- make something different; alter or modify.
- replace something with something else, especially something of the same kind that is newer or better.
- an act or process through which something becomes different.
- make digital as opposed to bank notes or coins.
Andre Villas-Boas wants change at FC Porto; a club that has been under the leadership of Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa since 1982.
A former coach of FC Porto, André Villas-Boas guided the club to the 2010-11 Primeira Liga, Taça de Portugal and a Europa League title.
In presidential elections that are set to be held in April, Vilas Boas hopes to be elected for a first term as President.
The club, that has recently posted huge financial loses of €47.6m, is in need of new leadership or as Vilas Boas calls it ‘transformation’.
A club general meeting towards the end of 2023 ended in violence. Some supporters and club insiders are unhappy at even the thought of impending executive change. Like any governing body or ruling chamber there is so much to lose for people who have been in positions of authority for many years.
Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa the FC Porto President celebrated his 86th birthday recently. When the club flies anywhere it’s he who steps off the plane with the players – an ever all pervading club presence.
The shadow of club legends like the current President are everywhere.
Despite his advancing age, the most successful figure in Portuguese football administration remains in office. He has also applied for a new four-year term which would be his 16th consecutive term.
Winning the 2024 elections would mean he would finish his term at 91 years old.
This is a man who has overseen some of FC Porto’s greatest modern achievements – including the demolition of the Estádio das Antas, and the construction of the Estádio do Dragão, da Costa. Under his radar the UEFA Cup, Europa League and the European Cup as well as the Champions League have all been won.
He is for many the anti-centralist / anti-Lisbon candidate a true representative of the north.
Under his watch FC Porto has grown to be a club of international calibre and classical status. The club’s greatest modern era players and multiple coaches stand alongside him – all key figures – in turning FC Porto into whom they are as a club.
Great coaches like Tomislav Ivic and José Maria Carvalho Pedroto were his appointments. Vitor Baia was his player – the goalkeeper is now a Vice President at the club and seen by some as the natural successor.
Pedroto, affectionately known as “Zé do Boné” or Joe Cap, can be seen in some of the main mural imagery outside the stadium. He stands either side of the President his place secure in club folklore.
The reigning President is one of the most decorated presidents in the history of European football. A man whose face often adorns tifo displays now has his image on art murals outside the home stadium alongside Pedroto.
Its not too difficult to detect that ‘the President’ is the preferred candidate of the clubs most hardcore supporters. The pot of paint that creates the mural dedicated to him also created the one emblazoned with the word ‘Ultras’.
In contrast to the current incumbent both Nuno Lobo and Vilas Boas propose a new FC Porto.
The former stands on a ticket which is based upon a focus on training at each sporting level and a new academy approach. Many feel the club is falling behind great rivals Benfica in terms of the production of football talent.
Both younger candidates also propose the new professionalization of the Portuguese refereeing sector – which they believe can be structured as an independent body away from the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF).
If change is something that happens at FC Porto then its unlikely that some artistic imagery of Vilas Boas will appear outside the Dragao stadium immediately. It might take him 25 years to achieve even half of what Pinto da Costa has in executive office.
Outside the Dragao there is a large piece of art dedicated to the year 1893 – the year in which the club were founded. In each number is a club icon and António Nicolau de Almeida, the a local port wine merchant and avid sportsman who founded the club, gets two numbers.
Number 9 is dedicated to Pinto da Costa.
Like António Nicolau de Almeida he is the key iconic figure in the club history surpassing Bela Guttman, Fernando Gomes and Pedroto in terms of legendary status. And while age dictates he cannot go on forever the years do not seem to be a distraction as he approaches a possible 16th term as club President.