It’s little wonder that the word “fan” is the truncated version of fanatic. Rock stars and movie stars have their legions of fans, both diehard and casual. Heck, even cartoon characters like Homer Simpson have fans. But, for sheer lunacy, delusional thought and undying loyalty, sports fans of certain teams can claim the mantle of craziest. Now, crazy can mean one thing to one person, something entirely else to others. Crazy can mean follow the team no matter its standing, how many championships it has or hasn’t won, buying oodles of merchandise and springing for tickets in tough times. Or, the crazy fan base is just collectively one brick short of a load or nutty as fruitcake. You know, just like the protagonist played by new Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon in “Fever Pitch.” That is, willing to forsake everything, even true love, to follow his team (the Red Sox).
Fans of El Blaugrana are numerous (about 25% of all football fans in Spain are ‘Barca’ fans) and spread throughout the world. So unified are its followers, that when “El Cant del Barca” or the FC Barcelona anthem is played on the loudspeaker at Camp Nou, every fan sings in unison. The club’s motto transcends even Spanish football “Mes que un club” or “More than a club.” Barca, the rival of hated Real Madrid, has won 26 Copa Del Reys, and four EUFA Champions League titles. This is due in no small part to a fan base greater than that of any other European football team. The Barca shirt, made by Nike, was the second highest selling jersey between 2007 and 2012 (1.15 million).