Europe’s elevator

Os Belenenses, a historic centennial Lisbon club in the Belem neighborhood, is celebrating for their promotion to the Portuguese second division. One more step in its objective of returning to where it almost always was historically, since this team became League champion (1946), three times in the Cup (they won the Taça de Portugal for the last time in 1989) and three other Portuguese championships (the old cup name). In fact, it is the fifth team with the most points in the history of the Portuguese league.

However, his current challenge is almost more complicated than his great achievements: complete a long path that began in the last division and is already in the second category. And all after having achieved five consecutive promotions, equaling the European football record, from the third level of the Lisbon district to the second national division. A five-year journey that has consisted of 138 games, of which he has won 97has drawn 17 and lost 24, with 365 goals scored and only 115 conceded.

But what led this club with a tradition to become a member of the last amateur division? The reason occurred at the end of the 2017/2018 season. The entity had become a public limited company in 1999, to manage the professional team, while the rest of the sections were run by the club, which could also exercise certain veto rights over the decisions of the business group that controlled the majority of the shares. . Once those rights were lost by court decision, the club was divided in two.

On the one hand, the sports club, which then won the place in the first division and which was called Belenenses SAD. For the other, the club of a lifetime, which kept the shield, the nametraining teams and sections: they have teams for handball, rugby, futsal, volleyball, triathlon, athletics and even swimming.

But his first soccer team had to register in the last amateur division of the country. Of course, he also stayed with a lot of the social mass, with tickets to his stadium higher than those of the club that had remained in the elite… In that 2018, the first game he played in the last category had the support of more than 2,000 spectators. Now, after five seasons and a support that sometimes reaches 20,000, the next campaign will be played in the Portuguese second division after write, as they say in the club, “a unique page in the sport of Portugal”.

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