The National Team (2)


I decided that I would go to some of the matches in the 2004 European Championship. I bought 3 tickets in advance but did not know which matches I would see. One was for the quarter finals and it would be in Lisbon’s Estádio da Luz. It turned out to be the jewel in the crown for the matches I saw live with the Portuguese selecção. The date was the 24th June 2004 and the opponent was England.

England scored first a in the 3rd minute by Owen. Portugal worked hard for an equalizer that finally came by Postiga in the 83rd minute. The match had to go to extra time. A hard shot by Rui Costa in the 110th minute put Portugal ahead for the first time. It would not last though, as five minutes later and five from finish saw an equalizer by Lampard. After extra time the quarterfinal had to be decided from the penalty spot. My brother Pedro smoked non stop throughout the whole match. Ricardo the goal keeper became the hero for that eventful match. First he saved a penalty and then scored the winner. A night I will never forget!

My latest match with the National Team was in Coimbra on the 15th November 2006. For some reason that I have now forgotten I was in Portugal at this time. I asked my father to get us tickets for the match that was part of the qualification for the 2008 European Championships. The opponents were Kazakhstan and as the match was in Coimbra I had booked a hotel room. My father had not bought the tickets but was confident that there would be plenty – After all who wants to see Borat’s country in a football match? When we arrived in Coimbra it was pouring with rain. Frustration grew as we could not find the hotel. Eventually we got there and I went off to the stadium with the purpose of getting tickets. I was informed at the ticket office that it was sold out. Someone said I could go and speak to some students standing nearby. They asked me if I needed tickets which of course I did. They said that they didn’t sell tickets but if I bought some Portugal scarves they would give away the tickets. Said and done.   What was the alternative? The tickets were good and it allowed us to see Portugal win by 3-0 with goals scored by Simão (2) and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Going to matches with the Portuguese National Team have been events well worth remembering.


The National Team (1)


Sweden and Portugal are set to play a decisive play-off to participate in next year’s World Cup in Brazil. Whilst trying to decide whether or not I should go to the match in Stockholm on the 19th November, I am recalling the matches I have seen live, with Portugal’s national team. My team!

First match I saw was a friendly as part of the preparation for the England World Cup of 1966. Portugal played Uruguay at the national stadium on the 26th June. José Torres scored all the three goals and my grandmother who had never seen a football match but was very keen on Eusébio felt very sorry for the Uruguayans and said that they should be allowed to score a goal.

I had moved to London in 1968 and one year later Portugal played a friendly on the 10th December 1969. England won by 1-0 after a goal by Jackie Charlton, so Portugal did not at this time revenge being knocked out of the England World Cup three years earlier.

In 1984 Portugal were in the same qualifying group as Sweden for the World Championship of 1986 in Mexico. Thanks to a late goal by Fernando Gomes Portugal could come home with a precious 1-0 victory. That match was seen surrounded by Swedes that had little or no understanding when João Oliveira and I jumped up to celebrate the goal. Much could be said of this Stockholm encounter but it is a story that will have to stand on its own.

Fate had it that Portugal and Sweden would once again play each other, this time for the European Championships. My fourth match was also in Råsunda, Stockholm, and was played on the 23rd September 1987. Even in this match Portugal came out as a winner. An early goal by defender João Pinto ( his only one, in 70 caps) was enough but neither of the two countries would reach the final phase in Germany 1988.

Before the 2004 European Championship that was organized in Portugal the National Team only played friendlies. It was on the 10th September 2003 that I saw Portugal defeat Norway by 1-0. The goal scored by Pedro Pauleta at the Oslo Ullevaal arena. Through our mobile we heard that Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh had been knifed in Stockholm some hours earlier. Unfortunately she would no longer be with us the next day.


Socialist Sundsvall encounters


My first encounter with the Swedish Social-democratic party was in November 1974. A few months had passed since the military action that put an end to the dictatorship in Portugal. The political parties needed to build up their organizations and the Swedish party prompted itself to help the very young Socialist party of Portugal. Somehow it was known that there was someone in Sundsvall that spoke Portuguese. That someone was me. I had then been in Sweden for roughly one year.

