Welcome to volume two of my blog paying homage to the football clubs I've visited all over the world and the wonderful people responsible for keeping them going and looking after the stadiums, and in some cases basic grounds.

Since I was a little lad I've been fascinated in football and more so where games are played. With my love of travel and curiosity of the game I wanted to visit as many grounds and see games wherever possible. I was lucky that my Dad also loved the game and spent so much of his spare time taking me to matches. As I got older the boundaries widened owing to my location and increased wages to Europe and indeed the world. The sight of a stand or a floodlight pylon in the distance immediately hightens my senses and eagerness for a closer look.

I hope this site gives you the chance to share in my pleasure and experiences and maybe one day set you on the road to adventure. If you get half as much out of the hobby as I've done I can guarantee some great memories, good friends and stories to pass on to future generations.

Give your local club a go today. They'll be pleased to see you!

Everlasting thanks primarily to my late and very much missed and dearly loved parents; my Dad Bob Bernard and my Mum; Ann, who put up with endless years of football chat and my brothers Nick and Paul who gave me the chance and encouragement to do what I have. Thanks to all my friends who offer encouragement and Sally and Stan who inspire and give me great pride. Young Stan is showing a keen interest in my hobby!

Please feel free to post any comments (please use sensible language - I want everyone to be able to enjoy reading) or ask any questions relating to visiting grounds or events. If you want to see any ground reviewed please let me know. It will take quite some time for everywhere to appear, but make sure you keep having a look as the site is continually updated.

If you click on a lot of the pictures you will get a larger version on your screen.

I have also added links to video clips on youtube where appropriate for those of you who are bored of reading or are filling in time at work. I haven't always gone for the most obvious choices, but items that will be in some cases unusual but always historically interesting.

Click to see volume one of HAOTW.

Rob Bernard


September 2015

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Sporting CP (Portugal)

Sporting Clube de Portugal is a sports club from the Portuguese capital of Lisbon who were formed on the 1st July 1906. The club is often known as Sporting CP or Sporting Lisbon and has departments for aikido, athletics, archery, auto racing, basketball, beach soccer, billiards, boxing, canoeing, capoeira, chess, equestrianism, futsal, golf, gymnastics, handball, judo, karate, kickboxing, korfball, krav maga, painball, roller hockey, rowing, rugby union, shooting, skating, fishing, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon and water polo.

However, they are best known for their feats in association football.

It took around four years for the club to be formed from some previous associations. In June 1902 Sport Club de Belas played just one club before disbanding. Two years later the idea of a football club was revived by those involved at the previous club as well as José Alvalade and José Stromp.

A new club; Campo Grande Football Club was formed playing matches on the estate of Viscount of Alvalade, the grandfather of José Alvalade. The club played football, tennis and fencing as well as organising picnics and social events. Several members wanted the club to concentrate away from sports.

José Gavazzo, José Alvalade and 17 other members left the club with Alvalade lending money from his grandfather to form a new club. The name Sporting Clube de Portugal was adopted on the 1st July 1906, with the aim of making the club one of the foremost in Europe.

In 1907 Sporting moved into their first home ground; Sítio das Mouras. It was considered the most developed in the country at the time. Leões (Lions) or Verde-e-Brancos (Green and White), as the club are nicknamed released their first club newspaper in 1922.

Sporting played their first ever Premeira Liga match in 1935 after several years of playing in the Campeonato de Lisboa. In 1936, SCP lost a league game 10-1 against FC Porto, but the defeat was revenged a year later with a 9-1 win. Sporting became champions of Portugal for the first time in 1940-41 under Hungarian manager József Szabó. The team completed the double by lifting the Taça de Portugal with a 1-0 win over Belenenses.

A second Pimeira Liga title came in 1943-44 before the club embarked on a remarkable golden period, spearheaded by Fernando Peyroteo, José Travassos, Albano Pereira, Jesus Correia and Manuel Vasques, who were nicknamed the ‘five violins’.

