It was an emotional afternoon in the Auditori 1899. In the build-up to Barça v Villarreal at the Camp Nou, the venue hosted a tribute to the Miniestadi, titled ‘Gràcies, Mini’, involving players, coaches and directors who share fond memories of the stadium that is about to be demolished.
Hosted by TV presenter Pere Escobar, the event commenced with a round table debate featuring club’s Director of Institutional Relations Guillermo Amor, current Barça B coach Francesc Xavier Garcia Pimienta, women’s team captain Vicky Losada and former player Txetxu Rojo.
Amor was there for the very first game played in the stadium, coming on as a substitute for Diego Armando Maradona. “It was a magical day for me” he said. The Mini will no longer exist but it will be there inside me”.
Garcia Pimienta and Rojo both said it had been an honour to play there, commenting on the Fabra i Coats ground where the reserve team had played before and what a huge change it meant. “I have witnessed stratospheric changes in the 13 years that I’ve been at club” added Losada. “Filling the Mini was the nicest of all”.
This discussion was followed by the screening of the trailer for a 10-part series that Barça TV will be showing over the next few weeks.
Vice-president and manager of Espai Barça Jordi Moix spoke next. “Barça is a club about emotions and we are experiencing those today” he said, before going on to explain how the six-month demolition procedure will work and how the plan is to clear the site ready for construction to begin on the new Palau Blaugrana indoor arena.
First vice-president Jordi Cardoner stood in for president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who was unable to attend due to the flu. “We are looking forward to a great season and we have a very exciting project in our hands” he said.
They event ended with a group photo featuring all the guests who have all done their bit to make the Mini the wonderful that it is… was. Gràcies, Mini!