2013 was the year of recovery, the year of financial austerity, the year of reforms (including the remodelling of the youth academy and extinction of Palmeiras B, financial separation of the football division/social club, improved internal management procedures, etcetera) and, of course, the year Palmeiras had but one mission on the pitch: return to the first division. And so, it happened.
As 2014 finally kicked off, we all knew the legacy of financial havoc from previous administrations would still bear its mark on this one. We all knew that effects from abovementioned reforms would not all be visible quite yet. Nevertheless, palmeirenses dreamt of a return to glory, to a strong squad, to a place to call home with the reopening of the Allianz Parque. The year of the Centenary would go down in history.
And it certainly did. But for all the wrong reasons.
President Paulo Nobre’s hands-on approach proved once and for all he knows nothing about football: no less than 50 players pulled on the Palmeiras jersey in 2014, while four different coaches had their go. How’s that for planning? Combined with a disastrous handling of several player contracts – culminating in the exit of fixed star Alan Kardec to rival SPFC and the recent near loss of promising Gabriel Jesus – obviously there was a price to pay. In the year of the Centenary, Palmeiras escaped relegation – in what would have been a third in 12 years – by a whim of destiny. Never before in the history of the Brazilian Championship have a team escaped the cut after finishing the 38 rounds with 40 points.
Paulo Nobre got three things right in 2014: a) He never backed down against WTorre, fighting for every inch in the contract. Correctly so: the “partner” in constructing and managing the Allianz Parque has shown over and over again it can’t be trusted. b) He refused to anticipate future revenues for spending in 2014, breaking the vicious circle tormenting most football clubs in Brazil: immediate results is all that counts, while the succeeding president is left to his own advice – and normally repeats the operation. c) Nobre was able to completely restructure Palmeiras’ debts, taking up loans at a third of market rates so the club could pay off debts with high interest rates and/or short maturity: this operation alone is expected to save Palmeiras some US$ 120 million over the years to come.
It’s important to make clear that while the first two points are what they are, the third was only possible due to Paulo Nobre being very, very rich: his personal assets, trust funds and connections allow for these kind of financial operations.
Personally, I would say that one of the most positive aspect of 2014 was the way Palmeiras supporters backed up the team, no matter what.
What can we hope for in 2015? Three things: a) That Palmeiras, now with 90% of the year’s revenues available, make assembling the strongest possible squad a priority. b) That Paulo Nobre not only learns to listen more, but flatly keeps his hands off the football department, delegating as much as possible to the new CEO Alexandre Mattos. c) That palmeirenses turn the Allianz Parque into the cauldron it has the capacity to be, over and over again.
And me? In 2015, I hope to see you all frequently here at Anything Palmeiras: reading, commenting, sharing. It’s been a pleasure, it’s always a pleasure serving you with the latest news on Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras. Together, we enlarge our club. We enlarge Palmeiras.
HAPPY 2015! HAPPY NEW YEAR!