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Fuming critics round on Benfica
Tuesday 6th June 2000

Just as Benfica are being dragged through the courts over their decision to become a plc, Michael Thomas has spoken out over the nightmare the club has forced him to endure and players and fans are queueing up to blast the sacking of Joao Pinto.

The Lisbon Eagles are public enemy number one.

Things were looking good for former Liverpool and Arsenal midfielder Thomas at the Stadium of Light until Graeme Souness was ousted last year and all the British players - except him - were sold.

"It got really bad there", claimed Thomas, who did not play for nine months. "Sometimes, for as long as a month, the manager didn’t even talk to me.

"You can’t imagine how awful it is being stuck somewhere that you don’t want to be, not even allowed to play football.

"Things got even worse when they stopped paying me," he continued. "I haven’t received anything for nearly a year, and that’s a lot – a lot - of money."

Thomas, who together with ex-boss Souness is owed around £1 million, is not the only one at odds with Benfica.

A group of fans, led by Eusebio Gouveia, a long-time opponent of the Benfica board, and club members Carlos Porto, Dantas da Cunha and Fernando Afonso Dias, are fuming over the decision to become a plc.

The fans believe that the change in status will lead to the downfall of the club and that conditions in which a plc can survive simply do not exist.

The move means that chairman Joao Vale e Azevedo is once again caught up in litigation.

Azevedo sees the flotation – which onefootball.com revealed is unlikely to occur within two years – as the way to raise much-needed funds and should he be successful, Thomas and Souness will be knocking on his door for the money they are due.

The latest criticism of Benfica comes hot on the heels of the board’s sacking of club legend Joao Pinto, a move that has caused outrage from supporters and players in equal measure.

"This has been the worst day in my life since my mother died," said one fan whilst protesting outside the stadium.

"I came here to protest against Pinto’s sacking having left my wife dying in hospital," moaned another.

The same fans taking Benfica to court over the plc plans are also hoping to bring the Joao Pinto case to justice.

Gouveia said the sacking was both intolerable and illegal and that the club did not have the power to carry it out.

"It should have been agreed with the fans," he said. "Even if the sacking had been legitimate it is unlikely that Pinto would have agreed to the rescision of his contract."

Ex–Benfica star and Fiorentina midfielder Rui Costa was just as incensed, and struggled to understand why the club should let someone of Pinto’s quality go when they are short of options up front. "Benfica do not exactly have an attack made up of Pele, Maradona and Eusebio," he said sarcastically.

Other players from the Portuguese national team blasted the decision. Benfica striker Nuno Gomes said: "I'm incredulous that Benfica should let their best Portuguese player leave."

Portugal and Sporting Lisbon defender Beto is hoping that the player will join the Lions, who have made no secret of their interest, and sees Benfica’s rashness as their gain: "I like seeing all the best players at Sporting and Joao Pinto is certainly one of them," he smiled.

Azevedo has hit back over the criticism that the Pinto case has caused, claiming that the striker, who only scored three goals last season, has underperformed.

"It was a question of performance," he argued. "There was an enormous discrepancy between his salary and the quality of his performance."

He also denied that Benfica were to blame for the timing of the decision, coming as it does the week before Euro 2000.

"The date of the agreement was determined by the player. He was the one who asked for it to be settled before Euro 2000."
 

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The part I find laughable is the fan who thinks Benfica should have consulted them before releasing Pinto. Can you imagine if every move had to be passed by the fans?

Is it only Thomas who is getting screwed or is it all Benfica players? I can't believe Benfica is allowed to function without a proper payroll.
 
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It is funny, isn't? He's probably the same fan who protested about a merchandising deal Benfica struck with adidas that involves a Truck like rig travelling all over Portugal selling Benfica merchandise (Great idea whose time has come. Hope FCP does the same!)Those fans complained that Benfica was becoming too comercial!
 

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Are the "fans" that get quoted socios or just regular fans? I guess I can understand how socios might feel they have a stake in the club. Never the less, a good management has to do what is best for the club whether fans like it or not. If the team wins as a s result then the fans will like it soon enough.
 

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Who writes this stuff...Is it you Ola? :)
Ripley's Believe It ot Not??

Fans leaving their dying wives to protest the JVP move??? Now I've heard it all...

The Sounness and Thomas debt is old news...

Fans wanting to run the club??
Some of these fans can barely sign their names with an X and they want to run the club?

too funny...



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Viva o Benfica!
 

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As harsh as this may sound, in order to properly run a club you usually have to ignore what the fans want. Running a club is business and the fans think too much with their heart. Passion is a great thing but it doesn't mix with business. Like it or not, professional sports is a business. That's why it's called professional.
 

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A fan that could hardly sign his name with X would do a better job than JVA so I dont see why they couldn't run the club.
As for the game being professional and a business I personally think that football is now too profesional and what all these business people tend to forget all to often is that if it wasnt for the fans that this 'business' wouldnt exist.
 

