Agustí Montal i Costa

FC Barcelona President 1969-77

Born in Barcelona on April 5th 1934, Agustí Montal i Costa  was the son of former CF Barcelona president Augustín Montal i Galobert.

He became president of FC Barcelona on December 18th 1969 after having been a member of the the board under Narciso de Carreras.

As a member of one of the great Barcelonista families, Montal i Costa defeated vice president Pere Batet in the elections by only 14 votes.

In spite of the fact that Franco was still alive, Montal was a great defender of Catalanism and campaigned against the centralism in Spanish football that based everything in Madrid.

He was also the person who popularised the expression "Barça és més que un club" - "Barça is more than a club" even though it had been coined by his predecessor Narciso de Carreras.

It was during the Montal i Costa presidency that Club de Fútbol Barcelona returned to its original name of Futbol Club Barcelona so he can be seen as the first FC Barcelona president in 30 years of dictatorship.

In 1974, he also commissioned the FC Barcelona anthem, El Cant del Barça, returned the club bulletin into the Catalan language as well as installing the loudspeaker system at Camp Nou.

In 1969, he took on the Spanish Federation over the Guruceta scandal, in which the referee Emilio Carlos Guruceta gave a penalty to Real Madrid against Barcelona, which was clearly well outside the box.

Another well-known confrontation with the federation was the Heredia Affair, in which he won the right to sign foreign players.



The upshot of this was Agustí Montal's greatest achievement, the signing of the Flying Dutchman, Johan Cruyff, in 1973, which would put FC Barcelona back on the road to success and leave an indelible on the style and footballing philosophy of the club..

Johan Neeskens and Hugo Sotil were signed around the same time and in the 1973-74 season that star-studded side won its first Liga in fourteen years, beating Real Madrid 5-0 along the way.

During the season, Montal i Costa was re-elected for his second term of office, beating his only rival Lluís Casacuberta by a convincing 902 votes to 340.

Other high points of his presidency were the 75th anniversary of the club and the building of the Palau Blaugrana basketball stadium and the ice rink, both of which strengthened other sports sections within FC Barcelona.

Montal i Costa stood down on December 18th 1977 and after a period under interim president Raimon Carrasco, Josep Lluís Nuñez became FC Barcelona president in May 1978.

In the 1980s, Agustí Montal remained active in Catalan society and in 1982 stood as candidate for the Province of Barcelona for the Spanish Senate representing Convergència i Unió but wasn't elected.

He was also on the board of major Catalan companies, such as Gas Natural and La Caixa.

As manager of Montalfita, he was accused of Social Security fraud in 1986, along with his brother Josep Maria and 97 more Catalan businessmen.

When the case came to court in 1996, he pleaded guilty and received an 11-month prison sentenve, which he never served.

In this century, Montal i Costa has been president of the Fundació Enciclopèdia Catalana and on the committee of the Federació de Mutualitats de Catalunya and in 2004, the Generalitat of Catalonia awarded him the Creu de Sant Jordi, one of Catalonia's highest honours.

If you read Spanish, there's a very interesting 2010 interview with Agustí Montal i Costa by Toni Delgado on the blog Cronómetro de Records, from which I've taken the photo above.

The great Agostí Montal died on March 22nd 2017 aged 82. He will be very sadly missed by Barça supporters everywhere..



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