FC Barcelona Player 1899-1905 and President 1903-04
Arthur Witty Cotton began playing for FC Barcelona soon after the club’s foundation in 1899 and served as the club’s fourth president between 1903 and 1905.
Although born in Barcelona, Witty was the son of a Yorkshire businessman, Frederick Witty, who had initially intended to emigrate to Argentina but ended up setting up a shipping company in Barcelona.
Arthur and his brother, Ernest, were educated at Merchant Taylors’ School on Merseyside, where they both excelled at rugby.
Incidentally, the Merchant Taylors’ rugby team’s colours were blue and claret, so some people claim that the reason why Barça’s colours are blaugrana is that the Witty brothers brought rugby shirts over in the early days.
However FC Basel and other clubs that FC Barcelona founder, Joan Gamper, played for and his home canton of Zurich have all been credited or claimed to be the inspiration.
On their return to Barcelona, Arthur and Ernest were unable to play rugby due to lack of pitches so began to organise football games between members of the expat community.
In 1899, Ernest became a founding member of the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona and apparently, played tennis with, among others Hans (later Joan) Gamper so not surprisingly the brothers soon became involved when Gamper set up the new football club.