Lower leagues across the globe #1: Portugal

Portuguese football fans

In the first of what will hopefully become a fairly lengthy and comprehensive series examining lower leagues across the globe, In Bed With Maradona co-editor Ben Shave takes a look at the Portuguese equivalent of the Seventy Two.

Follow Ben on Twitter and read his blog Cahiers du Sport for more insight into Portuguese football.

The geography, languages and footballing cultures might be different, but with the increasing globalisation of football, the problems afflicting lower-league clubs across the world are (depressingly) familiar.

Portugal has not escaped this homogenisation. Whilst the três grandes of Benfica, Sporting Clube and FC Porto have exerted a vicelike grip over the silverware since the nationalisation of the Liga in 1938 (previous championships were regionalised, with Lisbon being the most prestigious); smaller clubs have laboured under the financially strafing conditions that a long-term lack of success brings – a state of affairs which has not improved as the level of financial investment in the game has grown.

The most recent round of fixtures provided an apt illustration of this unfortunate truth. Sport TV, Portugal’s rough equivalent of Sky (but with a near-monopoly of rights that would make even Rupert Murdoch green with envy), have, in their benevolence, decided to add coverage of the Liga de Honra for the first time this season.

The second tier

Currently known as the Liga Orangina for sponsorship reasons, the Liga de Honra is the second of Portugal’s two professional divisions, which are overseen by the Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Profissional (LPFP).

Very much the junior partner to the Liga Sagres (from which Sport TV brings subscribers at least four live matches each weekend), the sixteen teams straddle a vague boundary between the professionalised demands of the top flight and accompanying legislative boundaries relating to stadia and the like; and the more realistic (for many) environment of semi-professionalism.

Nevertheless, a spot of TV money never goes amiss, and Sport TV’s millions of subscribers got undoubted bang for their buck with an entertaining 2-1 win for Feirense at bottom of the table Fátima on Saturday; and a technically poor but hotly-contested 1-1 draw between Oliveirense and Moreirense on Sunday. The clubs will receive a much-needed cash injection, and the players got the chance to put themselves into the shop window. Everyone’s a winner, right?

Crowd trouble

Well, no. You see whilst the entry of Sport TV into the lower-league market may be welcome from a short-term financial standpoint, it brings with it a number of acutely obvious problems. The attendance at Fátima-Feirense was 404, whilst Oliveirense-Moreirense was only marginally better, at 487. The two matches were the worst-attended of the weekend (the highest was Belenenses’ 2-0 win over Gil Vicente, which saw 1630, er, pack the Restelo).

In a nation of Benfica, Porto and Sporting fans, attendance issues have been a central narrative in the history of Portuguese football. Clubs at all levels of the pyramid have traditionally relied upon a small, devoted fanbase, who pay their membership fees on time and support their team through the bad times and the not-so bad. It is on this nebulous social contract that football in Portugal is founded.

But outside of the Sócios, clubs have gone to great lengths to attract the casual fans, who don’t feel any great allegiance to their local side but sometimes fancy watching some live action on a Sunday afternoon, with their club of choice more than likely coming up on TV later. Sport TV dictates the kick-off times in Portugal, with top-flight games generally spread between 8.15pm on Friday and 8.15pm on Monday. Saturday and Sunday evenings are reserved for Benfica, Porto, Sporting, and recent gatecrashers Sporting Braga.

This unbreakable commitment means that Liga de Honra games selected for coverage are scheduled for 11.15am on Saturday or Sunday, with the rest of the fixtures kicking off at the conventional hour of 3.30 or 4.00 on a Sunday afternoon. By altering the kick-offs, Sport TV have, in one fell stroke, eliminated any motivation on the part of casual fans to make the trip down to their local municipal stadium. The elevated non-Sócio prices were bad enough, but the early start and the fact that the match is on the TV anyway…

Going underground

Further down the pyramid, there is a punctuated drop-off in coverage and resources. The II Divisão (overseen by the FPF – Portugal’s FA) has been tinkered with more times than Claudio Ranieri’s team sheet, with the current incarnation in its second season. There are three zones (North, Central and South), with the three ‘champions’ competing in a round-robin playoff following the end of the season.

