As Van Gaal, Bobby Robson, Terry Venables and now, Frank Rijkaard, will all tell you: when the Catalan press turn on you, there really is no turning back. La Liga Review looks at the moment when the current Barcelona coach finally encountered 'The Tipping Point'...
"Tipping points are the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable. Gladwell defines a tipping point as a sociological term, the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point. The term 'Tipping point' seeks to explain and describe enormous and mysterious sociological changes that mark everyday life. As Gladwell states,"Ideas and products and messages and behaviours spread like viruses do."
It's usually a pleasure to sit in on the daily press conferences at the Camp Nou, but over the last few months the mood in the press room has become increasingly more confrontational. On Sunday evening a line was finally crossed. La Liga Review Loves the sound of its own, voice, but for once we'll let the others do the talking: The Barcelona Press Monday 31/03/2008
EL MUNDO DEPORTIVO
"Rijkaard is the chief culprit for all that happened in the second half of that match, and he had no idea how to respond. The Betis coach transformed the match with his tactical decisions and Rijkaard fell asleep."
"One more disaster against Schalke tomorrow will leave Rijkaard on the edge of the abyss."
"Rijkaard is no longer untouchable. The heartbreaking defeat suffered against Betis last Saturday, combined with all the other disappointments that the team has suffered over the last two years, has put Rijkaard definitively in the firing line."
"Nobody at Barcelona wants to speak openly about sacking Rijkaard, a coach who has brought two league titles and the Champions League trophy to the club. However, high ranking sources within the club will not deny that another disaster, in Germany tomorrow, would be the final straw for Rijkaard."
"Already, a large number of board members have told the president that Rijkaard must not continue beyond the end of this season. Many of those same board members are insisting, that following the Betis debacle and the elimination from the Copa del Rey, Rijkaard must go now while there is still something left to fight for in both the Champions League and La Liga."
"Several years ago, on the eve of Cruyff’s dismissal as coach of FC Barcelona, the club president said 'He’s giving me more and more reason to take a decision.' Yesterday, speaking on Catalan television, Txiki Begiristain said 'We’re being given more and more reason to take some decisions.' Hearing that, Rijkaard should already have his bags packed.
"Rijkaard has been sentenced. He has been condemned."
"His attitude over the last three days has been indefensible, his justification at a press conference, for Ronaldinho’s absence, sinful and lamentable: a faithful reflection of a broken man unable to respond to the situation in which he finds himself."
"The Barcelona board are currently going through their most difficult moments ever since they took charge of the club. Their sporting project is utterly spent, it has no future."
"The entire Barcelona board knows, that following the 3-2 defeat to Real Betis, the last shred of confidence that the fans had in the team has been lost. Definitively. Regardless of what happens over the next few days, the club must act quickly to find a solution so that the Barcelona can finish the season with an ounce of dignity."
"It is most likely that tomorrow, if Barcelona fail to beat Schalke 04 and their route to the semi finals of the Champions League is in jeopardy, then the board will most likely call an emergency meeting and decide to end Rijkaard’s tenure at FC Barcelona."
"If you don’t take decisions, you have no authority. If the coach of FC Barcelona continues to claim that you can’t blame the players, that their attitude and work are without fault - then we all know who to blame. If Rijkaard continues to insist on playing the fool, then he should be sacrificed immediately. The Barcelona board can keep crossing their fingers no longer."
"The vast number of e-mails sent to the club, by the fans and the response to our surveys, all show how much the defeat to Betis has hurt them. The conclusions are clear. Nobody as faith in Rijkaard. 49% want Rijkaard sacked immediately. 37% want him to stay until the end of the season, but to be replaced in the summer. 14% want Rijkaard to stay."
"The 200 fans who turned up at Barcelona’s training session yesterday had these words for the players: “Less millions and more cojones!” “Mercenaries!” “Why don’t you all have a couple of Whiskeys while you are training?” “Mourinho will have you running around don’t worry about that!”
Johan Cruyff - el Periodico de Catalunya - ‘Week after week I’ve said the same thing and week after week Barcelona keep making the same mistakes.”
AVUI : “Rijkaard is hanging by a thread. The Barcelona manager is no longer untouchable. A line has been crossed…..