F.C. Barcelona History
Gamper, the founder, conceived a sports club in Barcelona, with assistance from Catalans and foreigners
FC Barcelona, founded in 1899 by a group of young foreigners living in Barcelona, was the result of the increasing popularity of football, and other British sports, across Europe. These origins have conferred upon the Club its intercultural identity, multi-sport focus and its deeply-rooted allegiance to Barcelona and Catalonia.
The foundation of the Club coincided with a time when people were becoming interested in playing sport in Catalonia; this social context and Catalonia’s idiosyncratic culture led to the creation of a new model of modern leisure.
At the beginning of the Civil War, the Club’s employees were faced with the threat of having FC Barcelona taken from them, prompting them to make an important committee decision that ultimately saved the organisation. The committee demonstrated its firm resolve not to break away from its pre-war leadership.
The 1930s were marked by political instability and general crisis, which inevitably took its toll on FC Barcelona. During this decade, the Club endured many cataclysmic events, which included its founder’s death, the Second Spanish Republic, the Spanish Civil War and the assassination of its president, Josep Suñol. In summary, it was a period characterised by uncertainty, which saw a reduction in membership and the cancellation of some players’ contracts.
Joan Gamper, the Club’s founder, was the inspiration and driving force behind the Club’s first 25 years. His commitment to FC Barcelona went far beyond his role as player, director and president.
FC Barcelona was committed to social, political and cultural reform, initiated by the Republican Catalan government. The official Club newsletter in October 1932 made the Club’s position clear: “Our club’s popularity undeniably includes elements that are not related to sport.” Participation in political and cultural acts formed part of this commitment.
The Club grew rapidly. The number of members increased from 201 in 1909 to 2,973 in less than ten years.
During these years, Barça laid down solid foundations in order to define the type of football club it wanted to be. This took it beyond the original dream of the group of friends that had founded it in 1899; the Club was here to stay,
This marked a new stage in the Club history, which consolidated it within the football panorama and social milieu of the city and country. A number of different circumstances played a part in this process, including its strengthening as an organisation via the steady growth of its members; the re-writing of the Club statutes, and the acquisition of the Club own football grounds for the first time. At the same time, a range of sporting successes and growing recognition accorded to players saw football develop into a mass phenomenon, turning it into a professional sport.