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Mes Que un Club;

Mes Que un Club;

For some this article may be pointless. For those folks be kind enough to just pass it by. For those who understand what troubles me..even if they agree or disagree your views, ideas and opinions on this subject matter are most welcome.

The title of the article; "Mes Que un Club" is the motto for FC Barcelona. For those of you who are Spanish challenged it means; "More than just a club". Those 4 words encompass the Barca philosophy and I have chosen them to make my points on this matter because our club owner Roman has made no pretensions of his admiration (some may say obsession) with all things Barca. It is well noised that he would like us to play like them, if he could he would like to get several of their players and he has been offering ungodly amounts of money in the attempt to lure their most successful coach to Chelsea.

The thing is ..there is far more to Barca than the tika-taka..there is far more to the club than all the recent trophies, there is far more to the club than even Messi..There is far more and I fear that superficial observers don`t realize this. What I say here also applies in varying degrees to other great institutions of club football in Europe (I am not versed enough in the history of the game in South America, Asia or Africa to speak of those regions). These same considerations apply to clubs like ManU, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Real, Juve and yes even Liverpool. Newer models of this ethos like Borussia Dortmund and Porto and until recently to even clubs like AC Milan, Arsenal and Benfica.

Beyond the present day Glitz of barca is a club that has a well defined philosophy of style of play and has patiently built it from the ground up. There is a history that has been handed on from one generation of players to the next with a constant basic set of values. There is a consistency of style and desired goals mixed with patience that has allowed them develop from within their ranks a number of players and coaches that have gone through some lean times as well as the now evident golden generation. But lest people like Roman forget this is more than a club..this a family..this club has retained in its squad an aging and sickly Eric Abidal, this is a club that is overseeing the current care of a sick Tito Villonova and had done the same previously for him without blinking an eye. This a club that dared to take a gamble on a young boy from Rosario Argentina and paid handsomely for his very expensive growth hormone treatments for years before he became the very best footballer of this generation..they cared enough to take the risk when he was essentially a nobody. This is a club that just granted a multiple year contract renewal to a club legend Carles Puyol who is not your typical new age sleek Barca defender. He is a fossil, a remnant of an age old school no nonsense center back..but a Catalan through and though who started out with Barca when they were struggling in the shadow of mighty Real. This is a Barca that also just renewed the contracts of an aging Xavi who despite his obvious genius is clearly on the wrong side of 30, is no longer as spry as he used to be and has recently been having more time out on account of injury than ever before in his storied career.

So while there are clubs like Barca who are clearly 'more than just a club' then there are clubs like Anzhi Machachkala, the new age PSG, Man City and others who are clearly and unapologetically simply mercenary recruitment centers who are frankly speaking "Just a club". These guys make no bones about it..they are about success now and simply go out to try and buy it, they really could care less for their recruits as persons be they coaches or players or whoever else. Once any of these begin to decline or are not as glitzy as initially they simply kick them out and bring in the new flavor of the month.

I leave it to each of you to decide to which broad class of team you feel Chelsea belongs to..i thought I always knew without doubt since I started supporting this side in the early 90s but in the past few years I cannot but wonder and the doubts are growing. Yes we are getting results now which is great but my growing unease is what sort of team are we becoming? What sort of team are we ultimately aiming to be? I recollect the recent comments of Nico Anelka some time ago when he said " Chelsea use you when they need you and discard you when they don`t" It may have seemed harsh but may not be entirely unwarranted.

Some may actually say it is pointless how we run our business as long as we continue getting trophies and results. Some would say Lamps does not deserve to even be offered a new contract by us (no matter what type of contract not even a 1 yr recurrent with reduced pay or less), others say similarly that JT is also not deserving to even be offered any new contract no matter the terms. Others opine that the way we dealt with Danny Sturridge's situation was totally appropriate and fine as has been the way we have dealt with past coaches like Jose, Carlo, RDM and even AVB. This school of thought says these guys should be glad to get their severance pay from Roman..once we are done with you..take your money and move on and we will go out to get replacements and continue rolling. As long as we keep winning and get trophies who cares? This may all be about differences in philosophies. Should the club be run as a pure business, a family or an amalgam of both? Should the club be purely about dollars and cents and the bottom line or should we care that the club have a heart and soul?

