Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ruud You Believe It !

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ruud You Believe It !

Article excerpt

Vote for me and I'll sign Ruud van Nistelrooy.

That is the populist pledge of would-be Barcelona president Josep Martinez Rovira.

A money-no-object move for Europe's most prolific equine hitman is the central plank in the shrewd senor's manifesto as he tries to woo a 100,000 strong electorate of fanatical and fully-paid-up Barca members in the ballot box battle.

The media mogul claims talks with the Dutch destroyer's agents on a pounds 40m transfer have already begun and will only push ahead if he wins.

But his main presidential rival, Joan Laporta, is going to the polls vowing to beat arch-enemies Real to the pounds 20m plus signature of David Beckham.

He claims to have secured first option on the midfielder turned international hair care brand if United decide to sell.

And a third candidate, Jorge Medina, hopes to win over the Catalan constituency by offering two big names - Lazio's Easter Island statue Jaap Stam and Leeds United schemer Harry Kewell.

So, while we torture ourselves with pointless speculation that we cannot in any way influence, buoyant Barca fans will be buzzing as the relative merits of the detailed manifestos are fiercely debated over tapas in Las Ramblas.

And they will feel a punter power that alienated English fans could not conceive of.

This is not a remote rotten borough poll with no effect on long term policy.

These pledges have a creditable record of being delivered.

Barca fans know that.

They are still smarting from the outrage two years ago when Joan Gespart swept to power at Real Madrid and did as he said he would and prised away the then Nou Camp hero Luis Figo.

It seems bizarre for English fans to think that supporters could have such a significant say in the on the field direction of a club, let alone carry clout in the boardroom. …

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