At our Spanish Holiday Villa of Casa Uno we have a staircase that leads to the upper office space and bedroom No1.
We refer to this staircase as our version of the Spanish Steps as it features some iconic Spanish people, culture and places. It is fun for our guests to see how many of them they can identify, but we aim to feature all of them on the website so the answers should also be close to hand !!!
As this particular article is being written as Spain is coming out of the Covid 19 lockdown. This means that La Liga, football has just commenced – albeit without any crowd !! We therefore felt it appropriate to focus on one of the biggest Spanish global icons – FC Barcelona !!
The club has an unusual start, when Swiss football fan Hans Gamper placed an advert in a local paper expressing his wish to organize football matches in the city. Almost Immediately, the first Barcelona team was established and in 1909 they obtained the Camp de la Indústria pitch, their first stadium and home of the club.
The team changed its official language from Spanish to Catalan in the early 20th century and for many, membership to the team was a sign of membership to the wider Catalan population. To this day the club’s motto is ‘Més que un club‘ which means ‘more than a club’.
Many of the key figures of FC Barcelona during the Civil War were openly against the Falangist movement. The Catalan language, flag and other symbols were all banned during the Francoist dictatorship, and this resulted in its name being forcibly changed to ‘Club de Fútbol Barcelona‘ or CF Barcelona until 1974.
This independent spirt runs through the club and they delight in taking a different approach. The club is still owned my its members and supporters and not any rich individual or organisation.
The team enjoyed national success during the 1950s but suffered in the 1960s, owing to the fact that they had recently paid for the construction of the emblematic Camp Nou stadium. This left them with little funds with which to acquire new players. However from 1970 onwards the club had a revival of fortunes and in the following years Barcelona signed some of the world’s greatest players, including Johann Cruyff who was signed in 1973 and won the Ballon d’Or twice with the team; and Diego Maradona who was signed in the 1980s for a record-breaking £5 million.
Arguably, no era was more significant for the club than the 1990s and the moment Johan Cruyff returned to the team as manager. In the late 1970s the club had invested in an old farm house known as ‘La Masia‘ which was to be the training ground and home for the club’s youth program, and the arrival of the first set of graduates corresponded with Cruyff’s return. These graduates included Pep Guardiola, who later would go on to be one of the club’s most successful managers himself. This team, guided by Cruyff revolutionized the way Barcelona would play football. Their philosophy is known the world over as ‘Total Football’, a style of play in which players have complete freedom to move across positions while the underlying structure on the field is maintained by others who replace him.
With the guidance of Cruyff, the team won four succesive La Liga championships (1991-1994), the 1992 European Cup, the 1990 Copa del Rey and a number of other large competitions which would result in Cruyff being considered one of the most successful Barcelona manager of all times.
FC Barcelona has continued this success ever since, winning many domestic and European trophies. It is hardly surprising that the worlds top players wish to play for the club, as it is almost inevitable that they will win honours.