FC Barcelona: The 15 Worst Moments in Barça's History

Andres Ehrli@@ehrliCorrespondent IIINovember 9, 2011

FC Barcelona: The 15 Worst Moments in Barça's History

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    In recent times, FC Barcelona has been riddled with lots of good moments. However, since its inception in 1899, it has also had several bad ones too.

    The club has obviously seen its share of bad times sporting wise, but it has also had to suffer through political conflicts and financial troubles as well.

    It's hard to see it now, but there were times when Barcelona was in danger of ceasing to exist.

    And it's definitely not nice to imagine a World without the Blaugrana. 

After Its Creation, Barça Almost Disappears in 1908

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    As you may know, Football Club Barcelona was created by Joan Gamper in 1899. 

    However, it wasn't until 1908 that he became club president. And sadly, it wasn't under the best conditions, as the club was in severe financial trouble after not winning any trophies since the Campionat de Catalunya in 1905. 

    Gamper did turn it around, and one of his moves to bring the club into financial stability was the move to what would become Barcelona's first stadium at Camp de la Industria.

    Also, that was where the term "Culés" was born, as the fans cheering for the Blaugrana showed their buttocks ("culos" in Spanish), as you can see in the image above.

    The monicker was a side effect, as the important thing was that Gamper stabilized the club and helped it grow.

Gamper Resigns and Ground Is Closed After Crowd Jeers National Anthem in 1925

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    With Barcelona already playing at the 30,000 capacity Les Corts stadium by the 1920's, the club was in a much stronger position and was already a Catalan national symbol thanks to Joan Gamper's steady hand at the helm of the club.

    However, on June 24, 1925, the fans jeered the national anthem as a message to Miguel Primo de Rivera's dictatorship.

    In case you don't know how dictatorships work: The stadium was closed for six months, and Joan Gamper had to resign as club president, never to return to the position ever again. 

    Ironically, without Gamper, the club would turn professional for the first time in 1926 and won their first La Liga in 1929, pushing the member tally to over 20,000.

    The following years wouldn't be as peachy, though.

Joan Gamper Commits Suicide; Wall Street Crash Affects Club in 1930s

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    Involved in a severe depression because of personal and financial crisis, Joan Gamper committed suicide in 1930. 

    With that, Barcelona also suffered from the effects of the 1929 Wall Street Crash, and was very unstable economically.

    To add insult to injury, the Second Spanish Republic, led by dictator Francisco Franco, made political conflict overshadow sporting events in Spain.

    Barcelona's dissident nature also made several players stop playing football and enlist to fight against Franco's military when the Spanish Civil War started in 1936.

    And this was only the start to this very grim time in Barça's history.

Club President Josep Sunyol Is Murdered in 1936

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    Josep Sunyol was one of the directors of FC Barcelona since 1928. He was also the founder of left-wing newspaper La Rambla, which openly attacked both Primo de Rivera and Franco.

    He was also one of the most visible members of the "Acció Catalana" and "Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya," which were political movements against the Dictatorship in Spain. 

    In 1935, he would become even more visible when he became elected President of the Catalan club.

    This would sadly not end well for him, as he was captured by Franco's troops on August the 6, 1936 in the Sierra the Guadarrama, where he was executed.

    To this day, he remains one of the great martyrs in Barça's history.

Club Offices Destroyed in Barcelona Bombing; Players Seek Asylum in Late 1930s

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    After Josep Sunyol's death, Barcelona toured Mexico and the United States as ambassadors of the Spanish Second Republic in 1937. The tour was a success for the club financially (and politically, obviously). However, sports-wise, not so much, as almost half the team ran away and got asylum in those countries and in France.

    In 1938 with the Barcelona Bombing, things got even worse, as the Club's Offices were hit by one of the bombs and the member count dropped to under three thousand (17 thousand less than what they had 10 years earlier).  

Loss of Identity as Catalan Flag and Non Spanish Names Are Prohibited in 1940

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    After Franco occupied Catalonia, he decided to restrict football clubs to using names only in Spanish. Added to that, he also prohibited the use of the "senyera", Catalonia's National Flag.

    Therefore, FC Barcelona became Club de Futbol Barcelona. 

    The badge was also redesigned to match the Dictator's wishes and lost the Catalan Flag in it.

    However, as it begun to adhere to Franco's wishes, the club stabilized politically and economically.

    Yet, it always remained one of the anti-francoist symbols, and Les Corts was one of the few places in Barcelona that fans could really express themselves freely. 

    Sporting wise, the club won three Leagues (which they hadn't won since 1929, if you're keeping count), one Spanish Cup, and two Eva Duarte Cups.

    Needless to say, Real Madrid were much more successful.  

Di Stefano Signs for Madrid Just When Barcelona Was Dominating in the 1950s

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    Barcelona started the 1950 dominating and winning titles, something the club had never done before, thanks to Ladislao Kubala.

    And in 1953, Di Stefano was to sign for Barcelona, and somehow, he ended up in Real Madrid instead. 

    The details of the transfer are complicated to say the least, and there are many versions that state that Franco had a lot to do with him finally ending up playing in Madrid.

