From: Zlata Militaru 
Subject: Re: Ancien Regime Teams
Date: 30 January 2002 06:12

"Victoria Barrett"  wrote in message

> I just got to thinking after the recent Rapid Wien thread:
> What are some of the teams that have been supported, propped up, or frankly
> favoured by different regimes around the world? Are there any tell-tale
> stories associated with them which you can share?

If I can add to the Romania bit, if I may. I have prepared the following
treatise for such an occasion. right after reading your post.

A brief overview of Romanian Soccer and Communism and Shit
by Zlata Militaru

Dinamo were the Securitate team, that is true. We don't really need to
speak of them, however....

CSA Steaua or FC Steaua:

Steaua were also a communist team, set up in 1947, so they 're really as
ancien regime as Dinamo. Yeah the communist army did redeem themselves
in 1989, but they were less a force for democracy than a force for
getting rid of Ceausescu. Which - don't get me wrong - is a good thing,
but the NSF helped into power by the army were not exactly the most
progressive group of individuals I've ever seen. But I'll take the Army
over a bunch of Securitate-backed miners from the Jiu Valley armed with
clubs and the promise of getting to beat people up with no consequence,
if you know what I'm saying. Probably not. oh well....
Yet, I come from a "line" (can't really call it that seeing as the
club's only 50 years old) of Stelisti. Why? because they were right in
the neighborhood, and they were *good*. Yeah, my family were a bunch of
band-wagoning hangers-on, what can I say? Also, the army weren't so much
the "enforcers" of Ceausescu's policies as were the hated and feared
Securitate. The army, IIRC, was mostly conscripts (as it still is,
methinks), whereas the Securitate...well, you had to *want* to do that.
Also, did I mention they took "our" side against the Securitate in '89?*
("our side" being "against the dictator, although not quite unanimously
in favor of anything else")

(random note - soccer players were doing their military service if they
played a couple of seasons for Steaua. Also, all the players were
officers in the army [insert Silviu-Alin comment about Hagi leading
forces to defend the country here] so, it's not just, like Tudorel
Stoica, he's probably, like Col. Tudorel Stoica or something. Weird,

Other stuff of note. or not:

But, anyway, most of the teams now were created under the Communist
regime.  Or they were restructed from old teams during that time period.
How can you tell? Well, the names. The Communists were big into industry
and technology (which may explain their love of the "Dynamo") and so
teams were often named after major industries in the city. You have
Electroputere Craiova ("electrical power"), Adi Ilie's first team,
Otelul Galati (kind of the equivalent to the "Steelers"), where Alin
Stoica's granddad Gheorghe was one of the original players, and Petrolul
Ploiesti (Ploiesti oilfields, anyone?) to name a few.

Also, the big "anti-establishment" team was traditionally Rapid, who are
named after a train, and, consequently, owned by - do I even need to
tell you at this point? So, anyway, Rapid had the real working class
support, as well as the support of pretty much all the country's Roma
(that's "gypsy" to the ig'nent folks out there) population, which is
still true today. Rapid has changed a lot, however, since the fall of

They have gotten pretty good, as you may have noticed, and they are
getting richer and consequently becoming more and more like their
arch-rivals, Steaua and Dinamo. A lot of Old Skool Rapid fans are
lamenting their beloved team's selling out, but Rapid is also gaining a
lot of Nu-Skool fans, who have jumped the bandwagon since the Dulca-Led
side won the Divizia A a few years back.

I have to say, though, that the Dictator's team was, in fact, one FC
Olt. Ever heard of FC Olt? Don't hear much about how they're doing in
the Divizia A nowadays? Well. Ceausescu created this team, I forget when
exactly, but he would send all the good players there, at some point
(Dumi did a stint there in '88-'89). Basically, everyone hated them, so
much so, that, after the revolution, FC Olt were, well, dismantled. As
Adi Weissman explained it "FC Olt was the dictator's team. When we got
rid of that bastard, we got rid of his effing team." I think that says

No one really cares about National Bucharest. They're owned by the bank,
that's all you need to know about them. No one cares, though, although
some people may jump on the bandwagon now that they're tied for second.
Seriously though - go to Bucharest, and you see tons of little boys
wearing the kits (the shorts and the jersey) of their favorite team. You
see lots decked out in Rapid maroon, or Steaua red and blue, or Dinamo
red and white, but no one in National yellow. Really. National Bucharest
fans - they're like, mythical. And I think they have the biggest nicest
stadium, too. Yeah, does that thing fill up when they aren't playing
Dinamo or Steaua?


