Why Barcelona are better than Manchester United (regardless of tonight's result)

From David Conn in the Guardian comes a good article about what makes Barcelona such a great club: they are owned by their supporters. Alfons Godall, Barcelona's vice president, puts it perfectly: "We are free. We do not depend on a Mr Abramovich. We want to be successful but also to have meaning, social values. I am sure fans of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal would like to be in our situation. But they have passed the point of no return; they are customers, not members."

It's worth reading the full article to understand the extent to which Barcelona is a club to be proud of, while United should shame its supporters. The former elected the people who run their club, the latter saw their club sold against their wishes and then mortgaged to the hilt:

"United's record turnover after winning the Premier League and European Cup was turned into a £42.7m loss because they paid £69m interest, on the loans the Glazers took out to buy the club in the first place. Three years after that takeover the £559m they borrowed had grown, with costs and rolled-up interest owed to hedge funds, to £700m."

Conn quotes a Manchester United spokesman who, in a fine example of point-missing, claims to have found a flaw in the Barcelona model: "We are committed to selling TV rights collectively and, if we did not, it would be at the expense of clubs like Wigan, Hull and Bolton and would seriously weaken the Premier League."

Good point. Imagine a Premier League in which Wigan, Hull and Bolton were unable to compete.

Oh, wait. You don't need to imagine - we've got one.