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norton.
A short summary, in English, of the full text in Portuguese:

Dear Palmeiras supporter,

All of us are tired of how Palmeiras are being treated by mainstream media, and the situation has escalated with the team’s growing success. Although the syndrome is found in almost all TV channels, ESPN in particular has turned the bashing of Palmeiras into a form of art. On social media, this has led to escalating verbal assaults between Palmeiras supporters and sports journalists, reaching a point where they now take over the agenda. 

In light of the above, a selected group of the independent Mídia Palestrina proposes a solution: a clean break.

Initiating with aforementioned ESPN – more specifically their twitter account @ESPNagora – we propose an end to discussions, verbal assaults, following on social media, RTs and the generally providing of audience. We propose an #UnfollowEspnDia31, a date to not only unfollow ESPN but also to generally clean your timeline from all those accounts frequently getting on your nerves by disrespecting Palmeiras in one way or the other.

31 October. The day of #UnfollowEspnDia31.

— ooo —

Caro torcedor palmeirense,

Nosso Verdão segue liderando o Brasileirão e mais um ano caminha para um final verde. Cuca vem impondo uma regularidade ao time que nos enche de orgulho e confiança.

Apesar disso, grande parte da mídia esportiva teima em se referir a nosso time de forma parcial, depreciativa. Exigem futebol “bonito”, olham com desdém para nossa campanha cujos números são incontestáveis e usam seus teclados e microfones para emitir opiniões muitas vezes carregadas de rancor ou simplesmente clubismo.

Nenhuma emissora escapa. Em todas, há pelo menos um profissional que parece ter como missão principal espezinhar o Palmeiras, muitas vezes embasado em fatos distorcidos que levam a conclusões ruins, falácias que manipulam a opinião pública.

Um canal em particular que se especializou nisso: a ESPN. Apesar de manter em seus quadros bons jornalistas, como em toda emissora, em geral o tom das discussões quando o assunto é o Palmeiras é de ranço extremo com o clube, com os dirigentes, com o treinador e com a torcida. Um jornalista em particular personifica esse mau jornalismo neste ano de disputa entre Palmeiras e Flamengo: Mauro Cezar Pereira, cujo amor pelo time carioca não permite que faça análises equilibradas e isentas como a profissão exige, principalmente num canal de tanto alcance.

A internet abriu a possibilidade de tornar o que era uma via de mão única, em uma via de duas mãos. Em tempos de Twitter, Instagram e Facebook, é normal que a torcida em geral se revolte com esse tipo de atitudes antiprofissionais e que use as redes sociais para demonstrar essa indignação. As mensagens poderiam ser bem mais amenas se o tratamento dado ao Palmeiras fosse mais digno.

O palmeirense tem a seu dispor uma mídia alternativa, clubista e parcial, que sempre vai tratar os assuntos que envolvem nosso time com paixão, mas com muita honestidade. Os palmeirenses que consomem o conteúdo dos sites palmeirenses podem até não concordar com as opiniões, mas jamais se sentirão desrespeitados.

Não cabe ao torcedor ofender nenhum jornalista através das redes sociais. Entendemos que o caminho desse tipo de interação, utilizando a linguagem das arquibancadas, em vez de levar a uma reflexão e a ajustes na conduta, só gera desgaste, para todos.

Por isso, em mais uma iniciativa inédita, os sites palmeirenses independentes promovem uma alternativa melhor: o rompimento.

A emissora escolhida para simbolizar esse rompimento com a mídia opinativa é a ESPN, por tudo o que foi citado. Na segunda-feira, dia 31 de outubro, para simbolizar esse rompimento, vamos todos fazer um unfollowzaço no Twitter da emissora (@ESPNagora). Vamos deixar de ler, retuitar e compartilhar suas publicações, ou mesmo de comentá-las. E como consequência, deixar de assisti-los. Se querem fazer jornalismo desta forma, simplesmente não interessa ao torcedor palmeirense. Nossa resposta não será pelo confronto. Vamos apenas riscá-los de nossas vidas.

