|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2014)|
|Full name||Vitória Sport Clube|
|Nickname(s)||Vitória de Guimarães
Os Vimaranenses (The ones from Guimarães
Os Branquinhos (The Little Whites)
Os Afonsinos (Afonso's ones)
Os Conquistadores (The Conquerors)
|Ground||Estádio D. Afonso Henriques|
|Website||Club home page|
Vitória Sport Clube, commonly known as Vitória de Guimarães, is a football club based in Guimarães, Portugal.
As a top contender to the title of fourth best supported club in Portugal, it has tried to end the favoritism of the so-called "Big Three" (Benfica, Porto and Sporting CP), maintaining good positions in the Primeira Liga, where it has finished third on four occasions, the last one in 2007–08 season.
As a rule in recent years, Vitória de Guimarães has been battling for European places, trying to place 5th or above in the league. In its history, they have won one Portuguese Cup and one Super Cup. Its main rivals are SC Braga, of the neighbouring city, with whom the club disputes the "Derby of Minho". Vitória's crest, nickname, and stadium honour Afonso Henriques, first King of Portugal and possibly a Guimarães native.
Besides football, the club has other sports sections, such as volleyball (National Champion in 2007–08), basketball (League Champion in 2006–07 and Cup Champion in 2007–08), swimming, water polo, kickboxing, judo, beach soccer, table tennis, athletics, women's futsal, among others.
Vitória was formed in 1922. Its name seems to be a tribute to Vitória de Setúbal, which at the time was a top contender for the Campeonato de Portugal, though these days Guimarães supporters downplay the connection. After seasons of toiling in the Braga FA leagues, the Vimaranenses were first promoted to the Primeira Liga in 1941, and two seasons later battled the Sadinos from Setúbal for the first time in the League. Surprise package Guimarães, against all odds, reached their first Cup final in their debut season, but fell to Belenenses 2–0.
In the early 2000s, Vitória struggled in some years to retain its status in the top Portuguese division (Superliga). Those years were marked by the decline of the leadership of Pimenta Machado, former president of the club. Machado was accused on charges of embezzlement. Despite this, in 2004-2005 they secured an impressive fifth-place finish in the league and qualified for European competition (the UEFA Cup). However the renaissance ended quickly and the very next season (2005–06) they were relegated to the Segunda Liga where they last played in 1958, finishing 17th in the Superliga, despite reaching the cup semi-final, having beaten Benfica in the quarter-finals. They also failed to progress from their UEFA Cup group, as eventual winners Sevilla, Premier League outfit Bolton Wanderers, and Russian team Zenit Saint Petersburg progressed.
After the club's relegation, it was felt Vitória would return to the First Division quite easily, even though the team itself wasn't that strong. Vitória, by the middle of the season, was only around 10th place and lower, with seemingly little chance of promotion. However during the winter break, there was a change in the club's direction and a new coach was hired, Manuel Cajuda. Vitória improved their form and finally managed to reach second place in the 29th game of the season; promotion was guaranteed.
In their first season back in the top flight they continued their winning form, achieving an impressive third place in 2007–08, guaranteeing them a place in the third qualifying round of the Champions League. They lost there to Swiss team Basel due to a clean goal disallowed by the referee in the last minutes of the second leg match (Platini himself referred to this) and dropped into the UEFA Cup first round. There they played Portsmouth of the Premier League over two legs however Portsmouth progressed, winning 4–2 on aggregate.
In 2012–13, Vitória found themselves in financial problems, which caused them to lose many experienced players and bet on young players. However, they would go on to win their first Portuguese Football Cup, after previously losing five finals. Vitória beat rivals Braga en route to the final, where they recovered from 1–0 down against Benfica to win 2–1.
In 2013–14, VSC became the first Portuguese club to offer free tickets to a European competition's game.
The Estádio D. Afonso Henriques was expanded and refurbished for the UEFA Euro 2004 competition, and it seats 29,865 people. It held two group matches in the tournament, and has also been a venue on four occasions for the Portugal national football team.
After Os Três Grandes , Vitória is the club which attracts most supporters to the stadium, with average attendances of 20,000 per game. Vitória usually has a higher average than all the other clubs, even when the club played in the Second Division/League.
Support and rivalry
Vitória play the derby of Minho Province against neighbours Sporting Clube de Braga. This derby is considered one of Portugal's most intense matches, as both clubs battle each year to reach a European competition. The derby also intensified during the run-up to the UEFA Euro 2004 tournament hosted by Portugal, as both clubs had new stadia built as tournament venues.
The biggest supporter group is the White Angels, who go by the motto Somos únicos (We are unique). A self-confessed Vitória fan is Fernando Meira, who played at the club. Meira, as the captain of VfB Stuttgart, raised 2007 Bundesliga trophy wearing a Vitória scarf.
League and Cup history
The club's 70 seasons in the top level of Portuguese football make them the club with the joint-fourth longest time there, after FC Porto, Sporting CP, and Benfica (all with 81); and Belenenses with 74.
|Season||League||Pos.||Pl.||W||D||L||GS||GA||P||Cup||League Cup||Supercup||Champions League||Europa League||Cup Winner's Cup||Notes|
|1970–71||1D||12||26||4||11||11||15||27||19||Round 5||Round 2|
|1988–89||1D||9||38||14||10||14||39||33||38||Round 5||Winner||Round 1|
|1990–91||1D||9||38||12||10||16||31||40||34||Round 6||Round 1|
|1996–97||1D||5||34||15||8||11||51||46||53||Round 5||Round 2|
|1997–98||1D||3||34||17||8||9||42||25||59||Round 5||Round 1|
|1998–99||1D||7||34||14||8||12||53||41||50||Round 5||Round 1|
|2007–08||1D||3||30||15||8||7||35||31||53||Round 5||Round 3|
|2008–09||1D||8||30||10||8||12||32||36||38||Quarter-final||Semi-final||Third Qualifying Round||Round 1|
|2009–10||1D||6||30||11||8||11||31||34||41||Round 5||Round 3|
|2011–12||1D||6||30||14||3||13||40||40||45||Round 4||Round 3||Runner–up||Play-off Round|
|2013–14||1D||10||30||10||5||15||30||35||35||Round 3||Round 2||Runner–up||Group Stage|
|2014–15||1D||5||34||15||10||9||50||35||55||Round 4||Group Stage|
As of 24 July, 2015. Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Notable former players
Notable former Managers
Vitória S.C. men's basketball team plays in the LPB.
Vitória Sport Clube has a volleyball team which plays in the Portuguese Volleyball League A1.