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, December 14, 2017

Vitória SC (Portugal)

Vitória Sport Clube, or Vitória de Guimarães, as they are more commonly known, is a professional football club from the historical northern city of Guimarães. The club was formed on September 22nd 1922.

The club started out playing matches at Campo da Atouguia, before the inauguration of Campo José Minotes on January 27th 1924. A further move to Campo da Perdiz came on June 6th 1925, before Vitória relocated to Campo do Benlhevai on January 24th 1932.

Vitória spent several seasons playing in the leagues of the Associação de Futebol de Braga (Braga FA) before securing a spot in the national Primeira Divisão, as the league was titled at the time, in 1941.

The team reached the final of the national cup; Taça de Portugal in 1941-42, where they were defeated 2-0 by Belenenses at Estádio do Lumiar. ‘Os Vimaranenses’ finished towards the bottom of the table for several seasons in a row, before improving their standing in the late 1940’s.

By then the club had moved into a new home; Campo da Amorosa on January 13th 1946. Boavista were defeated 3-1, with Alexandre scoring the first goal on the new turf.

The early 1950’s saw form dip with Vitória being relegated in bottom place in 1954-55 before regaining their top flight place at the end of the 1957-58 campaign. Edmur Ribeiro was among the goals for the team at the start of the 60’s finishing as league top scorer in 1960-61.

The 1962-63 campaign saw the team finish as beaten finalists in the Taça, as they went down 4-0 to Sporting CP. Estádio D. Afonso Henriques opened in 1965; originally as Estádio Municipal, with a match between Vitória and 1. FC Kaiserslautern.

Guimarães weighed in with a fourth place finish in 1963-64, and then a third place in 1968-69. The club played in the European Inter City Fairs Cup in 1969-70 and then the following season; going out in the second round to Southampton and then Hibernian.

The 1975-76 season saw another Taça de Portugal final appearance; going down 2-1 to Boavista at Porto’s Estádio das Antas. A series of top six finishes in Primeira Divisão saw the team qualify to play in the 1983-84 UEFA Cup; where Aston Villa were victorious in the first round tie.

In 1985-86 a fourth place league ending led to a place in the UEFA Cup the following season. Borussia Mönchengladbach ended the run at the quarter final stage after victories against AC Sparta Praha, Atlético Madrid and Groningen.

The UEFA Cup campaign was followed up in the same competition in 1987-88 after another third place finish, which saw Paulinho Cascavel finish as league top scorer; ending in a third round defeat to Czech side TJ Vitkovice. Another Taça final defeat in the same season; this time it was a 1-0 loss to FC Porto.

Brazilian coach Paulo Autuori led Vitória to fourth place in 1989-90 before being replaced by Pedro Rocha in September 1990, who in turn remained in the post until January 1991, when former Portuguese international João Resende Alves was appointed.

Marinho Peres was in charge of the side in 1992-93; presiding over a fifth place finish before Bernardino Pedroto took charge in 1993-94. Quinito had a spell as coach before Vítor Oliveira led the team to fourth place in 1995-96.

Jaime Pacheco lasted two seasons in charge at Estádio D. Afonso Henriques before being succeeded by Zoran Filipovic as short runs in the UEFA Cup continued at the club. The top flight was retitled the Primeira Liga for the 1999-00 campaign, with António Valença and then a returning Quinito taking charge of the Vitória team.

Paulo Autuori returned for a second spell at the helm before being replaced by Álvaro Magalhães in February 2001 as the side averted relegation. Augusto Inácio lasted in charge until October 2003 before Jorge Jesus became the latest head coach at Guimarães.

The new man lasted until Manuel Machado arrived and took the team to fifth place in 2004-05. Vítor Pontes was in charge of the side the following season as Vitória reached the group stages of the UEFA Cup but finished second bottom in the table and were relegated.

A runners-up spot in the 2006–07 Liga de Honra saw Vitória regain their Primeira Liga place. With Manuel Cajuda in charge, the club continued their ascendency with a third place finish to win a place in the qualifying round of the Champions League; where the team went out to FC Basel.

Paulo Sérgio and then Basílio Marques had spells in charge of the team in 2009-10 before Manuel Machado returned for a second spell for the 2010-11 campaign; leading the team to a fifth Taça de Portugal final; which ended in a 6-2 defeat to FC Porto.

The aptly named Rui Vitória became head coach in August 2011. He would be in charge as the team, captained by Alex finally laid their Taça hoodoo to rest as SL Benfica were beaten 2-1 in the 2012-13 final thanks to goals from El Arabi Hillal Soudani and Ricardo Pereira as Guimarães came from behind to lift the trophy.

André André scored the goals for Rui Vitória’s team in 2014-15 before Sérgio Conceição arrived to take charge of the team in the September 2015 following a short spell in charge from Armando Evangelista.

Pedro Martins was appointed as head coach in the summer of 2016; taking Vitória to fourth place in Primeira Liga as well as the final of the Taça de Portugal. Bongani Zungu scored a consolation goal in a 2-1 defeat to SL Benfica.

