Supporters of S.L. Benfica

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S.L. Benfica is a Portuguese sports club based in Lisbon, formed in 1904, in Belém, by a group of friends led by Cosme Damião. It has been part of the Portuguese football top-flight, Primeira Liga, since its inception in 1934. Most notably, they have won the Primeira Liga 34 times, along with 25 Taça de Portugal, and 2 European Cups.

The supporters of Benfica have played an important part in the growth of the club, during the club's 111-year existence. One of those cases was in the early days of the construction of the original Estádio da Luz when club president, Ferreira Bogalho, asked them for free concrete to build the stadium. They responded by offering 900,000 tons.[1] During the Estado Novo, various members of the club had problems with the authoritarian regime, as the fans were prohibited from referring to the football team as Vermelhos (Reds) so it was not confused with communism, instead being referred as Encarnados (Flesh-coloured),[2] which is still used, even after the transition to democracy.

Benfiquistas at the Estádio da Luz

There are three different types of supporters of Benfica: one is the sócio or club member, who is eligible to vote in the presidential election of the club and other matters. The Houses (As Casas), which are closely affiliated with the sócios, are fan-clubs which have an eligible vote decided by the House leaders. Lastly, there are the ordinary fans of the club, who do not possess any formal membership.

Since 2005, club president, Luís Filipe Vieira, implemented an aggressive membership campaign with the intent of reaching 300,000 members.[3] From roughly 95,000 members in 2000,[4] the club reached 160,000 in 2006,[5] a Guiness World record, only one year after the beginning of the campaign. Benfica have reached 270,000 members, which is a world record.[6]

Fanbase and attendances[edit]

Season Average attendance Best avg.
2005–06 43,057[7] Yes
2006–07 33,323[8] No
2007–08 37,558[9] No
2008–09 35,698[10] No
2009–10 50,033[11] Yes
2010–11 38,146[12] Yes
2011–12 42,530[13] Yes
2012–13 42,359[14] Yes
2013–14 43,613[15] Yes
2014–15 48,520[16] Yes

Benfica are the best supported team in Portugal, according to research conducted by UEFA, with 47% of the total number of supporters.[17] Historically, Benfica have always been seen as working-class of Portugal,[18] growing exponentially as the club accumulated titles since the 1930s.[19] Their total number of supporters is an estimated 5,8 million fans in Portugal,[20][2] for a total fanbase of roughly 14 million worldwide.[21]

Since the beginning of 2005–06, where information regarding attendances was published, Benfica have been consistently one of Portugal's best attended teams, with an average gate close to 43,000 over the course of ten seasons. In seven of those seasons, it was the league's best, with 2010 being the best, finishing as Europe's 10th best average.[22][23]

Fans pay annually between €100 and €160 to be club members, enjoying discounts with some affiliated enterprises like Repsol, Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Hospital Lusiadas, as well lower prices in season tickets or merchadising.[24][25]

From the season ticket holders, matchday tickets, members fees, and merchadising, Benfica generate roughly €14 million per season.[26]


Since 1911, Benfica has been creating filiations and delegations; independent entities that can play football or other sports, but are closely associated with Benfica, and were usually ran by Benfica supporters, although this change in some cases. The first affiliated was Sport Lisboa e Portalegre, created by Leopoldo José Mocho, a club player at that time.[27] The first delegation was Estrela Futebol Clube in Braga, created in November 1914.[27] Some of these delegations have competed against Benfica, like the case of Lusitano in Algarve, that played in the Primeira Liga from 1947 to 1950. Other well known delegations are Sport Huambo e Benfica, Sport Luanda and Benfica, and S.L. Benfica de Macau, the first competing in the Girabola and the latter in the Liga de Elite.[28]

Aside from delegations, Benfica also has Houses which are gathering places for fans, where they can buy merchadising or tickets, watch the club play, or pay members fees. Its creation started in the 1950s due to growing popularity of the club, the first being in Campo Maior, Alentejo.[29] As of May 2015, Benfica has 221 delegations, or houses.[30]

Supporters groups[edit]

During the Estado Novo, no organized supporters group existed, as few people had the resources to follow the club throughout the country or abroad. With the transition to democracy in the mid-1970s, and with the new found freedom, fans started to converge together to chant for their team, leading to the creation of the first supporters' groups in Portugal, Juve Leo, in 1976.

In Portugal, supporters' groups are obligated to register in Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude (Portuguese Institute for Sport and Youth),[31] so that the club can provide technical, financial and material support to this groups. Neither Diabos Vermelhos, or No Name Boys have done so.[32][33]

Diabos Vermelhos[edit]

Diabos Vermelhos
Diabos vermelhos logo.jpg
Established 16 November 1982
(32 years ago)
Type Supporters' group
Motto Connosco Quem Quiser, Contra Nós Quem Puder

The Diabos Vermelhos (English: Red Devils) were created on 16 November 1982 and are located in north corner of Estádio da Luz, known as Topo Norte.

