25 of the best FC Barcelona Football Facts

  1. On October 22, 1899, Hans Kamper placed an advertisement in a local newspaper claiming his wish to form a football club, it enticed 11 players to a meeting at the Gimnasio Solé on November 29th. Despite FC Barcelona’s close association with Catalan identity, Hans Kamper was actually a Swiss entrepreneur, Hans Gamper, who also co-founded FC Zürich. He later went on to become club president and changed his name to Joan Gamper in order to make it easier for locals to pronounce his name.
  1. The first official match took place in the Camp Nou on the 6th October 1957 against Real Jaén. The result was a 6-1 win for FC Barcelona.
  1. Under Franquismo (which was general Franco’s dictatorial rule over Spain), the Catalan language and its symbols were banned. In 1939, FC Barcelona was forced to change its name to Club de Football Barcelona. The Catalan flag was removed from the shield of the club. The Stadium however, remained one of the rare places where Catalan could be spoken and Catalan flag could be shown freely. It was only in 1974 when the club changed its name back to the Catalan Futbol Club Barcelona. A previous president of FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta, who was a self-proclaimed nationalist, required all foreign players to learn Catalan.
  1. The two most successful Spanish football teams, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are fierce competitors. The rivalry is said to come from Franco’s dictatorship. FC Barcelona represented an opposition to Franquismo, while Real Madrid was a symbol of nationalism and was supported by the regime and the dictator itself. Another possible and simpler explanation for such competition is that the two cities are the largest and richest in Spain.
  1. The first El Clasico was on May 13th, 1902 which Barcelona won 3-1 , Real Madrid however were only formed on March 6th of the same year (which was about 2 months before!) Barcelona had been a competitive team for about 2 and half years.
  1. During the 1936 Spanish Civil War, professional players of FC Barcelona fought in the war. The then president, Josep Sunyol was also murdered in this war.
  1. In 1943 Barca won the first leg of the semi-final against Real Madrid in Copa del Generalísimo (which is now known as the Copa del Rey) 3-0, but in the second leg, Real beat Barca 11-1. There were significant reports of  threats and intimidation,  by the police and general Franco against Barca players.
  1. FC Barcelona has not always been playing its home games at the Camp Nou stadium. Earlier, Camp de Les Corts was its home stadium and even before that, Camp de la Industria was used. Camp de Les Corts or simply Les Cortes was inaugurated in 1922 and Camp Nou (which means new field )was inaugurated in 1957.
  1. FC Barcelona has highest recorded home attendance of around 120,000 spectator for a match against Juventus. This was achieved when the Camp Nou allowed fans to stand and spectate. Now the stadium is all seater with a capacity of 99,354. Barcelona B play in the mini estadi on the same site with a 15,000 capacity.
  1. In 1992, the Camp Nou hosted the Olympic games final and La Roja, the Spain (under 23’s) national football team, defeated Poland 3-2. La Roja team included players such as Pep Guardiola, Toni, Luis Enrique and Kiko.
  1. FC Barcelona is one of the only three teams who have held a record in La Liga that they have never been relegated or played in anything but the top tier. The other teams are Real Madrid and the Basque club Athletic Bilbao.
  1. You may well have wondered why there is the St Georges Cross on the logo of FC Barcelona? Well the reason isn’t that the English brothers Arthur and Ernest Witty were in the first side and indeed Arthur was one of the first captains of the side. The reason is that St George is both the patron saint of England and Catalonia (and a lot of other places). Even though he was actually Greek soldier in the Roman army! It’s all very complicated. What I do know is that St George killed the dragon in Medieval Mont Blanc, Tarragona which is about 100km south of Barcelona. I know this because I used to have a hotel there!
  1. Josep Nunez, the president of Barcelona from 1978 to 2002, opened the FC Barcelona Museum, Mini Estadi (home stadium for Barca B) and La Masia. He wasn’t considered a popular president since he refused to pay high wages to players like Diego Maradona, Stoichkov and Luis Figo, and because of this they left the club.
