Amoreiras Stadium

1925/26 – 1939/40

The Estádio das Amoreiras was the achievement of a dream with 20 years. It has allowed Benfica to have a “poiso certo” (definitive spot).

By 1920, when the Escola Normal started to demand the utilization of Quinta de Marrocos’s fields (the place where the old Benfica’s field was situated), the club was establishing contacts in order to find a place where they could build an athletic field. On 10/04/1921, once more with Cosme Damião, Benfica managed to get a field where new sporting facilities could be built. The board, designated on 10/09/1921, had the demanding task of taking care of the “games park” transfer to the land where Benfica would rise a remarkable work for that time, although it was not completed - Estádio das Amoreiras.

Everything had to be prepared: plan (because of the needs imposed by the eclecticism), project, calculations and... money! All of this turned to a complicated process. But helped, once more, to demonstrate the Benfica’s enthusiasm in all of its campaigns. The Board has projected a masterpiece, destined to the future. The main goal was, for the first time within a football club (which had commemorated its 17th anniversary on 28.02.1921), to get a definitive sporting ground, being an owner, once for all.


It was imperious to get money in order to fulfill the dream, as the wish was to get it done by own means, with sacrifice and lots of enthusiasm. It took two years to prepare the “project” of the Amoreiras acquisition and the construction of the new Games Park. The General Assembly, on 04/02/1923, was one of the most important of our history. The Board was able to execute the issuance of 12 000 mortgage bonds, for 1 200 contos, and of 5 000 (property) title deeds, each one for 200$00 (leading to a 1000 contos total), for the Estádio das Amoreiras construction and for the lands acquisition, destined to the complex. The land deal, with great price and conditions, was done with Cosme Damião’s intervention, who was combining, simultaneously, two functions: Club Board’s Vice-president and Superior employee of Casa Palmela, the lands owner.

After the transaction, came the launching of the Obligations and Title Deeds (property) campaign. It was a long work of tenacity and enthusiasm. The land cost was 451 077$50. The works started in October 1923, with the stadium building, as the Board asked for a 200 contos loan, in order to accelerate the works. Until 30/06/1924, the costs were about 534 504$80. A year later, on 30/06/1925, the values were 947 462$37.

Finally, after two years of an exhausting work, where it was necessary to make a gigantic effort by the boards (and by the membership), Benfica has inaugurated, on 13/12/1925, a magnificent stadium. The dream was coming true!

After the Stadium inauguration, the Board was forced, on 25/04/1926, to ask for a new loan, 100 contos this time. With the Amoreiras facilities it was spent, until 30/06/1926, 1 480 666$60, including the ground costs. The project was also contemplating an headquarter next to the stadium, a plan which was never accomplished. But it was in Amoreiras that Benfica has risen, with the strength which would allow the club to come back to great achievements. In associative terms, the club had, now, another nucleus in the city, receiving more affection at an important area of Lisbon: Amoreiras, Campolide, Campo de Ourique. A “triângulo vermelho” - red triangle - was rising at the Capital, with vertexes in Benfica (Headquarter), Baixa (Secretary) and Amoreiras (Stadium).


The first years were based on consolidation and, in 1929, two events have marked Amoreiras, Benfica and the Portuguese sport: the visit of the consecrated Hungarian team of Ferencvaros, considered as one of the best in Europe (along its tours across the European continent, was “crashing” all the opponents, Portugal included, where they had already won, by great margin, against some of the best Portuguese clubs - Sporting and Belenenses - by the same result: 6-0). On 06/01/1929, in front of a multitude which has constituted a revenue record at Portugal, Benfica has won against Ferencvaros for 1-0 (considered the best result of the Portuguese football for many years - because, after this, the Hungarians won 4-1 against V.Setúbal and 5-3 against FC Porto, even after exhausting traveling). The result brought back the Benfica’s great conquers in international matches.

By occasion of the “Silver Wedding” commemorative party of SLB, in Estádio das Amoreiras, on 31/03/1929, there was a big athletic parade, with the participation of half a thousand athletes from other sports and from some branches too. By Amoreiras, among several club’s athletes, have passed some of the best and the most promising ones, walking in front of the crowded stands.


