Atletico CP nowadays is a totally different club than it was decades ago. Playing for a couple of hundred spectators somewhere in the 5th division. Their home ground Estadio da Tapadinha is beautiful, but looks more like a lost ground. But the dedication, the passion of that club still existing is what Portuguese football is all about. A different side of football with so much charm, you can’t do anything else then embracing it. You just want to come back for more.
Atletico CP started in 1942. The following years the club quickly became a regular in the top of Portuguese football. Together with Benfica and Sporting they fought for the top positions of the league. Despite the fact they weren’t able to win any trophies, they were a well respected and feared football club. Their stadium was hell on earth for visitors. 10.000 supporters on the stands creating madness.
Fraud killed Atletico CP
In 1977 the club relegated for the first time. Since then they had to accept a smaller role in Portugese football. They were going up and down between the second and third division. In 2011 the club went up to the second division again. Huge celebrations as the hope for better times always remained. But this promotion became their first death sentence. The cost were simply too high to play football on that level despite the fact Atletico CP was able to stay up. In the summer of 2013 Eric Mao showed up presenting himself as the man who would bring the club back to its former glory.
In reality the man was nothing more than a swindler. He brought in many new players who didn’t have the quality to play proper football. Not only bad results on the pitch, but also some strange online betting occurred. They immediately were caught by the radar of the UEFA. Both Mao as a couple of players were suspicious of matchfixing. Shortly after mister Wilson Perumal entered the stage as new business partner for Mao at Atletico CP. He is the world’s most well known match-fixer. New promises were made investing a lot of money in the club. Reality proved otherwise.
Results became even worse. The club relegated to the fourth division. The questionable reputation of the club with regard to matchfixing became even stronger. Supporters had enough of it, so they started a revolution. In Portugal the first team of a (professional) club is a different entity than the rest of the club which is owned by the fans. They forced Mao and his first team out of the stadium, out of the club and started over with their second team to become the new Atletico CP. Shortly after that happened Mao lost its interest in “his” team and it went bankrupt.
From glory to charm
Nowadays the club plays in the top of the fifth division, a Lisbon league. After a visit in 2019 without a football match, I returned last January for the match against Santa Iria. For a crowd of around 500 fans they managed to win 3-0. They have some sort of small ultras group who were loud and proud the entire match. Huge respect for them showing their support, despite the fact that the majority also supporters Sporting CP.