Walter Wild

FC Barcelona's First President in 1899

Although Joan Gamper is considered the founder of FC Barcelona, Walter Wild was the oldest of the twelve gentlemen present at the first meeting at Gimnasio Solé and consequently, was chosen as the club's first president.

Born in Zurich in 1872, Walter Gustav Wild, often known as Gualtierio Wild in Spanish, was the other Swiss member of the founding group that met to found Football Club Barcelona on November 29th 1899 and, although only 27, was the senior member of the club and was made president at, close friend and countryman, Hans Gamper's request.

On December 8th 1899, Wild played in the very first match at the Velódrom de la Bonanova, in which FC Barcelona could only muster 10 players and lost 1-0 to a team of English expats.

He went on to play a total of 10 games for the club, always in the position of defender.

When Gimnasio Solé informed the group that they had to find a new place to meet, Wild's flat on Carrer Princesa in the centre of Barcelona became the club's first headquarters.

Walter Wild maintained a long running dispute with Català FC over which was the city of Barcelona's oldest football club.

Both sides played their matches at the Velódrom de la Bonanova and the argument led to Wild having to find a replacement ground for the team at Hotel Casanovas.

Wild was reelected FC Barcelona president on three occasions and occupied the position until April 25th 1901, a total of 513 days, when he was forced to resign on account of a business opportunity in London.

On the day of his resignation, the club made Wild and German teammate, Otto Maier, lifelong honorary members in thanks for everything they had done.

Wild was to spend the rest of his working life in London, which is why he is often mistakenly described as being English, and lost all contact with his old friends.

In 1949, a letter from the ex-president arrived at the offices of the club asking what had happened to the football club that Wild and his friend Gamper had founded five decades earlier.

The board of directors, presided at the time by Augustí Montal, invited Walter Wild to take part in FC Barcelona's 50th anniversary celebrations at the Camp de Les Corts, where he was given a standing ovation by the crowd.


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