Illustration: Pedro Nuim
September the 1st, 8.30 PM, under the light of a streetlamp, at the corner of José Paulino and Cônego Martins, Bom Retiro area, a group of workers lead by Anselmo Corrêa, Antônio Pereira, Carlos Silva, Joaquim Ambrósio and Raphael Perrone founded Sport Club Corinthians Paulista. With eight more boys, Timão founders’ meeting fot inspiration to the name with Corinthians-Casuals Footaball Club, the English club who was having a tour in Brazil that time. The tailor Miguel Battaglia was chosen for president and stated: “Corinthians will be the club of the people and the people will make the club”. A rented plot of land at Rua José Paulino was levelled, turn into a playing field that, on September 14th, hosted the first training in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
Only four years after debuting in the pitches, Corinthians conquered their first title. With ten victories in ten games, the workers team, who was fighting against the elitist status quo of football, won Campeonato Paulista. Since that day, the club’s growth had no limits and on their second decade of life, Sport Club Corinthians Paulista has consolidated their position as a dominating force on football fields of the state of Sao Paulo. The conquers of Taça do Centenário da Independência back in 1922 and six state championships (1922, 1923, 1924, 1928, 1929 and 1930), allowed Alvinegros to be considered as one of the dominant institutions of Sao Paulo football. During the 20’s, the team first idol was emerging. Until today, there is no other Corinthians’ player with more games for the club than Manoel Nueses – “Neco”. Stayed at the club for 17 years, winning eight titles.
At the end of the 20’s, Corinthians moved to the east zone of Sao Paulo. After buying a plot of land in Parque São Jorge - current club’s head office location – Timão established on the most populated region of São Paulo, becoming one of the historical places of the club. After defeating Vasco in 1930, the club was called “champion of the champions”, on a battle involving only state champions of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, two of the most relevant states at the time.
On the following decade, Timão would become, for the third time, the three times consecutive champion (1937, 1938 and 1939), before facing the first long period without any title. From 1941 to 1951, Alvinegro club didn’t conquer any relevant title, only important wins on international friendly matches, against River Plate (Argentina) and Torino (Italy). During this period, some of Fiel idols joined the club – Cabeção, Idário, Roberto and Luizinho.
During the 50’s, Timão built one of the best squads of their history, conquering six titles between 1950 and 1955. In 1950, won the first Rio-Sao Paulo tournament. Next year, the historical attacking team who hit the 100 goals mark, won again the Campeonato Paulista, after ten years without any victory. This was the start of a row of consecutive wins on the following years. The biggest of all happened in 1954, when Timão conquered the IV Centenary of São Paulo city foundation title, against their biggest rival, Palmeiras.
From 1954 to 1977, Alvinegro experienced the longest drought of their history with almost 23 years without any major title, just a win, with three other clubs, the Rio-São Paulo tournament in 1966, as clubs didn’t reach an agreement on the dates for the end of the competition. Even without titles, Corinthians’ fans demonstrated their passion and strength and kept growing. The “club of the people” demonstrated their popularity and dragged crowds to all the games played. Besides that, one of the best Brazilian players of all time was arising in Corinthians – Roberto Rivellino, who played 474 games and scored 144 goals between 1965 and 1974.
In 1976, after 22 consecutive years without important titles for Timão, Brazil experienced one of the biggest love’ demonstrations for a football club. Playing for the Campeonato do Brasil semi-finals, at Maracanã, more than 70 thousand corinthianos joined the stands, side by side with Fluminense fans, named as the “Corinthians Invasion”.
While Fiel was suffering with the football team, other sport was giving joy to the fans – basketball. The team lead by Wlamir Marques was one of the biggest teams of south-American and world basketball. Between 1954 and 1977, a long period without titles in the pitch, Corinthians’ basketball team won seven Campeonato Paulistas, three Campeonatos Brasileiros (1965, 1966 and 1969), along with two Clubs’ South American Championships, 1964 and 1969.
1977 was the year where the fasting ended. Corinthians started a new period in their history, full of glory and conquers. Basílio goal against Ponte Preta, giving the state title for the club after 23 years, is one of the most remembered and celebrated titles of Corinthians’ fans. Timão was back on track, winning the 1979 Campeonato Paulista and re-established as a state and country football power.
The 80’s, although full of titles, is marked by a never seen movement in football club’s history. In 1982, players and leaders of the club decided taking all decisions by vote, not taking into consideration the role or status of who was voting. All votes had the same weight and decisions were taken listening to everyone’s opinion. Taking into consideration the moment Brazil was living, with a military and authoritarian regime, Democracia Corinthiana was a unique movement. Lead by Sócrates and with the support of players like Casagrande, Zé Maria and Wladimir, Corinthians conquered the second state championship in 1982 and 1983, defeating both of the times the rival São Paulo. At the end of the decade, in 1988, Timão would have conquered one more state title, becoming a national football leader club.
The first win for the Campeonato Brasileiro happened in 1990. Playing the final against São Paulo, Fiel’s talisman Tupãzinho, got the cup for Timão. In 1995 Corinthians beat Grêmio and won their first Brazilian Cup. Closing the decade, one of the best alvinegra’ teams won two Campeonatos Brasileiros. In 1998, Timão beat Cruzeiro for 2-0 in the last game with goals of Edilson and Marcelinho Carioca, becoming two times champion. Wanderlei Luxemburgo team scored 57 goals in 32 games, with Marcelinho Carioca scoring 19 of them.
The following year, Corinthians got one more Paulista and, for the second consecutive year, the Brasileiro. Repeating previous year, Alvinegro dominated the national scenario end to end with manager Oswaldo de Oliveira, having Luizão scoring 21 of the 61 goals on the 29 games.
Closing this historical period, alvinegra team would conquer the first FIFA Club World Cup, played in Brazil. Timão beat Raja Casablanca (Marrocos), Al-Nassr (Saudi Arabia) and Real Madrid (Spain) at the groups stage and beat Vasco on the decisive game, at Maracanã.
On the 21st century, Parque São Jorge’ club established themselves as the club with more titles in Brazil. Since then, the club won seven Campeonatos Paulistas (2001, 2003, 2009, 2013 and 2017, 2018, 2019), one Rio-São Paulo Tournement (2002), one Recopa Sul-Americana (2013), two Copas do Brasil (2002 and 2009), four Campeonatos Brasileiros (2005, 2011, 2015 and 2017), one Copa Libertadores (2012) and one FIFA Club World Cup (2012) – having again a “Corinthiana Invasion”, with more than 30 thousand fans crossing the world to support Corinthians in Japan.
Since 2014, Fiel counts with one of the most beautiful and modern stadiums in Brazil. Arena Corinthians was the 2014 Brazilian World Cup opening stage, 2016 Rio Olympic Games and 2019 Copa America headquarters. Alvinegro’ stadium is the only in São Paulo hosting World Cup, Olympic and Copa America games.
On the 109th anniversary year, Timão already raised a cup. Back in April, at Arena Corinthians, the team lead by Fabio Carille defeated the rival São Paulo for 2-1, becoming three times Paulista winner (2017, 2018 and 2019). Being the 18th title of the century, the win also allowed to set a new record. With this victory, goalkeeper Cássio reached nine titles for Corinthians, taking the lead of a renamed list, with names like Marcelinho Carioca, Neco, Alessandro, Chicão and Danilo, all with eight cups.
On the 1st of September 2019, Sport Club Corinthians Paulista celebrates his anniversary. The “team of the people”, founded by workers and humble people, completes 109 years, full of conquerors, glory, hard moments and overcoming, all with the support of Fiel Torcida.