Historically, SC Farense have been the most successful football club in the Algarve region of Portugal.
As recently as 1995, SC Farense achieved their highest ever position by finishing 5th in Portugal's top division. The following year they competed in the UEFA Cup.
Those days must seem a long time ago now to the hardy band of faithful fans who still turn up regularly to cheer on the "Algarve Lions". In 2002, the club's decline began when they were relegated from the top division. They then suffered the ignominy of being relegated twice more in the next two seasons. The poor performances on the field, coupled with financial problems off the field, meant that when we arrived in Faro in January 2007, SC Farense were playing in the second division of the regionalised Algarve District Championship - quite a fall from grace!!
We were alerted to Farense's home game against Moncarapachense when we spotted a poster in a shop window in the centre of Faro. The poster stated that the game kicked off at 3pm in the impressive 30,000 all seater Estadio Algarve (a sparkling new stadium, purpose built for the Euro 2004 tournament), so we paid 11 Euros to get a taxi out to the stadium, which is located half way between Faro and Loule.
When we arrived at the stadium, it was practically empty. We purchased our tickets for just 2.50 Euros each and took our seats on the sparsely populated stand.
The standard of football was pretty poor, but the game was entertaining, ending in a 4-2 victory to Farense. At the time of writing this tip, Farense top their division by a consideable margin and appear to be about to start their climb back up the Portuguese footballing ladder. You can find details of their results here:
Equipment: As at January 2007, Farense were playing their home games in the Estadio Algarve. This impressive stadium was far too large for the couple of hundred fans that turned up for the game against Moncarapachense, but in a region devoid of top football teams, this is as good a use as any for it!
Despite the small crowd in the large stadium, the Farense faithful did their best to create an atmosphere. A group of 20-30 home fans with drums, horns and impressive singing voices created an atmosphere that would put to shame the noise created at some English league games these days.
During the match, we learnt that a free supporters coach transports fans to and from the game from Faro's previous stadium in Faro town centre. We therefore saved on the taxi fare on the return journey and hopped on the coach along with a dozen or so local fans.
You can buy beer and snacks during half time from a small kiosk beneath the main stand.
If you are in Faro on a weekend, be sure to go along and cheer on SC Farense as they attempt their climb back to the top!!
Address: Estadio Algarve
Directions: As at January 2007, SC Farense were playing home games at Estadio Algarve, between Faro and Loule.