PB Budapest: blaugrana meeting point for all Hungarians

PB Budapest

REPORTS 30 Sep 2020 - Supporters' Clubs World Confederation

A quarter of this notably young Penya of 900 members are under the age of 25

Today, supporting Barça and living in Hungary are two situations that inevitably guide people towards the Penya Blaugrana de Budapest. Although it is only three years old, this society in the Hungarian capital has become a benchmark for the movement in Eastern Europe, and is also a powerful meeting point, even for people who live outside of the country. Today it has around 900 members, twice as many as it had when it was founded, making it one of the biggest supporters’ clubs in the World Federation.

“The roots of the PB Budapest go back to 2003, when we set up a website with Barça information for all the ‘culés’ in Hungary,” says its president Ivan Zaborszky. “Over the years, we have been consolidated, and we also started holding meetings, watched games together and even created a football team. Although we were already acting like a penya, it was not until 2017 that we decided to become official.”

All around the country

Although the bulk of its membership is in the country’s capital city of Budapest, the fact that they are the only penya in Hungary means that their influence stretches further afield. As Zaborszky explains: “We have ‘penyistes’ living in towns all around the country, and even Hungarian citizens living in other countries, like Germany, Austria, England and Norway, who have continued to be members of our supporters’ club.”

This, together with the fact that the club is so big, means that one of the biggest tasks faced by the PB Budapest is the integration of all its members. The president compares them with Catalan Penyes: “I imagine that everyone knows each other there, because they all live close to the supporters’ club clubhouse. But here we have people from lots of different places, so we use all of our meetings and activities for people to get to know each other. Little by little, we are creating our Barça family”. It is a wonderful example of how the penya movement brings people together.

Youth power

As well as being one of the biggest penyes in Europe, PB Budapest is also a veritable breeding ground for young supporters. Not only is it the penya with the most members aged under 18, but a quarter of its entire membership are aged under 25. “Some members haven’t even been born yet!” says the president. And he is not just saying that: “We had one member send the documents to register his daughter, but the date of birth was in the future. We made inquiries, and he told us that the baby was due in a few months’ time, but he was already decided that she would be enrolled as a member. And so she was.”

Zaborzsky tells us how important it is for many penyistes to get their whole families involved, and to share in the activities and, in the future, go to games together. The penya encourages that by not charging the youngest members any fees and also offering a family package, and that is one of the main reasons why there are so many young members of the PB Budapest.

Women’s Champions League Final

Few penyes were more excited than the PB Budapest when the women’s first team qualified for the final of the 2018/19 Champions League. After all, the game was being played in the Hungarian capital. The president remembers the experience fondly: “We didn’t get the right result, but that was an awesome weekend for us. We had only been an official supporters’ club for at best a year, but we organised a reception dinner for the Barça officials, a meeting of Barça supporters’ and distributed almost 200 tickets. We are very proud of how it went.”

Another special event for the penya was the tribute to former player Sandor Kocsis in November 2019 in commemoration of the 90th anniversary of his birth, when a group of 60 members of the PB Budapest joined the FC Barcelona delegation. They also highlight their own footballing activity, with frequent games being played between members and also against other supporters’ clubs and amateur teams in the city, as well as holding gatherings to watch big games together, which also include a quiz with Barça themed prizes. They also get together to watch documentaries like “Take the Ball, Pass the Ball”, thanks to the work the penya has done to add subtitles in Hungarian. Yet another example of their commitment to connecting Hungary with the Barça universe.