FC Barcelona is one of only three clubs never to have been relegated from La Liga and is the most successful club in Spanish football along with Real Madrid, having won twenty La Liga titles, a record twenty-five Spanish Cups, eight Spanish Super Cups, four Eva Duarte Cups and two League Cups. They are also one of the most successful clubs in European football having won fourteen official major trophies in total, including ten UEFA competitions. They have won three UEFA Champions League titles, a record four UEFA Cup Winners' Cups, a record three Inter-Cities Fairs Cups (the forerunner to the UEFA Europa League), three UEFA Super Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup. The club is also the only European side to have played continental football in every season since its inception in 1955.
In 2009, Barcelona became the first club in Spain to win the treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League. FC Barcelona also became the first football team ever to win six out of six competitions in a single year thus completing the sextuple, comprising the 2008–09 La Liga, 2008–09 Copa del Rey, 2009 Supercopa de España, 2008–09 UEFA Champions League, 2009 UEFA Super Cup and 2009 FIFA Club World Cup.
Barcelona holds a long-standing rivalry with Real Madrid, with matches between the two teams referred to as "El Clásico". Unlike many other football clubs, the fans of FC Barcelona own and operate the club. The club is the world's second richest football club (€365m) in terms of revenue, only surpassed by Real Madrid.
Birth of FC Barcelona (1899–1922)Edit
FC Barcelona in 1903.Barcelona founder Joan Gamper.On 22 October 1899, Joan Gamper placed an advert in Los Deportes declaring his wish to form a football club. A positive response resulted in a meeting at the Gimnasio Solé on 29 November where eleven players attended: Walter Wild, later to become the first director of the club, Lluís d'Ossó, Bartomeu Terradas, Otto Kunzle, Otto Maier, Enric Ducal, Pere Cabot, Carles Pujol, Josep Llobet, John Parsons and William Parsons. As a result Foot-Ball Club Barcelona was born.
Legend has it that Gamper was inspired to choose the club blue and red colours by FC Basel's crest. However, the Swiss team Gamper played for, FC Excelsior in his home canton of Zürich, and Merchant Taylors' School in Crosby, Merseyside, England have also been credited with or claimed to be the inspiration. FC Barcelona quickly emerged as one of the leading clubs in Spain, competing in the Campeonato de Cataluña and the Copa del Rey. In 1902, the club won its first trophy, the Copa Macaya, and also played in the first Copa del Rey final, losing 2–1 to Bizcaya.
In 1908, Joan Gamper became club president for the first time as he took over the presidency in order to save the club from disappearing altogether. The club had not won anything since the Campeonato de Cataluña in 1905 and as a result got into financial trouble. Gamper was subsequently club president on five separate occasions between 1908 and 1925 and spent 25 years at the helm. One of his main achievements was to help Barça acquire its own stadium and thus achieve a means of generating stable income.
On 14 March 1909, the team moved into the Camp de la Indústria, a stadium with a capacity of 8,000. Gamper launched a campaign to recruit more club members and by 1922, the club had over 10,000. This led to the club moving again, this time to Las Cortes, which they inaugurated the same year. Las Cortes had an initial capacity of 22,000, which was later expanded to 60,000.
Gamper recruited Jack Greenwell as the first full-time manager in Barcelona's history. This saw the club's fortunes begin to improve on the field. During the Gamper era FC Barcelona won eleven Campeonato de Cataluña, six Copa del Rey and four Pyrenees Cups and enjoyed its first "golden age".