Over the years, winning of the Portuguese Football League has been divided between 3 teams: Benfica, Sporting and Porto. Only two teams, Boavista and Belenenses, have broken that cycle. Besides the Portuguese League, “Os Belenenses” won the Portuguese Cup three times; three Champions of Portugal; second Division two times; one Super Cup and one Intertoto.
But the history of Belenenses isn’t only about trophies. They founded the first football field with natural grass in Portugal, and like the other clubs, they had some legendary players too. The most known are PePe and Matateu. In this article, I will talk about the club management’s decision that turned their history upside down – the club fell from the first to the last – seventh division.
In 2018, “Os Belenenses” experienced the darkest moment of its history. Due to political and financial reasons, the club was split into two teams after a long disagreement with the SAD (Sociedade Anónima Desportiva – Public Limited Sports Company). A new club called B-SAD, even though it kept all of the team players, was forced to move to another location because they had no right to the stadium. Also, they couldn’t use the name “Os Belenenses” and the logo (specifically the Cross of Christ), which was a core part of Belenense’s identity. B-SAD took the spot in the first division, but the real Os Belenenses – the team that used to play in the European league, fell into hell.
The actions of the club management are an example of enormous courage, making all faithful Belenenses supporters respect the club even more. They valued the club over money. When the team started playing the first games in the District Division, they surprised other teams with the number of supporters following them to every match. The stadiums became ‘too small’ to accommodate all of Belenenses’s supporters. The club’s journey has been going very well. Every year they succeed and move to a higher division. They are now in the 3rd division, which means if they continue to keep the trend, we will see them in the 1st division again in 2 years. Unfortunately, many social media channels confuse Belenenses and B-SAD even though they are different teams.
The supporters’ love for the club is terrific; obviously, it was easier to follow the team that stayed in the 1st division, but they decided to keep following the real Belenenses. All of them say they always want to follow the team, no matter the division they will be. Like in the chant, they sing: “A nossa paixão não tem divisão” (Our love doesn’t have any division). What about you? Which side would you take if your favorite football club split in two?