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Football News: A To Z: Santos FC

A To Z: Santos FC

A To Z - Santos


A is for Americano

Santos was a port that grew to prominence exporting coffee, so it is fitting that in the early part of the 20th century its two strongest sides were Atletico Internacional and Americano. The former dissolved in 1910 leaving just Americano as a big club in the city, only for Americano to move to Sao Paulo the following year. That was the catalyst for local students to get together and, in a 14 hour meeting, create Santos Foot-Ball Club on 14 April 1912, just hours before RMS Titanic sunk. It has led to a common saying in Brazil: "One giant sank into the ocean, and on the same day another one was born."


B is for Black

Santos' colours are black and white, hence the nicknames 'Alvinegro' (Black-and-white) and Alvinegro Praiano (Black-and-white from the Beach). They originally wore white with blue and yellow but found it difficult to make the colours in those days so a year after the club's foundation they held a board meeting and it was decided to switch to black and white. Apparently the white is meant to represent peace and the black nobility.


C is for Concordia

The meeting which ended up establishing Santos was held in the Concordia Club and lasted for 14 hours. The name Concordia Futebol Clube was even considered, amongst others, before Santos was chosen.


D is for Departments

Santos also operates teams in other sports, including karate, judo, American football and wheelchair basketball. Lack of funding has seen other departments of the club closed down, such as the B team, beach soccer, futsal, table tennis, skateboarding and their e-sports team.


E is for Edson

Arguably the greatest football of all time, Pele spent most of his career playing for Santos, after emerging at the age of 15. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, to give him his full name, is the club's all-time top goalscorer with 643 goals in 659 games. With him in the side, Santos won the 1962 and 1963 editions of the Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup. Pele was the first black global sporting superstar.


F is for Fish

One of the other nicknames of Santos is Peixe, which means fish.


G is for Goals

On 20th January 1998 Santos became the first club in any category in the world game, to score 10,000 goals. I wonder if that number is as dubious as Pele's 1,000 goals?


H is for Honour

In December 2022 Santos changed their crest in honour of their legendary player, Pele, who was often known as O Rei (The King). As their statement explained: "Santos will use in professional, amateur and futsal football games, both in the men's and women's categories, in all of its shirts, a crown over the existing stars of world titles, by way of permanent homage to Edson Arantes do Nascimento, O Rei Pelé"


I is for Internacional

The defunct club Atletico Internacional played a large part in the creation of Santos after its dissolution in 1910 due to growing debts and poor results, they failed to even score a single goal in the 1908 season! After another local club, Sport Club Americano left the city, due to the travel costs associated in participating in the Paulista tournament, and moved to Sao Paulo, there were no major teams representing Santos. A 14-hour meeting was held and the new club was created with its first president being the founder of Americano and one of the founders of Internacional, Sizino Patuska. They also initially played their home games as Campo da Ana Costa, the former home of Atletico Internacional.


J is for Jamaica

There are a number of clubs named after Santos around the world, including Santos Futebol Clube de Angola in Viana, Angola. The most well known is probably in Kingston, Jamaica, where their Santos Football Club has won the national league title 4 times.


K is for Kidnapping

In 2004 Robinho was the star of the Santos team, before he headed off to Europe. On 6th November, gunmen abducted his mother from a barbecue party in the Santos neighbourhood of Praia Grande. She was freed 40 days later. While she was missing Robinho continued to train but took no part in matches.


L is for Loss

After it was discovered that referee Edilson Pereira de Carvalho had been match-fixing, all matches he was in charge of in that season, 2005, were replayed. Santos had beaten rivals Corinthians 4-2 the first time around, but the replay saw Corinthians win 2-3 and clinch the championship while Santos dropped from 6th to 11th in the table.


M is for Marques

The football club was set up by three men, Raimundo Marques, Mario Ferraz de Campos and Argemiro de Souza Junior. The city lacked a football team and the trio set out to put that right in 1912.


N is for Name

What is in a name? Certainly not much when your team is strapped for cash as Santos showed when they changed the name of the club temporarily to Uniao Futebol Clube in order to compete in a city tournament in 1915. The club was suffering an internal financial crisis at the time, one which had forced them out of league competitions throughout 1914, when they only played friendly matches.