One of the oldest Portuguese supporters groups; they were formed when a group of fans gathered in the central ring of the old Estádio da Luz. Its creation was inspired by the European performance of 1982–83, and reach over five thousand members in the following years, [34] but in the early nineties, a disagreement resulted in the creation of another Benfica's supporters group No Name Boys. That affected negatively the group and members plummeted to an all-time low of just 10. But as new leaders came, they helped Diabos Vermelhos recover and regain members exponentially, reaching more than 1000 members.[35] Since the early days of No Name Boys, clashes between the two groups are frequent,[36][37]

In December 2003, Diabos Vermelhos pressured the board, after the roller hockey section wanted to sign Paulo Alves, a former Porto player, who attacked one of their own during a match on 6 June 1998.[38][39]

On 24 January 2012, Diabos Vermelhos announced they were missing a Feirense match because of high prices asked by Feirense, with the minimum ticket set at 25€, where usually other teams are set at 10€. Diabos also protested against modern football profit-driven business, placing banners on nearby roofs. Benfica in 2010–11 asked supporters not to show in away games because of unequal prices asked to Benfica supporters.[40][41][42]

No Name Boys[edit]

Иo Иame Boys
NoNameBoys Logo.gif
Established 4 March 1992
(23 years ago)
Type Supporters' group

The No Name Boys or Иo Иame Boys (Portuguese: Rapazes Sem Nome) were created on 4 March 1992. The No Name Boys gather in the south corner of the Estádio da Luz, known as Topo Sul.

Created after disagreements in another Benfica's supporters group Diabos Vermelhos, the initial idea was to stick together and call themselves the Diabos Vermelhos. However, that name was already registered by head members of the remaining Diabos Vermelhos so they became a dissent group with no name, therefore the "Иo Иame Boys".[43]

The No Name Boys made an immediate impact in the Portuguese claques (supporters groups), with massive presence of its members on all Benfica matches, either home or away. The simple "NN" logo, standard red/white/black letters banners, powerful chants and displays and some fierce rivalry episodes with other groups made them the most popular Portuguese claque during the early 1990s.

On 18 September 1994, three No Name Boys members ‒ Jorge "Gullit" Maurício, Ana Rita Fernandes and Laurentino "Tino" Soares ‒ died in a car accident in Mérida, Spain when they were returning from a Benfica match against Hajduk Split for the UEFA Champions League.[44] From this event a friendship was made with Hajduk Split ultras Torcida Split.[45]

In 1996, after an incident during the Portuguese Cup final match, which resulted in the death of a Sporting supporter, the No Name Boys almost disbanded.[46] However, the group managed to survive, rebuild themselves and overcome the "criminal" image pictured by the media and Portuguese authorities. Also, the group created a unique style in the Portuguese supporters groups scene, distancing themselves from the traditional Italian-influenced ultras style, which was the lead current in Portugal during the 1990s and early 2000s.[43][47]

The group is known for its secrecy, with no leading figures known to the public-eye, no website and no open membership, unlike most of the Portuguese supporters groups. The No Name Boys rarely use elaborate displays at the stands and do not use any kind of sound support. They prefer a more simple approach, using only a few large flags, flares and their own vocal support. Salutes are often heard at the group's stand.[48]

The No Name Boys are well known for their devotion and passionate support for Benfica on all its sports and activities, specially football and futsal.[49][50] However, the group is also known by its unconditional defense of Benfica's best interests, being usual to see its members engaging in protests against the club board, staff or players whenever they feel things are not right. Those protests can be silent presences at the matches or explicit criticism at the club's members meetings.[51][52][53]


