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Barca: A People's Passion Paperback – 31 Jul 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (31 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408805782
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408805787
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 210,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

From the English businessmen who founded the club, through Cruyff, Maradona, Lineker, Venables, Robson and Ronaldo, FC Barcelona, European football giant and quintessential embodiment of Catalonian pride, has been built on the efforts of foreign mercenaries.

In interview and analysis, Jimmy Burns uses the experiences of these outsiders as his own passport to the heart of the Camp Nou, returning with a hugely enjoyable history of the team and it's fanatically nationalistic support.

Unique among the world's biggest clubs, Barcelona has stayed true to its origins as a quasi-democratic institution. It is effectively a private members club, made up of the 120,000 supporters whose subscriptions bankroll the team, but a sense of ownership extends across Catalonia itself.

At the heart of the book is the struggle for this unique identity to survive the commercial colonisation of the sport.

Burns is a sensitive and intelligent interpreter of what is becoming, for better and worse, a forgotten language of regional tribalism in football. It may not be many years before his study of this enigmatic club is regarded as a definitive memorial to the last great love affair of what was once a people's passion. --Alex Hankin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Excellent...A densely detailed account of the history of F. C. Barcelona ... Coincides with Barcelona's 100th anniversary but it is not in the least pious' DAILY TELEGRAPH 'Burns' examination of the club's fates and fortunes always goes well beyond the game itself...Burns is a brilliant journalist...Unmissable' TOTAL FOOTBALL

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
Jimmy Burns explains just how FC Barcelona has become the symbol of the Catalan nation. Burns takes the reader on a crash course through twentieth-century Spanish history and leaves the reader in no doubt that FC Barcelona enjoys a local status far removed from most clubs. This book is well worth a read, and will appeal to general football lovers as well as people interested in twentieth-century Spain.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Mar. 2000
Format: Hardcover
Barca: A people's passion
With a motto like "Mes que un club"("more than a club" in Catalan) it was always going to be a difficult task for Jimmy Burns when he undertook the project to charter the history of F.C Barcelona, one of, if not the biggest football club in the world. Burns previous work, the critically acclaimed Hand of God: The life of Diego Maradona, chartered the life of a great enigma and now, perhaps buoyed by this success, he has moved on to another great enigma, Barcelona.
The book is effectively sectioned into two parts; the main section where Burns takes the reader on a chronological journey from Barcelona's foundation in 1899 to the present day, and the short initial section where he recounts his travels with the "cules", the young, often fanatical element of the Barcelona fans to Madrid, Valencia and Manchester. As an opening to what is in essence a history book, this travelog gives the reader an opportunity to experience what being a Barcelona fan is all about.
Research-wise, Burns cannot be faulted, as the book features interviews with everybody from lowly bootboys and fans to the various presidents of the club, including current head José Luis Nuñez. He is thorough to the last even in his coverage of the civil war period when many club and official state records were lost; for example, who outside Spain would have known that Barcelona once had an Irish manager! (Patrick O'Connell 1935-6). F.C Barcelona is indeed "mes que un club", and if there is anything that this book does to perfection it is the emphasis of this fact.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Jan. 2000
Format: Hardcover
Jimmy Burns' anaylsis of FC Barcelona focuses on the Catalan motto, "more than a club" - and his book does more than just outline the club's history on the field. The dedication of its supporters, the "cules", is painted in the perspective of the history of Catalan nationalism and the club's efforts to survive under the Francoist regime. It's an era which seems to change in 1992 - the year Barcelona finally win the European Cup - because after 1992 the story of the club seems to cast aside some of the ghosts of the past and enter the modern world of big-money, highly successful European teams. Unlike other soccer books which may focus on the romance of supporting some lesser known team, Barcelona fans demand success, and their often frustrating relationship with their team and its stars is another main focus of the book. The legend of Cruyff; the long and controversial reign of chairman Nunez; and the what-might-have-been sagas of Maradona and Ronaldo also feature.
Personally I would love to see some writer further explore the story of Patrick O'Connell, the Limerick man who managed Barca during the Spanish Civil War. Any takers?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Oldevers on 13 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
As in his previous book, about Diego Maradona, Jimmy Burns has succeeded in selecting a subject which is fascinating both on and off the pitch and again the author's painstaking and meticulous research has paid dividends. Whether recounting heroics on the Nou Camp playing surface or conspiracy theories in its corridors of power, Burns has done an admirable job of piecing together the labyrinthine politics and history of Barca.

Barca - A People's Passion traces the club from its foundation by the English brothers Arthur and Ernest Witty and patriarch, Swiss businessman Joan Gampart and early games on waste ground to its current position as one of the biggest football clubs in the world. Along the way we are entertained by myriad fascinating tales involving some of the biggest names in football - Samitier, Kubala, Cruyff, Maradona, Michels, Lineker, Venables, Van Gaal, Robson, Rivaldo, Figo, the list of alumni is impressive to say the least, and collectively they produce a plethora of tales from both on and off the pitch. Burns has compiled an impressive list of interviewees to give their own perspective of Barca, giving the book real insight into life at the Camp Nou.

Despite this, the most absorbing part of Barca's history comes from its prominent role in Catalonian life and the consequently chequered relationship it enjoys with both its own fan base and the rest of Spain. This is most evident during the Spanish Civil War and Franco years, when despite a pro-regime board, the Camp Nou became the focal point for resistance to Franco and a rallying point for Catalan identity and national pride. It was also the time that spawned paranoia and conspiracy theories from di Stefano's transfer saga to claims of official bias and outright match-fixing.
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