The Taça was won in 1945 with a 1-0 victory over Olhanense, before the trophy was retained thanks to a 4-2 defeat of Atlético CP in the first final held at Estádio Nacional, Jamor. Former England international Bob Kelly led the team to the title in 1946-47.

This was followed up with more titles in 1947-48 and 1948-49 under Cândido de Oliveira, whose side also lifted the Taça by courtesy of a 3-1 win over Belenenses in 1948. Another Englishman, Randolph Galloway took over as team boss in 1950. He led his team to three consecutive league titles in 1950-51, 1951-52 and 1952-53.

Joint managers Tavares da Silva and Alejandro Scopelli led Sporting to the championship once again in 1953-54. The Taça was collected once again to complete the double as Vitória de Setúbal were beaten 3-2.

This remarkable period had netted seven league titles in eight years with Peyroteo ending as the leading scorer in the country on six occasions. Sporting made history on the 4th September 1955 when they took on Partizan of Yugoslavia in the first ever UEFA European Cup tie. In 1956 the club moved into the new Estádio José Alvalade at Campo Grande.

Juca and Otto Glória were at the helm as Sporting won another league title in 1961-62. In 1963 another trophy arrived at Sporting by way of another Taça win thanks to a 4-0 win against Vitória de Guimarães. This would lead to one of Alvalade’s dreams being fulfilled in the 1963-64 season as SCP lifted a European trophy for the first time.

Atalanta, APOEL, Manchester United and Olympique Lyonnais were defeated to set up a final against MTK Budapest in the UEFA Cup-Winners Cup. The team under the guidance of Anselmo Fernandez and Gentil Cardoso drew 3-3 at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels before they won the replay 1-0 at the Bosuil Stadium, Antwerp thanks to a João Morais goal.

The pair of Juca and Otto Glória were back in control as they led the side to their twelfth league title in 1965-66. It would be manager Fernando Vaz in charge when the next Premeira title arrived in 1969-70. In 1971 the team lifted the Taça for the seventh time, with the sweetest of 4-1 wins over local rivals SL Benfica.

In 1973 Mário Lino’s SCP won the cup once again with a 3-2 victory over Vitória de Setúbal. They were once again Portuguese champions the following year, with the double being completed thanks to a 2-1 extra time win against SL Benfica in the Taça. The same trophy returned to the Alvalade in 1978 when FC Porto were beaten after a replay.

Malcolm Allison was appointed as manager for the 1981-82 season and he didn’t disappoint as he won the domestic double with Braga being beaten 4-0 in the cup final. The club then went through a drought in terms of honours. Some solace was found in 1986 when SL Benfica were hammered 7-1 with Manuel Fernandes netting four times.

Former England boss Bobby Robson was in charge of the team in the 1993-94 season before he was replaced by the future Portugal national boss, Carlos Queiroz.

The Taça in 1995 would be the next trophy to arrive after a 2-0 victory against Maritimo with quality players such as Luís Figo, Krasimir Balakov, Ivaylo Yordanov, Emílio Peixe, Stan Valckx and Paulo Sousa in the side. It would be in the 1999-00 season that Augusto Inácio led the team to their seventeenth league title.

Romanian manager László Bölöni led the team to another Primeira Liga title in 2001-02, ending a thirteen year wait, which was made into a double as a thirteenth Taça was won.
Leixões were seen off by a solitary Mário Jardel goal.

In 2003 a new Estádio José Alvalade was opened with the adjacent old one being demolished. The new stadium formed the centre piece of the Alvalade XXI Complex which had several other income streams attached. The stadium was selected as a venue for the Euro 2004 tournament.

Promising youngster Cristiano Ronaldo moved on to Manchester United as SCP strived for further honours. Sporting reached the 2005 UEFA Cup Final after seeing off the likes of Feyenoord, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United and AZ on the way.

