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What does the FC Barcelona supporters club movement represent?

JOSÉ MARI BAKERO:

For me, after the day I was signed, one of the most important moments that I experienced as a player was the tribute match in the lead up to my retirement, which was attended by a huge number supporters clubs. When you are playing you’re not so aware of the role they have, but they represent a collective that is extremely important because many of them come from outside of Catalonia, and this represents a social mass that must be respected and taken into account.

GUILLERMO AMOR:

The supporters clubs represent a movement that has always been strongly identified with Barça, and they are a force that many people are not aware of. They do a tremendous job. In Catalonia, to be a Barça supporter is quite easy, but outside it is more complicated. It’s a good thing for everybody to know how the supporters clubs work, what they represent, the work they do over the year to keep going, pay the clubhouse and take the coach to come to the matches.

What was your experience of the relationship with supporters clubs in your time as players?

GUILLERMO AMOR:

Personally, when I played, I used to participate in quite a lot of supporters club events, some of which I’m still invited to. It’s a unique form of contact. I think it’s good that an active football player maintains this contact from time to time. Although now the players are very protected and don’t attend many events, it’s good to know the feeling of the people, how they work and how they live their blaugrana experience.

JOSÉ MARI BAKERO:

After I retired, I spent eight days visiting all the supports clubs in Huelva. The president of the supporters clubs of the zone was called Rosendo and he had a great presence here in Barcelona. He invited me down and I stayed there with his family. It was a fantastic trip, taking in all the affection they showed me. In the past, the personal relationship was closer. I still maintain this direct contact, and two or three times a week I have a few beers at the Sitges supporters club.

Did this direct contact help you to appreciate more the efforts of the supporters clubs?

JOSÉ MARI BAKERO:

I remember the important work that Nicolau Casaus did to strengthen the supporters club movement. He was the reference that enabled us to appreciate the value of the supporters clubs and maintain contact with the members, such as in my case with Rosendo in Huelva or with Maria Antonia Milà, with whom I have participated in various different events.

GUILLERMO AMOR:

After training sessions, at the same time as you attended the press you could also talk with supports club presidents. They would tell us if their club had an anniversary or celebration and asked us if we could go. They came up and spoke to you in person. You knew the president, you knew the supporters club and you were more closely linked to their environment. I also remember Miquel Rivero, a Club employee who facilitated the relationship between the players and supporters clubs.

What do you think of the sportive work that is carried out in some supporters clubs?

GUILLERMO AMOR:

There have always been supporters clubs engaged in sporting activity, despite the fact that having teams in different categories is not so easy. I remember when I was young that there were various supporters club teams we could play against. In many cases there is a relationship between these penyes and the Club, and if they have a potentially interesting player for Barça’s youth team, they pass this information on. In the same way, I remember that these teams could be an alternative for younger players who didn’t have continuity in the Club.

Do you think the supporters clubs need a greater presence of young people?

JOSÉ MARI BAKERO:

The supporters clubs themselves would need to reflect on that and adapt themselves to the moment. Some of them are aware of this: I was in one in Majorca that had a fantastic clubhouse located in a bar for young people with modern decoration. What happens is that the financial or work circumstances can to some extent condition the rejuvenation and modernisation of supporters clubs. Little by little we need to look for the aspects that attract young people and be imaginative in this regard. The future is always in the hands of the young people.

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