FC Barcelona ‘més que un club’
The slogan ‘més que un club’ (‘more than a club’) was coined on an exact date and by a particular person. It was president Narcís de Carreras, in his presidential acceptance speech in January 1968 who was the first person to use these words to describe the social importance of FC Barcelona in Catalonia. And, a few year later, in 1973, in his campaign for re-election to the club presidency, Agustí Montal i Costa gave it its definitive form when he adopted it during his election campaign. Barça is “quelcom més que un club de futbol” (“something more than a football club”), was the slogan used in the build up to the elections that were eventually won by Lluís Casacuberta.
Gamper, the key
At the same time, the roots of ‘more than a club’ go back much further. It was an idea first induced by club founder Joan Gamper during his first presidency in 1908. The period when Gamper took the reigns of the club, thus avoiding its dissolution at a dramatic assembly, is well documented. In fact, Gamper’s gesture to save the club from closure has often overshadowed his other great deed of the time. On that famous December 2, 1908, given the collective desertion, Gamper stood up to say “Barcelona cannot and should not die. If there is nobody who wants to try, I shall take full responsibility and look after it in the future.”
Gamper, who had founded the club, was now going to save it from disappearing. But more important for the future of the club was they way he wanted to run it. To the original reason why the club was founded, that of doing sport, he added another: for it to be a pro-Catalan club and actively serve its country. And so it was that the club approached the most actively pro-Catalan political sectors and had no doubts about coming out in defence of the identity and national rights of Catalonia, whether than be in support of the ‘Autonomy of the Commonwealth’ or to bring the Olympic Games to Barcelona.
The ‘sport and citizenship’ programme created by the executed president Josep Sunyol during the years of the Republic or the actions of president Agustí Montal in leading FC Barcelona to support the 1977 campaign for a Statute of Autonomy and to invite the restored president of the Generalitat, Josep Tarradellas, to the Camp Nou just a few days after his return from exile, were just a few of the practical applications of the idea of being ‘més que un club’ (‘more than a club’).
Written into the club statutes
The spirit that Gamper injected into FC Barcelona from 1908 (the year when it could be said that the club was ‘refounded’), has survived to this day and is even present in the current club statutes. It is article 4, describing the functions of the club, which states that the second objective is “complementarily, the promotion and participation in social, cultural, artistic, scientific or recreational activities that are adequate and necessary for maintaining the public representation and projection that the club enjoys, the fruit of a permanent tradition of loyalty and service to club members, citizens and Catalonia”.