    While it is largely unproven, it's not hard to imagine how that might have played into the equation. 

    The Kubala-Di Stefano combo would not come to be, and Los Merengues marched on to win five European Cups in the process. 

Barcelona Loses the European Cup Final Against Benfica in 1961

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    The 1960-61 European Cup was bittersweet for Barcelona.

    They became the first club to defeat Real Madrid in the competition with a 4-3 aggregate. 

    However, they lost the final 3-2 with Portuguese side Benfica.

    After that, it was all downhill for Barça for the rest of the 60s and much of the 70s. 

    Josep Luis Nuñez and Johan Cruyff would arrive in the 70's, though, making this bad moment list take a big fast forward into the future...

Barça Loses Another European Cup Against Steaua Bucaresti in Sevilla in 1986

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    Nothing really catastrophic would happen from the 60s until 1986.

    And that's because Barcelona would lose another European title with Terry Venables at the helm and Bernd Schuster as its main star.

    This time the defeat came against Rumanian side Steaua Bucaresti in a penalty shootout at Sevilla. Barça didn't score once out of four tries and Steaua took it two-nil from the spot.

    That would ignite Johan Cruyff's return, this time as a manager, in 1988.

    What that means, is another fast forward, as he brought lots of good moments and ver few bad ones as he assembled his "Dream Team."

Cruyff Loses European Final with Milan; Leaves Barça in 1996

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    Yes, another European Cup loss.

    This time, Cruyff at least had won Barcelona its historic first title in 1992. 

    However, Fabio Capello's Milan pummeled Johan's Dream Team 4 to 0 in Athens.

    Cruyff's loss started the countdown and his troubles with Nuñez that lead to his eventual departure in 1996.

Nuñez Leaves; Joan Gaspart Era Begins in 2000

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    Remember all those fast forwards because there were no bad moments?

    Expect them to end here.

    This man in a very large part of why my childhood as a Barcelona fan wasn't as enjoyable as it should have been.

    We've arrived to the dreadful Joan Gaspart era. 

Gaspart Sells Luis Figo to Real Madrid in 2000

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    Luis Figo was an idol at the Camp Nou.

    A few months before, he had sworn his loyalty towards Barcelona. And then Gaspart sold the Portuguese winger. 

    Not all the blame is on him, as Figo did have a part on it. But without Gaspart, this wouldn't have happened.

    He ruined lots of Barça fans' childhoods. Starting with and including mine, of course. 

Gaspart Manages the Team Poorly; Wins NO Titles from 2000 to 2003

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    No titles from 2000 to 2003 when you had Rivaldo in your team and got the money from the Figo deal says it all.

    And if you're not getting it: Joan Gaspart was awful as a Barcelona president.

    Here's some of the players he brought in, just for laughs: Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit, Dutruel, Alfonso, Gerard Lopez, Ivan de la Peña, Saviola, Rochemback, Geovanni, Christanval, Bonano, Coco, Riquelme, Sorín and Mendieta.

    Hell, I think he didn't even get ONE signing right.

    Which, now that I think of it, is quite an accomplishment in itself.

    He resigned in 2003, when Joan Laporta came in with Ronaldinho, Rijkaard and company.

    So, time for another fast forward, then.  

Ronaldinho Gets Lazy; Rijkaard Leaves as Barcelona Wins No Titles in 2007 and 08

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    After winning the 2006 UEFA Champions League, Barcelona seemed poised to dominate for a few years, as they had Ronaldinho in their ranks. 

    Wouldn't happen, though.

    In 2007, Dinho started to show signs of slowing down, as Barcelona failed to win any silverware, and by 2008, the Brazilian superstar just wasn't his same old self as Barça finished third in La Liga and had to bow down to Madrid in the "el pasillo" match, which they lost 4 to 1. 

    He was sold that same summer, and coach Frank Rijkaard left with him as well. The team was handed over to a certain Lionel Messi and unproven Barcelona B coach Pep Guardiola. I think you might have heard of what they've been up to recently.  

Samuel Eto'o Isn't Re-Signed and Is Traded for Zlatan in 2009

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    Samuel Eto'o was coming off a 2008/09 season where he had scored 36 goals for Barcelona, including one in the UCL final win against Manchester United.

    With one year remaining on his contract, he was asking Joan Laporta for a salary raise to match Lionel Messi's.

    Laporta, not wanting to disrupt Barça's salary structure, decided not to give him the raise, and decided to include Eto'o in a €42 million plus the Cameroonian trade for Inter's Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic worth €62 million.

    A season later, with Eto'o still scoring goals, Zlatan was sold to AC Milan for €24 million, with Barcelona buying Valencia's striker David Villa for €40 million. 

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but Barcelona have spent almost €60 million euros (not counting salaries) trying to replace the Indomitable Lion (and without being able to fully do it yet). 

    It's up to you to decide if it would have been easier to give him that raise.

    What's undeniable, though, is that they clearly haven't missed him as much as they probably should have in any other time period.

    That's what you can afford to do when you have Messi and Guardiola.  

    Follow FC Andrés Ehrli on Twitter! (@ehrli) 

    Or read his other Bleacher Report articles here! 


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