The top two gain promotion to the LPFP’s club, whilst the loser remains where they are, joined by the bottom two sides from the Liga de Honra. Relegation from the II Divisão precipitates a further slide into obscurity, and the eight-group III Divisão, where attendances rarely struggle into three figures.

A glance at the three II Divisão tables provides a cautionary tale. Exactly a decade ago Boavista (currently 4th in the Zona Centro) were on their way to becoming the first side not named Benfica, Sporting or Porto to win the Liga championship since 1945. That team, containing the likes of Petit, Nuno Gomes, and Bolivian playmaker Erwin Sánchez, are still talked about amongst Portuguese football fans, but their supporters have had to face near-extinction and the ignominy (Boavista is one of Portugal’s oldest football clubs) of demotion to the comparative wasteland of the semi-professional tier.

Punching above

Despite the absence of television money, this regionalised level often finds a way to make an impact on the national footballing consciousness. The long-held indifference of the bigger clubs to the national cup competition (at least until the latter stages) has meant that history is littered with stories of minnows punching far above their weight.

Leixões, currently 2nd in the Liga de Honra and historically a yo-yo side, won the Taça in 1961 and reached the final in 2002. Pinhalnovense (4th in the Southern zone of the II Divisão) have just reached their second consecutive quarter-final, defeating Leixões on penalties.

Last season’s beaten finalists were northern side Desportivo Chaves, who devoted such attention to their Taça campaign that they were relegated from the Liga de Honra. Whilst clearly not the intended outcome, the financial compensations of their run to the final (which included victories over top-flight sides Paços de Ferreira and Naval) more than cushioned the blow.

Documenting history

As well as on-field successes, it is in and around the II Divisão that the some of the most engaging, idiosyncratic aspects of Portuguese footballing culture can be found. With media coverage generally limited to classified results and the odd brief snippet about a managerial change, fans have taken it upon themselves to document histories of their teams.

Whilst this is a feature of Portuguese football in general (with the grandes the subject of too many blogs to count), it is those devoted to smaller clubs that provide particularly evocative moments of internet browsing – Google any lower-league team and you will find a blog (often photo-based) documenting their finest moments, long-forgotten idols, and aged press cuttings.

Given that many squads are flooded with loan players from the top two divisions (unlike Spain, few clubs have second teams playing in the lower leagues, choosing instead to compete in reserve competitions comparable to those in the UK), this meticulous documentation provides fans with a tangible connection to an era that has long since departed.

Common nostalgia

This respect (bordering upon reverence) for history derives from a wider narrative within Portuguese culture: saudades.

The word is difficult to translate into English without diluting its essential meaning, but the closest equivalent to us would be nostalgia, and more specifically a sense of abstract longing that creates a simultaneous sense of happiness and sadness. Whilst saudades is a fundamentally philosophical idea, it permeates all aspects of Portuguese cultural life, including the national game.

The glitz and glamour resides at the Estádio da Luz, the Estádio do Dragão and the Estádio José Alvalade, but after six years of following it, I’ve come to the conclusion that the soul of Portuguese football, and the truest expression of saudades, can be found in its lower divisions.

Which, given the identity of the website that I’m writing this article for, brings us back to globalisation, doesn’t it?

Huge thanks must go to Ben for this entertaining, educational and engaging insight into the Portuguese lower leagues. And if you didn’t learn anything new from this, then I can only applaud you too for your staggering football knowledge or overwhelming Portuguese-ness!

If you would like to cover another country’s lower leagues, please drop me an email at 72blog@gmail.com or get in touch through Twitter.

