Saturday, June 14, 2014

14 June 1925 - They Seem To Have Recovered Fully By Now

On 14 June 1925, Barcelona played a match that was almost its last.

Barça had organized the 14 June match against Jupiter, another Barcelona club, in honor of the Orfeó Català, an amateur choir founded in 1891. The Orfeó Català, also based in Barcelona, was a touchstone of Catalan culture. At that time, however, Spain was controlled by dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera v Orbaneja, whose government was openly hostile to Catalonia and had even banned the Catalan language.

A British Navy ship was docked in the Barcelona harbor and Barça's manager, Englishman Ralph Kirby, invited the ship's band to play at the match. The band played the Spanish national anthem, which the crowd booed, and then the English anthem "God Save the King," which the crowd applauded.

The government responded by fining the club, forcing the resignation of club president Joan Gamper, and shutting the team down for six months. Unable to play, Barça nearly went bankrupt, but was saved by donations from loyal supporters and a local bank.

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