The B-side of things*

At Palmeiras, as a rule, young revelations are placed in “Palmeiras B” for some time before getting (or not) a chance to play in the main team. Palmeiras B are to be found in the lower divisions of the São Paulo state league, with the purpose of adding experience to the young, providing a bridge of sorts to the major league. Created in 2000, the team initially did quite well in advancing through the lower divisions, but has now been stuck in the 2nd and 3rd divisions for some time.

One could argue that it matters less if Palmeiras B do well in the league, as long as they promote and prepare new players, enabling them to shine when pulling on the Palmeiras jersey “for real”. That’s all good and true, but there are two factors that complicate matters: a) very few players step up to the main team from Palmeiras B, and b) Palmeiras B come with a considerable price tag attached to it. Let’s examine these factors further.

Palmeiras have been revealing few talents as of late. Many interesting players aged 14-18 are found playing for the club. Some of these (very few, in fact), are brought straight up to the main team when reaching an appropriate age. Many others are, in due time, placed in Palmeiras B. And there, it seems, they get stuck. Perhaps the younger talents, playing against older and less skilled players, stagnate in their development. Maybe the fact that less successful players from the A Team are put in the B Team create bad vibes. Perhaps the problem lies elsewhere. Anyhow, it’s a fact: few players make it from Palmeiras B to A.

The second thing to look into is the cost of maintaining the B Team. Not only do all the players receive salaries, but there are administrative costs, transportation, rent of stadiums… Adding insult to injury: S.E. Palmeiras actually buy players from other clubs in order to complete the Palmeiras B squad: a total of seven (!) players have been arriving during this current season. In short: there are considerable amounts being spent for maintaining a B Team in activity, with little or almost no results in sight.

Let’s agree on one thing: there’s no logic to the above. However, strong forces oppose change. During the interim presidential period of Salvador Hugo Palaia at the end of last year, one of his first moves was to declare the end of Palmeiras B. A few days later, he had mysteriously changed his mind. And current president Tirone, so eager to cut costs, has not yet so much as hinted towards dealing with this hornet’s nest called Palmeiras B.

It’s up to us, supporters, to keep asking the right questions and demand answers. Again and again.

— ooo —

Tomorrow, Palmeiras play Uberaba/MG for the second round of the Braz ilian Cup. Again, a win by a m argin of two goals or more exempts the team from the return game. The squad left for Uberaba by bus this afternoon – a nice 6-hour trip in all comfort – and with all major players, including Kleber and Valdivia.

Last time the two teams met was as far back as 1954 (Palmeiras’ line-up to the right), in a friendly game that ended 2-2.  In the picture, check out the elegantly dressed gentleman in white to your left. You’re looking at then director of football Arnaldo Tirone – the father of current president of Palmeiras Arnaldo Tirone Jr.

I have a good feeling about tomorrow’s clash. Uberaba 0-4 Palmeiras! Avanti!

— ooo —


* This article is loosely based on two texts, one by Conrado Cacace featured on Verdazzo! and another from the blog “Instituto Palestrino de Estatística“.

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