Read the other posts in this series:

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The Seventy Two published an outstanding series of articles about the Football League between 2010-12 and was the brainchild of Leicester City fan, David Bevan. As well as collaborating with The Two Unfortunates on the Football League Blog Network and a mammoth 2011-12 season preview, the site featured a host of leading bloggers and David was rewarded with a nomination in the 2011 Football Supporters’ Federation awards. Latterly, he was joined as co-editor by Joe Harrison and TTU is happy to present this archive of the site’s output.

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44 Comments on "Lower leagues across the globe #1: Portugal"

  1. hmocc says:

    Excellent article touching the many wounds of Portuguese football which are similar to many stories across the (football) world.

    The golden triad of Benfica, Porto and Sporting choked the life of all other clubs, since everybody in Portugal supports one of the three as their first or second club. Coupled with SportTV’s deluge of TV matches constant broadcasting stream, expensive ticket prices and an endemic allergy to leave the home that affects most of the population, there is no wonder why attendances are poor.

    Apart from the 3 grandes (Benfica, Porto and Sporting), the best supported teams in Portugal are Vitória de Guimarães, Académica de Coimbra, Belenenses, Braga and Vitória Setúbal. Boavista had a great academy but most of their fans are Benfica supporters that live in Porto.

    Another club with great traditions that fell into hard times and has been tethering on the edge of extinction is Salgueiros. To think that Deco played for this club before joining Porto and nowadays not even a pitch they can call “home ground” they have, is another sad episode of bad club management.

    Finally, the other malignant tumour of Portuguese football is the fact that many people use football as a vehicle for their own personal promotion, since being a club director gives you connections and visibility you otherwise would never have. Being president of any of the 3 grandes equals having immunity from prosecution in Portugal and commands huge political influence.

    P.S.: Just a bit of nitpicking: FC Porto are actually the oldest club in Portugal, having been formed in 1893 (Boavista started in 1903).

    • theseventytwo says:

      Thanks for the comment, good spot – have amended.

      That’s something I’ve noticed in many other countries – closer links between football and government at boardroom level. Only from an occasional external viewpoint, admittedly, but it seems to be more commonplace that politicians get more directly involved with football clubs on the continent. Which comes first, I’m not sure. I bet someone has written a blog or article about it at some point…

      The thing about the big 3 and TV rights sounds oddly familiar (more Spain than England, though?)

    • Nuno Costa says:

      First of all my congrats to this article and to all the posts, I find it quite interesting that people around the world have some kind of knowledge about portugues football (in particular second league).

      Second just a little correction….FC Porto is the oldest clube in Portugal because the “cheated” their “birth certificate”…it’s commonly known story in Portugal….

      Keep up the good work!!!

      • Gonçalo says:

        Yeah we know, Porto also cheats their “birth certificate”, a commonly known story not in Portugal but in a neighborhood club from Lisbon. But these frustrated guys are everywhere always blaming Porto or who wins them?

        Foot-ball Club do Porto was founded on 28 september of 1983 by António Nicolau d’Almeida, a merchant of Poro wine that discovered football on his trips to England. The foundation of the Foot-ball Club do Porto was in the newspapers of the time and the most significant event in this first brief existence was a match against Clube Lisbonense, under the patronage of King Carlos, played in Porto on March 2, 1894, in which each club represented their city. It was also Porto that did the first international football game in Portugal against a spanish team from Vigo and the first portuguese club with international “players”, two english wine salesmen and one italian, friends of António Nicolau d’Almeida. However six years later, he acceded to the request of his wife, who considered football a sport too violent, and departed from the club entered a period of lethargy.

        Twelve years later, in 1906 José Monteiro da Costa returned to England fascinated by the same sport that charmed his friend for over a decade and decided to create a football team. It was then that Antonio Nicolau d’Almeida told her about the project that began in 1893, and José Monteiro da Costa did not hesitate. Member of an association called the Grupo do Destino, suggested to his colleagues to embark on an adventure with him, which the majority agreed. The Grupo do Destino took again the FC Porto project and the club was again reborn in August 1906, immediately assuming a facet of eclectic club, which is also practiced athletics, boxing, cricket, weightlifting, water polo and swimming.

