No greener country than Ireland, no greener football team than Palmeiras. Fuse the two and great things happen. For the Olé Palmeiras website, Bruno Maciel interviewed the founders of the largest Palmeiras supporter group outside of Brazil, here translated into English by yours truly.
This is the second article in a series, featuring the main Palmeiras supporter groups outside of Brazil.
Curious to know what other Palmeiras supporter groups and Consulates there are out there? Check out our “Abroad” section! You know of any groups outside of Brazil not on the list? Drop us a line on twitter or by email!
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Responsible for founding Palmeiras Dublin, 27-year-old Diego Bianchi and 42-year-old Renato Sales say that on any given game day about 40 palmeirenses come together at the “Buskers on the Ball”, located at 13-17 Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2. Multiply this number by three when “The Verdão” play any of the other major teams in the league.
“We watch every Palmeiras game through international TV channels, and through the internet. On weekends, it’s easy. Now, games on weekdays, depending on the time… When kick-off is past midnight (there’s a 2-4 hour difference to Brazil, depending on the season) we have an agreement with the pub owner, an American, who will open the place exclusively for us, if we bring at least 20 people”, Diego explains.
The Palmeiras Family is such an integrated part of the “Buskers on the Ball”, they even have a space reserved only for them. And there, framed in the wall, you find a Palmeiras jersey from the victorious 2016 Brazilian championship campaign, autographed by the squad.
According to Renato, Palmeiras Dublin originally emerged with the sole aim of celebrating Palmeiras’ centenary, in 2014. At the time, two days before the anniversary, he and Diego posted messages on social networks, calling out to palmeirenses in the city and surrounding areas to meet up at “The Living Room”, a pub located on Cathal Brugha St, Rotunda, Dublin 1, very close the Irish capital’s main tourist point, “the Spire”.
“To our surprise, more than 50 people showed up to celebrate the centenary. The general manager of the pub was blown away by our party and from that day, we meet up to watch every game”, Renato reveals.
The Living Room was Palmieras Dublin’s headquarters for two years. With the linear growth of the group, an invitation materialised from the owners of “Buskers on the Ball”, a bigger and more structured establishment, and Palmeiras Dublin changed its address.”Almost all the staff at “Buskers on the Ball” are Irish, but today they cheer for Palmeiras, take an active interest in the team, wear our shirts and caps”, Renato adds.
“Buskers on the Ball” is a sports bar, primarily attended by locals. And although the Irish are party-goers, they are not accustomed to the Brazilian way of watching games, Diego argues. “We sing songs, our club anthem, we have a blast. I especially remember an episode in 2015, Palmeiras playing Flamengo. We were in large numbers, watching the game, and there was a Flamengo supporter watching the game with us. Palmeiras opened the scorecard but Flamengo turned the game around, making it 2-1. An Irish crowd at the pub began to cheer for Flamengo, as a way to have a bit of fun with us. Then, when Palmeiras turned the game, we all went up to their table; it was sensational observing the faces of shock and amazement of the Irish as we celebrated the goal full tilt”, Diego smiles.
THE SPIRE IS OURS
In December of 2015 and 2016, the Spire, Dublin’s main tourist attraction, was overtaken by palmeirenses, celebrating, respectively, the Brazil Cup title and the Brazilian Championship title.
“The Brazil Cup final took place at dawn here and it was the only time that “The Living Room” reached maximum capacity for a single audience: we had more than 300 palmeirenses at the premises. The party lasted until the wee hours of the morning. We even had people from other countries in Europe travelling in order to watch and celebrate with us. Now, for the 2016 championship title, we hosted a party identical to the 2 year anniversary of Palmeiras Dublin in August. We decorated the “Buskers on the Ball” and hired a DJ to lead the celebration, which also ran late into night with the presence of more than 450 palmeirenses“, Renato recalls.
Be it for fun, work or studies: Palmeiras Dublin’s fame has become so evident, some palmeirenses actually chose Ireland and Dublin as their destination partly because of the supporter group. No wonder Palmeiras in 2017 invited Palmeiras Dublin to become a Consulate, a representative of Palmeiras in the country.
“This is all very cool because it is a formal recognition of the work we do here. We are now an extension of Palmeiras in Ireland and in the European Union. We enjoy the same autonomy as before, but we have to report on activities we carry out for Palmeiras. We exchanged ideas with other Consulates and with our Department back in São Paulo, now with a “seal of approval” from the Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras, the club we love”, Diego explains.
All this popularity led to Ireland’s Consul General in São Paulo, Sharon Lennon, last year record a video message for the members of Palmeiras Dublin. “Our dreams are coming through, little by little. What began three years ago with a simple meeting has turned into a reference for Palmeiras Consulates around the world. This is priceless”, Renato concludes.