A first! (Well for this writer, anyhow)

Ah, the glories of Twitter. Those of you who follow me probably already know this, but I threw out a note that everybody and their mamas should follow @estadios_spain. And for damned good reason, because here’s the deal:

Blogging is a thankless, hard-as-hell, time-sucking, joy-filled endeavor. That is, we do it because we love it. Nobody outside of the Huffington Post owners is getting rich off of blogging, so the joy is payment. You would be very hard-pressed to find a more complete embodiment of this notion than the gent behind http://estadiosdeespana.blogspot.com/. Chris Clements is working on a site that covers the history of football stadiums in Spain. All of ’em. It’s subtitle is “Detailed histories of over 250 Spanish stadiums. Very niche and ever so slightly indulgent”

True as hell, and also brilliant as hell. Want the history of the Mini Estadi? Sure, you do. He has it. Want a glowing, verging-on-loving history of the Camp Nou? Okay. It’s parsed by league, from Primera to Segunda B as well as by region, and it’s staggering. I mean I sit down, watch a match, froth at the mouth and voila, a post. But the research that goes into these posts, digging up photographs and delving into history, just makes me giddy.

It’s a first for me because I don’t think much of a great many blogs. And I sure as hell don’t think enough of them to devote a post to any of ’em. But I didn’t want this gem of a site to get lost in the comments, where somebody might one day say “Where was that comment about that crazy dude who has the history of all of Spain’s stadiums?” So it’s a post. Set aside some time, and tuck in. To whet your appetite, here’s an excerpt from the Camp Nou:

“There are stadiums great by reputation and association which, when first encountered, disappoint. The Nou Camp is not among them”. So said Simon Inglis, the doyen of all things “stadium”. I must admit that I was, from a distance, a little underwhelmed by the Camp Nou. Then I paid a visit and I got it loud and clear. In the couple of hours I spent wandering around the stadium, the museum and the whole complex, I started to comprehend the size, the history, the symbolism and above all the fact that it is “Més que un club”.

Back in the early fifties when the Camp Nou was first conceived, there was something of a “Stadium War” being conducted by the big clubs in Iberia. First off the mark was Real Madrid with their new stadium at Chamartin (OK it opened in 1947, but who’s counting). Portuguese giants Benfica opened their Estadio Da Luz in 1954 and supporting acts were provided in the form of Sevilla’s Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan and Sporting Lisbon’s Estadio Jose Alvalade. Barça, even with their souped-up version of Les Corts and its 60,000 capacity, were wary of being left behind, and very nearly over committed to the building of the new stadium, which in part, led to the barren years on the pitch during much of the 1960’s. The first stone was laid on 28 March 1954 and the proposed 66 million peseta project was to be financed entirely by club socios. Designed by local architects J. Soteras Mauri & F. Mitjans Miro, it would feature two huge tiers and a modern cantilevered roof over the west side.

The final years at Les Courts were very productive and saw the club win the league on two occasions (1952 & 53) and the cup on four occasions, including the 1957 final win against Espanyol at Montjuic. Then on 24 September 1957, the stadium was inaugurated with a match against a select Warsaw XI. The new stadium, with its 90,000 capacity had taken 3 and a half years to build and finally cost 288 million pesetas, an almost ruinous 425% over budget. Initially, the teams form matched their impressive surroundings, with league titles in 1959 & 1960 and Copa del Rey victories in 1959 and 1963, but with an ageing side and talisman László Kubala switching to Espanyol, the remainder of the sixties and early seventies were barren years on and off the pitch.

Club finances were not helped by the protracted saga that surrounded the sale of Les Corts, and when it was finally sold in 1967, all of the 226 million pesetas raised were used to pay off the club debt. With the club’s finances back under control, the club set about rebuilding the team and developing the next stage of the sports complex. 1971 saw two significant changes. First of all the Palau Blaugrana, an indoor sports hall, and an Ice Rink were added in 1971. This would be home to the club’s basketball, handball, volleyball, roller hockey & ice hockey teams, and generate valuable additional revenue as a concert arena. On the pitch, the great Dutch coach Rinus Michels was employed, and thanks to his persuasive powers, Johan Cryuff chose Barça ahead of Real Madrid. The league title returned to the Camp Nou at the end of the 1973-74 season and the Copa del Rey followed three years later. As for the stadium, well with the exception of two electronic scoreboards, it remained unaltered until the lead up to 1982 World Cup ….