Whatever you think, this merits some thought. One thing though; the mindset of a mercenary is always different from that of a soldier fighting for his home country..they can never be the same. There is a reason that Messi cannot be bought from Barca for virtually any prize and why the same probably applies to Phillip Lahm at is the reason Liverpool are not seeking to kick Carragher or Gerrard out the window and is the reason why Thierry Henry keeps coming back to the Emirates since he left them. There is a reason beyond the players why Barca always seem to have more passion than the current Real players..for one group they play for more than a club, the other group often seem to just be doing the job..clock in, clock out and get paid. This mind set of the mercenary when it creeps into a manager and his crew, when it creeps into players, it affects everything; the passion, and effort with which they do their jobs, the risks and concessions they are willing to take as well as their commitment to the cause. We need to remember this when we talk of players and coaches. A Rafa who sees himself as just a stop gap cannot but have a very different mindset than a Rafa if he had the respect of being a permanent appointed coach. Anyone who thinks that the English youngsters on our side have not taken note of how Danny`s situation was handled are kidding themselves. Beyond that we need to be very careful of what happens with our best players as they hit that 27-29yr old threshold..dont be surprised when some of these guys then up and leave to greener pastures at the first chance. We have been sowing certain seeds..a time will come when we will reap the harvest of what we are sowing now.

I will conclude this with a thought for Roman and his three Amigos to ponder. As long as this obsession for all things Barca continues for Roman it may be instructive for them to go back and study closely how that dynasty was built because we certainly seem to be going about it very differently..rather than "more than just a club" what seems more apt for Chelsea FC is that it is "No more than just a club"

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Monday December 31 2012
Time: 4:13AM


