Born in Barcelona in 1908, textile magnate Francesc Miró-Sans i Casacuberta was first board member and then FC Barcelona president from December 23rd 1953 until 1961.
Miró-Sans was a member of the Barcelona board under Enric Martí i Carreto until September and resigned along with the club president over the Di Stéfano affair, in which the Argentinian star ended up signing for Real Madrid after having been ratified by FIFA as a Barcelona player.
Following the mass resignation, the club was run by a management committee presided by Federación Catalan de Fútbol president, Francisco Gimenez Salines, until elections were called for November 15th 1953.
Up until that point, all post-Civil War CF Barcelona presidents had been designated by the regime but taking advantage of a legal loophole, these were the first elections in which all club members, above the age of majority, participated.
However, there is some doubt about this and in their book El cas Di Stéfano, authors Xavier García Luque and Jordi Finestres say "of the three pre-candidates presented by Giménez Salines, Francesc Miró-Sans, Ramon Riba and Amat Casajuana, the person elected was the one designated by the Governador Civil de Barcelona. Miró-Sans, who was considered one of the men of complete confidence by the regime."
The final two candidates were Miró-Sans and Amat Casajuana and Miró-Sans based his campaign around the construction of a new Camp Nou stadium, which would serve as the basis for a new and more prosperous Barça.
Car dealer, Amat Casajuana, who was a long-standing club member, was a lot more prudent and not wanting to put the club in debt, favoured improving and enlarging the Camp de Les Corts.
On page 227 of El cas Di Stéfano, Xavier García Luque and Jordi Finestres go on to say that "there was a shameful trade in membership cards, because presenting a membership card was equivalent to a vote even though the owner didn't vote in person and Alfonso Tuset, faithful collaborator of Josep Samitier, played an important role in bringing piles of membership cards in favour of Miró-Sans.
Miró-Sans was young, impetuous and ambitious and in Els presidents de Barça, Santiago Codina describes him as "Mr Words, because of his, often unstoppable, love of talking".
In the end, Miró-Sans won 8,771 votes against Amat Casajuana's 8,470 and became club president on December 23rd 1953.
Miró-Sans became CF Barcelona president at a great moment, when the team was known as the Barça de les 5 Copes as they had won all five titles in 1952.
In 1953, they were reigning Liga champions and the side comprised players of the calibre of Ramallets, Segarra, Basora, Kubala, César, Moreno and Manchón.
However, the first four years of the Miró-Sans presidency coincided with the rise of the great Real Madrid side led by Di Stáfano and CF Barcelona's triumphs were limited to the Copa del Generalísimo in 1957.
His main achievement, though, was the building of the new Camp Nou stadium, which he had promised in his election campaign.
First, he managed to gain the necessary permissions from the authorities, the Delegación del Gobierno and Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, the necessary permissions to acquire the land and also the reclassification of the Camp de Les Corts land so that it could be sold.
On March 24th 1954, a massive process of 60,000 people went from the old ground to the site of the new one to lay the first stone.
The main problem with Camp Nou was the fact that the costs were higher than expected almost from the start, so Miró-Sans asked members to pay their quotas in advance.
I have a very elderly acquaintance, who paid five years membership fees in advance and still has the membership card to show that he did so.
Even so, the club only managed to cover 191,093,329 of the 242,853,989 pesetas that the stadium cost, including buying the land, the building work and other expenses.
This left the club with a deficit of more than 58 million pesetas, a very high sum at the time, for which Miró-Sans received a lot of criticism.
Camp Nou finally opened to the public on September 27th 1957 allowing an important growth in the size and importance of CF Barcelona.
On January 7th 1958, Miró-Sans became the first president to be re-elected by the members but these elections were not based on universal suffrage of the membership.
Only 200 or so delegate members voted at the assembly with 158 voting for Miró-Sans against 55 votes for his rival, Antoni Palés.
At the start of a new term of office with a newly opened Camp Nou, Miró-Sans took a major gamble on bringing sporting succes by signing Helenio Herrera, who was the most important international coach of his day.
Herrera revolutionised many aspects of the club and in the two seasons he was at CF Barcelona won two Ligas (1958-59, 1959-60), the Copa de España in 1959 and the Fairs Cup in 1958 and 1960.
However, Helenio Herrera's strong personality came up against Technical Secretary Josep Samitier and Miró-Sans ended up sacking the coach.
The ensuing criticism led Francesc Miró-Sanz to resign as CF Barcelona president on February 28th 1961, a year before the end of his second term of office.
*2 Liga: 1958-1959 and 1959-1960.
*2 Copa del Generalísimo: 1957 and 1959.
*2 Fairs Cup: 1958 and 1960.
*1 Liga española: 1958-1959.
*1 Campeonato de España: 1958-1959.
*1 Copa de España: 1957-1958.
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