The Barça squad on the day of Camp Nou's first game, 24 September 1957 | FCB ARCHIVE

Ladislao Kubala changed Barça history | FCB ARCHIVE

The team from 1951/52 passed into the Club's history books at the one of the 'Five Cups' | FCB ARCHIVE

Camp Nou during its construction | FCB ARCHIVE

Camp Nou on the day it was opened | FCB ARCHIVE

During the 1950s, the Club’s membership increased considerably. The 26,300 members rose to 52,791, an increase of just over 100%. There were a number of reasons for the rise in membership.

Ladislao Kubala’s arrival played a significant role in Barça’s successes, and he became an idol for Barça fans. The team’s victories and the legendary Kubala were key factors in gaining fan loyalty. Barça became increasingly important in Catalan society.

At the same time, the incipient economic recovery from 1951 on, combined with salary increases that were slightly higher than inflation rates, meant that people had more disposable income. The membership cost was less restrictive.

The Club needed a bigger stadium. In 1953, Miró-Sans’s electoral campaign slogan “We need, we want and we will have a new grounds” was decisive in his becoming the new president of Barça. The construction of the Camp Nou was an affirmation of the organisation’s drive towards modernisation.

KUBALA THE HERO OF THE DECADE

Josep Samitier, the Club’s technical secretary, brought Kubala to Barcelona. He was a player that would change the history of Barça and who became legendary amongst the Club’s fans. The Hungarian genius introduced new football techniques that had not been seen before, such as curling the ball. 

The Les Corts grounds had become too small for the outstanding play of a team that dominated Spanish football and performed well at European level. Nobody doubted that the Club needed a bigger stadium.

THE BARÇA OF THE 'FIVE CUPS' 

From 1950 to 1953 the Club dominated. Barça’s sensational line-up during the 1951/52 season led it to win five different trophies: the League, the Spanish Cup, the Latin Cup, the Copa Eva Duarte and the Copa Martini Rossi. The Five cup team had a legendary forward line. This was his team: Ramallets, Seguer, Biosca, Segarra, Gonzalvo III, Basora, César, Kubala, Moreno and Manchón.

THE DI STEFANO CASE

In 1953, FC Barcelona signed Di Stéfano after reaching an agreement with River Plate, the club that owned the rights to the player. At the same time, Real Madrid carried out negotiations with Millonarios, the team that Di Stéfano was playing for then. A strange federative manoeuvre with Francoist backing stipulated that Di Stéfano should play alternate seasons with each club. Barça went against the verdict and relinquished the player. Kubala’s Barça and Di Stéfano’s Madrid competed for many years for the domination of national football.

THE SIGNING OF LUIS SUÁREZ

He was an exceptional player and brought great joy to the Club. During his time with Barça, fans were divided into “kubalistes” (fans of Kubala) and “suaristes” (fans of Suárez). In 1960 Luis Suárez won the Ballon d’Or while he was an FC Barcelona player. He is the only Spanish footballer to have received this title.

OPENING OF CAMP NOU 

The Camp Nou building works began in 1954 and were completed three years later. The grounds were inaugurated during the presidency of Francesc Miró-Sans, on 24 September 1957, on the day of La Mercè, Barcelona’s patron saint. Different celebratory acts took place at the inauguration ceremony, which included a match against a selection of players from Warsaw. Barça enjoyed its first victory in the stadium, 4-2. Eulogio Martínez scored the first goal. 

The stadium had an initial capacity of 93,053 spectators. The total cost of the Camp Nou was 288,088,143 pesetas. Today, Camp Nou is the stadium with the largest capacity in Europe, accommodating 98,772 spectators.

HELENIO HERRERA'S ARRIVAL

Helenio Herrera’s arrival in Barça meant that the understanding of football changed in a revolutionary way. Historic utterances such as “we’ll win without getting off the coach” and “with ten our team plays better than with eleven”, led the team to become a renewed formidable force.

Herrera, known as 'HH', put together an extraordinary team made up of foreign and Catalan talent. The team’s newest idols were once again Hungarian: Sandor Kocsis and Zoltan Czibor played alongside Eulogio Martínez and Evaristo. The team also included local players like Gensana, Gràcia, Vergés, Tejada, Olivella and Segarra.