A torcida do Palmeiras, representada pelos sites abaixo, espera que desta forma a tensão entre palmeirenses e parte da imprensa diminua ou, quem sabe, chegue ao fim. Ninguém mais aguenta esse ambiente destrutivo. Como em qualquer relacionamento que não dá certo, em vez de confronto, o rompimento é a melhor saída. A torcida palestrina já tem a mídia palmeirense. Ninguém precisa da ESPN. E que sirva para outros canais também. O #UnfollowEspnDia31 pode ser estendido a qualquer jornalista ou emissora que você olha atravessado em suas redes sociais, mas que, sabe-se lá por que, você ainda mantém em sua rede. Não se desgaste mais, não passe raiva. Faça uma faxina em sua TL. Dê preferência sempre a quem trata o Palmeiras com respeito.

Dia 31 de outubro, dia do #UnfollowEspnDia31.

Anything Palmeiras
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São Caetano 1-2 Palmeiras
“Waiting for Godot” has for palmeirenses turned into “Waiting for Eguren”: when everything seemed set for his appearance in the starting eleven, Kleina in the last minute opted for a 4-3-3 with Mendieta, Wesley and Highlander Araújo on the midfield and Leandro, Kardec and Ananias up front. An offensive line-up, especially in an away game. Too offensive. São Caetano counter-attacked mercilessly, taking full advantage of the available spaces on the flanks. We went to halftime behind on the scorecard.

Kleina could swap some pieces or improve positioning. He chose the latter, and to perfection: Palmeiras came on steamrolling all over the Azulão and had turned the game around within 15 minutes after a true golaco by Kardec and a point blank volley shot by captain Henrique. For most of the remainder, Palmeiras exercised control of the game. With the fresh three points, Palmeiras maintained their grip on the top of the tables; important as also Chapecoense, Sport and Figueirense won their games.
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Brazil Cup 2013 draw
Yesterday afternoon, the Brazilian Football Federation drew the second phase fixture of the Brazil Cup 2013. Palmeiras could have ended up in an easier group, but the taste of victory will be even sweeter: our first opponent are Atlético Paranaense – the same Atlético that Palmeiras have kicked out of the Copa do Brasil on three previous occasions, namely 1992, 2010 and 2012. Our first game is at home, in roughly two weeks’ time.

If Palmeiras proceed to the quarter-finals, Salgueiro or – more likely – Internacional await end of October. Semi-finals and finals only in November. Check out the complete fixtures below.
.chave_cb2013

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The courting of our players

With the international transfer window closed and most players in the league already summing seven or more games for their clubs – an impediment for them to play for any other club in the same division – rivals in the first division are turning their attention to Palmeiras for possible reinforcements. The media play along, when not shamefully instigating rumours in order to sell more “news”.

Valdivia_Treino_WertherSantanaEstadao_292This morning, Valdivia was linked to Flamengo, although the carioca club director openly stated that they did not have the funds to yank the midfielder from Palmeiras or pay his high salaries. On live television, Valdivia, very much at ease, explained he was happy at the Verdão and wouldn’t mind ending his career there. Based on his current form, that’s one hell of a promise; considering his average performance and cost/benefit, one hell of a threat. Time will tell.

WesWith Valdivia soon being less than news, attention in the afternoon had already turned to Wesley, who apparently – at least if one of Brazilian most influential football magazines should be trusted – is well on his way to Atlético Mineiro. The midfielder, who finally has recovered his fine football after a serious knee injury, would be lent to the Libertadores Cup champions in order to further alleviate Palmeiras’ strained finances. I don’t believe a word of it. Don’t want to, either. Not saying it can’t be true, not saying Palmeiras might not have received an offer. But there’s an ocean between receiving an offer and accepting it. Until facts are on the table, I shrug it off.

