Exactly one week ago, La Liga Review focused upon what it felt was a pivotal moment for Frank Rijkaard: the tipping point of his tenure as Barcelona coach. This week it was the turn of the Barça President, Joan Laporta, to reach a similar moment in time after the draw with Getafe : the moment when the momentum for change became unstoppable...
Monday's papers were unanimous in their coverage and all lead with the images of the Camp Nou crowd, on their feet and turned in the direction of the Barcelona president, waving hankies or anything white that they could get their hands on. This is what the Spanish call a Pañolada: a highly visible form of protest that originated in the bullring, as a sign of displeasure at a poor performance, that has now caught on at the football. The fans have adopted it because they are smart enough to realise that the media love it: the image of a hundred thousand white flags makes a much better front page image than a photograph of a group of people booing.
When the fans got their hankies, plastic bags and newspapers out on Sunday evening and waved them in the direction of the president, they were not upset about a draw with Getafe, a decent side that had just pulled off the same result against Bayern Munich. No. They had finally had enough of Laporta's lack of action when the need for change was presented before him repeatedly throughout the last 18 months. The tale of the season has been a chronicle of a death foretold.
All of the papers were in agreement: that the president had allowed the situation in an arrogant and complacent dressing room to fester, to the point where his refusal to act had seen Barcelona blow another chance to challenge for the worst league in recent memory.
The warning signs have been there for a very long time and on Sunday evening the growing murmurs of discontent became a clamour. Over the last 18 months, as the appeals for action grew more numerous and more frequent, the Barcelona president grew increasingly more entrenched in his belief that his way was the right way. Joan Laporta came to resemble the old man driving down the motorway who hears an appeal on the radio pleading for the old man driving the wrong way up the M1 to turn around before he causes an accident. The man thinks to himself 'Only one idiot going the wrong way? They should see this stretch of the road: there's more than one idiot going the wrong way, they all are.'
For many of the fans who protested after the Getafe match, it was their way of telling the president that this could all have been avoided: that the time for a complete revolution had arrived when, had the president taken heed of the warnings sooner, a little evolution may have done just the trick.
Yet the irony, for Joan Laporta, is that the moment, the tipping point, was provoked by his own words and deeds earlier that same day .
Several hours before the Camp Nou crowded finally snapped and vented their frustrations, en masse, toward Laporta, the president had addressed the annual gathering of Barcelona supporters clubs. Well, when I say addressed, I really mean raged: eye popping, finger pointing and foaming at the mouth, venting his fury at all those who dare challenge his presidency or criticise his project.
"And every one you must be on your guard!" screamed Laporta "Be on your guard against the hypocrites and fraudsters who try to pass themselves of as Barcelona supporters"
This was a classic George Bush moment: the other president who believes that you are either with him or against him and who, if anyone criticises his government, is attacked and labelled as being un- patriotic. The president is the man in the office, not the office itself - just as Laporta is the president of the football club, not the football club itself.
Barely able to contain himself, the Laporta let rip at the Catalan press "Do not fall in to their trap, be on your guard against those who say that they support Barça, because if they didn't, you'd never bother to read them or listen to what they have to say."
However, it wasn't just what Laporta said, but how he said it.
There is a golden rule in political public relations: Never, ever lose your temper with press or public.
On Sunday afternoon, president Laporta did both: something unforgiveable for a man who wants to pursue a career in politics. Even if you can't understand what is being said, have a look. Hardly statesmanlike.
It's not that we don't have sympathy for Joan Laporta. We do. His sense of injustice felt at those who are demanding his resignation is entirely understandable. And many of those hankie waving fans are reinforcing the idea that the self proclaimed 'best fans' in the world are, in fact , the very opposite: the most fickle and arguably the worst supporters around.
Sing when they're winning? - this lot at the Camp Nou only sing when they're whinging.
How quickly they forget just what a disastrous state the club was in under Laporta's immediate predecessor Joan Gaspart back in 2003.
When Gaspart took over, in 2001, the club spent €92.14 million on signing new players, doubled the following year to €189 million. Within two years, the former president increased the club’s debts from €82 million (net), to €181 million in 2002. Under Gaspart the club failed to win a single trophy, and, by finishing in 6th place in the league, failed to qualify for the Champions league; a catastrophe in terms of the club’s international prestige as well as economically. When Joan Gaspart’ resigned, after two and a half years, as president of FC Barcelona in February of 2003, he left the club with the biggest debts in the history of Spanish football, totalling €230 million.
The club had hit rock bottom when Laporta took over the office yet in his first three years he delivered two league titles and the club's second European Cup. Furthermore he completely turned around the clubs finances and has made FC Barcelona a global reference point for astute financial management within the football industry - all achieved while playing a brand of football that has captivated fans all over the globe and restored the club to the its rightful place amongst the world footballing elite.
At least until Sunday, most fans and media within Catalunya supported Laporta and appreciated all that had been done for the club, in spite of having gone 18 months without a trophy. There always remained a minority who opposed him, often for reasons more political than sporting. However, it wasn't just Laporta's opponents who finally turned on Laporta after the Getafe match: his actions and words on Sunday morning had finally seen him run out of credit with even some of his most loyal supporters.
These are the same supporters who were willing to forgive him dropping his trousers at airport security, even for lying about his brother-in-law's political affiliations and countless other momentary lapses when his temper got the better of him.
The difference on Sunday was that he used the club itself as a platform to attack his critics and he used that platform to attack many of the club's most ardent supporters; and that is something that even many of his closest allies are not willing to forgive.
There was something about Laporta's behaviour on Sunday that was painfully reminiscent of the words and deeds of Josep Nunez, the former president whom Laporta was dedicated to opposing - primarily because of the president's dictatorial manner and the fact that Nuñez could no longer tell the difference between himself, the man, and the institution.
The next time Laporta feels like launching a tirade against those who dare to question him, he would do well to remember that Joan Laporta, as a member of the club, made history by instigating a motion of censure against the first democratically elected president of FC Barcelona. It would seem that Laporta, like the many of the Barcelona faithful, have very short memories indeed.