    • Carlos says:

      Just a correction the oldest club in portugal is actually Academica de Coimbra founded in 1887

  2. Jim says:

    Very interesting read.

  3. Pedro Ribeiro says:

    A fine, fine article.

    A great and informed read, but I’d like to point out two minor factual mistakes:

    -“Sport TV have, in their benevolence, decided to add coverage of the Liga de Honra for the first time this season”

    Actually, Sport TV has been broadcasting Liga de Honra matches for at least three seasons, at the rather ungodly 11.30 am schedule.

    -“Sport TV’s millions of subscribers”

    Sport TV has between 300,000/500,000 subscribers. Still a huge number in a country of 10 million; and It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Sport TV has “millions of viewers”, as non-subscribers regularly head to the local pub or cafe to watch games.

  4. P.S.: Just a bit of nitpicking: FC Porto are actually the oldest club in Portugal, having been formed in 1893 (Boavista started in 1903).

    Not quite hmocc! The oldest “club”, football or otherwise would be Ginasio Clube Português, who formed a competitive team sometime in the 1880s. Football is still played at the club, I myself played 5-a-side there on a regular basis until recently. However, the club hasn’t fielded a regular competitive team for years.

    The oldest club still competing is Naval 1º Maio, formed on May 1st 1893. The idea that Porto formed in 1893 is a bit of a misconception, there was a team called Porto who played another team called Lisboa on the Cup d’el Rei in 1893. There is little if any link to the players in that 1893 team to the team which reformed in 1906.


  5. And Ben, if you’re ever in Lisbon, give me a shout and we can have an Casa Pia/Atlêtico/Oriental/Fabril Barreiro mega-lower-league games-athon!

  6. Nuno Antonio says:

    Very good read…

    Couldn’t agree more with the author, it’s not often that you have such an accurate view about portuguese football, especially coming from an (relative) outsider.

    Sporttv has indeed ruined portuguese football for the majority of the paying public, alongside hiking ticket prices in one of the poorest countries in europe (€15 tickets in the Bundesliga anyone?) and the general poor quality of the majority of matches. Corruption is thrive – maybe the author could have investigated a bit further about the ‘apito dourado’ (golden whistle) corruption case involving several first class referees (there’s an oxymoron for you!) and the Porto president, Pinto da Costa, the so called ‘godfather’ of portuguese football, Valentim Loureiro, former president of Boavista, former president of the football league, Mayor of the town of Gondomar, – where the widespread distribution of washing machines to prospective voters was rife,- etc, etc. Heck, the guy spreads himself so much he doesn’t even know how many titles he accumulates. Anyway, phone tapping has finally proved what every man and his dog knew and audio transcripts are available on youtube under the ‘escutas’ tag. However, and conveniently, portuguese law don’t recognize them as evidence so, as stated before, the guilty parts will be allowed to escape without any punishment, even adding insult to injury by countersuing the accusers. Sorry about the long rant…

    Unlike in the uk, where a QPR or Scunthorpe fan doesn’t support anyone else but his/her team and fill the stadia every fortnight, in Portugal everybody seems to have a preference for one of the three grandes, choosing to lounge in front of the tellie waiting for the evening games – or going to the friendly neighbourhood cafe, again as stated before – instead of making the effort to travel to the stadium to watch their local team in the afternoon game.
    I can’t remember the last time my team, Sporting, played a 1500h scheduled game for the league, the same applying to Benfica or Porto.

    Anyway, this article is about the lower leagues so I’d like to add my 2 cents of wisdow about it. The vast majority of pitches are absolute rubbish and most don’t even comply with the official guidelines; the recent surge of synthetic pitches has helped the cause a great deal but most clubs can’t afford them so the plethora of dirt pitches that permeate in the lower divisions will be around for years to come. Unlike the local authorities take their heads out of their arses and decide to help the community instead of stuffing their pockets!

