise the dream of having a new stadium, in an environment like the Espai Barça and with a new Palau.”
Furthermore, last season Barca won 15, drew three and lost just one at Camp Nou. The team also conceded a mere four goals at home in La Liga on their home turf.
Even if the standard of football at times wasn’t the best, the fact is that our home record was enviable.
If the league title is to be retained, it’s at home where the majority of points need to be earned, and for the reasons above, there’s a chance Barca may unexpectedly tail off a little.