Reasons which inspired the construction of "Nou Camp" : Celebrating Camp Nou's 60th Birthday
In September 2017, Camp Nou celebrated its 60th birthday and here is a brief history of Camp Nou and the reasons behind its construction
A stadium is not just a venue for a football match. It represents the club and its fan power. Moreover, it reflects the club's glory and magnificence on a global scale. It stands witness to all the emotions and magic moments that unfold on the pitch and provides a perfect backdrop for plenty of storylines.
To the uninitiated, Nou Camp is the second largest association football stadium in the world after The Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, also known as the May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea. It is a UEFA 4 star rated stadium. It serves as the home ground of FC Barcelona.
In its early years of existence, FC Barcelona switched between different grounds and there was no permanent venue. Would you believe that they played at 6 different grounds between 1899-1922?
One can imagine the problem faced by both supporters and club when every match looks like an away game as a club needs time to adjust at a new ground. In 1922 FC Barcelona switched to their new home "Camp de Les Corts" which replaced the "Camp de la Indústria" as the home of FC Barcelona.
Reasons which provided impetus for construction of Nou Camp
1. Barcelona emerged as symbol of Catalan culture
The history of FC Barcelona is often connected to the political drama in Spain. In the 1930s and 1940s, Barcelona became a symbol of Catalan culture. When General Franco tried to suppress the Catalan identity by banning the native language and forcing to use only Spanish names, it was the only place where people gathered and showed their dissatisfaction and discontent.
It stood firmly against all the hardships and trouble created by the government at Madrid. People saw FC Barcelona as a staunch defender of human rights, freedom, and democracy.
It was not just a club but a platform to register their discontent towards the autocratic rule of General Franco. For people living in Catalonia, it is not just a football stadium: it is their place of worship. Camp Nou was one of the few places where they could openly talk in their native language.
As a result, the club started attracting more and more members and old Les Corts was not enough to accommodate this growing number of supporters.
2. Signing of Ladislao Kubala: FC Barcelona's "greatest ever player"
In 1950 Barcelona signed Hungarian footballer Ladislao Kubala. He later established himself as one of the best ever to wear the Barca jersey. Just for information, in a 1999 survey, he was voted as the greatest Barcelona player of the century. He generated a lot of interest in the club and attracted a lot of fans. He was an iconic player and helped Barcelona to its most successful spell.
Although Barcelona board already had some plans for constructing a new stadium before they signed Kubala in 1950, still it is widely claimed in Barcelona folklore that he was the inspiration behind the construction of Camp Nou. In any case, one can't deny the fact that he was a crowd puller. As someone rightly said, "His existence was more than goals".
Kubala was the hero of the 1951-52 season and the forward's contributions were instrumental as the campaign became widely known as "Barca of the Five Cups." The club won 5 trophies in that season.
Now the problem: Les Corts had a capacity of only 48,000 and it was too small to accommodate the fans who wanted to watch him play week in and week out.
Both these reasons provided the impetus to several expansion projects, but later people, as well as the board, realized that a new stadium is needed to meet the demands. Finally, the club made the decision to construct a new stadium. This is how Camp Nou became a reality.
Apart from being the home ground of FC Barcelona, it has hosted two European Cup finals ( now Champions League ) in 1989 and 1999. It was also the venue for the five matches at 1982 World Cup. Camp Nou hosted the final of the football competition in 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
There is a funny story behind the name of Nou Camp. The official name of the club was Estadi del FC Barcelona, but people just called it "new ground" ( "Camp Nou" ). It is quite understandable as Camp Nou was their 8th new ground and they just want to differentiate it from the old Les Corts.
Camp Nou trivia
As clock ticks to 17 minutes and 14 seconds into every game at Camp Nou, one can hear the cries of 'Independencia' echo around the ground. This marks the year 1714 when Catalan troops were defeated by the Spanish army.