Sporting is mourning today the loss of João Rocha, a man that many sportinguistas believe was the best president that passed through our club.
Born in 1930 in Setúbal he took the club's presidency in 1973 and left in 1986, the longest ever presidential stint. During this period Sporting was modernized thanks to his strong and active leadership, not only in what concerns Football but in many other sports at the club.
During Rocha's rule Sporting won 1210 national titles, 52 Portuguese cups and 8 European cups in several different sports, putting the club right on top of European and World Sports.
It was the time of Joaquim Agostinho and Marco Chagas (Cycling), Carlos Lopes and Fernando Mamede (Athletics) or the great teams of Handball, Basketball and Roller Hockey that brought so much joy and so many titles to the club and to Portugal in the 1970s and 1980s.
In Football Sporting won 7 titles during his mandates: three Leagues (73/74, 79/80, 81/82), three Cups (73/74, 77/78, 81/82) and one Super Cup (81/82). Teams that will never leave the memory of all sportinguistas with people like Vítor Damas, Hector Yazalde, Manuel Fernandes or Rui Jordão.
It was also during his time that the old Estádio de Alvalade suffered a major refurbishment with the construction of the New Stand in 1983 which considerably increased the capacity of the stadium (up to 75,000) but also allowed the practice of many other sports under it in the famous "Nave de Alvalade".
A man that never liked Pinto da Costa and that never had the support of our Lisbon neighbours in his fight against him. How right he was and how times change.
Hopefully an example for the future president of our club.