The city of Barcelona lies at what is a cross-roads, or rather at the beginning of the 20th Century a "cross-rail". It is at once the port for the interior of Catalonia and the way, the route from middle-Europe to the Iberian Peninsular and even North Africa. As such it is hardly surprising that football would have arrived there early in Continental European terms. But it is the manner of its arrival that is different and perhaps crucial in the creation of today's local passion for the game and its influence world-wide.
That there was football, Association football, in the Catalan capital by the beginning of the last decade of the 19th Century is clear. It came, as in many other places, through English commercial as in "Ingles" business input but, of course, that was often Scots both initially and as a sport embedded itself.
Loosely organised football in the city of Barcelona first appears in the winter of 1892 based on the British Cricket Club Barcelona and the mainly Catalan membership of the local rowing club, Club Regattas de Barcelona. And it was probably that year that both James Reeves, actually Herbert James Reeves, London-born and an Artesian Well Engineer employed by the Barcelona Waterworks Company and George Cochran, a Bathgate-born but Paisley resident clerk, with Clarks , the cotton thread manufacturer from the Renfrewshire town, arrived in the city. Together they would be the fulcrum of the Catalan city's first club, the British Club de Barcelona. Both can be seen seated side-by-side in the centre of the photo below of the clubs two internal teams.
And it would be essentially that club playing under the title of the English Colony that in 1893-4 would play its first games against external opposition, a team, said to be captained by Willie Gold, and made up of mainly Scots workers from Ayrshire, who had arrived from Galston, Newmilns and Darvel plus some from Nottingham to start up the newly opened lace mill that had been built in the Barcelona suburb of Sant Marti. Soon known as La Escocesa, The Scottish (Factory), it and the Clark's mill that would open inland in 1894 at Borgonya and to where Cochran would move and form a Sports Association would then provide the teams that would take the game onward not just in the city but wider Catalonia.
Reeves and Cochran would both leave Spain in about 1895-6, Cochran returned to become a football pioneer in the Basque Country and the game in Barcelona would fall away somewhat. That is until the arrival in 1899 of Hans Gamper, founder of F.C. Barcelona. An already footballing Swiss on his way to Africa he fell in love with the city and stayed. And following him there was formation in January 1900 of Sant Andreu, "St. Andrew's" F.C.. It was again based on the Scots and Notts of La Escocesa, would soon become known as Escices F.C. and include Willie Gold once more, Geordie Girvan, Peter Mauchan, John Hamilton, the Black brothers and others. And even when Escoces F.C. folded at the end of its first season six would move on, three, Gold, Hamilton and Joseph Black, to local team, Hispania, and the other three to join Gamper at Barca, providing a first impetus to consolidation to the competitive football in the city and club alike.
And this Barca passing attachment to Scots players, after a short hiatus, would continue, almost to the Great War. Joseph Black joined from Hispania for 1903-4 and William White in 1908-9. Then came the phenomenon that was Glasgow's George Pattullo in 1910-11 and briefly in 1912 and at the end of 1912 and for the whole of 1912-13 the goal-machine that was Newmiln's Alex Steel.
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