I accepted to help out, on what turned out to be, cooperation between the Setubal District and our own of Medelpad. Sent on this first mission from the Setubal side was Mr Antonio Valente. He was an insurance man living in the parish of Corroios, Seixal.

My job was in fact to accompany Mr Valente to different study visits. My most difficult and nervous moment was to address a large number of members on their monthly gathering where the PS member, greeted the Swedish party and thanked for the solidarity shown, at the same time as he briefly explained what was going on at this time in the country.

Chairing the Swedish district was Mr Bo Forslund newly appointed Member of Parliament that can be seen on the picture below.

It was an opportunity for me to learn something of Swedish politics and at the same time grasp some understanding of the importance of the municipalities in Sweden. In a few years’ time I would become a member of the Social Democratic party.



Welcomed home


After a long wait of nearly six years, conditions had been  created for a return to Portugal without risking being accused of escaping the army. In that summer of 1974 it was decided we would take the trip and fly to Lisbon. With us the new baby that we would introduce to great grandparents, Joseph and Pat in London and Bua in Lisbon. Great-grandfather quickly gave the baby a nick name. He became “Barbershop” as he sang himself to sleep.

It would also be the opportunity for grandparents João and Pamela in Lisbon to meet their first grandchild John.

Besides all this, a return to a country that was still celebrating and where everything seemed to be possible. The revolution was on its way and nobody would stop it! Mistakes were made and consequences were laid on those who most  probably  were innocent. But the fear of things going back was there, as were the demands for nationalizations of all types of production. Like all other revolutions things tended to go to extremes. Many people that had businesses were seen as supporters of the recent regime. It was obviously not so.

We were met by my father at the airport, who said- This cannot go back!!!!

But before that landing, the pilot gave us the grand view, which is standard when coming from the north and landing from the south. The plane turns over Lisbon and gives the passenger the opportunity to see this beautiful city across the Tejo’s majestic estuary, the long Caparica coastline to the south and then across the whole city for a landing practically spot on it.

For the first time there was no fear from passport agents, instead a smiling welcome. Benvindos! Suddenly a uniform was something positive. Things had indeed changed. The emotion of this return was strong and I am not capable of putting into words the extension of these feelings.


The main event


The main event of 1974 was on the 25th April. After years of resignation something out of the ordinary hit my country of Portugal and  enthusiasm grew on what future would lay ahead. Would the country become a democracy and would we end the war and pull out of the colonies?

Reports came in but they did not tell you much. The armed forces had made a coup and ousted the 48 year-old regime. This was done almost without casualties. There was an enormous expectation. I sensed it from far away and listened as often as I could to the radio, on a short wave wireless that had belonged to my father in law. Newspapers were welcome and delivered by my father. It was strange to see those places in Lisbon full of people expressing their joy while being part of history.

I could see pictures from the Carmo barracks where the prime minister Caetano negotiated his escape to Brazil. This place that I had been to so often as a kid and not far from where I lived. Then there was the gigantic marches of 1st May. Freedom had to be breath in and people were almost suffocating with the new breaths of fresh air.

Carnations were everywhere where simple soldiers became heroes of peace. I learned that a singer and songwriter had given the signal for the beginning of operations .  His name Zeca Afonso and the song Grandola. It was chosen by the military to be played as a signal that things were going well and according to plan. Who were these men in uniform? What was going to happen? Did they have a plan?

A Junta was formed to front the first anxieties and the call for information. A provisional government and President with monocle were appointed. Dates were set for general elections aiming at making a new constitution. Things happened fast and for my liking I would have been there myself to help on whatever was needed. So was not to be, but my return was now a clear possibility even if it would only be for a holiday.


O 25 de abril de1974


Todos guardamos memórias daquelas em que se pergunta: O que estavas a fazer quando aconteceu tal e tal?

Essas memórias costumam ser negativas, associadas a alguma calamidade ou a algum atentado que nos marcou por tambem nos afetar direta ou indiretamente. O primeiro evento de que me recordo foi no dia 22 de novembro de 1963. Tinha 11 anos e vivia na Politécnica em Lisboa. Recordo-me dessa noticia e exactamente onde estava, que era no apartamento na Eng. Miguel Pais. Senti a apreensão e preocupação dos adultos à minha volta.Havia uma insegurança em fazer grandes alaridos pois o assassinato do presidente Kennedy era do foro das politicas.