It was during the Amoreiras occupation that Benfica has conquered its first national titles: 3 Campeonatos de Portugal (the competition before the Taça de Portugal) and the Tricampeonato (three times in a row) of I Liga ((35/36, 36/37 and 37/38)) - Competition which would be designated as I Divisão and, later, (in the 90’s) I Liga again.

During this period (1925-1940), Benfica even conquered a Taça de Portugal and two Campeonatos Regionais. There were great matches at Amoreiras, with special attention to (in addition to the winning against Ferencvaros) the 13-1 against Casa Pia (for the Regional de Lisboa), the 6-0 against FC Porto (2nd leg of the Taça de Portugal semifinals, coming back after a 6-1 loss in the 1st leg), and the 5-0 victory against Sporting, which led to the conquer of the 10th Regional de Lisboa, in 39/40.


In 1936, they were thinking about the project conclusion, consisting on the stands improvement and expansion to 20 000 people, as well as building a swimming pool. Next to the field of play, there were two tennis courts and a basketball field. By the summer of 1937 works were made to improve the soil and to facilitate the draining system. However, in 1939, came the worries about the Amoreiras stadium:
the club’s Board is informed that the minister Eng. Duarte Pacheco does not step out of the highway idea, at the chosen location (which involves removing the pedestrian’s stand) and of taking the sporting fields outside the city internal perimeter. By consequence, Benfica had to leave Amoreiras and go to Campo Grande, for a period, while waiting for the Câmara Municipal de Lisboa to build three stadiums, at Parque Florestal de Monsanto, for the three capital main clubs.

The compensatory allowance offered to Benfica was 600 contos, which was contested by the club, managing to increase the amount to 33% (800 contos). It was under the abandonment stigma that Benfica has promoted, at Amoreiras, on 23/07/1939, a great lunch in order to honor the club’s champions. In 1940, two moments have marked the field abandonment: the 36th anniversary party (on the 7th of April), symbolizing the farewell; and the last match performance (23th of June) - for the 1st leg of Taça de Portugal semifinals, against Barreirense (Benfica’s victory, 5-2).

Nowadays, the lands where were the sporting facilities and the field are occupied by the Liceu Francês and Avenida Eng. Duarte Pacheco. By the end of 1940, Benfica has abandoned Amoreiras, leaving a delegation over there. After all, the dream of a private field was a reality just for a while. After 15 years with a permanent home, Benfica was coming back to a temporary field, being forced to rent a CML’s soil. The mythical Estádio das Amoreiras was staying behind, the place where the mystic was reinforced.

It was at Amoreiras that Benfica has won its first national titles: 3 Campeonatos de Portugal (the competition before Taça de Portugal) and the Tricampeonato (three times in a row) of I liga ((35/36, 36/37 and 37/38))

Estádio das Amoreiras - Characteristics

Name:
Estádio das Amoreiras

Location:
At Campolide, to the north (left side) of Rua das Amoreiras. Confining southwards with Carris facilities, north of Rua do Arco do Carvalhão’s backyards, to the East of Rua das Amoreiras, where there was an entrance, at number 135, to the west of Aqueduto das Águas Livres.

Occupation time:
Between 04/02/1923 and the end of 1940

Current situation:
Liceu Francês facilities and Avenida Eng. Duarte Pacheco, between Liceu Francês and the Shopping Center.

Kind of property:
Club’s property

Approximate Value:
1 480 666$60 (including the land costs 451 077$50).

Inauguration and first match dates:
13/12/1925, for a Regional de Lisboa match, against Casa Pia AC

Last match date:
23/06/1940, for Taça de Portugal, against CF Barreirense

Other facilities:
Two tennis courts
Basketball field

Abandonment reason:
Expropriation by the Ministry of Public Works, for the highway construction to Viaduto de Monsanto, currently named Duarte Pacheco (minister) - 800 000$00 compensatory allowance.

Date Result Observations
06/01/1929 1 - SL Benfica
0 - Ferencvaros TC
Benfica was the only club defeating the Hungarians, which, during their tour, had devastated the best Portuguese clubs
05/12/1937 13 - SL Benfica
1 - Casa Pia AC
Large margin of goals
18/06/1939 6 - SL Benfica
1 - Porto
Fantastic recuperation on the 2nd leg of Taça de Portugal - semifinals, after a 1-6 loss against Porto, on the 1st leg.
03/02/1939 5 - SL Benfica
1 - Sporting CP
Winning of the 10th Campeonato Regional de Lisboa


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