Some particularly powerful figures have been caricatured so endearingly with time that their true dimension has sometimes been distorted; We would speak for example of Josep Lluís Núñez, who died this Monday at the age of 87 in Barcelona after weeks admitted to a hospital. That fearsome constructor that could not resist any corner of Barcelona or emblematic buildings like Casa Trinxet, plenipotentiary president of a Barça triomfant who, according to what he himself said, gave the city its name, at odds with the omnipresent Catalan president Jordi Pujol, became with age an affectionate character, protagonist of the best humor programs after being imitated by professionals (Alfonso Arús, Manuel Fuentes, Carlos Latre), by amateurs, by parents and children and even by himself, as was discovered in a call from Catalunya Ràdio in 2015. Núñez picked up the telephone and, after being recognized by the journalist, he passed himself off as the doorman of the farm to refuse and count the communication: Núñez was not Núñez.
Núñez was an ambitious builder who sought in football the social recognition that the flats business in Barcelona did not give him. Some reports say that he was a member of Espanyol until he appeared in the first elections held by universal suffrage at Barça in 1978. He used all the resources and the most diverse arts, as well as the support of Johan Cruyff Y Carles Rexach, to reach the Camp Nou stage after defeating Ferran Ariño and Nicolau Casaus, representative of the historical barcelonismo, president of the Peña Solera. Núñez later agreed with Casaus and, together with the hotelier Joan Gaspart, they broke the porrón that, in his opinion, was going through the Catalan civil society in the presidency of FC Barcelona. The three formed an indivisible society for more than 20 years: Casaus controlled the social part, Gaspart directed the sport and Núñez, distrustful in the arbitration appointments, wanted to send even in the Spanish Football Federation.
Nunez's challenge to the administration was great in his attempt to capitalize football with a better distribution of revenues, especially for television rights, and give Barca a flight after fighting with Madrid. The symbolic charge, manifested in the previous directive of Agustí Montal, lost weight with respect to economic interest, which was the driving force at the time of Barça. Not only did he clean up the accounts, but he made the club owner feel and dimensioned the heritage with the remodeling of the Camp Nou and the Palau and the construction of the Miniestadi, the Museu and La Masia. The social success -the entity exceeded 100,000 members-, economic -the exercises were paid off with surplus- and business, as maximum representative of the construction business that replaced the textile one, turned Barça into the first sports center, contrasted with sporting hardships: he went from signing Félix and Tarrés to hiring Maradona and Schuster, and seated Muller, Rifé and even Helenio Herrera on the bench to surrender later to Lattek or Menotti. The loss of the end of the European Cup in Seville in 1986 expresses the greatest of its failures after achieving a League and four Cups, the first presided by the deployment of the fans (40,000 fans) in Basel 79.
The Hesperia Mutiny
The players even asked for his resignation in the so-called Mutiny of the Hesperia in 1988. The staff felt cheated by the board for image rights and payments to the Treasury and put Núñez on the ropes until he found help again in Cruyff. The nationalists, represented by Sixte Cambra and Josep Maria Fusté, allied with Marta Ferrusola, Jordi Pujol's wife and head of the sports sector in Convergència, lost their options to the tandem Núñez-Cruyff. The president's ability to generate income led to the exhaustive remodeling of the staff required by the coach from Ajax. From the Cup won to Madrid in Valencia in 1990, just at the most critical moment of cruising, took off the Dream Team, winner of four consecutive Leagues, three on the last day, and the first European Cup of the Barça, in Wembley in 1992.
The triumph in London was as apotheosis as the defeat in Athens in 1994 was painful. The alliance of Núñez and Cruyff deteriorated without remedy, conscious both that it was an association as interested as antagonistic, and stopped making sense from 1996. The president questioned the coach's transfer policy, which he compared with the goalkeeper of his home, and gave himself to Louis Van Gaal, a successful Dutch coach with Ajax and who rivaled Cruyff. Before the change was made, however, there was an interim season that expressed the pulse between cruyffistas Y nuñistas and left in the open Bobby Robson Y Ronaldo. The Brazilian left the club after a full year despite not winning the league. The president refused to meet the demands of the player's representatives in a decision that some sectors interpreted as Barça's resignation to compete in the incipient football industry that would later lead the Florentino Perez's Galacticos.
Loss of support
Núñez did not even find peace with the celebration of the club's centenary in 1999. Despite the excellent balance of the sections, even at the expense of competing with clubs in Catalonia itself, the difficulties were increasing for both sport and financial stability and the institutional after projects like the one of Barça-2000 did not progress. The machinery, directed by the manager Antón Parera, stopped being effective: the journalistic criticism increased, reduced to the beginning of the mandate after they purged figures like those of Morera Falcó and Alex J. Botines; the social mass was fractured and in front of the radical groups supporting the council, opposition groups such as Elefant Blau appeared, which submitted the president to a motion of censure; and the junta was no longer that mini parliament formed by directors of different political signs and devised by Nunez to shield himself against the nationalism of CiU.
Núñez no longer had the support of the supporters and his 25,000 faithful members – "the partner can not be deceived," he repeated – to govern the club and resigned in 2000. "Jesus Christ was also crucified," he said afterwards 22 years old at Camp Nou. Austere and emotional, his figure as president continued to be a source of inspiration for entertainment programs while his entrepreneurial condition suffered a serious setback in 2015 due to the sentence of two years and two months in jail for bribing the tax inspectors.
Usually tormented, dramatic even in victory, Núñez never understood the sentence, convinced that he had acted as he should, as he did in his day with Jordi Pujol when he asked him to help him in his dispute with the press: "If you press a button, they will stop criticizing me on TV3 ". Nunez understood that to be successful in life, it was all about knowing how to play the right button like when he handed football to Cruyff. A vision that gives for a new caricature and also to increase the legend about who was really Núñez (Baracaldo, 1931-Barcelona, 2018), a businessman built himself from the company of the father of his wife Maria Lluisa and that He was eternally as president that he came to be confused with the owner of Barca.