Today, Steaua are now owned by the, erm, illustrious Gigi Becali, and
are no longer getting tax money, which means we are pretty much broke.
Dinamo, OTOH, are to this day owned by the ministry of the interior, and
still use a lot of communist tactics on and off the field (steroids
anyone?) I mean, Steaua can be pretty corrupt and dirty, but Dinamo are
plain evil, is how I see it. Dinamo are current leaders, with Brasov and
National close behind. Steaua are chasing, Rapid are struggling
(relatively), and no one speaks of FC Olt.

*Just who was it shooting at the people has remained a controversial
point. Most people say it's the Securitate. Silviu Brucan, one of the
NSF guys, mentioned the specific unit, and the orders they were given,
etc. Brucan, however, was also a big commie and in that same book said
everything the NSF did right was his idea, and everything they did wrong
as not his idea, and he said it was bad, and no one listened to him. So
take that as you will.


From: Petrovich 
Subject: Re: Ancien Regime Teams
Date: 30 January 2002 03:44

The fascist dictatorship that ruled over Portugal between 1926 and 1974 had
no defined preference - though football was at the same time an instrument
of propaganda for the regime and a rare political opportunity.

Indeed football matches were (if we exclude the farsical 'spontaneous'
demonstrations of support to the government ) probably the only occasion in
which the gathering of a crowd was authorized - and that tiny political
opportunity was seized a few times, despite the fact that stadiums were
littered with secret police agents on matchdays.

OTOH football clubs were among the rare associations of citizens that were
allowed at the time, and as such they provided a rare space for political
experience and discussion, even if these were almost exclusively sport
politics and concerning the club's policy.

When the fascists rose to power, the clubs had already huge numbers of
followers and they were quite heterogeneous in their social basis. So,
despite the fact that it was common for proeminent figures of the regime to
act as patrons of the club of their choice and that the boards were formed
by ferverous fascists, there was no link with a particular corporation as in
the Eastern Europe case.

The type of association of the regime as whole with football was more of the
jump-on-the-bandwagon type. Whichever team was dominating the football scene
it was chosen a vehicle of propaganda - and in return the club recieved
funds and estate.

As such, Benfica was the club of the regime in the 60's - as Sporting had
been in the 50's and so on. I'll just mention Benfica's case in detail
because it's a classic case of this association, not as some sort of moral
judgement - sadly almost every club in the country played the same role in
the farse at one time or another.

Benfica's dominance of Portuguese footbal in the 60's and early 70's
coincided with the claims for independence in the portuguese colonies in
Africa and the traumatic guerilla wars that followed the refusal of the
fascist government to grant independence to Mozambique, Angola and

The portuguese regime became under heavy pressure from the international
community. As such the recently created European Competitions became a
priceless stage for an internationally isolated regime to display their
peculiar vision of the 'good portuguese colonialism'- where an essential
part was played by the mythical idea of an harmonious 'multi-racial'
Portugal that included in equal terms the african colonies, though this was
pure fantasy and the portuguese colonialism was just as ruthless and racist
as the next one.

The Benfica triumphs of those years played a relevant role in sustaining
this myth, as their teams featured several african players in key positions.
Conquering Europe under the captaincy of Coluna and the genius of Eusebio,
both born in Mozambique - what better exemple of this unique brand of 'good
colonialism' that the regime proclaimed for himself?

This same argument played a part in the domestic front, reinforcing the
fiction of the 'Colonial Empire' and the goodness of a disastrous war that
was draining the country to protect that fiction.

The same logic followed the Portugal team that played in England in 1966 -
that's one of the reasons why I can't watch footage of the brilliant feats
of that team without thinking how they were used countless times and in
countless ways by the propaganda efforts of the regime.