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President Josep Maria Bartomeu attended on Friday 18 November, the celebratory event of marking the 50th anniversary of the Gran Penya de Tarragona i Província, accompanied by the director in charge of supporters clubs, Pau Vilanova, and former FC Barcelona and Gimnastic Tarragona footballer Antoni Pinilla.
The day was characterised by the optimism and enthusiasm which was seen throughout the event by supporters club members and representatives of the Club and institutions of Tarragona in attendance. The agreement with Rakuten, presented this week as the Club’s new sponsor for the coming season, the confidence in the motivation of the players, the growth of the supporters club movement and the Espai Barça projects, all were aspects that were well presented in the historic celebration of the penya from Tarragona.
The stay of the representatives of Barça began with a visit to the same site of the penya located in Plaza de la Font, where they were received by the president of the Gran Penya de Tarragona i Província, Jordi Carnasa, and the president of the Federació de Penyes Barcelonistes de Tarragona Nord, Pere Joan Cols. The event was also attended by the Mayor of Tarragona, Josep Félix Ballesteros. President Bartomeu signed the book of honour of the supporters club and was able to greet Miquel López Alabau, founder and historic president of the penya.
Later, the 50th anniversary celebration of the Tarragona supporters club moved to the restaurant ‘Fonts de Can Salas’, where the traditional commemorative dinner was held. Around 130 people were present, including supporters club members and institutional representatives and of Tarragona social life, among which was the vice president of the port, Joan Basora, Gimnastic councellor Jesús Albiol, and the representative of the Provincial Council, Mateu Montserrat.
Sponsorship and ambition
Josep Maria Bartomeu said a few words of appreciation to the attendees about the merits of the supporters club. “To reach 50 years takes some doing, and we can say that you have had 55, seeing as the Franco regime delayed your registration due to an idiomatic subject in your name. Of all the Barça penyas, there are only 45 who have completed 50 years and this shows how difficult it is to keep going for so many years”.
The FC Barcelona president transmitted a message of optimism to all those present: “This week we have presented a new sponsor, Rakuten, and their representatives have said that one of the reasons they decided to unite with the club is because they have seen that we are “more than a club”, and we are exactly that thanks to values and the fans, who have in the supporters club its maximum exponent, with a globally unique supporters club movement.”
On the sporting side of things, Josep Maria Bartomeu spoke confidently about the team: “I see a very good atmosphere within the squad. Both the players and the staff are strong, with desire and ambition to win titles. That is why I ask that we continue trusting and encouraging the team as you have always done; in both good times and not so good times, you have always helped the Club move forward”.
Bartomeu also had words of support for the Mediterranean Games in Tarragona, and said: "Barça is on your side; the delay in its staging means that the priority is to do things well and be able to host a good show”.
On his part, the Mayor of Tarragona, Josep Félix Ballesteros, said: "We have enjoyed great success and the good moments of Barça," and admitted that "things are going very well, with the success of the new sponsor and the future project of Espai Barça”. As a kind anecdote, the mayor said: “I had the honour of overseeing the marriage of Andrés Iniesta, one of my idols”.
Antoni Pinilla, on behalf of the Barça Players Association, said: "The history of the club is the players and coaches, but so is its fans, and especially the supporters club movement. No one can understand Barça without people like you.”
The day of the 50th anniversary began in the afternoon, with the holding of a discussion on the current Barça which took place at Cafè de la Rambla Vella, which saw the participation of sports journalists Pere Escobar, Quique Guasch and José Luís Carazo
Once the discussion ended, the same place presented the new website of the Gran Penya Barcelonista de Tarragona i Província.
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