  1. Barca’s local derby is against Espanyol. Their matches are dubbed as ‘El derbi Barceloni’. Unlike FC Barcelona, Espanyol did not protest to the dictatorship and their protest against Barcelona as a ‘foreign club’ was seen as a provocative representation of Madrid.
  1. The Josep Guardiola era (2008-12) was the most glorious years for FC Barcelona. Guardiola was himself a Barcelona player and the coach of Barca’s B team. His most glorious achievement was winning the treble and also the sextuple in 2009! This involved winning six trophies in a single calendar year making Barca the first and the only team to do so. They won La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Supercopa de Espana, the Champions League, the European Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
  1. Football Club Barcelona got their famous maroon and blue colours from a rugby team based at a school in North West England. Arthur and Ernest Witty were both students at Merchant Taylor’s School in Crosby, Liverpool. Their rugby team played in maroon and blue. Both went on to be heavily involved in the early years at Barcelona FC. Arthur captained the side alongside founder Joan Gamper before going on to serve as the club’s president.
  1. Perhaps one of the most famous Barca players and managers of all time is the Dutchman Johann Cruyff. He joined Barcelona in 1973 after a stint at Ajax and played with the club for a few years before moving to America. However, Cruyff returned to Barca in 1988, this time as manager, where he is credited with the creation of the world-famous ‘Dream Team’, including Pep Guardiola, José Mari Bakero and Txiki Begiristain. Perhaps more importantly, he is behind Barcelona’s distinctive style of play, known as tiki-taka (the phrase is originally Basque, and means “taking quick, light steps” ) Cruyff was very about passionate about his teams playing with the Total Football philosophy.
  1. FC Barcelona is one of the few clubs in the world to be owned by the club members themselves. Together these members form the governing body of the club there are an estimated 140,000 socis or members in Catalan.
  1. From the club’s inception it has had strong ties with the Catalan nationalist movement, with both supporters and management seeing the club as a symbol of local identity. At the outbreak of the civil war, the club president Josep Sunyol, a staunch supporter of independence, was assassinated by Franco’s troops. One day in 1951 supporters walked back into the city after a match, on foot in the rain, instead of taking the trams. This was in support of the local tram workers who were on strike.
  1. Despite the club’s overwhelming popularity at home and abroad, games at the Camp Nou stadium are notorious for having a less than lively atmosphere. While the games are shown in bars and cafés across the city, relatively few locals head to the stadium. Some believe that this is in part due to the high cost of tickets, driven by the popularity of matches among tourists visiting Barcelona.
  1. FC Barcelona supporters are nicknamed ‘the arses’. This less than glamorous nickname is said to hold its origins in the early days of the club, back when they used to play in their first stadium in the neighborhood of Les Corts. Supporters of FC Barcelona are called “culés”, coming from the word for bum or backside in Catalan. According to legend, from outside the old Les Corts stadium, all that could be seen of the spectators in the stands was their backsides!
  1. The idea of La Masia facility to train young players was given by Johan Cruyff, a former Barcelona player and the longest serving Barcelona manager until now. He was manager for about 8 seasons. FC Barcelona’s youth academy graduated many star players. La Masia, which strangely translates to ‘the farmhouse’ was once home to Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Carlos Puyol and Pep Guardiola (by the way Pep is short for Josep). The academy has about 300 football students.
  1. In the pursuit of signing Diego Maradona in 1982, not only did Barca pay a then World Record fee of 5,000,000 pounds sterling but hey also changed the training timetable so he could sleep in in the mornings!
  1. The bat that was used in early FC Barcelona badges is a heraldic symbol most prominently used as a crest on or around the crown in municipal arms of the former Crown of Aragon. Barca removed the bat from their badge in the early 20th century.
  1. Barcelona were so impressed with Lionel Messi when they say him play for Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina that they knew they had to act fast and get him to pen to paper. His first contract signed with was signed on a napkin! Also, when he tried to activate his release clause in 2020 he sent it his request by fax!
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