We must all get used to the courting, treat it as something normal and, in fact, good: it’s an indicator of success, of quality, of Palmeiras going in the right direction. We supporters should refrain from reacting to rumours, demanding explanations or positions from players, managers or directors. We must learn and constantly remind ourselves: it’s not a fact because it’s in the papers. Especially not when the topic is football, players and transfers.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Have you ever wondered how it would be to get the most updated and in-the-loop information on Palmeiras compiled and made available in one, sexy package? Well, you need to wonder no more: if you run android on your smartphone or tablet, hurry get Mídia Palestrina, free of charge and without advertisement.

The Mídia Palestrina app – launched earlier this week and developed by yours truly in partnership with professional programmer and palmeirense Rafael Barrelo – gives you access to the best blogs, websites and radios made by palmeirenses. It also provides updated tables, results and information on forthcoming games. There’s even live broadcasting during Palmeiras’ games courtesy of Web Radio Verdão and Antena Verde!

Of course most of the content is in Portuguese, but Anything Palmeiras hopefully will cater for most of you non-Portuguese speaking people’s needs.

Download the app directly from Google Play and have it install automatically. It’s as simple as that!

iPhone/iPad user: a version for your gadget is in the pipeline. Stay tuned!

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Honeymoon

It’s with something resembling disbelief that I scroll down the Palmeiras section of the G1 news portal, eyeing the featured articles that include a “cosy” interview with midfielder Daniel Carvalho – at home, at ease, relaxed – and another one with striker Barcos, highlighting how his rapid adaption to the city of São Paulo, to Brazilian-style football and to his teammates have led to excellent results on the pitch (four goals in five games).

With Palmeiras as of late suffering less from internal turmoil – and in spite of the ongoing Wesley affair – media has taken to convey a more positive image of the club. The recognition of Scolari’s work, Cesar Sampaio’s crucial role as mediator and the so far excellent contributions of recently contracted players generate positive headlines; the exciting derby against São Paulo last Sunday served to reinforce the trend further. If we dare call it a trend, that is.

In a worst case scenario what we’re seeing is nothing but a ripple of positivism in the dark, stormy waters Palmeiras supporters normally are left to navigate in. There’s no hiding from bad press and both supporters and team suffer from it. Good press on the other hand tends to boost morale and confidence. Peace of mind is fundamental in order to excel. And the squad is currently in harmony, with healthy contest between players for a spot in the starting eleven and comradeship on and off the pitch. Especially two players seem to contribute to the good vibrations: Marcos Assunção for his experience and leadership, and Maikon Leite for being Maikon Leite: a likeable and optimistic fellow bubbling with enthusiasm.

In my humble opinion, there’s room for optimism. The pieces of the puzzle are all there, even if there of course always are improvements to be made, things to correct (and Wesley to accommodate). However, in general terms, “o time está redondo”, as one would say in Portuguese: “the team is round”, meaning that the pieces have come together nicely and formed a unit. Even the mainstream media seem to have noticed.

— ooo —

Tonight Palmeiras face Linense at the Gilberto Siqueira Lopes stadium. Our opponent are on a positive curve and currently rest at eighth position in the tables with 15 points (Palmeiras have 22). With Marcos Assunção suspended and Luan, Fernandão and Valdivia still recovering from injury, Palmeiras’ offensive might come slightly weaker than usual. On the other hand, with Carvalho, Leite and Barcos smoking hot, who needs them? The answer will be given tonight. In a slightly difficult game I expect a draw.

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The powder keg that is Palmeiras keeps many an individual busy, not least journalists. A few stand out from the rest due to their unbiased approach and personal integrity. In an exclusive interview for Anything Palmeiras, meet Danilo Lavieri – a special reporter covering Palmeiras for the Brazilian online news and entertainment portal iG.

 — ooo —

Anything Palmeiras: For how long have you been working as a sports journalist? And how long at iG?

Danilo Lavieri: For three years as a sports journalist and 13 months at iG, since September 2010.

AP: Are you in it mainly for the sports part or is it the journalistic part that triggers you?

