After 25 years in existence, the Peña Barcelonista de Melilla has established itself as one of the most active and charitable
A quarter of a century ago, a group of friends from Melilla passionately followed the matches of a team that played far from their home. A team with which they did not share a city, a province, not even a region, but, strangely enough, they felt a connection with, and they felt compelled to celebrate their victories and regret their defeats; that team was FC Barcelona. When they realised that some of their neighbours also felt that very same passion, they decided to create a supporters’ club in 1994. And that’s how, alongside Francisco Javier Martínez and Juan Carlos Martínez, current president and vice president of the supporters’ club, Peña Barcelonista de Melilla was born.
Blaugrana values both in and out of the pitch
Two years after its creation, the supporters’ club was made official and became part of the history of the dream club. In the beginning, there were just 40 fans who gathered in a venue of less than 7 sqm. Nowadays, over two decades later, PB Melilla has over 300 members who meet at a 240 sqm head office that trembles with each FC Barcelona match and celebrates each victory as if it were against their arch-rival.
Despite its long history, the supporters’ enthusiasm and activity has never diminished. And, in addition to traditional activities in support of the Club, such as trips away and meet-ups, PB Melilla also has a sports area with a total of 16 football and Futsal teams, two of which play in the Top Division of the Youth League. These teams have won this championship in Andalusia for four seasons, and they even had the opportunity to face the blaugrana team in the semi-finals.
As well as sporting activities, the supporters’ club is also heavily involved in combating the social problems that affect citizens of their region and they organise various events to that end. Through football, the supporters participate in a social insertion programme for foreign minors being hosted in Andalusia, and they also collaborate with every possible activity for the promotion of solidarity. In addition, each Christmas the supporters’ club actively takes part in the toy’s collection for the “No Child Without a Toy” programme. They also promote the fight against cancer, collect food for food banks and organise activities against gender violence.
Tant se val d’on venim
One of the most passionately remembered days by the supporters’ club is the 12th Congress of Supporters’ Clubs of the Federation Andalucia, Ceuta y Melilla, an event that gave PB Melilla supporters the opportunity to share experiences and blaugrana emotion with the President of FC Barcelona, Josep Maria Bartomeu; Board Member and Responsible for Supporters’ Clubs, Pau Vilanova; and the President of the Supporters’ Clubs World Confederation, Antoni Guil. The event was also attended by the supporters’ club ambassador and former player Ricardo Serna, as well as his teammates Asensi and Nayim.
All in all –and despite the kilometres that separate Barcelona from Melilla– it’s one of the most culé supporters’ clubs in the whole country. So much so, that they even have the ability to convert fans of the eternal rival. “We have many anecdotes in our supporters’ club, but the most outstanding and hard to believe fact is the conversion of various Real Madrid fans”, as confirms Francisco Javier Martínez, President of PB Melilla. On the occasion of the Sextuple, and thanks to the exquisite football style of FC Barcelona, several Real Madrid fans decided to dye their hearts of blaugrana spirit and sign up to PB Melilla, where they are still members today.