Known as Moleque Travesso – the ‘Mischief Boys’ – little Juventus is becoming the supporters’ supporters club, drawing fans disillusioned with the money-mad focus of the modern game.
Playing in a division roughly 20,000 leagues below Série A, where the big boys of Corinthians and Flamengo alone share 50 million fans, forgotten Juventus is at the lowest level in its 87-year history, languishing in Série A3 of the state competition.
Named after the mighty Juventus of Italy, tiny Juventus of São Paulo is everyone’s favourite second team. Pelé scored his most beautiful goal against them and his bust stands alongside club idol Clovis at the humble stadium, Estádio Conde Rodolfo Crespi, popularly known as Estádio da Rua Javari.
Their ‘Mischief Boys’ moniker comes from an infamy won for having tripped up far more illustrious teams – but only back when everything was in black and white. These days, times are hard and just 584 fans paid to watch a 0-0 draw against Paulista recently when Time Out São Paulo joined the crowd.
Back of the net
But while the old guard of ex-players, sponsors and locals from the Mooca neighbourhood sit in the stands, there’s a raucous noise coming from behind the goals.
It’s the new young fans from all over São Paulo who have adopted the team and rejected the corporate clubs with their mercenary players and sky-high ticket prices.
It’s still a trickle, but the fans of Torcida Setor 2 sing their hearts out non-stop, inspired, they say, by the barra brava gangs of Argentinian supporters. Their motto is ‘Ódio eterno ao futebol moderno’ (‘Eternal hatred of the modern game’).
‘We made up forty numbered T-shirts with the motto on it just for ourselves – we didn’t want to make money,’ says Miojo, who runs the ‘unofficial’ club shop, Camiseteria Di Mooca (Rua Javari 370, Mooca, 2362 5905).
‘I used to be a Palmeiras fan, and Juventus was my second team. But now I’m just Juventus. I scream and shout with the same passion,’ says Guilherme, who faithfully films each game for oblogdojuva.blogspot.com.
It’s all friendly banter round here, and you can even have a beer after the game with the players. Juventus, with just a simple ‘J’ as the club’s crest, is an honest-to-goodness, back-to-basics football club with a heart.