DL: I became a journalist only for one reason: to do sports. I’m a frustrated football player who early realised I had no future on the pitch, something that made me think about other ways to make a living off football. I contemplated a career as referee after having concluded Physical Education, but ended up doing journalism – with a bit of encouragement from my uncle, who also is a journalist, although he didn’t really recommend me following that path.  

AP: How are special reporters selected? I mean, how is it decided which journalist will be covering the daily life of which club?

DL: In my case, and already in the interview phase, the idea was to place me at Palmeiras. But there are no fixed procedures. And more: normally, there’s some kind of interchange, where colleagues swap positions every now and then.

AP: Describe a typical day at work (if there is anything that can be considered typical when it comes to Palmeiras…)

DL: You nailed it: there’s no typical day. But on a calmer day, I go to the Academia, assist the training session, take down some notes, then there’s generally a press conference. While putting together a text or several, I already start planning for the next day and those more specific topics that might include interviews with managers, former players… We need always to tap our sources in order to obtain first-hand information. As you can see, it’s busy, busy. Now imagine on days when there is something happening that really will make the headlines?

AP: Do you have easy access to players and the technical committee or are you “only” allowed to talk to people at pre-defined moments?

DL: That depends a lot on the player. Some you can reach on the phone after training. Others only talk after you’ve been in contact with the press office. There are no rules. But Palmeiras’ press office deserves a special mentioning, because they ALWAYS help us out, and a lot.

AP: You cover only Palmeiras or other topics as well?

DL: Normally, only Palmeiras. But on special occasions I might be transferred to other places to help out. For example, I’ve been to Las Vegas to cover a UFC event, as I have a good understanding of that sport as well. I’ve also worked at Libertadores Cup finals; I was present when Rogério Ceni scored his 100th goal (poor bastard… my comment); I’ve covered Paulista Championship finals; the last round of the Brazilian Championship… All of these are examples of moments when Palmeiras were not present. At mega-events like these, we all chip in, helping each other out. 

AP: Due to the quality of your articles, you’ve gained the respect of many a palmeirense. You are in addition quite active in various social media, interacting with supporters. In your point of view, does this help you in your job? Could it potentially harm you and/or your work in any way?

DL: Thanks for the compliment! I work hard to obtain respect. I don’t focus on pleasing, that’s impossible. I seek respect and credibility. That’s what’s going to take me forward. Interacting in social media helps me a lot, as it puts me in direct contact with my readers. I learn where there are doubts in regard to a specific topic, where perhaps my texts could be clearer. This then creates added value to my texts. I enjoy it highly and I try to attend EVERYONE, without exception. Only the rude ones I leave behind. I believe (this interaction, my clarification) will never be harmful, as long as I keep in mind that I cannot always please. Sometimes, the news are bad.

AP: Many palmeirenses will claim that a lion’s share of the media is biased and seeks to harm Palmeiras when opportunity arises. Would you say that there’s any truth behind this claim, or is it just plain paranoia, similar to what many other supporters nourish?

DL: No! What happens is that there is more information on Palmeiras due to the inside political struggle that constantly harms the club. Palmeiras are more exposed and there is indeed more news on the behind-the-scenes at Palmeiras than in other clubs. However, this doesn’t mean that the media is out to get Palmeiras. Of course there are exceptions, but these (journalists, my clarification) disappear over time or never advance, as they lose credibility. But there are, as I said, bad exceptions everywhere.

AP: I’d like to elaborate a bit further on this “persecution”, be it real or not. For a long time I thought it was rubbish, but I’ve slowly revised my opinion. Not due to the “backstage news” – they are in fact mostly bad and need to be, as they reflect the reality of Palmeiras’ political landscape and amateurish administration – but for the (in my perception) tendency to treat everything related to Palmeiras as “half empty”, never “half full”. If Palmeiras win 1-0, the headlines read “almost 0-0”. Another example: much has been written about the cost-benefit of Valdivia, but almost nothing of the sort is to be found regarding Adriano or Luis Fabiano. Do you REALLY think that there is no tendency, in certain media vehicles, to stain Palmeiras when possible? 

