"We follow the same path because the supporters club movement continues to be the most admired in the world"
We spoke with Pau Vilanova, FC Barcelona director, about his Barça roots and his vision for the supporters clubs
P. What are your Barça roots?
R. My uncles and brothers taught me the essence of what it means to be a Barça fan. My father neither understood nor wanted to know anything about football. He let us do that, of course, as long as Barça did not alter family life. I inherited my older brother’s membership card until, after the stadium was expanded for the World Cup, I spent my first salary, after working all summer, to become a member and season-ticket holder. I have two seats in the Gol Nord (behind the goal in the north stand).
P. What do you think the destiny of the Supporters Clubs is?
R. The Supporters Clubs have had to evolve even up against the risk of going extinct. Their role is crucial for the club and especially in the region as long as they assume a role adapted to the current time and the environment. It is evident that a penya founded 45 years ago with a specific approach and objectives must fit into a different reality.
P. What is a Supporters Club member for you?
R. A diehard Barça fan, a tireless activist, someone who is not satisfied with just being another supporter and needs to take action, a Barça fan with a bit extra. This energy must be given content and be channelled. In this regard, the members also have that extra bit of commitment.
P. What is the 'Apadrina' programme that you want to promote?
R. ‘Apadrina’ is a project designed to strengthen the presence of the Supporters Clubs. The penya can choose to sponsor a team of a local club so that these youngsters can get to know Barça, visit the museum or receive a visit from our coaches to complement their work etc. And of course in the social aspect to bring them and their families, coaches and directors closer to Barça, so they can really get to know us.
P. What is your message to Supporters Clubs?
R. One of hope and consolidation. Together we have achieved a lot to propel the penyas into this century and the times we live in. We follow the same path because the supporters club movement continues to be the admired in the world.