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All true and that is why the situation is virtually impossible to solve.
 
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Clube de Benfica sold their souls to the devil making Azevedo President and that German coach! Benfica is in turmoil and looks like they are in very rough shape! Looks like Benfica and Porto are on their way down and Sporting is on the up and up! Sporting spent the most money last year in Portugal according to World Soccer Magazine and they look like their going to spend more this year Sporting is slowly becoming a financial and Soccer Monster in Europe! Mark my words Benfica needs somebody like Roquette or for that matter Pinto da Costa who kept his club consistent for years! But that will all come to an end! Sporting Forever!!!!
 
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Hey Marcoa, did you hear that?

Apparently FCP are on their way down and Sporting are becoming a financial/soccer monster! Wow

- From cradle to grave,
always a Portista -
 

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it a matter of time Sporting will dwarf ManU in finances...and beat Real Madrid in European success....easily!

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FOREVER PORTO!
FOREVER THE NORTH!
SEMPRE PORTUGAL!

http://www.fcporto-online.com
 

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SPORTING CONTINUES ITS SPENDING SPREE

LISBON (Reuters) - Sporting of Lisbon continued to flaunt its status as the #1 financial power in all of European soccer today by paying $80 million USD to Barcelona to bring its prodigal son Luis Figo back into the fold.

"Why would I want to stay at a discount-rate club like Barcelona when I can play for the biggest financial power in European Soccer?", beamed the 27-year old Portuguese national.

Figo's return to the Lisbon financial giant was just the latest in an offseason which has seen Sporting stockpile international talents such as Rivaldo (Barcelona), Christian Vieri (Inter), and Anelka (Real Madrid). Sporting's total spending in players thus far is over $300 million USD.

Inter chairman Moratti lamented his club's financial position, "We offered Vieri $50 million to stay, but we just couldn't compete with a club as financially solid as Sporting. This economic disparity is really unfair. I've contacted Manchester United, Real Madrid, and some other clubs to discuss forming our own league to remain competitive against the Sportings of the world. It's our only chance at remaining economically viable."

In an unrelated story, Sporting representatives would not comment on the impending bid to buy Microsoft in the offseason.
 

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Nice one, Razor. I must admit Bulletproof is getting a bit carried away. I'm very pleased to see Sporting has established some econimc stability but I'll be the first to admit we're no Milan, Juve, Barca etc..

Porto is still strong. We only beat them by a few points. Dancing on their grave is silly since they're still quite alive and kicking. Never the less, I have to admire Bulletproof's youthful exuberance.
 

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That is excellent Razor! :)

In order for Benfica to become the powerhouse it once was, we must hand the club to the mobs...I want to see the guy who left his dying wife to protest the JVP move become president and ceo of this club.

JVP would have a lifetime contract and play to the ripe old age of 76 when he would retire without a single championship and Benfica playing to avoid relegation in the "distritais" the stadium would pack once again to say "thank you". :)
 

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Exactly. If it was up to the fans they'd suit up Eusebio and try to recapture the glory years.
 
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Ok Ok maybe I did get carried away!I sense a bit of sarcasm in the air! But I'll tell you's one thing if I had wrote what Razor and Marcoa did with that whole fake Sporting story they'd either delete it or they'd try to get me banned! First of all I didn't say they were Milans or the real madrids so relax! I don't appreciate it you's write with y'all want and if somebody challenges it you say that your being insulted! If you can dish it out you can take it! So be prepared cuz this ain't over! IF ANYONE READS THIS! WATCH IT MIGHT JUST BE DELETED APPARENTLY I AM A TROUBLEMAKER BUT MARCOA AND RAZOR CAN RIGHT WHAT THEY WANT!!!
 

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Bulletproof you seriously trouble me. I don't understand you. I *clearly* told you why I had deleted your lost post. I don't like doing this but I am afraid I will have to quote myself:

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>yes Bulletproof I recall you insulting me and all other canadians in general....that is why I deleted your post.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't get you...its not like I am some sort of gun-toting Porto fanatic, if they win "yeah" they lose "oh well".....

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FOREVER PORTO!
FOREVER THE NORTH!
SEMPRE PORTUGAL!

http://www.fcporto-online.com
 
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Razor you must have alot of time on your hands to write a story like that! Might I suggest writing for a magazine cuz I was like wow look at this story but when I got to 80 million for figo I knew it was bullcrap! I liked it though very well done! I see you can dish it out and I hope you can take it! I always appreciate a little drama!
 
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marcoa, I apologized for what I said on a couple of occasions! I'm just having a little fun! I don't mind the trash talking back to me one bit I actually like it it makes it fun! Did you see what I wrote back to you in the Sporting forum about you and Montreal? You never wrote back and said it was cool!
 
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