DL: Seriously, I think it all boils down to phases. Palmeiras are on a bad run, even victories are coming slim, ugly. Cost-benefit of Valdivia turns into headlines. But after all, in what way have the absences of Luis Fabiano and Adriano had a negative impact on São Paulo and Corinthians so far? Both teams are contenders to the title. The difference in relation to Valdivia is also that he has played but is not finding his rhythm, while the other two have not even stepped on the pitch (this interview was made shortly before Luis Fabiano made his first appearance). If they come on and early are injured again, surely they will generate headlines. As I said: there are always exceptions, but one cannot make a general statement. 

AP: You think a sports journalist should at all costs avoid revealing which team he supports, or does it matter less if the fellow is competent and has integrity?

DL: I understand those who do not tell. I try not to, but let it slip sometimes. You know, supporters think with their hearts a lot. Even if a journalist has integrity, he might suffer from suspicion of supporters in case they know his preferences. Palmeiras supporters normally don’t complain about Mauro Beting, in the same way as a Corinthians supporter don’t complain about Chico Lang. But there are a lot of palmeirenses that won’t read a single line written by Juca Kfouri. For these reasons, I understand those who keep it private.

AP: And what about you, Danilo: are you comfortable sharing with us what team is to be found in your heart?

DL: In my heart? Sociedade Esportiva Jornalismo! (the Journalistic Sporting Society) *laughter*

AP: Nice one, Houdini. *laughter*. Now, finishing off: where and how do you see Palmeiras in five years’ time?

DL: Finally, Palmeiras will have the Arena. The political war that negatively influences the team’s performance will diminish. I believe that the Arena is the single factor that can put Palmeiras back on a winning path. If left to the war of egos within the club, the team will go nowhere.

AP: Danilo, thank you for your time and good luck in the future!

DL: Thanks for having me on your website. I also want to use this opportunity to thank every single person who reads my articles. And I want to specially thank those who message me, with courtesy, in social media. They might agree with me or not, but are always polite. Oh! How could I forget? Visit my blog and follow me on twitter. Thanks again for the opportunity. Feel free to interview me again; every journalist likes to change positions sometimes! *laughter*.

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The constant leakage of insider information to the press is nothing new to Palmeiras. With the passing of time, suspicion has been turning into certainty in regard to which individuals are responsible for almost daily serving journalist with gossip, half-baked truths and not seldom outright lies about the club.

However, things took an unusual turn this morning, when one of the main Brazilian online news portals published a full interview with Gilto Avallone, a member of Palmeiras’ Deliberative and Fiscal Council. The 72-year-old lawyer, who has been a member of Palmeiras’ inner circle for no less than 34 years, proudly announces that he indeed is the main responsible for providing the press with inside information and documents. He sees it as his duties to “expose all that’s wrong within Palmeiras”, and claims that “the lack of transparency” is the biggest problem the club faces.

Avallone being the mole comes as no surprise: he runs a blog where he frequently attacks Palmeiras and the directors, has close ties to ex-president Mustafá Contursi and is a feverish opponent of the New Arena, having personally tried to halt the construction by contesting the legality of the project in the courts. Still, Avallone openly admitting to be an informant is something completely different and rather unique. He obviously feels comfortable enough – perhaps even untouchable – to admit that he passes on monthly financial spreadsheets and other club documents to selected journalists – something most sane persons would consider an elevated level of treason.

In the interview, Avallone also goes after director of football Frizzo and president Tirone, calling Frizzo and ex-friend and both of them persons lacking character.

A forceful response from Palmeiras’ directors is of course in order. Pressing criminal charges might not be possible, but an immediate expulsion from the club is a logical first step, correct? Correct. But don’t expect much in that direction. Asked to comment, Tirone clarified that Avallone is a counsellor of Palmeiras and deserves to be treated with respect. Both Tirone and Frizzo seem more concerned about investigating the origins of a famous note that appeared in the club’s locker room warning people to talk about sensitive issues in Avallone’s presence than cleaning out the proper vermin in the house. Go figure. Italian politics is not for the faint of heart. To be continued.

