Who would’ve thought that a sports club, established by an alien, that aimed to promote fitness and recreation within a local community would go on to set instances of excellence, values and be an emotion? Barely anyone.
When Hans-Max Gamper, a Swiss-born businessman was mesmerized by his uncle’s hometown when he visited Barcelona in 1897. A city so beatiful that he decided to move in, settle and find his routes in Barcelona as Joan Gamper. Joan’s sports enthusiasm created the club that is the home to millions of utopians that array hope. 120 years from 29th of November 1989, FC Barcelona has become the home of hopes.
The road after 1899, however, was absymal. It was on 1902 that the club won its first trophy-The Copa Macaya. It was then that the people of Catalonia and Barcelona began to dream, a dream that saw them opening up to broader horizons. Barca kept on growing, attracted stars in the process and won Spain’s primary competition Copa del Rey in 1910, thanks to Barca’s first stars Carles Comamala, Romà Forns and Francisco Bru. Joan’s dream of professionalism was now a shared dream of everyone in the region, except it was starting to mean close to everything for the others.
It was post-1910 that the actual turmoil started for Futbol Club Barcelona. Barca’s then-home, Les Corts became a politically important venue rather than a place where people could enjoy their time watching their beloved team. As a consequence of fans boycotting the Spanish anthem in 1925, Joan Gamper was accused of unrolling Catalan nationalism that saw the Club’s founder and former president committing a suicide. What followed was even worse, Les Corts barely survived a bombing in 1938, forcing the players to flee to America to save their lives.Josep Sunyol, the President was assassinated by the fascists. The phase saw Barca win the Liga for the first time in 1929. Nearly everything was gone, all that remained was hope.
The club took a time to rebulild, but when it rebulit, it did it in style. Barca brought László Kubala, the Hungarian superstar to the Les Corts that re-defined Barca’s commitment to values and belief. Kubala, despite the death threats aimed at him, came to Les Corts and did the unthinkable: made Barca win 5 trophies over Franco’s Madrid. All that the club needed-a spark of hope-was provided by the Hungarian. Kubala’s popularity made Barca reachout for a larger stadium, a venue strong enough to accomodate all the hardships and struggles yet ripped enough to occupy the amount of optimism required for the future. The monument, Estadi del FC Barcelona was built and it was from this very place in 1968 that Barça’s new president Narcís de Carreras uttered phrases that would mean life to cules around the planet; “Més que un club” had been engraved in the feels.
Today, the club that started with 11 enthusiasts coming together after an ad has become the largest club in the world that attracts fans and players with attacking football, passion and values. The club that stands together with Catalan people in their fight to save their culture and traditions from assimilation, just as it used to do a century ago. Barça was always the club that attracted people of all sorts, rich and poor, young and old, regardless of religion or skin color, it is the club of freedom and fighting against oppression and dictatorship. The club that has taught the world how the game is meant to be played and how it is supposed to remain. The club that has given us moments, a club that is the home of all the hopes we have.
Happy 120th, FC Barcelona!