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The banner on the terraces with the words, in Catalan, together we are stronger

The banner on show today in the Camp Nou / PHTO: GERMÁN PARGA

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“I have no words to describe how I feel to see our banner in the Camp Nou” said a visibly emotional Tomasz Lasota, president of the Fan Club Barça Polska. After a 26 hour journey by coach, more than fifty members of this club from Poland unfolded their enormous 80x30 banner on the Camp Nou terraces. With FCB anthem playing in the background, the banner showing the words from the same song ‘Tots units fem força’ (together we are stronger), as well as the faces of Guardiola, Messi, Puyol and Cruyff, and which first appeared at Barça’s summer friendly in Gdansk against Lechia, was unfurled in the FCB stadium.

Pawel Kolodziejski, a member of the Fan Club Barça Polska, presented the idea to Maciej Gryko and a group of local graffiti artists, and after two weeks of hard work from eight in the morning to the small hours of the night, they achieved their aim. “Hard work? Barça is a passion and seeing this banner at the Camp Nou is fantastic after so much effort went into it”, says Kolodziejski.

We wanted all of Poland and the world to see how much we love Barça and Catalonia

“Our club always tries to do much more than just follow our team in Europe. We wanted all of Poland and the world to see how much we love Barça and Catalonia”, said Lasota as he coordinated the transfer of the banner and its unfolding in the Camp Nou terraces. Although his is only a young club, it already has 2,000 members and almost 300 of them are Barça members.

Group spirit

The vice president of the Social Area, Jordi Cardoner Casaus, welcomed the members of the  Fan Club Barça Polska and watched as they produced their incredible work: “I think it’s a unique initiative and a way of showing that at Barça ‘it matters not where you come from’” he said, quoting another line from the club anthem. “We are a sentiment and they know that very well in Poland … From Poland they have shown that when 2,000 come together in strength it creates a very special group spirit”.

From Poland they have shown that when 2,000 come together in strength it creates a very special group spirit

Other than the complexity of the project, the artists also had to deal with some difficulties. In late July, just when they were about to put each of the huge sections together, they received the news that the match scheduled for July 20 had been cancelled following the announcement that Tito Vilanova would be unable to continue in charge of the first team. The game was eventually played on July 30, which also marked Neymar’s debut in an FC Barcelona shirt, and it was then that the banner was finally able to make its appearance as the players came onto the pitch.

Five months later, the Fan Club Barça Polska has been able to repeat the gesture at the Camp Nou itself, a place the members describe as their ‘cathedral’. Once they get it safely back to their country, they are going to cut it up into pieces and sell them off for charity.

 

Huge figures

The creation of the 2,200 square metre banner required almost 700 pots of paint and the help of dozens of people, who made Maciej Gryko’s project a reality in a hangar in Olsztyn, in the northeast of Poland, not far from the venue of the game. The banner was on show for about three minutes before kickoff when Lechia Gdansk and FC Barcelona met in a preseason friendly.


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