Saturday, 26 May 2012


I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that" (Bill Shankley)

In Barcelona football is something more than a religion and like so much that happens in this city an expression of cultural and political identify.

Barcelona FC’s slogan 'més que un club' ('more than a club') is a clear reference to the team’s central role in galvanising the community and Catalan nationalist aspirations.

In what has been a barren year for a club that is expected to bring home several trophies a year, Barcelona’s last hope to gather in some silverware came in the final of the Copa del Rey against Athletic Bilbao.

It was as much a political as it was a sporting occasion. Both teams represent nationalist and secessionist ambitions for their respective regions and generally consider each other allies in a struggle for independence from Spain. 

Yet there they were, pitted against each other in a last ditch attempt to win something, in the Spanish capital, Madrid, playing for the Spanish King’s Cup.

In the event the Catalans proved to be better at runing about and kicking a ball than the Basques, resulting in the traditional late night city centre celebrations.

There was even the occsional basque country flag to be seen in the midst of the Barcelona melee.  

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