In November of 1898, a Swiss gentleman with a love for sports, set out for Africa, in order to help estabilish some sugar trading companies. He chose to visit his uncle Emili en route, but fell in love with his uncle's city so much, he decided to settle down.
The name of the city was Barcelona.
The man was Hans-Max Gamper.
On 22 October 1899, Gamper would put an advertisement in a newspaper, declaring his wish to start a football club. Hans received a positive response for his ad, and on the 29th of the following month, Football Club Barcelona was formed.
Despite being the founder of the club, Hans, who was still only 22 years old, decided to remain a board member and the club captain. Only in 1908 would Gamper become the president of the club for the first time, when the club was struggling on and off the field. Overseeing the expansion of the club, including Barça's first ever stadium- the Les Corts, to bringing in the legendary Paulino Alcántara, Gamper managed to turn fortunes around at the club, giving it it's first "golden age".
His time at the club would end in tragedy however, as on the 24th of June in 1925, Barça fans jeered at the Spanish national anthem and cheered for the visiting British Royal Marine band. The dictatorship of Primo de Rivera allegated Gamper of promoting Catalan Nationalism and closed down the Les Corts, for six months. Hans Gamper, fondly called Joan Gamper by the Catalans, would go on to commit suicide following a spell of depression, and financial problems.
The aftermath of Gamper's death, was a series of institutional crises that led to a decline at the club, including poor results on the pitch, and political pressure from Franco's supporters.
The Civil War in 1936 led to the murder of the then club president Josep Suñol, by Franco's soldiers. In 1938, Franco's troops would go a step further, by bombing the FC Barcelona Social Club, in order to bring down the club, which had already become a symbol to the Catalan people. In 1943, Barça would play a controversial game against Real Madrid, which saw the players being threatened by the referees and the police; Piñeyro, who was club president at the time, despite being a fascist supporter, chose to resign for the way his players had been handled.
The club would recover once more and win a host of trophies following the arrival of Ladislao Kubala in 1950, and would eventually move into the Camp Nou stadium in 1957, with a capacity of 90,000.
In 1973, Johan Cruyff would make his legendary move to Catalonia and the rest as they say, is history.
FC Barcelona is a global sporting entity today, with competitive teams in a multitude of competitions. With the largest following for a sports brand on social media and a host of trophies, Barça has gone on to achieve that, which no team in the brief history of football ever has. It is easy to get dizzy in the glitz and glamour that surrounds the club today but deep down, one must never forget it's grotesque history and what it stands for.
We are FC Barcelona.
We are more than a club.
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'
- Bob Dylan (The Times They're A-Changin')