The History of F.C Barcelona

By Michael Kachitsa

In 1899, football pioneer Joan Gamper decided he wanted to form a football club. After eleven other enthusiasts responded to his newspaper advert, the dream became a reality and Barcelona was born.

The new club started off its journey successfully enough; after losing to Bizcaya in the final of the inaugural Copa del Rey in 1902, Barcelona bounced back in style by winning the competition eight times between then and 1928 (they were also doing well in the regional Campionat de Catalunya). The following year, they clinched the inaugural La Liga before entering a period of decline due to the ongoing political conflicts in the country, which eventually grew so large that they resulted in the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and the beginning of Franco’s regime.

Gamper’s time in Barcelona ended abruptly after he was deported from Spain because of political reasons. A few years later he committed suicide. Josep Sunyol had become the new director of FC Barcelona. He was a left-wing politician and this would finally lead to his death, he was executed by the Francoist regime in 1938.

FC Barcelona team in 1953

While life under Franco was proving arduous from a political point of view (the club was in fact forced to change its name to the less Catalanian and Anglian sounding Barcelona Club de Futbol and the Catalan colors were removed from the crest), the next two decades were reasonably successful for the club. In the period from 1942 to 1957, Barcelona claimed five La Liga titles and five Copa del Rey trophies. Following their move to the newly built Camp Nou, the club’s officials decided to turn a new leaf and appoint Helenio Herrera as the new manager. Under Herrera’s guidance – and with a Ballon d’Or winner Luis Suárez (not the Uruguayan footballer) as the team’s leader on the field – Barcelona won two consecutive La Ligas and one Copa del Rey in the next three years.

Even though Barcelona made the history books by becoming the first team to defeat Real Madrid in the European Cup, the 60s as a whole were largely a disappointing time for the club’s supporters. With Di Stefano in his prime, Real Madrid was simply too strong of an opponent and Barcelona had to settle with two Copa del Rey trophies for the decade. Ironically, this would prove to be a common theme in the coming years.

FC Barcelona - Wikipedia



In 1973 the Dutch star Johan Cruyff joined the club and was one of the reasons that the team managed to claim a La Liga title in 1974, the first in ten years. The waiting for the next league victory would again hang over ten years until the team with Terry Venables as manager could win another one. This era wasn’t all doom and gloom for Barcelona, though, and the trophy collection would continue to increase rapidly since Barça were far more successful in the cup competitions. During this period, Barcelona won four Copa del Reys and two Cup Winners’ Cups.

In 1979, Cruyff came up with the idea of founding a football academy that would function on the same principles as the celebrated Ajax Youth Academy. His proposal was eventually accepted, and an old country building named La Masia was converted into the Academy headquarters. In the years that followed, La Masia became the most revered football academy in the entire world, known as much for its immaculate top-down organization as for the many players who passed through it and became stars. The list of La Masia-bred youngsters includes Josep “Pep” Guardiola, Cesc Fàbregas, Gerard Piqué and Lionel Messi.

FC Barcelona team in 1978

In 1973 the Dutch star Johan Cruyff joined the club and was one of the reasons that the team managed to claim a La Liga title in 1974, the first in ten years. The waiting for the next league victory would again hang over ten years until the team with Terry Venables as manager could win another one. This era wasn’t all doom and gloom for Barcelona, though, and the trophy collection would continue to increase rapidly since Barça were far more successful in the cup competitions. During this period, Barcelona won four Copa del Reys and two Cup Winners’ Cups.