The final was staged at Sporting’s Estádio José Alvalade, where they faced CSKA Moscow. Rogério sent SCP in leading at half time, but José Peseiro’s team subsided to lose 3-1. The Taça de Portugal was lifted again in 2007 thanks to a decisive lone goal from Liédson saw off Belenenses. Paulo Bento’s team retained the cup with a 2-0 extra time win against FC Porto.

Managers came and went at a rapid rate over the next few years. The club nearly folded in 2011 as debts of €276M were revealed. The team were also faring poorly on the pitch. They finished in their lowest ever position of seventh in 2011-12. Luís Godinho Lopes the club President resigned.

Bruno de Carvalho was installed as the new President as he worked out deals with the banks to sort out the debt, while suing some of those previously in charge at the club. SCP qualified to play in the Champions League in the 2014-15 season after Leonardo Jardim led the side to a runners-up spot in the league.

Marco Silva arrived from Estoril for the 2014-15 season, leading the club to their sixteenth cup win in dramatic fashion. The team were 2-0 down to Braga with seven minutes remaining and being down to ten men. Goals from Islam Slimani and Fredy Montero saved the day. Sporting eventually lifted the trophy on penalty kicks.

Jorge Jesus arrived from SL Benfica in June 2015 to become the new manager of Sporting.

Sporting CP will play in the Primeira Liga in the 2015-16 season.

My visit

Saturday 13th February 2016

It was a rainy miserable day in Lisbon, but I was out and about trying to cram as much into my visit as possible. I had already visited the homes of Casa Pia, CF Benfica and CD Estrela before heading towards Estádio José Alvalade to go on a stadium tour.

Time was tight as I’d got slightly lost earlier. However, as soon as I saw the stadium as the metro approached Campo Grande I knew I would be fine. I walked through the bus terminus that I’d need later, and up the steps to the ticket office. I was directed round to Portal 1 at the other side of the stadium.

Already I’d seen the extra income facilities surrounding the complex on my walk round. There was a mall called Alvaláxia with a cinema, a health club, the club's museum, a sports pavilion, an office building, a Lidl superstore and an underground car park.

I bought my ticket from the reception for €10, which would give me a tour as well as access to the museum afterwards. Just before the appointed time a large group arrived. I was beginning to think that I would be on my own! The young lady tour guide asked for Portuguese to stand on one side and British on the other.

There was a Dad and his lad from Cumbria along with myself. Our guide would describe first in local tongue and then English, which I thought a very nice touch. Adam and Ellis had already been in the museum and were most impressed.

The tour followed many similar examples that I’d been on at other stadiums. There was a look around the reception area, which had a model of the old stadium made of sugar! We were taken into a replica of the Sporting changing room and then saw the away team warm up area, before we walked out to the pitch.

Estádio José Alvalade was some stadium with its steep sides and multi coloured seating plan. It was basically two continuous tiers of seating with a moat at the front to keep fans off the pitch. Both sides had corporate and business seating. The roof was held in place by four large corner pylons which suspended the structure.

There was plenty of photo opportunities. Young Ellis was an eager full back who went to training locally and at Preston North End. Both he and Adam were smashing company and full of enthusiasm. I was full of admiration and happy memories as Adam told me the places that he’d taken his boy.

Once back inside we were shown to the magnificent press conference room. I had my photo taken and was tempted to announce that Ronaldo had just signed for Benfica; but I didn’t want to spoil the warm hospitality! We took the lift upstairs to the President’s suite and a sit in the most comfortable chair I’d ever used. I could have quite happily of sat there and had a good nap.

We went back downstairs to the museum, where out guide just went to local language. This was good for me. My two pals finished the last part that they hadn’t covered earlier, while I went round alone. There was English translations printed next to the exhibits.

It was quite apparent that SCP were very proud of their heritage and sportsmen in every department at the club. Every sport was given some profile. The trophy cabinets were absolutely magnificent.

Once I’d had a good look around I thanked my guide and headed back downstairs and went to seek out the bus times for a very interesting trip to Mafra, which can be seen here.

I left knowing a lot more about Sporting than before I arrived and had a very enjoyable hour or so.

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