    Spectators can easily trip a flying winger with the help of an umbrella, that’s how close the touch line is to the general public; in some cases, there’s less than a metre between the penalty box and the touch line, inviting players to dive – another huge problem in portuguese football – as soon as they get the ball from a throw-in, for instance. some guys are so good at it they should be in the theatre, the tiniest contact will resemble someone being shot by a Serbian sniper!

    Not all is bad though, there are some genuine talent out there, great grass roots organizations surviving on less than a shoe string, orchestrated by sincere footballing people who go home every night with a guilt-free conscience, knowing they are doing their jobs against all odds; your unsung heroes, if you will… And every time one of these coaches discovers and helps to develop another Luis Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Raul Meireles, hell, even another Luis Boa Morte, he can hold his head high with that sense of satifaction from a job well done.

  7. Nuno, watching football at a stadium is incredibly cheap, as long as you’re a sócio, you can watch Benfica for €10, you can get a season ticket for €90. I don’t think there are many countries in Europe who can match that.

    The sad thing is that most people aren’t sócios and for them, watching a game is incredibly expensive, at the least it’s 100% more expensive, at clubs like Belenenses it’s much more – I think a sócio ticket is about €4 whereas a general entry is about €16.

    I’d love to go to more games in Lisbon, but it’s just too expensive for people with a general interest in football to just drop in on a game. I went to see Casa Pia play last season and it cost me €9, on top of that, I wasn’t allowed in the stand with covering, I had to sit with the away fans (all 8 of them) and I got absolutely soaked. You really have to be a masochist to put yourself through that on a regular basis.

  8. Gabriel Costa says:

    It’s a nice approach to the Portuguese football. There are also a few points that cause the majority of the problems:

    1- Demography: Portugal is a country with 10M people. I mean that it is 5 times less than England and lesser than some European cities.

    This being said, i do understand why there is no big attendance in Portuguese leagues. We must understand that for this population, there are thousands of clubs in many many divisions.

    In Portugal, starting from the lowest amateur league to FCPorto (attendance leader), you will have people watching the game. In my village (800 people) there is always around 100 people having good time watching their son’s and friends playing.

    In a 5 km radius there are 5 other clubs from different lower divisions. All of them have their share off attendance.

    This huge density of amateur football (present in the rural areas but also in the cities) is nowadays a forgotten phenomenon. Nobody cares, nobody studies it but, the truth is, i SERIOUSLY DOUBT that, in percentage, there is many countries with higher football attendance than Portugal.

    I mean by that statement, that many many people attend football games every week end.They just don’t go to the higher divisions and rather follow the local team made by friends and people with who they use to have real interaction.

    2- Times change: I live between Braga and Guimarães and, 40 years ago, these 2 clubs always had a full house in home games. People always speak about the chronic state of occupation but, reality says that it wasn’t always like that.

    Before the democratization of Portugal society (post Salazar), there was very few clubs. Amateur leagues didn’t exist and people had to go into city to watch a game. Today, has i said previously, the weekly football injection that most of us need to live comes from a small division match or, for thousands of younger people, from the act of playing in these hundreds of smaller clubs that are almost all “recently” created.

    Money: One very important subject is money. Portugal has an OUTRAGEOUS policy in ticket prices. There is the existing policy: “I rather make 10$ selling 5 tickets than 10$ selling 10 of them.

    The only moment where prices go down is when the team is under the relegation line and need maximum support. Ironically, even with almost free entrance, people do not react has wanted because they just lost the tradition of going to the stadium.

    In Portugal, the act of going to the stadium with all the spirit that is associated to this ritual inly really exist in 4 clubs. Porto, Benfica, Sporting and Guimarães. All the other clubs, even Braga, are small phenomenons hugely influenced by actual results of the team.