Do mesmo tipo foi o assassinato a Olof Palme, primeiro ministro em exercicio, no dia 28 de fevereiro de 1986. Vivia já na Suécia e foi um amigo chileno que me acordou ao telefone na manhã seguinte para informar do sucedido. Pensei que fosse uma brincadeira de mau gosto, mas nesse mesmo dia organizaram-se e participámos numa manifestação de solidariedade e pesar no centro de Sundsvall.

No dia 11 de setembro de 2003 estava com a Mona em Oslo para ver a seleção nacional de futebol jogar um amigável com a Noruega. Por telemóvel chegou-nos a noticia que a nossa ministra de Negócios Estrangeiros Anna Lindh havia sido vitimada em atentado com faca numa loja de Estocolmo. Ficámos apreensivos e só no dia seguinte depois de muitas notícias contraditórias ficámos a saber que Anna não tinha podido sobreviver aos ataques  do dia anterior.

A informação que recebi dos ataques ao World Trade Centre de Nova Iorque no dia 11 de setembro de 2001 foram dados numa reunião de pais duma nova classe na escola de Katrinelund onde trabalhava na altura. Recordo-me de ter comentado se não teria sido um filme ou piada de mau gosto o que me estavam a contar.

Estas noticias, todas de cariz negativo e calamitoso só podem ser acompanhadas de uma noticia positiva. Foi de manhã no dia 25 de abril de 1974 que a minha sogra informou que estavam a correr algumas noticias sobre acontecimentos em Lisboa. Terei encolhido os ombros e recordo-me ter pensado que não devia ter sido nada de mais. Mas foi ,e terei ocasião em futuros textos de repartir convosco como os eventos foram seguidos por uma pessoa, das muitas, que não estando lá, muito gostariam de ter estado. Nascia um novo Portugal!

O 24 de abril de 1974


O que teria eu feito no dia 24 de abril? A primavera começava a ganhar terreno após um longo e rigoroso inverno. Teria começado os meus estudos na escola municipal para adultos com o intuito de seguir para alguma coisa. Como o meu sueco ainda era um tanto rudimentar, inscrevi-me nos cursos de linguas. Para ter nota em ingles penso que nem precisei de frequentar classes . Fiz logo o exame. Tambem não faltava mais nada… Tinha saudades de Portugal. Já só podia sonhar com o mar e a praia de Carcavelos e toda a nossa costa. A comidinha de que se está sempre a falar. As nossas imperiais. Tinha saudades…Mas ao mesmo tempo já  quase tinha deixado de sonhar.

Dava quase vergonha dizer às pessoas de onde vinha. Então há 48 anos debaixo da mais antiga ditadura da Europa e ninguem se mexe? Já com um filho e a tentar construir uma vida nova pela segunda vez. O meu foco não estava voltado para Portugal. O meu pai lá me enviava uns jornais da Bola para me ir inteirando de como ía o nosso Sporting.

As pessoas em Sundsvall mal sabiam o que era Portugal. Era mesmo quase só o futebol, os vinhos do Porto e as sardinhas em lata que eram a nossa referencia universal. O país estava mergulhado em silencio. O “orgulhosamente sós” de Salazar não nos dava nehum orgulho. Mas que estávamos sós ,estávamos…

O dia 24 de abril não me deixa memória nenhuma. Foi um dia como outro qualquer mas pode muito bem servir para sintetizar como um Estado pode abafar tanta creatividade,tanta força para trabalhar, tanto amor e tanta dedicação daqueles que estavam e dos que já não estavam.


Find them, fuck them, forget them.

padrãoRight now I am expecting to get an answer and some news, from Gilberto, one of the three musketeers on the London mission! As everyone knows the musketeers were in fact four. Gilinho, Quim. Mané and I would perhaps rather be seen as conquerors. What sort of mission or conquest were we on, in those very first years of the seventies?

