I hail from Mumbai, India – a place where Cricket is still very much the dominant sport, with Football only gaining popularity in the burgeoning middle class. There too, the EPL wins out with its heavy marketing and early kick-offs. The La Liga is a distant second, with late kick-offs that are usually past midnight. None of that deterred me from gradually becoming a die-hard FC Barcelona fan.
It all started in 2004 with my adulation for a player I still consider one of the best ever – Ronaldinho. His coffee house tricks and flicks, his ever present smile and his sheer passion for the game captivated me. Inevitably, I transitioned from following a player to following the club. I would convert most of my close friends, my cousins and close family to Barça fans – often making them watch late night games with me. My love for Barça led me to befriend a fellow blaugrana who hailed from NYC but studied alongside me in Manchester, UK. Eventually, she would become my wife, I would move to New York and get introduced to the NYC Penya.
I remember becoming an instant fan of the Penya – The vociferous crowd, the love for the club, the camaraderie, and of course the great food & drinks absolutely did it for me! Over time, I have personally witnessed the tremendous growth of the Penya – with great achievements like meet & greets with Barça legends, trips to Barcelona, displaying our crest at the Camp Nou, organizing various events, and engaging in community service. The Penya Board has been integral to this success, and is thoroughly committed to the club, the city and the ‘Penyistes’. The ethos of ‘més que un club’ permeates through us, and its little wonder that the NYC Penya has become an example for Barça Penyas worldwide. We believe that with the help and support of our members, we can soar to greater heights!