Benfica Football Field

1917/18 – 1925/26

The utilization of Campo de Benfica coincides with a growth stage, in social and associative terms, but not as wished in terms of sporting results, as Benfica, at the 20’s, has made one of the worst performances of its history.

After the Desportos de Benfica absorption, in 17/09/1916, the club was now using, as its headquarter, the facilities of Avenida Gomes Pereira, where there was a field at the back (Quinta de Marrocos), where football was being played since 1914 and which was used by some Lisbon clubs with no fields of their own, just like the GS Cruz Quebrada. After the absorption, has celebrated with the Empresa de Melhoramentos de Benfica (EMB) - the owner of the lands where the field was situated - a one year rental contract.

The board has decided, then, to use, exclusively, the Benfica’s field and to leave Sete Rios’s facilities. In order to offer the spectators better conditions, and in spite of being EMB’s responsability, they talked to them, by suggesting to take the works lead (stands expansion and security improvement), and the works costs would be discounted in the club’s debt. In response, the company said that they could not accept it, because the charges were too heavy, but they would be available to share the expenses, with 200$00 being discounted in the last Desportos de Benfica’s payments.

After coming to an agreement, it was inaugurated, on 11/11/1917, the renovated Benfica’s field, with a match against Sporting, where the “Taça Cosme damião” was being disputed. The ground maintained the old layout (parallel to Avenida Gomes Pereira); possessed an improved fence; the stands, which were parallel to the field’s lines, were now in angle; above the dressing room was built a structure to accommodate the public, which was dominating the entire field; the field was broader and vented, the best we could have at Lisbon.

The complex was provided with two separated entrances: the headquarter’s main door, at Avenida Gomes Pereira (available to public and reserved seats) and, the other (for pawns) through the gate leading to Estrada de Benfica. And it was so well located that it was receiving several sporting initiatives.

However, Benfica would not stay in this field many longer. Because all of it would be sold to Ministério da Instrução (current Ministério da Educação) - Ministry of Education - in order to be useful to Escola Normal de Lisboa (later called Magistério Primário and current Faculdade de Ciências da Educação).

On 25/03/1919, Benfica has reached to a rental agreement which has allowed to keep using the facilities. In exchange, however, was forced to give room to the students and teachers of Escola Normal. Thanks to the club’s initiative spirit, the Benfica’s field was the stage of the first game at night, in our country.

There were, along the field, 18 spotlights of 1000 candles each, and, a large number of red and white bulbs alternately set through the stands and in the private boxes, in order to produce an amazing combined visual impact. The match took place on 10/09/1919 (a Wednesday) and put together Benfica and a mixed team, composed by players from Império, Internacional and V.Setúbal.

The lands problem and the relations between the club’s board and the School’s government got worst, later, at the beginning of the 20’s. In a meeting, on 10/04/1921, the Cosme Damião’s proposal to move the community to Amoreiras was approved. However, Benfica was trying to keep that area for other sports, just like Field Hockey. The Escola Normal, on the 03/10/1921 meeting, did not demand for an immediate dropping out, which has allowed Benfica to take the benefits of its rights as a tenant (headquarter and field). Consequently, the club could remain at Benfica’s field for a little bit longer.

The first sporting fields being sacrificed were the tennis courts, remaining just one, in the headquarter. But, in 1923, Benfica was really forced to leave the field, as it was decided to make a connection street between Estrada de Benfica and Estrada Nacional, crossing the spot where the field was situated (the street would only be done in... 1997 (!), the same is to say 74 years later...) In 1923/24, the lack of fields in the city, (offering good conditions) led to the solution of just playing at two sporting areas in the Regional: the Campo Grande (from Sporting Lisbon) and the Palhavã’s field (from Império Lisboa Clube). During the 1924/25 season, Benfica was playing its “home” matches in Palhavã, while the works of its future stronghold were not concluded: the Estádio das Amoreiras.

At Benfica’s field, our club has played 27 matches, obtaining 11 victories, 6 draws, 10 losses and a 56-45 goals total. While was using the field, Benfica has won 2 Campeonatos Regionais (17/18 and 19/20), 2 Taças de Honra (19/20 and 21/22) and 1 Taça da Associação (21/22). The last match took place on 11/03/1923, against Império LC, for the Regional de Lisboa. (Nevertheless, the field would be used until 1926, for training sessions and other sports activities). The club was leaving the city area which had given its definitive name. The club would only return to Benfica in 1954, after staying for 30 years in other locations, in Lisboa.

At Benfica’s field, our club has played 27 matches, obtaining 11 victories, 6 draws, 10 losses and a 56-45 goals total.

Campo de Benfica - Characteristics

Name:
Campo de Benfica

Location:
Quinta de Marrocos, at the back of the Av. Gomes Pereira’s headquarter (where there was one of the two field’s entrances (there was another by Estrada de Benfica)

Ocuppation time:
From 17/09/1916 to 1926

Current situation:
Quinta de Marrocos High School and the back of Junta de Freguesia de Benfica - Parish council - (ex-Benfica’s headquarter)

Kind of property:
Rented field: 840$00/Year, with monthly advanced payments of 70$00

Inauguration and first match dates:
11/11/1917: Match against Sporting (“Taça Cosme Damião”)

Last match date:
11/03/1923: Match against Império LC, for the Regional de Lisboa

Other facilities:
Close to the field there was the headquarter, a roller hockey rink and three tennis courts.

Abandonment reason:
Owner changing - Utilization of the fields by the Escola Normal (Magistério Primário) - Primary School - After 25/03/1919

Date Result Observations
20/04/1919 4 - SL Benfica
0 - Vitória FC (Setúbal)
Great winning for the Regional de Lisboa.
29/02/1920 12 - SL Benfica
1 - Internacional (CIF)
Winning of the 8th Regional Championship title with a very conclusive victory (Mauling).


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