opinions | 2015-03-27
Welcome to Grup 14
Greatness from Small Beginnings
This is the personal tale of how Grup 14 came to be. I recommend you to first read our introduction available in English, Spanish and Arabic.
It was just another frustrating night on Twitter. The board made another controversial decision, people were fuming and my timeline was clogged with criticism and complaints. Once again Futbol Club Barcelona was suffering from choices that were questionable, and no one could do a thing. I was at my house in Brazil lamenting it once again, so was Maria in Chile and Jordi in Catalonia, the same could be said about Karim in Algeria. All of those die hard Barcelona fans, official club members or not, were left with nothing except whining on the internet. Something needed to change.
The following morning I watched Valencia win at the Camp Nou and once again the complaints on Twitter continued. That night I went to bed frustrated incapable of doing anything, and in the usual late night tweeting I recalled what a good experience Twitter is. Many good people together talking about football, like a big family, and we are so many that together we can actually make a difference, it was clear, it was obvious, and no one had done it. Yet.
I stayed on bed for hours thinking how we could do it, and days later after discussing the idea with Lucas, he recommended me to email Maria of GO Barça from the group that brought Rosell down for the irregularities on the Neymar signing (Jordi Cases is a member). She enjoyed the idea and I started developing a quick introduction. Later on, we contacted Ángel Iturriaga, another person I had no previous contact with, and being a renowned Barcelona historian, his optimism and excitement with the idea confirmed that we would go forward. We wanted to pay proper homage to a Barcelona legend, someone that suffered a great injustice, and Josep Sunyol y Garriga was the chosen one. Sunyol was murdered by Francoist troops and should be given more attention by the club itself nowadays, to show young fans the importance of this character, like many others, in Barcelona's history.
Clan Sunyol it was, a name that implied unity and paid homage to a great man.
I went to Umer, a designer and friend, looking for help with some logo ideas, and as you can see on the header image, took us a while to find it. In the follow up, I started discussing it with Serge Fagelman, a Manchester United fan that I had just met through an interview on Stretty News, he gave me more ideas and he also helped me with logo suggestions.
I showed the introduction to more friends, like @BarcaStat and Diego Basadre. And started discussing the Arabic version of the future website with my close friend Qusay. The reception as positive again, reassuring, and I mentioned "My Barcelona Project" on Twitter for the first time. Then came two troubled months without internet, and the World Cup. Unfortunately things didn't progress aside from more discussions and a sheet that today has over a hundred ideas to implement (we hope to implement all of them in the first year).
I asked for help on Twitter, and as usual, people that I had never met before came to my aid, to listen to my ideas. I met Heimo Paffhausen from Switzerland and we started developing a website, but struggled with having too much to do by ourselves. I recalled a guy with 25 followers on Twitter that once offered his services, and contacted him. Aagat showed that besides being from the amazing place that is Nepal, he was also a fantastic developer. We talked for weeks regarding Clan Sunyol, and finally started the platform you are seeing now.
Pedro Turambar introduced me to Eduardo Ouvido, a Brazilian designer and he was entranced by the proposal. Beginning to draw the website with our help. The group was revolutionised in the following weeks, a clear visual identity came together with a unique logo.
We finished the introduction (although the one linked above is a completely different beast), and contacted the Sunyol Foundation to discuss the usage of the deceased Barcelona President's name. We received a polite refusal and discovered later that the current board would pay homage to him. Bartomeu and his board will certainly give us more difficulties until they finally leave the club this summer.
Grup 14 was chosen as the alternative name, honouring Johan Cruyff, Josep Guardiola and Lionel Messi. In the end it proved to be a more practical name, easier to implement on social media. We started recruiting dozens of Barça fans that we had yet to meet or talk to. The parameter used for building our team was simple: If they had good intentions and an open mind, they were perfect.
It showed that the passion for Futbol Club Barcelona could be the greatest motivator ever, that Twitter was crawling with good willing and capable people, and that together we would change Barcelona forever. We have grown accustomed to the internet to the point where we forget what a unique tool and privilege we have.
At this point Grup 14 was a reality, it was coming, and nothing would stop it… Except finding a new main designer. Eduardo had some big problems with his family, and couldn't help us anymore for the next few months. A big difficulty presented itself, or so we thought. We started seeking a designer and Aagat found some great illustrations on Dribbble made by a Catalan. We contacted him hours later. Xus Badia became a key member, revolutionised our design and image identity, and quite frankly, this time I didn't expect even half of what he was doing! Xus made me realize that I was merely uniting people under a single flag and that the key promise of unity and heart had been achieved before we even launched it officially. It's an unique experience. I had my fair share of ventures, but nothing ever came to be this personal or meaningful. We were doing it, and it was even before our debut!
The initial platform was developed, over 60 people joined before the launch, and not a single one let us down. The teaser campaign begun, the reception was fantastic, and so the day has come. Grup 14 is for every Barcelona fan in the world and we just started it.
Futbol Club Barcelona is owned by its members, and it's owned by its fans throughout the world too. Let's do this!
Anything wrong? Send your correction.
The views and opinions expressed on this article are of the author only and do not reflect those of Grup 14 or any of its members. The content here belongs to Grup 14 and its many collaborators.
WRITTEN BY: Rafael Hernández
A die hard Barcelona fan since the Joan Gaspart years, Rafael has seen the best and worst of his club. One of the Grup 14 founders, currently overlooking and coordinating the group's strategy. Rafael’s also a football journalist and entrepreneur.