    The disconnection of the people from the clubs is one of the great problems. Although most of the people will be supporters of one of the 3 big clubs, they always like the regional clubs. Even so, they do not go to the stadiums because, in Portugal, with 15 or 20€ you can have a splendid meal in a restaurant and watch the game in Sporttv at the same time.

    In most clubs there is no promotion. Phantom 1st division clubs like Leiria only cross the thousand attenders line when a big club comes into town. But do you think Leirienses do not like football? Of course they do! They just never had a tradition to go to the stadium.

    Bad management: Has said in the article, smaller clubs from good divisions are often directed by people who really dont care about football neither understand it. Most of the time, there is individual interests commanding all the actions of the president.

    This being said, it is simple to understand why some strategical points are completely forgotten. No promotion, no marketing, no publicity. Nothing is made in order to bring the people closer to the club and to create a stronger sense of identity.

    Most of the presidents of those clubs are in function because they need a short term image boost. They really don’t care about the clubs future so they will not lose time or resources planing something that a rival might use in his favor in the future.

    • Nuno Esguelha says:

      “In Portugal, starting from the lowest amateur league to FCPorto (attendance leader), you will have people watching the game.”

      Just wanted to point ut that in the last 2 seasons Benfica was the attendance leader, not Porto. And last season it wasn’t even close.

    • Pedro Santos says:

      Porto is not the attendance leader!

      Last season, Benfica had OVER ONE MILLION people in the Stadium thoughout the season!

  9. micas says:

    First of all, thank you for this article!!

    Its very good to see how people from other countries have interest and can describe so good the reality in portuguese football.

    Then, to you understand some comments about Porto that some readers had post here, i have something that can explain it:

    The Porto Supporters always feel minor than Benfica suporters so they are always trying to find things to say that they were first in something in Portugal.

    The golden years of Porto were in a time of corruption in portuguese football, as its showen in the phone calls traced between the president of this club and the president of the referee´s comission and the Liga´s president of that time.

    After that time of corruption, porto only was big with mourinho, nothing more.

    Try to write in youtube “escutas futebol português” and you will see what i am saying!

    The great moments of portuguese football (although the uefa cup and Champions leag won by mourinho in Porto, were won by benfica, that is the club with biggest history and with most trophy´s in Portuguese history of football)

    Greetings and continue with the good work mate!
    p.s. I Invite you to check more matches of the Districtal Division of Portugal, here you can feel the football essence very good, and to check how the small villages support their small teams with more attendance than most of the 2nd division or Liga orangina teams! :)

    • Pedro Santos says:

      The “time of corruption” is not over, yet.

      Everybody knows that Pinto da Costa (F.C. Porto’s president) is a corrupt person, he should clearly be behind bars, yet no one does a thing about it.

      No wonder he’s called the Padrinho (godfather).

      There’s a lack of transparency and sportive truth in the Portuguese Football…

      • José Dias says:

        This is typical portuguese. “Everybody knows..”, “Its said that…” without any facts to back it. Throwing unproven dirth at someone.

        /José , Sporting fan

  10. Goncalo Pereira says:

    Very enjoyable read. It’s great seeing someone taking an interest in the Portuguese lower leagues, even if that someone is not Portuguese. I guess it shows the difference between the footballing culture in England and Portugal.

    I am a supporter of Beira-Mar (current champions of Liga de Honra). I don’t support any other team, which often prompts people to ask me three or four times “come on, which of the big 3 do you support?” before realising I’m not joking.

    My club is guilty of many things talked about in here: your typical yoyo club between the top flight and the second tier (and even lower some decades ago), some cup runs including our cup win in 1999 (which like Chaves resulted in relegation, but in our case from the top flight), financial mismanagement, low attendances, poor ticket price policies.

    Our 30k seater stadium built for Euro 2004 that looks like a circus and is 15 minutes away by car from the city centre did not help our cause at all. With an average attendance of 5771 this year we are the 6th best in the league so far, but this is mostly because we are overachieving and have played two of the big three already, games in which even our home stands become coloured in red, green or blue depending on the opposition.