What beats me is roman wanting to play like barca but our policies are opposite of wht barca are doing.for me football is a game played by a group of people and hence they must be made to feel as such.there must be a strong social ties in team to make a good family.these ties are enhanced through proper treatment of old and young players.thnks gabeu for your article.
31/12/2012 05:05:00
I knew it was no other than u when I read the first paragraph, nicely written mate, well the dice is cast, we'll see the number we would come up with and I hope it would be favourable, I don't buy the idea of letting cole,lamps and terry go, as I said we'll suffer for it and it would be unpleasant, truth be told rafa's tactic in yesterday's game was *****, if not for the brilliance and timing of lampard, we would have lost that game, I agree that lamps isn't as consistent as he use to be, but I'll advocate that we retain him, we should also stop playing him in the pivot and let him play his normal role as a no.10 whenever we want to play him either as a sub for oscar/mata or in odd games when we need to rest players or play him as a supporting striker if we are ever going to play that 2 uppfront formation, we need our leaders until other leaders are forged, that's my 2 cents
31/12/2012 05:47:00
Keep Lampard, A. Cole AND Never joke with my John Terry ooooo, get a player suitable for the double pivot role and move Lampard upfront, that is where He's more dangerous
31/12/2012 06:10:00
excellent article. I have for long been advocating creating a footballing philosophy, which is the template that all activities should follow. This includes scouting, youth development, etc. Leadership can only develop if the players, management have an emotional bonding with the club. In our current scenario it will not be surprising to see players like hazard, oscar go to madrid go 5 years time. Believe it or not with rafa we now have a chance to build a dynasty. He is a proven manager go the mould of alex f, jose m. Etc. I have been a long time admirer of rafa and i believe if we can retain rafa for 3 to 4 years with ex players like zola, may be lamps deputising him as assistant managers or youth team managers we can build a strong dynasty which will last for decades.
Blue India
31/12/2012 06:16:00
we can cry...and i am...all we want. but lamps is gone...and we are fecked...we have gone backwards ten years in our own development. i said it when rdm was fired...roman is truly clueless and has no regard for identity...when he is done with us we will be soulless and less than just a club...nice article by the way
31/12/2012 06:49:00
Brilliant thinking..The club is at the delicate stage of its development that is different from where City, PSG or Anzhi are at the moment as these clubs are still way behind us in terms of development. For, these clubs, the FFP will have a far greater impact on their growth especially if its hinged on making expensive purchases. For chelsea, our decision making at this time is soo crucial..I really hope the decision makers have an understanding of these things...3 of the current players we have over thirtY (JT, Lamps & Cole) are still somewhat important to us both for on and off the field reasons..I expect the club to sit down with these and work out something that will not harm the club's financial records and also make the players happy..of course their is a chance the players could reject the offers on the table, but then that will be a different ball game. The key issue with my points is that from what I have observed about Roman's personality, he appears gentle but lacks emotion, he is ruthless, stubborn and obstinate..key ingredents needed to succeed in the modern day business environment..these are the characteristics are reflect in the way the club is run...what baffles me most is what will be the trigger event that will make the club see reason to change?..I hope such an event will not have a lasting impact on the future of the club...somtimes I really wish the decisiion makers take a sec to read some of these threads and articles on VC...i know the chance of such happening is near zero..We can only hope things change for the better very soon...starting from Jan 2013.
31/12/2012 06:52:00
This is the best article I av come across this year.....Gabeu did you keep this for the last day of the year?nice 1 mate,most people complain about chelsea's inability to comply with FFP regulations as one reason to get the old players of our age bill but no player in barca's first 11 earns less than a hundred thousand euros week in week out...Barcelona pays one of the highest salary in the world today and yet doesn't see that as an excuse to release their old stars.....we need the leadership of cole,lamps and jt even though they are past their best,they can be managed in such a way that the club will get the best out of them....Nice one again Gabeu!!!
31/12/2012 07:10:00
Yawn. just WHEN DID ROMAN PROFESS his admiration (some may say obsession) with all things Barca? Your pretext has no substance.
31/12/2012 07:18:00
Did Roman really say he wants us to play like Barca, or is the media as usually trying to divert attention for personal gain?? If Roman wanted Barca why would he refuse to grant Txixi his request of total control of the team affairs, and buidling from the ground??
31/12/2012 07:33:00
You guys have a tendency to over exaggerate stuff. Roman only wants us to play good football, not necessarily Barca-style, if he did I can assure you those Man$hitty execs from Barca would be at Chelsea, and they aren't, so plz desist from claiming stuff without concrete evidence *smh*
31/12/2012 07:34:00
As for the "old players" mention, there's absolutely NO REASON to pay a squad player more than 100K, especially when BETTER PLAYERS are earning almost half that. If Lamps/Cashley really want to stay, they'll take the pay cut and stay (Cashley would never) but I doubt Lamps wants a cut, especially as China and USA are offering better monies. In that case, legend or not, if he wants more than 100K then it's best he leaves, we have BETTER players like Mata and Oscar now, and with his salary we can get 2 more players of that mould and we'll be better without him.
31/12/2012 07:40:00
As for his "goals" yesterday, Sturridge was derided for being a "poacher" by pretty much the same ppl praising Lamps wjo did nothing all game but pick scraps from people's hard work, I can assure you if we had Falcao or some1 like, Lamps wouldn't have scored those goals but the striker (which we don't have right now) so to pay some1 100K+ just for goal poaching every now and then is ludicrous, especially if and when we get Demba Ba
31/12/2012 07:41:00
You guys amaze at times. av u done in detail feasibility analysis on barca. ffs dey have one of the biggest arenas in camp nou 3x bigger than de bridge, their deal with qatar foundation is one of de biggest, bigger global appeal. all ahead of chelsea. i remember de last time our dear roman wanted a bigger venue we embarrassed him but yet still he forks out over 80m on tranfers n wud be givn us a new year present soon. romans only negative is his firing of coaches even with RDM we all know he never liked him as a coach. and dat gamble failed. Pls give Roman a break n deal with de greedy CPO. In Roman I Trust.
31/12/2012 07:49:00
0 lets keep Lampard, Cole, Terry...and why cant we rename it to TLC FC???? Come on...people please move on....We had much better players and legends and we had moved on...
31/12/2012 07:50:00
Plz dont compare Puyol to Terry and Xavi to Lampard anymore...Terry & Lampard are no match for them...Let us not fool ourselves....and people think chelsea lost its identity only after Roman taken over...oh wait, let me think, what was the identity for chelsea before that...what kind of football they used to would they honour their legends???? People keep harping about LEGENDS when the legends itself are not interested in the club, keep talking to press directly undermining the club, manager at post, etc...
31/12/2012 07:52:00
and barca gains about 2x revenue as ours so they can pay huge salaries but us Roman must write off losses yr in yr out. wise up friends its pay cut or no legends. You guys don't rem JT was flirting with city some yrs back and a 30 yr old lamps was holdn de club in ransome for triple figures. what goes round comes back round.
31/12/2012 07:55:00
well said Blu_RUN??
31/12/2012 08:49:00
The difference between Puyol, Xavi and Abidal are disciplined and never cause problems unlike like Terry, Lampard and Cole.
31/12/2012 08:59:00
GabeU this is a brilliant piece...I wrote something pretty similar to this in the forums some weeks back 'What's the plan',but u were pretty detailed and well articulated on ur analysis. Some fans on here will never get it as most are pre- roman era and act like spoilt kids in the midst of toys so I have less to comment on them. Once again,great article GabeU.
31/12/2012 10:36:00
Typical GabeU article verbose and sanctimonious. We might as well bring back Zola, Desailly,& Le Saux and all will be well. You forgot to mention the unceremonious releasing of Eto and Ronaldinho at their legendary prime by the ethically superior Barcelona who are more than just a club.
31/12/2012 10:54:00
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