Pretty much looking for a future… All worked from early age and just as kids of any generation, meeting females was part of the essence that kept us going through thick and thin. Girls were in fact present in our lives and there was always some type of relationship going on. The teenage male image of the day, was to show that you were not really in love . The measurement of your success was rather down to how many conquests you managed to make! Or as a representative from the previous generation once said to me after being introduced to my girlfriend of the time!

– You want to follow the three F rule. – Ok, and what is that? Find them, Fuck them and Forget them! I will admit that that rule never really applied very much to me as I was more of the kind that Found, Fucked and Fell in love!

But going back to the topic in hand. Mané lives in Macau where he is in the business of selling Portuguese wines to the Chinese. Quim probably lives in Houston, Texas, but his restless spirit does not leave him put too often in any place. . Gilberto or Gilinho as we called him resides in Watertown Massachusetts. What he does I do not know as yet. As for myself I have been faithful to the small town of Sundsvall right in the middle of Sweden where I have committed myself to work for the town’s development, now in politics and previously teaching teenagers.

None of us stayed or returned to live in Portugal. In that sense we are like the millions that throughout history left Portugal following a good Portuguese tradition of “giving new worlds to the world”.  

Time for a reunion, chaps?

Travels with Grandpa 2010 (12)

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Day before last in Lisbon… We played cards the whole day and ordered dinner from a restaurant across the road. This restaurant is owned by a man from Bangladesh.
Helena isn’t feeling so well so she stays in as Uncle Pedro, Grandpa
and Patricia travelled to S. Pedro to meet Great grandma Pamela. In the evening the grownups went to the Fado in Rua da Rosa. Fado, we were told is typical Portuguese singing. It was not of the best quality according to Grandpa but the food was OK at the Forcado restaurant.
After that they still had time to sit in the Chinese Pavilion and recover with a drink. -Cheers, Grandpa!

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Last day in Portugal… Andrea arrives in the evening and Grandpa invites everybody back to the nice Nepalese restaurant. Grandpa opens a bank account in a bank in Portugal. We spend most of the day packing and planning on how to get to the airport and if we will get there on time.

Getting to the airport was a piece a cake thanks to Grandpas meticulous planning. We arrived at the airport in good time after catching two separate cabs. After the usual waiting periods we could at last go on board. This plane was called Alexandre O’Neill. When we thought we were about to take off, the plane turned back. The explanation was that the luggage hatch had not been properly closed. O’Neill had decided to pull one on us”-Ó Portugal se fosses só tres silabas, de plástico que era
mais barato”. We left Portugal as always with mixed feelings and already with some melancholy and longing to this country where only the unexpected can be expected. –”Onde só o imprevisto é previsivel e onde um
Portugal desconhecido sempre espera por si”. In Stockholm we were met by floods of rain.

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Travels with Grandpa 2010 (10)


There is always an unexpected Portugal waiting for you… Or as Grandpa says the unexpected is to be expected. Today Grandpa finished off some paper work and was on his way to Carcavelos when he got a phone call to turn around and stay in Lisbon. He could, after all, visit the Finanças there and deal with the papers and then go off to Cascais. It was already sometime after 5 o’clock when Grandpa and Patricia could arrive in S. Pedro where we were all waiting, since a few hours before. At last and after two weeks in Portugal, Grandpa finally came down to the beach to feel the sand and the ocean’s cold water!

Grandpa showed us children, something of the coast life and we discovered several sea snails, mussels and other creatures hiding under the rocks. Once back we were presented with a spaghetti dish with tomatoes and coriander after a dreadful trip for Grandpa who was dying to go to the toilet ever since we got on the train in S. Pedro.

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Life can be boring without Grandpa nearby! Patricia and grandpa went off early in the morning to catch the train to Viseu. Once there Patricia’s father Julio and his wife Cristina and daughter Joana were waiting at the station. They all took good care of Grandpa who was able to relax. They did not go to bed before 2 in the morning. What we did? Well… We went to the beach ate a Greek salad and on our way back we got lost in Lisbon looking for a restaurant to eat. Guided by Jonatan and Liv we eventually arrived at the place where we had eaten with Grandpa the evening when we had listened to the opera and Jonatan had a stomach ache.