In 1978, as president of Barcelona, José Luis Núñez inherited from Montal a debt of 777 million pesetas, equivalent to the annual budget. Everyone wondered how he would cope with this. In its first assembly, August 17, 1978, it proposed to appeal to the solidarity of the subscribers and to charge them an annuity in advance with a guarantee of return in the following five years. It was approved, but conditional on the voluntary nature of each one, and it was a success: 95.3% of the subscribers accepted. A year later, and after winning the Recopa de Basilea in Núñez’s first year, 82% gave up on recovering the advance.
He tried to renegotiate with the two advertisers in the Camp Nou static, Pepsi Cola and San Miguel, who had one year left. As they refused, Núñez promised Coca-Cola and Damm for a greater amount in the future, from which he also took out a lost year in advance. Joan Gaspart, whose company ran the airport bars, was decisive in this. It was important for Coca-Cola to be there, and had it not accepted the airports, it would have been for Pepsi. He also reached an agreement with Meyba as a supplier of the club’s clothing. The federation prohibited advertising logos on clothing, but Núñez put Meyba in the static of the stadium and in the announcements of the club’s matches in the press, now missing, to associate the brand with the club.
In a single year he reduced the short debt to 210 million, and long, to 70. Then he faced the question of television. From TVE only Madrid charged 50 million a year. The agreement included soccer and basketball, in which he used to be the representative in the European Cup, whose matches were the cream of the contract. But there were also national games and the Christmas Basketball Trophy. The other clubs were not paid. TVE argued that the benefit of static was already enough. Núñez agreed with everyone to end the monopoly of Madrid. In principle, they obtained an amount per game, but then, after a year in which at the initiative of Núñez nothing was televised, TVE agreed to sign a contract for which Madrid and Barça charged 100 million and the rest less but significant amounts.
At the same time, it closed an agreement with TV3 that grouped matches of the sections, football friendlies, the Gamper and the commitment of the Barça players to be present in the channel’s programs. The amount was never clear. It only emerged that the publicity of the programs would be distributed between the two entities.
Another early success was the expansion of the stadium, raising a third gallery in the two funds and the lateral one in front of the covered grandstand. That meant 22,000 more locations. Núñez managed to have the work paid in full by Banco de Occidente, in exchange for subscribers to the new locations having to pay their card through that entity. If there were subscriptions for unpaid seats, the sale of the remaining tickets would be for the bank. It was not the case, because they were all covered. The bank obtained 22,000 clients and Barça the collection, year after year, of 22,000 new subscribers.
The start of Núñez was an authentic blitzkrieg economic, but sporting successes did not abound and spending on signings to renew the team was incessant, within a runaway career of inflation in football. One fact is enough: in 1980 Alexanko cost the same as Cruyff seven years earlier, 100 million.
In 1988, TV3 gave Núñez another hand by signing a contract of 2,000 million for friendlies abroad, which allowed him to rebuild the team after the Hesperia mutiny. Thanks to that injection, he hired Cruyff as coach and brought in the Bakero, Begiristain, López Rekarte, Salinas, Eusebio … Even with that new injection, the following year he had to undergo a complicated operation on him.easing to hire Koeman. In 1998 he had another rocket with the 20,000 million 10-year agreement with Nike, for which he had to indemnify Kappa, which had one year left.
Every year Núñez boasted of a surplus, so much so that sarcastically they even talked about the nuñezávit. He created heritage (the Miniestadi, La Masia, the grounds of the new sports city …), that was his great legacy. But the inflation of football and basketball, which he triggered in his battle against Madrid, brought him in tow. When Laporta arrived in 2003, after the Gaspart bridge, he had to face a debt equivalent to 40% of the budget for the year, stemming from the club’s unfulfilled commitment to take over payments to the players’ finances.
Corollary: football eats the best ideas. But better to have them than not to have them.