Have you ever wondered how a foreign 'penya' (group of Barça fans) work? Here we discover all the details of 'Penya Blaugrana London'
The 'Penya Blaugrana London' celebrates its 30th anniversary this 2015. It's one of the oldest penyes outside Spain and last weekend some of the members attended Camp Nou to unveil their new badge.
In the door 96 of the stadium, between the badges of Penya Santa Margarida i els Monjos and Penya Navarros del Barça de Pamplona we find the one of 'Penya Blaugrana London of Great Britain' —the official name,— with the incorporation of two starts in the upper part of the badge, remembering the two Champions Leagues won in the English capital, at Wembley Stadium —1992 and 2011.
This penya was founded in 1985 and currently counts one more than 150 members of 32 different nationalities. It's the most multicultural one, with members like Marcelo, from Buenos Aires, who remembers with nostalgia the last time he visited Camp Nou: it was on June 1, 2013, when Barça won La Liga of the 100 points, La Liga of Tito Vilanova and Éric Abidal.
- Bar&Co (Adress: Temple Pier, Victoria Embankment, WC2R 2PN)
Managed by a Catalan who lived in Madrid for a year before moving to London, Bar&Co is a restaurant and pub located in a tied boat in Thames River, in Temple Pier, in a downtown zone and with views to London Eye. A privileged space where everybody is welcome, especially during FC Barcelona matches.
- Philomena's Irish Sport Bar (Adress: 40 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5AA)
The alternative to Bar&Co is located in Covent Garden district and is a familiar Ireland bar which offers a great variety of sports events, almost as great as the different variety of beers you can find there.
Unlike many penyes based in Catalonia, Penya Blaugrana London became a meeting point for many Catalans who begin an adventure in a new country. Sharing a passion for Barça allows establishing new relationships in a growing community that follow Barcelona around the world and organizes playful and inclusive activities of all kinds. From organizing 'tours' around the city, to playing kickabouts (friendly matches) or even football championships when FC Barcelona don't play.
"Penya London is really well organized," explains members and people from other penyes, which they have a great relationship with.
"The penya usually has representation in the Champions League matches that the club play away. London, Manchester, Rome, Amsterdam... we always try to go," says Eduard, president of the penya. In the last two editions of the Champions League, they have been 'lucky' to live two 1/8 rounds in Manchester. Surely, they would love it to happen again, as they have the city really close.
"In La Liga, both home and away, the representation of the penya is rather sporadic," explains Jaume, a Catalan who moved to London eight months ago.
Despite the result mended it, one of the most recent setbacks in Penya Blaugrana London was the blackout of lights in Bar&Co in the 10th minute of the last El Clásico, which ended 0-4. "It was the first time it happened, and Suárez scored in the 11th minute. We had to find an alternative to see the exhibition of Barça," remember some members who had attended the headquarters, like every match.
"He betrayed me. I'm Liverpool supporter and he is a fan of Barça," jokingly says Tony, owner of Abraham, the mascot that attends most of FC Barcelona matches, either in the stadium —he also travels with his owner— or from the penya's headquarters.
"I started to support Barcelona after the two Champions Leagues won against Manchester United," confessed the reds follower. "Since I take Abraham to the matches, FC Barcelona have won the treble. Not bad, isn't it?"
Penya Blaugrana London has been winning reputation. They constantly match with other penyes from other countries. For example, members from Penya San Francisco attended the unveiling of the new badge, as well as members from other Catalan groups. They care about relationships, they never say no to anybody and they show their personality in every action: in the back of the member carnet there is an image of deceased Tito Vilanova. Long life to Penya Blaugrana London of Great Britain.