The team captained by Josué Sá competed in the 2017-18 UEFA Europa League; where the run ended at the group stage.

Vitória SC will play in the Primeira Liga in the 2017-18 season.

My visit

Vitória SC 1 Konyaspor 1 (Thursday 7th December 2017) UEFA Europa League Group I (att: 9,040)

The fixtures had fallen beautifully as I planned a two night stay in Porto. I was joined by my friend and manager of Silver Jubilee Park; Tom Stockman. We’d had a superb first day and night around the city with the Champions League between FC Porto and AS Monaco offering great entertainment.

Day two had included a tasting session at the Cockburn’s Port Warehouse and plenty of walking to rid the calories from a tasty breakfast in the excellent Padaria e Pastelaria D. João IV. We’d been recommended the local speciality; Francesinha, as a main meal from the management of our apartment.

We tucked into the superb meal containing bread, cheese and several meats covered in a spicy beer and tomato sauce at the highly recommended Cervejaria Brasão; which also had a good selection of beers.

Once we’d had a rest it was time to head to Porto – Campanha railway station, from where a busy commuter train took just over an hour to take us to Guimarães for €3.95 each way. We’d been told that it was the birthplace of Portugal and well worth a longer look.

Even in the dark it looked a pretty and interesting place. It took ten minutes to walk to the main square in the town centre, by Largo do Toural; featuring a well decorated Christmas tree and fountains. It was a further ten minutes to the ticket office of Estádio D. Afonso Henriques.

Tom’s Brazilian Portuguese cam in more than handy once more, even though the young lady behind the counter was keen to practise her English. We were sold tickets down the side and in the upper tier under a roof for €20.

There was time to find somewhere for a pre match beer. Cafė Pastelaria F.M. was busy with Vitória fans watching local rivals Braga on the TV’s. It’s fair to say that they weren’t too upset when opponents, İstanbul Başakşehir conned the referee into giving them a penalty.

After a glass of Super Bock, we headed round to the stadium as the rain began to fall. It was obvious that it wasn’t going to be a full house as it was a dead rubber; with both sides already eliminated from the competition.

Estádio D. Afonso Henriques was impressive after its 2003 upgrade for Euro 2004. Three sides were a continuous stand, with the upper tier bending round behind an open lower tier. The final stand was a two tiered affair behind the city end goal; with the upstairs seats having a steep rake.

Our seats were pretty good; level with the penalty area at the end where the sparse Turkish following was congregated. The locals made plenty of noise; although not large in numbers. Their patience was to be tested throughout the evening.

The home side started off with a low tempo allowing the Konyaspor defenders plenty of time to regroup in wet conditions. They played far too many unnecessary passes and lacked a cutting edge.

The game was already drifting when ‘Anadolu Kartalı’ took the lead out of nowhere on fifteen minutes. Mehdi Bourabia picked the ball up in midfield, progressed a few yard and then unleashed a thunderbolt from nearly thirty yards beating Vitória keeper Douglas all ends up.

The Konyaspor side sat on their lead and committed several niggly fouls as referee Daniel Siebert became unpopular with the home fans. An old fella along the row from us was on the verge of exploding and offered better entertainment than the players.

Rafael Martins huffed and puffed and then made little effort when a cross to the far post looked to be perfect for a diving header. Our friend along the row went absolutely berserk. Tom translated for me. It wasn’t pretty. He described the referee as “the son of a whore” on several occasions.

While the game was poor, we weren’t too upset. It was an experience and the people behind the refreshment counters served bottles of Sagres; taken from a fridge but poured under the counter. It would have been rude not to join in with the blatant disregard of UEFA’s rulings.

There was a worrying incident soon after half time when Guillermo Celis of Vitória Guimarães went down dramatically, with players of both sides frantically signalling for urgent medical assistance. It was a huge relief when the player left the pitch on his feet.

Raphinha and then Martins had shots blocked as Vitória tried to press. Konyaspor had sporadic breaks; but we couldn’t see another goal coming. Hosts boss Pedro Martins rang the changes with substitutions looking for a lifeline.

His side eventually levelled in slightly fortunate circumstances. Pressure of sorts had been asserted, when Ali Turan sliced a low cross into his own net. Vitória carried on going forward with Oscar Estupiñan having an effort blocked.

Wilfred Moke nearly secured an away win with four minutes remaining, when his glancing header from a corner came back off the crossbar. Raphinha fired high and wide at the other end. The home side continued attacking with João Aurélio missing a decent opportunity with his head before full time.

There had been more excitement in the final fifteen minutes than in the rest of the match. We returned back to the station in plenty of time for the last train back to Porto; which got busy with students as we got closer to the city.

We’d hoped to find a bar still open near the stunning Porto São Bento station. Despite the streets being busy with people, we could find anywhere until a crowd of people along a small pedestrian area alerted to possibilities by Praça dos Poveiros.

The evening was perfectly ended with a Super Bock and then a Jameson’s whisky before we decamped to our Porto D'Época II apartment in readiness for the flight back to the freezing UK the following lunchtime. 

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