O is for Olimpia

Santos are tied with Paraguayan club Olimpia as the 6th most successful team in South America in international competitions with 8 trophies. They won the Intercontinental Cup twice, in 1962 and 1963. They also won the Intercontinental Supercup in 1968. They have also won three Copa Libertadores, 1962, 1963 and 2011, as well as one Copa CONMEBOL in 1998 and a single Recopa Sudamericana in 2012.


P is for Pepe

As well as Pele, Santos number Pepe as one of their legends. Canhao da Vila (The Vila Cannon) was his nickname due to the power of his left foot and he once joked that he was "the greatest Santos striker on the planet - because Pele is from Saturn". He managed to score 405 goals in 750 appearances for Santos, second only to Pele as their leading goalscorer. Pepe did have bad luck though, picking up injuries on the eve of both the 1958 and 1962 World Cups which saw him unable to play in either, though he was part of the squad which lifted both trophies.


Q is for Quadruple

In 1962, with the great team led by Pele, Santos won a quadruple comprising of the Paulista, the Brasileirao, Copa Libertadores and the European/South American Cup (forerunner of the FIFA Club World Cup of today).


R is for Rosario

Santos football club was created at the Concordia CLub, which was located in Rosario Street.


S is for Santasticos

The group of players who became nicknamed Os Santasticos are considered amongst the best ever teams to play the game anywhere in the world. Between 1959 and 1974 they won 25 trophies, including 2 Copa Libertadores, scoring over 3000 goals at an average of over 2.5 per match! Sometimes also known as O Bale Branco (The White Ballet) or Time dos Sonhos (Dream Team) they dominated Brazilian football of the era thanks to great players such as Pele, Gilmar and Mauro. Due to Pele's legendary status, his teammates are regularly just referred to as 'Pele's friends'. Santastico came from a combination of Santos and fantastico.


T is for Technique

Tecnica e Disciplina, technique and discipline, is the motto of Santos. They see themselves as one of the symbols of Brazil's Jogo Bonito (beautiful game), hence the motto.


U is for Urbano

Urbano Vilella Caldeira Filho, known as Urbano Caldeira, joined Santos for its first season in 1913. He became player-manager for 2 years, helped in the construction of the stadium in 1916 before his retirement in 1917, when he joined the board. In 1921 Caldeira was re-appointed as manager and stayed in charge up until 1932. After his death on 13th March 1933 (the day after the club's first-ever professional match), the Santos board renamed the stadium in his honour. In 1938 they dedicated a day to him and the 9th January is "Urbano Caldeira Day" to Santos fans ever since.


V is for Vila Belmiro

Their home stadium is the Estadio Urbano Caldeira, usually known as Vila Belmiro due to its location in the Vila Belmiro neighbourhood of Santos, Sao Paulo. They first played there on 12th October 1916, when they beat Clube Atletico Ypiranga 2-1. Adolpho Million Jr scored the first goal at the stadium. Despite the stadium having undergone several expansions and renovations over the years since then, the club will sometimes use the Pacaembu Stadium for big games due to the low capacity at Vila Belmiro. Its highest ever recorded attendance was 32,989, set in 1964 for a match against Corinthians. Pele's funeral also took place at the stadium in January 2023.


W is for War

With the team led by the great Pele, they became almost the Harlem Globetrotters of football, travelling the world to play exhibition matches in many countries. The spectacle of seeing Pele play was in such demand that it even managed to put a halt to a war in Africa as a ceasefire was agreed so that they could go and see Santos play!


X is for Xanthic

The French national team faced Santos ahead of the 1930 World Cup, which was held in Uruguay as a warm up for the tournament. After Santos handed them a 6-1 humbling, the French accused them of being the Brazilian national team in disguise. The French were invited into the clubhouse to prove that they had not faced the Selecao.


Y is for Youth

In recent years financial crisis has led to the team relying heavily on youth products to build a team and has brought through Robinho, Diego, Neymar Jr, Ganso amongst others. It has been needed as the club has seen players such as Leandro Damiao and Arouca take legal action over unpaid wages.


Z is for Zebra

The Santos home shirt is black and white stripes, very like a zebra. Their first kit manufacturer was Rainha but their current kits are supplied by UK-based firm Umbro.


To read the previous A To Z: Espanyol click here.

Written by Tris Burke October 20 2023 10:34:19