The financial situation around the world has been a talking point for some time. Many countries that usually have strong economies have suffered as a result of the recession. Portugal is one of the worst. At the same time, a common trend has emerged in the world of football. Wealthy individuals have bought football clubs, pumping millions, and even billions, into them. Manchester City, Malaga, and PSG are three prime examples. The very facade of football has changed as a result. While these clubs have not been affected by the economic downturn, some have not been as lucky. Vitoria Guimaraes is a perfect example.
Vitoria SC, as it is known in short, is a club with a rich history, like many clubs in Portugal. founded in 1922, the club has served most of it’s life in the top division in Portugal. Although they have never championed the league, they have established themselves as a dominant force, especially in recent times. Before the emergence of Braga as the fourth top team in Portugal, many would argue that Vitoria Guimaraes was the fourth strongest team in Portugal.
The economic downturn, along with mismanagement, hit Vitoria SC particularly hard. At one point last season, the players’ wages went unpaid for four months. The club had to offload a number of high wage earners as a result. Players such as Edgar Silva, Paulo Sergio, Faouzi, and Anderson Santana were offloaded in the summer, likely to cut the club’s wage expenses. Many did not predict the club to survive the league this season. Vitoria Guimaraes has survived this season, however, and not only have they survived, but they have survived comfortably. How they did is interesting.
The departures of the aforementioned players obviously left some large gaps in the squad for this season. Knowing that the club did not have the resources to buy more higher-profile players, the club turned to their talented youth pool. Ricardo, Tiago Rodrigues, and Paulo Oliveira were all given first-team roles. Likewise, the club secured the loan of Sporting Libson’s youngster Amidio Balde and purchased Andre Andre from Varzim for free. All five of these players have played pivotal roles at one point or another in Vitoria Guimaraes’ campaign so far this season. For instance, Amidio Balde has scored five goals in twelve appearances, while Ricardo and Andre Andre have established themselves as permanent first-team fixtures.
The situation with Vitoria Guimaraes is an interesting one. Many clubs look abroad for talent, while overlooking the talented players already at their own club. Vitoria SC went back to the basics, and it has paid off for them. Not only are they strong this season (6th so far in the Liga Zon Sagres), but these talented young players will certainly grow, and the team will be stronger every year for years to come. Why? Because the team invested in what they had, and had faith in young Portuguese players.