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.
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.
Hans Gamper (Winterthur, Switzerland, 1877 – Barcelona, 1930) came to Barcelona in 1898 for professional reasons
During his free time, he played football with a group of friends in Bonanova.
In October 1899, Gamper placed an advert in Los Deportes magazine to find players interested in forming a football team.
On 29 November, Gamper and eleven other men (Otto Kunzle and Walter Wild from Switzerland; John and William Parsons from England; Otto Maier from Germany; and Lluís d’Ossó, Bartomeu Terradas, Enric Ducal, Pere Cabot, Carles Pujol and Josep Llobet from Catalonia) came together to form an association that paid tribute to the city’s name and coat of arms: Futbol Club Barcelona.
Gamper was a sports lover – a former athlete, cyclist, football and rugby player – who saw sport as a means of exalting the human spirit
Gamper aimed to create an organisation that was open to everyone, regardless of their origin. He envisaged a club that served as a means of social integration, in which everyone could speak their mind, and he created a democratic society that was freely governed by its members. As a sign of his gratitude to Catalonia, the country that had welcomed him, Gamper imbued FC Barcelona with the essence that has come to define it ever since: its commitment to Catalan identity.
Catalan identity, democracy, multiple sports and universality: today, Gamper’s original values continue to give Barça meaning.
At first, the Club shared Barcelona’s coat of arms, as a demonstration of its identification with the city and a desire to be recognised as one and the same
The FC Barcelona stamp at that time featured this coat of arms.
In 1910, the board decided that the Club needed its own coat of arms and organised a competition to find a new design.
The FC Barcelona shirts have always been blue and claret
At the beginning, half the shirt was blue and the other claret, the sleeves were opposite colours and the shorts were white. One of the many theories explaining the origin of the kit colours — blue and scarlet — is that Gamper used the same colours as the Basel team, where he had played before coming to Catalonia.
During a period of less than ten years, from 1899 to 1908, FC Barcelona used four different locations for its grounds
Their difficulty in finding permanent grounds was due to economic instability and the lack of large open-air spaces at a time when the city was undergoing urban expansion.
- 1899-1900 The former cycle track grounds at Bonanova (today, Turó Park)
- 1900-1901 The Hotel Casanovas grounds (today, Hospital de Sant Pau)
- 1901-1905 Carretera d’Horta grounds
- 1905-1909 Carrer de Muntaner grounds
In 1902, FC Barcelona won the first official title in its history
The Copa Macaya was the precursor to the Catalan Football Championship. It was begun in 1900 by Alfons Macaya, president of Hispania AC, when he announced his intention to organise a competition between Catalan teams. Hispania won the first edition, but the year after FC Barcelona took the title without losing a match.
The cup is an outstanding work of modernist art.