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Media turbulence
It’s been a turbulent week in the media. Again, the New Arena and coach Scolari were extensively targeted. In part the turbulence is fuel from within, with help from the outside. In the receiving end, a misinformed public which, unfortunately, includes palmeirenses.

In regard to the Arena, biased and outright false “information” was published in leading newspapers, leading to claims that the club would have its hands tied through a catastrophic agreement with WTorre, the construction company. The above was formally repudiated by Palmeiras, WTorre  and the media palestrina, in addition to sports journalists with some dignity and commitment to facts.

During the week, media also deemed Scolari’s exit from Palmeiras as eminent, placing him in Sporting of Portugal, then at Fluminense, then at Santos. Unfortunately, rumours like these make the Palmeiras supporter go crazy with fear, anxiety, frustration. We should all know better by now, no? Let’s face it: rumours will always surge around exceptional players and coaches; that’s the price you pay for having the best of the best in your team.

Felipão knows the game and handled it well. In a press conference yesterday, he made some quite strong statements: “I live and breathe Palmeiras. I do not work only for being a professional. I like Palmeiras, I like this club”. He also concluded: “The people [at Palmeiras] with whom I have contact all treat me with the outmost kindness. More and more, we want to work together so that Palmeiras can reach their goals in all spheres, and not only in regard to the football.”

In all honesty: can a palmeirense wish for anything more in terms of dedication and commitment to the club than Scolari is showing?

Our job – and with “our”, I’m now referring to the so called midia palestrina – is to get the facts straight, get the facts out. Your job, as a consumer of information about Palmeiras, is to chose your sources, choose whom to believe in. If you’re Portuguese speaking, there are many excellent and confident independent sources to pick from: verdazzo, 3vv, propalmeiras, ptd and lanostracasa, just to mention a few. Then, off course, there’s always the official website. For you English speaking crowd, it certainly narrows down a bit, I’m afraid… We’re trying to do our best here at Anything Palmeiras. Your feedback is always welcome: tell us how we can improve!

The New Arena
Construction work on the New Arena is progressing well, thank you very much. Walter Torre Junior has frequently been posting pictures. Also, Eduardo Luiz snapped some pictures today and posted them in the PTD forum. It’s great to see how fast the new foundations are being put into place, even under bad weather conditions.

Valdivia is in, then out
Our favourite midfielder was picked for the two friendly games that Chile’s national team will play this month: this coming Saturday against Portugal and on the 29th against Colombia. Valdivia did travel to Chile, but the medics there confirmed that he is suffering from muscle fatigue and vetoed his participation. The Chilean National Football Association has already announced that Cristóbal Jorquera from Colo Colo is replacing Valdivia, who will be returning to Brazil for treatment. Everything indicates he should be fit for fight against Santos on the 4 April.

The magic drawer
In the beginning of the month, and by the slightest of margins, José Ângelo Vergamini was re-elected president of Palmeiras’ Deliberative Council. Vergamini is politically allied with Mustafá Contursi – the strong man behind (or perhaps in front of?) Palmeiras president Tirone.

The current opposition has produced a document which contains several important modification to the statutes. These include:

a) direct election of the president of the club;
b) defined and closed election platforms, meaning that the president and his four vice-presidents will be elected/rejected collectively;
c) election in November, with the new directors taking office five days after Palmeiras’ last game of the season.

These proposed changes are crucial for the improvement of Palmeiras’ governability, democracy and transparency. It is very likely that the proposals would pass – in one way or the other – should they be subject to the vote of the Deliberative Council or the General Assembly.

There’s a catch: it is Mr Vergamini’s decision when/if to pull that proposal out of the drawer and present it to the Council. There’s no timeframe, no deadline. He could do it next week, next month, next year. Or never. It’s his call. It’s his responsibility. And we must all, each in his/her own way, remind him of that responsibility: his responsibility, first and foremost, to Palmeiras.

Mr Vergamini: have you peeked inside you drawer today?

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