September 24 is special date in Barcelona. It’s the last night of the week-long celebrations of the city’s patron saint, the Mercè. But just as the spectacular firework show is beginning at the Montjuic fountains tonight at 10.00 PM CET, 800 kilometres to the south, FC Barcelona will be kicking off their fifth league match of the season against Malaga. But there is another reason why this date is a special one for Barça supporters.
On September 24, 1957, the Camp Nou opened its doors for the first time for a friendly against a Warsaw XI and which was won by the home side, 4-2. Before that, games on this important date for the people of Barcelona had usually been part of the Catalan Championship, but the one in 1950 at the old Les Corts stadiums was in La Liga. And what a game it was. Barça beat Real Madrid 7-2, at a time when their historic rivalry was really starting to brew.
In the last twenty days, Barça have played eight games on September 24, winning six and drawing two. The games at the Camp Nou were against Compostela (4-0, 1994/95), Valencia (1-1, 2006/07), Betis (3-2, 2008/09), Atlético Madrid (5-0, 2011/12) and Real Sociedad (4-1, 2013/14), while two of the away trips have been for European fixtures, in the 2002/03 Champions League at Galatasaray (0-2), and the 2003/04 UEFA cup at Matador Puchov (1-1), while the other was a trip to Betis in the 2005/06 league season (1-4).