    I do not foresee any major changes for the next years. If anything, the 3 big clubs will grow bigger, although the big 3 is turning more and more into a big 2 – Porto and Benfica, in what is almost a Porto against Lisbon struggle for power and domination, at least in football. But as we have seen already, football and politics are closely tied in Portugal. This is the real cancer of our football and explains how clubs become successful out of nowhere and then disappear just as quickly, why many powerful people in politics or shady dealings are also powerful people in football and why most other problems mentioned before come about.

    By the way, the bickering between Porto and Benfica fans is everywhere sadly, as you can easily see even in the posts above mine. Fans of the so called smaller clubs like myself usually tend to dislike the three big clubs equally, for they are all as bad as each other with regards to corruption, abuse of power and patronising attitudes towards the other Portuguese clubs. I would hope Porto and Benfica fans will discuss Portuguese football (i.e. all the other clubs too) in this page and not each other’s faults for once.

  11. fred says:

    lol. benfica fans always crying. the truth is benfica only won in the past because of the dictaturship. benfica president was caught choosing refferies a couple of years ago and nothing hapenned to them. benfica will soon dissapear since they are almost bankrupted.

    dont forget micas 5-0. keep looking up and keep watching history channel

    • micas says:

      dont forget fred

      Chupa-mos bem chupadinhos e dá os 5 euros À tua mae que lhe fiquei a dever ontem :)

    • Pedro Santos says:

      Benfica did NOT won because of the dictatorship (learn how to spell “fred”).

      Salazar actually loathed Benfica because of its associations with the communit party (which were all in Salazar’s head).

      Benfica is one of the few Bi-European Champions because of players like EUSÉBIO, Coluna, etc.

      Benfica won almost every single Portuguese Championship because it had the best teams and the best managers, not because “fruit” was offered to the referees (check “Escutas Apito Dourado” on Youtube).

      • fred says:

        ainda te dói o cu dos 5 pedrinho? mais uma vez muçulmano o PC foi ilibado e as escutas nao mostram nada de ilegal…uma vez que tambem o presidente do clube dos corruptos foi apanhado a escolher arbitros..aproveita e ‘search’ howard king

  12. fred says:

    oh.. and 1 more thing.Porto president was ilibated. but i know u know all of this since u follow portuguese football. here its FC Porto against the moors from the capital. it pretty much sums up what portuguese football is all about. lisbon press against Porto president. but we always win. benfica fans feel inferior to Porto since their club is a joke. look at benfica in champions league and uefa cup. pathetic

    • Nuno Esguelha says:

      As you can see, this sort of club-blindness is spread throughout the porto fans. Even after the tapes of phone-calls made by Pinto da Costa they continually refer to Benfica the dictatorship club because it was favored by Salazar over 40 years ago, and dismiss claims by other fans that their club won 7 championships in the last decade in an overtly corrupt fashion.

      The thing is I’m a Benfica fan and I’m not naive. I know my club has corrupt people in it. But I also know that Porto ruled in the corruption department in the last two decades.

      When it comes down to it people have to decide, is it good enought to play fair and get robbed day-in and day-out, losing championship after championship, or do you want your club to fight back in the same fashion? I prefer to win, so I don’t care about the way Hulk, and Vandinho were punished for 6 months last season because of a brawl inside the Benfica and Braga stadiums. Both players were highly influencial for their respective teams, so there was a plan to take them out of competition. I don’t doubt that. But I prefer blatant corruption to the one where you can only suspect. To the one Porto was responsable for 20 years running.

      In conclusion, if there was a way to end corruption, i’d be all for it. But as long as the opposition is favored, I want my club to be favored as well.

