The Herbert Art Gallery hosted last Thursday a Coventry Conversation of one of the most suitable men when it comes to sports business, having a particular passion for football, Professor Simon Chadwick. In present teaching Sport Business Strategy and Marketing at Cov Uni, Simon is a well known figure in the world of sports, in the past having collaborated with various organisations such as FC Barcelona, The FA and International Tennis Federation.
Although it wasn’t the first time Simon graced the Conversations, him, being a familiar face around, this session was a brilliant example of how an absorbing speech should be kept. In a room which was not fully crowded, Professor Chadwick succeeded to captivate all of us with his debate whether it is the end of FC Barcelona or not. Writes Catalin Preda…
“I fell in love with Barcelona only about five years ago” confessed Simon while he was recalling the period when he worked with Barcelona.
But what do we know about Barcelona FC? “Més que un club”, meaning “More than a club” is the motto of FC Barcelona, as some of us may know, the only club owned and operated by its supporters. “It’s more than a club, it’s a polideportivo” said Simon to underline that Barcelona sports club doesn’t have only a football team but basketball, handball and roller hockey teams, as well. Also known as Barça, the club is, again, more than a club, because of its cultural, social and political significance. The sports club is believed to represent the country of Catalonia the most and to be one of its best ambassadors.
So what did Simon want to say when he said “the end”? Was he referring at the real end of the club? Not really. What he meant was that its traditional features as well as the end of the old, iconic squad are coming to an end.
With all the changes that have been made in the past decade, though some of them good at some points, they seem to have changed the club from the well governed, proud, noble and traditional Barça into “an intensely commercialised organization, with huge commercial aspirations”, according to Professor Chadwick. What is more, even if in terms of finances, Barcelona is very strong, in terms of costs and debt, the club is facing serious problems, being the 3rd most indebted football club.
At the end of his talk, to underline once more his opinion about the current situation of Barcelona FC, Simon Chadwick stated: ‘’I think Barcelona, the brand as it was, has gone, the old Barcelona has definitely gone and there’s a new Barcelona there.’