PB Puigcerdá: making history for almost half a century

REPORTS 09 Dec 2018 - CMP

The entity is one of the largest in proportion to the number of local inhabitants: of the 7,000 villagers, 430 are penyistes

Every Sunday, two penyistes and board members of the Penya Barcelonista de Puigcerdà would head for home via the Carrer Major after a busy day at the social centre, which at the time was located in the Plaça Cabrinetty. As they went by, the locals only needed to look at their faces to know whether Barça had won or not.

These were the times as recalled by Pere Domingo, the current president of the PB de Puigcerdà, one of Barça’s oldest and most consolidated supporters clubs, which in three years’ time will celebrate half a century of history. Over 40 years later, the entity is now one of the largest in the movement with regard to the number of inhabitants in the vicinity.  Of a total of 7,000 villagers, 430 are penyistes.

The origins of the supporters club

The supporters club was officially founded on May 25, 1971. Several months previously, a group of devoted FC Barcelona supporters realised they needed a venue to watch the matches together. At the time, only very few homes were lucky enough to have a television, and this, along with the desire to be able to talk about the games, celebrate goals and criticise the referee's actions, led to the decision to constitute a supporters club. And so, 12 locals from Puigcerdà, headed by Pere Isern as the new president of the provisional board, set the ball rolling to officialise the new supporters club entity.

A day to remember: the 1998 World Meeting of Supporters Clubs in Puigcerdà

The blaugrana fans in Puigcerdà still have fond memories of the World Meeting of Supporters Clubs that they organised in 1998, which irrefutably had the best attendance in history. It brought together such a large number of penyistes from all over that life changed for the better in the village and practically the whole region. With the support of FC Barcelona and the Town Hall of Puigcerdà, a wide range of events was organised that included the inauguration of an abstract sculpture by local artist Ernest Altes, which still stands in the Plaça del Rec de Puigcerdà and represents a football wrapped in the four bars of the Catalan flag. Needless to say, the day also ended with football as the protagonist: with everybody enjoying the Barça game against Real Madrid on a huge screen installed especially for the occasion.

Puigcerdà is full of life and Barça sentiment 365 days a year

With more than 40 years of history, the supporters club has only ever seen three changes of president. The current president is Pere Domingo i Casanovas, who is proud of how much the entity has grown since its constitution: “There are currently 430 active members. The number of members has increased continuously ever since the club was formed, and the current figure is extremely significant, given that the village has only 7000 inhabitants.”

The key to success is undoubtedly the link with the Club, a Barça spirit and sentiment that is shared by every member of the supporters club and encourages the rest of the village to join the movement. The group is most certainly active. It offers two annual trips, up to 12 seats available for penyistes who wish to see a match at Camp Nou, and its headquarters boasts a unique feature: two television rooms for the younger and older members of the entity. This enables the younger members to enjoy the game more passionately, while the latter can watch it in peace. After the game, “the supporters club serves cava and coca (a kind of local cake) in important matches or when Barça wins another title,” explains the president.

The Sunday quinto: a seal of identity

One of the most unique and characteristic features of the supporters club is the Sunday quinto, a sort of bingo, which as well as being a way to spend several hours out of the cold in the winter of the Cerdanya, has also become a fundraising event for the supporters club.