FC Barcelona’s supporters clubs in Valencia: Football, gastronomy and friendliness
REPORTS 07 Jan 2019 - CMP
FC Barcelona will travel to the city on Thursday for the Copa del Rey match against Levante UD
The Ciutat de València stadium, located in the north of Valencia, will be the venue for the Copa del Rey encounter between FC Barcelona and Levante UD next Thursday, on January 10th. The last time the two teams met was on December 16th, on Matchday 16 of the La Liga season, and Barça ran out 0-5 winners. Leo Messi scored a hat trick, with Suárez and Piqué also finding the net.
The penyes in Valencia
There is a very close relationship between the Levante fans and the Barça supporters living in the Valencia region. Vice president of the Supporters Clubs World Confederation, and the president of the Federation of the Supporters Clubs in Valencia and Marina Alta, Salvador Torres, says that: "There is a lot of friendship and the clubs promote several activities together. Levante UD is a team that connect very well with our style. Their way of doing things is similar to that of Barça fans and they enhance the local and neighborhood sentiment".
This feeling is reflected by the Barça presence in Valencia and Maria Alta. The Federation has 52 supporters clubs, and two of them have their headquarters in Valencia city: The Penya Barcelonista Cabanyal - Ciutat Jardí and the Peña Barcelonista "San Marcelino" that contribute 155 members of the total of 3,850 in the province.
The Penya Barcelonista Pedreguer, located in the province of Alicante and 25 years old, has the most members, at more than 300; followed by "La Safor" in Gandia with 220 members and the Penya Barcelonista Xàbia with more than 200.
Paella and brotherhood brings Valencian supporters together
These representatives of various ‘penyes’ usually cook a traditional pre-match or post-match paellla with a large number of participants. They are well-known around and the president of the Federation for the area, Salvador Torres, comments that these meals are an essential element of both celebration and bonding.
Meetings, known as Aplecs, are also famous. The first Aplec was held in February 2004 with various events in the cities of Dénia, Carlet, Cullera and Sueca. The event grew over the years and it at the end of last November the 13th Aplec in Gandia was celebrated -with more than 200 supporters and 40 clubs.
The conference La nit on començà tot of this most recent Aplec was conducted by the journalist Frederic Porta, in which the former players and members of the ABJ Carles Rexach, Juan Manuel Asensi, Rafael Zuviría and José Vicente Sánchez looked back on the European Cup Winners Cup win from 1979. The best part of the celebration was the official presentation of the discovery of the longest surviving player in the history of Barça: Goalkeeper Joan Bautista Llopis, who is 102 years old and lives in Carcaixent.
A month before the Aplec, the first Barça i Catalunya conference took place in the area, where many supporters, local inhabitants and political representatives attended.
A strong cultural commitment
Valencian supporters of FC Barcelona have had a constant presence in all kinds of activities. As Salvador Torres points out, several intellectuals in the province have had a close relationship with both FC Barcelona in general and with the world of penyes in particular. An example is the writer Joan Fuster, who, as well as enjoying a long and highly regarded artistic career, was one of the founders of the Penya Barcelonista de Sueca. Writer and journalist Ferran Torrent was also the promoter of the creation and officialisation of the Peña Barcelonista de Valencia in 2003.