Barca: A People's Passion Paperback – 31 Jul 2009
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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 alternate Paperback edition.
'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 FOOTBALLSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Barca is a cracking book about the iconic Spanish football club, written by journalist Jimmy Burns.
The book focuses on the club as a football team, as well as a symbol... Read more
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 wishPublished on 19 April 2013 by A Wills
It is a good book if you like Barcelona and you like to now about the history of Barcelona a good book to readPublished on 15 April 2013 by martin
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 morePublished on 2 Feb. 2012 by Top Reader
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 morePublished on 22 Aug. 2011 by Mr. Neil Horner
This was a well written and easy to read account of all I ever wanted to know about Barcelona Football Club. Read morePublished on 23 Aug. 2010 by M. Stewart
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
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 morePublished on 9 July 2009 by Patrick Burke