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Barca: A People's Passion [Paperback]

Jimmy Burns
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

31 July 2009
Founded in 1898, FC Barcelona or Barca, is the world's biggest and best-loved football club. Barca has more than 500 local fan clubs spread across the world, while its championship matches attract a global TV audience. Former players include such legendary figures as Kubala, Maradona, Cruyff, Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Lineker, and Barca has been managed by greats such as Helenio Herrera, Cesar Menotti and Bobby Robson. The club's honorary members have included Pope John Paul II and opera star Jose Carreras. To unravel the background to the Barca phenomenon, Jimmy Burns has unearthed police files and long-forgotten newspaper reports. He has travelled with supporters and has talked to people intimately linked to the club, from managers and players to groundsmen and doctors, whilst also gaining access to those who have conspired to gain political and financial control.

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Barca: A People's Passion + Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World
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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: 13 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 105,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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.


'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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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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
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
4.0 out of 5 stars more than just a club? 26 Jan 2000
By A Customer
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars makes you cry... 19 Dec 2001
Football Club Barcelona is much more than just a soccer club. It is the personal identity of the Catalan people, their pride and glory. The book by Jimmy Burns is a guide throught the history of Barca and shows why and how a small club has become one of the most popular clubs in Europe and not only, but what is more important, the author tries to analyze what it is for the Catalan people. The beautiful language and style will leave nobody untouched. Whether you are a football fan or not, this book will make you cry and laugh.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MASTERPIECE - Buy it!! 7 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This book is NOT an 'official' history of the greatest sporting club ever to exist - its much more intresting than that! A tantalizingly comprehensive historical account spanning over 100 years of why culturally and politically Barca is the most important and unique club in the world. The shocking incidents, the profound, sometimes monstrous personalities, the storms generated by the mixture of it all make this one compelling read. From the founder Hans Gamper, a Swiss who committed suicide, to the cloak and dagger 'capture' of Ladislav Kubala, to the accession of Johan Cruyff - a far greater success as a coach at Camp Nou than as a player - the club's history is steeped in drama. Maradona, Ronaldo, Rivaldo need no introduction. You get the feeling Jimmy Burns really does have a passion for the club, but this is compromised by a meandering and sometimes confused 70 page openning to the book - which I suggest you leave until last. CONCLUSION - A excellent, superb book for all football fans alike, and anyone who an intrest for history. An enjoyable read for everyone else.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Barca 3 Dec 2000
This is an excellent book, very well written by Jimmy Burns. However, as other people have said, he does tend to drag things on a little and some bits tend to be a tad boring. Saying that, football fan or not, you'll certainly be captivated by the history of this proud club. A reasonably good purchase. PS High understanding of English required!!! Recommended age - 17+
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly researched history of FC Barcelona
This is an excellent account of the history of one of world football's most famous clubs, FC Barcelona. Read more
Published 1 month ago by M. V. Clarke
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read on the beach
On a visit to the nou Camp i was disappointed not to able to purcgase abook on the history of Barceleona , this book meets that wish
Published 16 months ago by A Wills
5.0 out of 5 stars Barca
It is a good book if you like Barcelona and you like to now about the history of Barcelona a good book to read
Published 16 months ago by martin
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but like Barca at present, not quite top of the league
I am about to visit the Camp Nou for the first time and wanted to read up on the background to what is obviously a very rich history. Read more
Published on 2 Feb 2012 by Top Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Not a lot to add, just to echo that this is as much a history of 20th century Spain as one of Barca, especially with reference to the civil war and its aftermath, and the political... Read more
Published on 22 Aug 2011 by Mr. Neil Horner
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book
This was a well written and easy to read account of all I ever wanted to know about Barcelona Football Club. Read more
Published on 23 Aug 2010 by M. Stewart
2.0 out of 5 stars Hagiographic
Lame and biassed, and I'm a Barcelona fan. The only interesting part was regarding how poor Terry Venables' signings were.
Published on 17 Jan 2010 by Dublin 4
4.0 out of 5 stars The peoples passion
This is a great read.I visited the stadium nearly 8 years ago.I read this book nearly 4 years ago.It explains it historic importance and its commercial success without a club... Read more
Published on 9 July 2009 by Patrick Burke
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating history of one of the world's true big clubs
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... Read more
Published on 13 Jan 2009 by Oldevers
4.0 out of 5 stars Barca Barca Barca
Great insight into one of the biggest clubs in the world. Burns certainly knows his stuff as the book is packed with interesting details from the beginning of the club right... Read more
Published on 10 Dec 2008 by C. Lochhead
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