President of Club Joventut Badalona and Alumnus of the Master in Sports Management, rates his 15 years at the club
Club Joventut Badalona had no doubts in asking for assistance when they needed a new captain for its board of directors in the year 2000. Jordi Villacampa, icon of the Penya throughout his career, did not hesitate to continue leading the club, but from its offices. He completed the Master in Sports Management at Johan Cruyff Institute and has been around as president for 15 years. “The responsibility is greater now –he said- but the outcome has been very positive”. In the interview below, Jordi Villacampa rates his time spent as President of Club Joventut.
What kind of club did you find when you came in as president?
Yes, I retired in 1997 and I dedicate myself to making a life that I have not ever; so many years playing, with weekends, training morning and afternoon, with which I take me two sabbatical years. I do a radio commentator, I write in a media sports and still linked to the club but very from the outside. There is a problem with the President who had at that time and the Board tells me that they need to help them, a visible head to pull this project forward and we have thought of you. I put it me without much idea of nothing and more head I do it with the heart. And I get here and I find a really difficult situation.
A difficult situation that perhaps never arose for you as a player.
The life of an athlete is the best thing that can happen to you; it’s a privileged life. Any elite athlete does what he likes, is recognized, earns money rather easily… The life of an athlete is the best, but life goes on and that life ends and you must look for other goals, other incentives and other concerns. I’ve had it really good because I’ve been President for the past 14 years, and I can do an extensive assessment of what has happened to me: it’s been very positive, very enriching for me, but there have been tough moments and others cheerful, but the life of an athlete has no comparison.
This year marks your 15th as president. Did the Master in Sports Management at Johan Cruyff Institute help you to prepare for this?
I believe that an elite athlete – and don’t want to sound arrogant – can’t be dumb. In addition to having a gift, an athlete has to be smart, but they don’t know how to do this; they have the values and the talent but they don’t know what they have or how to transmit it. When I came in here I realized many things that had happened to me in my professional life and I understood I could apply them to management but didn’t know how. It went very well for me to do the Master because it helped me sort my thoughts, my experience as president. Did the Master in Sports Management at Johan Cruyff and many other things and be able to transmit them to the people that I am working with here at the club in the various areas of marketing, communications, accounting and maintenance without touching upon the topic of sport, which I already dominated a little through my experience as a player.
What weighs more, the responsibility as a star player or as president?
Without a doubt, as president. As a player, even if you were an icon or more important than others, or had more responsibility throughout the years, had talent… in the end, you share. An all-star team doesn’t win, it also needs people who do the dark work, what’s not seen, but this is the team that will win in the end, when there are no limelights, interests, and everyone has a purpose… That’s easy to carry out. As President, I feel like I’m alone a lot. Results don’t depend on me: I sit in the box, see how they play, I suffer. If it wins, I can go onto sell much easier. Success or failure does not depend on me, and whether the ball goes in or not shouldn’t influence management either, but it shows. When you’re a player, it depends on you and on the team.
What advantages does an athlete set off with to manage his sport?
With many. An athlete has worked as a team throughout his life, when sometimes in companies the problem is that they don’t work as a team; in sport we have worked on communication, knowing what each one does, how they do it and communicate it; the value of daily effort, knowing how to win or lose; if you lose, you learn because winning can’t be learned, but losing can. You lose, you get back up again and again. In companies, sometimes if they don’t meet their goals, they are demoralized and don’t perform well… We must work until the last second, in our sport if you’re losing by 10, you can win in the last second. ( …) Be optimistic; we are as athletes, we cannot be negative or pessimistic, there is no such thing. We have been very lucky, because we’ve liked what we’ve done, but I think that waking up and saying I love what I do, I am committed to what I do, with myself and the club … that also has to happen in companies. There are companies that are very corporate and are fantastic; when you see someone that believes and loves the company, that is a very important binomial”.