Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Cup tournament was lost to both Benfica and Sporting, but FC Porto made it to the final. And so did Sporting (Braga).

A typical midtable club. The Arcebispos (the Archbishops) never made waves, usually far away from either top spots or relegation zone. Since their foundation in 1915, their only success was winning the Cup in 1966. Ten years later they had a chance to win a second trophy. Otherwise, they finished at 8th place, their normal position. Archbishops should do better than that, may be.

As far as midtable teams go, Braga's squad was nothing to brag about, except for their kit, fashioned after Arsenal (London). Colours were changed in 1947, and with the new kit they won their first promotion to First Division. As for why they mimicked Arsenal, legends differ: one version says that their Prsident José Antunes Guimarães, having business connections in London, became Arsenal fan and wanted his own club to be like it. Another version says that Josef Szabo, a Hungarian coach who loved Arsenal's playing style asked the president to change the green and white uniform of Braga. So much for colours, but probably the kit was the best feature of the club by 1977. They lost the final 0-1 and FC Porto got the Cup. For the Archbishops it was one of the highlights in their history nevertheless.
Fernando Gomes scores the winning goal.

Antonio Oliveira, the captain of FC Porto, lifts the trophy. Oliveira managed to play for all three leading Portuguese clubs during his career.

Today one may shrug: what's new? Porto with a trophy? But it was different back then: for the Dragons, it was their 4th Cup and first since 1968. The club was not yet the big club we know today – it was just getting really competitive, ascending, but not dominant. The big days of FC Porto were still in the unknown future, so winning the Cup was actual achievement, not merely saving grace.

The Cup winning squad.