And there’s so much more. I love this site, and I think you will, too. Have fun.

By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


    1. Thanks! Part of what I love about this site is the sharing of other interesting pieces of writing around the net. It helps feed the futbol addiction!

    1. Good lineup and discussion, but it’s not a best Liga XI vs a best PL XI since you can only have one player from each team. If it was the best of the Liga, there’d pretty much only be Barca and Madrid players in there. And they’d thrash a best PL team any day.

  1. Re Zaragoza match:

    – My line up:
    Alves – Puyol – Masch – Adriano
    Busi – Iniesta – Thiago
    Messi – Alexis – Pedro

    – Pique is still recuperating from the trifling injury in Milan game. So we have a mere 4 first team defenders and that’s all we’d roll in La Romareda. Look like Xavi would be sidelined for another precaution. Thiago would take his place and I’m pretty confident he could do the job. Alexis and Pedro are well rested after riding the bench this midweek. So they will get the nod to escort Messi up front. Probable subs would be Keita to replace Iniesta in 2nd half if we’re leading comfortably. Tello and Cesc could be come in to rejuvenate the forward line, too.

    – The next 2 matches could be a potential crossroads in la liga race with EE playing two tough opponents consecutively i.e. Valencia and ATM. I think Pep will play the best starting eleven available to guarantee a full 3 points. Pressure, pressure and pressure to EE. That’s all we can do while hoping the other teams could take some points from them. We just need EE drop another 3 points and it would be a 50:50 probabilities with everything will be decided in Camp Nou classico. We also have an aggregate advantage after beating them in Bernabeu last November as a winning tie breaker if we both ended equal in points.

    Visca BARCA!

    1. Question: Would you rather keep pressure on EE and have them come into the Camp Nou and lose the title and then we lose to them in CL Final, or, we concede Liga, draw or lose at Camp Nou, and that gives us the extra incentive to take care of business in Munich? I hope we do the double, but just throwing what-if’s out there? Personally, I want the CL against EE where the whole world’s watching our beautiful tiki-taka vs a well oiled(bought)machine. 4 straight Ligas would be something though. Tough question.

    2. EE lose title in Camp Nou, not us. Just in case misinterpreted on 1st question. Then we lose to EE in CL

  2. Mentioned this in another thread, but I don’t think Valencia can do much against Madrid, given their crappy form and weird vibes coming from the club re: the manager’s status. Plus the game is in Madrid. Finally, they just played on Thursday while Madrid played on Wednesday (and have a deeper squad).

    I’m expecting a 6-1 type scoreline.

    Call me crazy, but I think Atleti might get a point from them midweek.

    1. No No Ahsan, don’t curse Valencia with that type of scoreline jk/ 🙂

      I’m hoping a draw for Valencia. Their mood is high after ensuring SF spot. Yup, the new ATM under Simeone could be a tricky banana.

  3. My parents were going to be in Barcelona a couple of years ago. I insisted they visit the Camp Nou and tour the stadium & museum. They agreed. I couldn’t wait to hear what they thought. I was not disappointed. They LOVED it. Their favorite part of their trip and Barcelona was by far their favorite city. Luckily, for my son and I they brought back the Treble Winning poster, Flag, Camp Nou Poster, Messi Kits, & FCB Beanies!!! They also had a picture w/Messi!!! I was really freaking out when they showed me! I couldn’t believe their luck that he was there! Then, they told me it was a cut out picture. Upon closer inspection I saw it was. 🙁 They got me! Oh well. I can still dream. That picture is now framed and on my son’s dresser. I await the day I too, can partake in the clubs wonderful CAMP NOU

    1. i can’t describe the excitement of climbing the stairs and the moments when you finally enter the stands… being there after many years of dreaming about it…. 🙂 and then seeing the team, of THIS team live…

      hope you have this chance.

  4. Fiorentina beat Mee-lan..if Juve win at Palermo then they go top of the league..And as an addendum: Fuck Mee-lan..

    1. I have decided that if the football world is to hate Barça then we might as well revel in it..in terms of pro-wrestling analogy- a heel turn

  5. June 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm
    Bad finishing from Torres. Should have scored two goals (or one goal plus given an assist).

    I hope Llorente starts next match

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