Wednesday, April 14, 2010

14 April 1912 - The Saints Go Marching In

On 14 April 1912, a group of footballers in the Brazilian city of Santos, located in the state of São Paolo, founded a new football club which they named Santos FC. The club credits their formation to three men in particular - Raimundo Marques, Mário Ferraz de Campos, and Argemiro de Souza Júnior. But they are best known as the 17-year home of Pelé.

Santos enjoyed some modest early success, winning a handful of regional competitions starting with the Santos City Championship in 1913 and 1915, but they reached their highest heights only after the arrival of the then 15-year old Pelé in 1956. Within a few short years, Santos were established as a national power, winning five consecutive Brazilian Cups from 1961 through 1965. During that period, they also twice won South America's Copa Libertadores (1962 and 1963).

After Pelé's departure in 1974 for the New York Cosmos, Santos went into decline. They enjoyed a resurgence in the early 2000s, however, winning the Brazilian top flight in 2002 and 2004 with help from their skillful young forward Robinho.

Robinho left in 2005 for Real Madrid, triggering another dip in Santos' fortunes. They finished mid-table in 2009, finishing 12th out of 20 teams, but will enter the 2010 season next month with renewed optimism, having signed Robinho back on loan from Manchester City, whom he joined in 2008.

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