Hans Max Gamper-Haessing, known in Catalonia as Joan Gamper, was born on 22 November 1877 in Winterthur (Switzerland) and was the third of five children born to August Gottlieb Gamper and Rosina Emma Hässig. Gamper was a co-founder and the first captain of the club’s history. In the early years of football in Switzerland, it was allowed to play for an indefinite number of teams from other cities as a guest player in friendly games – Gamper is known to have played, among others, two games for FC Winterthur and FC Basel. He also organised the first international athletics competition in Zürich during the autumn of the same year.
As he became more integrated in Barcelona life, Gamper also attended the Gimnasio Solé and helped publish a sports magazine in Spanish called Los Deportes and after apparently having been refused a game by some local who would go on to found FC Català, he decided to publish a small ad in Los Deportes on October 22nd 1899.
A little over a month later on November 29th 1899, a small group of foreign and local football enthusiasts met at Gimnasio Solé at number 5 Carrer Montjuïc del Carme just off La Rambla in El Raval and the football Club Barcelona was founded. Gamper played for the FC Barcelona first team from 1899 to 1903 scoring over 100 goals in 48 games. In 1901 he was a member of the FC Barcelona team that won the first Copa Macaya.
In 1908 Joan Gamper became president of FC Barcelona for the first time. He also recruited the legendary player Paulino Alcantara, the club’s seventh all-time top-scorer, and in 1917 appointed Jack Greenwell as manager.
His final presidency ended in controversial circumstances and personal tragedy.
On June 24th 1934, the President of the Generalitat, Lluís Companys, renamed a street, previously known as Calle de los Crisantemos in the Les Corts District, Calle de Juan Gamper and on the same day FC Barcelona organised a sports festival in his honour and played a memorial match against Athletic Club.
Finally, in 2006,the board under Joan Laporta opened the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper and in 2009, the same board symbolically conceded membership number 1 to the club’s founder.
Who whould have thought of such a passionate football connectoin between Switzerland and Spain.