  1. ^ Pereira 2014, p. 88.
  2. ^ a b "As Verdades Deturpadas da História do Benfica" [The Twisted Truths of Benfica History] (PDF). S.L. Benfica. pp. 19,20. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Nove anos depois, Vieira insiste nos 300 mil sócios". Diário de Noticias. 4 May 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "Maisfutebol, 13 anos: que grande ganhou mais sócios?" [13 years: which three won more members?]. 5 June 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "Most widely supported football club". 9 November 2006. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Benfica continua a ser o clube com mais sócios do mundo" [Benfica continues to be the world's club with the most members] (in Portuguese). SAPO Desporto. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "Historical attendances". European Football Statistics. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "Painel de espectadores por clube" [Attendance list per club] (in Portuguese). LPFP. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "Painel de espectadores por clube" [Attendance list per club] (in Portuguese). LPFP. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "Painel de espectadores por clube" [Attendance list per club] (in Portuguese). LPFP. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "Painel de espectadores por clube" [Attendance list per club] (in Portuguese). LPFP. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "Painel de espectadores por clube" [Attendance list per club] (in Portuguese). LPFP. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  13. ^ "Painel de espectadores por clube" [Attendance list per club] (in Portuguese). LPFP. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "Painel de espectadores por clube" [Attendance list per club] (in Portuguese). LPFP. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  15. ^ "Painel de espectadores por clube" [Attendance list per club] (in Portuguese). LPFP. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  16. ^ "Painel de espectadores por clube" [Attendance list per club] (in Portuguese). LPFP. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  17. ^ "The European Club Footballing Landscape" (PDF). 17 April 2014. p. 41. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  18. ^ Willie Gannon (3 May 2013). "Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich and Europe's 6 Premier Rivalries Right Now". Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  19. ^ "SL Benfica". Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  20. ^ Queirós, Eugénio (10 September 2012). "Benfica líder: 5,8 milhões de adeptos" [Benfica leader: 5,8 millions of fans] (in Portuguese). Record. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  21. ^ "Plano Estratégico 2010-2013" [Strategic Plan 2010-13] (PDF). S.L. Benfica. 3 November 2010. p. 7. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  22. ^ "EFS Attendances". European Football Statistics. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  23. ^ Paulo, Isabel. "Benfica é o 10.º clube europeu com maiores assistências" [Benfica is the 10th European club with the biggest attendances] (in Portuguese). Expresso. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  24. ^ "Quotas" [Fees]. SL Benfica. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  25. ^ "Sócio, estou concentradíssimo nos descontos" [Sócio, I'm focused on discount's]. Expresso. 28 August 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  26. ^ "Relatório Financeiro 2013-14" [Financial Report 2013-14] (PDF). S.L. Benfica (in Portuguese). 8 January 2015. p. 36. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  27. ^ a b Pereira 2014, p. 107.
  28. ^ "História das Casas". S.L. Benfica (in Portuguese). Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  29. ^ Pereira 2014, p. 32.
  30. ^ "Benfica Supporters Clubs". S.L. Benfica. 
  31. ^ "Lei n.º 39/2009, de 30 de Julho". Procuradoria Distrital de Lisboa (in Portuguese). 30 July 2009. p. Article 14. 
  32. ^ "Diabos Vermelhos entre as três claques que não completaram registo no Conselho Nacional do Desporto" [Diabos Vermelhos among three supporters group which didn't registered with the Conselho Nacional do Desporto]. Diário de Noticias (in Portuguese). 20 December 2007. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  33. ^ "No Name Boys: claque continua ilegal" [No Name Boys: The group remains illegal]. (in Portuguese). 12 November 2008. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  34. ^ Pereira 2014, p. 211.
  35. ^ "Diabos Vermelhos". 
  36. ^ "Feridos em incidente entre claques" [People injuried in clashes between groups]. Record. 6 January 2003. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  37. ^ "Claques do mesmo clube em conflito" [Supporters groups from the same club in conflict]. Diario de Noticias. 27 April 2007. 
  38. ^ "Paulo Alves: «Era o projecto mais aliciante»" [Paulo Alves «It was the most exciting project»]. Record (in Portuguese). 27 December 2003. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  39. ^ "José Carlos Franco pondera saída" [José Carlos Franco ponders resignation]. Record (in Portuguese). 3 January 2004. 
  40. ^ "Diabos Vermelhos faltam ao jogo com o Feirense" [Diabos Vermelhos miss game against Feirense]. Record (in Portuguese). 24 January 2012. 
  41. ^ "Benfica: grupo de adeptos protesta no topo de um prédio" [Benfica:Supporters group protest at the top of a building]. (in Portuguese). 28 January 2012. 
  42. ^ "Diabos Vermelhos protestam contra preço de bilhetes" [Diabos Vermelhos protest against ticket prices]. Correio da Manhã (in Portuguese). 24 January 2012. 
  43. ^ a b "O misterioso mundo dos No Name Boys" [The mysterious world of No Name Boys]. Diário de Notícias. 17 November 2008. 
  44. ^ "Jovens dos NN morrem em Espanha" [NN youngsters die in Spain]. O Benfica. September 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  45. ^ "No Name Boys and Torcida jokes with Manchester United". 28 November 2011. 
  46. ^ "Adepto que disparou "very ligth" [sic] mortal detido no Estádio da Luz" [Fan that fired deadly flare, arrested in Estádio da Luz]. Jornal de Noticias. 7 November 2012. 
  47. ^ "No Name Boys: um historial de violência em tons de encarnado de norte a sul do país" [No Name Boys: A history of violance in red shaded colour, from north to south]. Diário de Notícias. 17 November 2008. 
  48. ^ "Um lema que diz tudo: 'No Name, No Net!'" [A motto than says everything: 'No Name, No Net']. Diário de Notícias. 20 November 2008. 
  49. ^ "NO NAME BOYS são imagem do dia do "The Guardian"" [No Name Boys are Picture of the day for The Guardian]. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  50. ^ "Jordy Smith: «Gosto de estar com os No Name Boys»" [Jordy Smith «I like to be with No Name Boys»]. Record. 10 October 2014. 
  51. ^ "Protestos: Vieira desvaloriza contestação" [Vieira downplays unrest]. Correio da Manhã. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  52. ^ "Claque insulta Vieira, resto da Luz não gosta" [Supporters group insulted Vieira, remaining fans don't approve]. Maisfutebol. 22 April 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  53. ^ "Benfica-PSG com protesto silencioso da claque" [Benfica-PSG with silent protest from supporters groups]. Maisfutebol. 10 December 2013. 


  • Pereira, Luís Miguel (2014). Biblia do Benfica. Portugal: Prime Books. ISBN 978-9896552152. 

External links[edit]