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Joan Coma (1931-1934)

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Joan Coma (1931-1934)

Joan Coma (Barcelona, 1877-1959) took over from Antoni Oliver as President on 20th December 1931, and lived through one of the most complicated terms in the history of the club.

The beginning of his period in charge coincided with a time of internal difficulties, which had resulted in the resignation of his predecessor. In addition, Coma had to face financial problems which were caused by the new policy of wage increases for members of the first team. On top of all this, the declaration of the Republic complicated his job still further, as the existing climate had led to a notable decline in interest in football, which, as far as Barça was concerned, meant a loss of members and consequently a major decrease in revenue. All this caused the Club to suffer a serious economic crisis, and Coma had to do an incredible financial balancing act to prevent it from going bankrupt.

Budget limitations forced the man in charge of Barça to let go of many of the players who had formed the backbone of the great team of the 1920s, and so, in 1932, players like Piera, Mas, Dos Santos and Gual were released. However, undoubtedly the most controversial decision was to let Samitier leave. This caused a wave of protest among the supporters, and Coma had to explain that -The Lobster Man' had left the club both because of his age and because of his undisciplined nature. Popular indignation reached its peak when, only a few days later, 'Sami' signed for Real Madrid, helping them to win the Championship in the 1932-33 season.

In the meantime, the renovation of the Barça squad was not giving the desired results and in the same season the Blue-and-Reds were knocked out of the Cup by Seville, after losing 4-0 in the return game. This result led to the resignation of some Board members and a few days later a letter signed by 800 people demanding his resignation, appeared in the press.

The financial and sporting crisis got worse still during the summer of 1933, when the club finished the season with a large deficit and also a terrible defeat that Barça suffered at the hands of Badalona in a friendly (6-1). The President tried to calm things down and return to some sort of consensus within the club by naming a broad-based Board of Directors, but this measure did not help in any way, as the following season was a disaster. Barça failed in all competitions, membership fell to 8,000 and the terraces of Les Cortes were practically empty. The situation was totally untenable and on 16th July 1934, Coma gave up the presidency.

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