      • fred says:

        lol. os mouros todos a chorar..eles querem ser reconhecidos…não se preocupem mouros..já sao reconhecidos…3-0 com o hapoel 5-0 com o FC Porto. o vosso clube é uma anedota no mundo inteiro. não se esquecam galinhas. 5-0 e a falencia á porta…o que eu me vou rir

    • micas says:

      dear fred, look at the Guiness world record´s book if you are able to read and chek who is the biggest club in the WORLD!!!!

      cry my darling! who is the champion in Portugal? who? ahhh Benfica :) chupa meu menino

    • Pedro Santos says:

      Porto’s president was illibated on a techicallity, which made the court decide not to take the phone taps as evidence.

      Being illibated does not make Porto’s president innocent!

      And “fred” dear, show a little bit of decency and stop insulting Benfica supporters by calling them “moors”.

      The things you wrote in Portuguese are simply insult after insult…

      • theseventytwo says:

        Apologies if any insults remain. I don’t understand the Portuguese language unfortunately!

      • fred says:

        like i said..benfica president was caught choosing refferies in only 1 phone tap made..Porto president was the only one beeng spied…also look up howard king..he is an english reffery who said benfica gave him prostitutes in a uefa cup game…during dictaturship eusebio was prohibited from leaving the country and join other teams..also the best players from angola mozambique went directly to benfica..there are a lot of stories -facts- that the refferies at the time always favoured benfica like calabote and other who got suspended because of favouring benfica. benfica president was charged of theft in the past he is a very well known mafioso in Portugal. he tried to screw Porto lots of times like those phone taps and hulk suspension but never succeded. like i said Porto is growing every year..in the north we dont consider ‘benfiquistas’ portuguese…for us they are moors..they have an inferiority complex towards us because of the descrimination in the north and the fact we are going to be the biggest team in Portugal in a couple of years..if you have a sence of humor and want to laugh come to Portugal learn portuguese and see what happens in benfica every year…they say the’re gonna win the champions league this year..they were pathetic in this competition like always. they provoked hulk in the tunel and a couple of days ago the guy who treats the eagle in the stadium was beaten severely because ‘he was not alowed to be there’ .lol. benfica is a joke of a club and everybody knows it. this year 5-0

  13. fred says:

    everybody knows benfica only won in the past because of dictaturship…its not like real madrid with franco…its much worse…in the present benfica wins 1 championship in 10 years with corruption…for example…last year benfica mafia in the league suspended Hulk (best player in the league- voted by all players and coaches month afer month) for half a season..benfica is like the mafia…even the guy who takes care of the eagle in the stadium was beaten severely because he took his business elsewhere…FC Porto-5 slmafia-0

  14. Rui says:


    just to correct you that SportTv has been broadcasting Liga de Honra’s matches since at least 6 ou 7 years.

    In other issues, I think you could have talk about how portuguese clubs do so well in getting south american players for no much cost and adding a lot of value to them, but I understand the research level would have to be very big to do that study.

    nice article, great work.

  15. Bruno Antunes says:

    Keep on the excelent work!

  16. joe says:

    To get back to the original content though, a very informative article and an article that should be read by all Portuguese football fans.
    I have lived here for around ten years and follow both Porto and Varzim, I choose Porto because their style of play was and is far superior to the other major teams and I have a season ticket at the Dragon Stadium, I choose Varzim because I spent a fair bit of time in that area and again, I liked their style of play.

    As for the Porto/Benfica corruption, both are guilty and the ones that suffer are the fans, dont forget Benfiquistas, it was not Porto who gave shares in their club, gratis, to the government to enable them to remain in the top flight of Portuguese football.

  17. theseventytwo says:

    I’d love to say it was all the work of my precise and meticulous editing, but I didn’t have to touch a single word (at which point someone points out a typo!)

    In all seriousness, it’s a great article and looking forward to the others too. No pressure mate…

  18. theseventytwo says:

    haha good plan mate.

  19. Thanks Andrew. I’m not an expert on the amateur leagues by any means, although it’s something I would love to devote more time to. I have been to see SC Farense play, back when they were in the Algarve District Championship. That wasn’t a true example though, as they have a long history and a more sizeable fanbase.

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