Tim Vickery Column: How Corinthians' stadium change may challenge their identity clash with São Paulo

It was fitting that the final league game to take place at Pacaembu before the formal hand over was against Flamengo - Action Images
A football club is not primarily defined by the titles it has won, or even the great players who have worn its colours.

More important than that is the question of identity – the people (and the ideas) that are being represented.  This happens in a very territorial context – the congregation of the faithful in a determined space.  So when a team moves stadium, the consequence must inevitably include a slight change of identity.

A clear example is that of Arsenal in London.  The club of Arsene Wenger is emphatically not the one I recall from 20 years ago, when I still lived in the city.  Then, Arsenal stood for dull solidity and gritty reliability.  The fans went to the stadium singing the names of the full backs and celebrating 1-0 wins.

Where once they seemed quite provincial, now the club are a glamorous cosmopolitan outfit with aspirations of style, a representative of the world city that surrounds them.  As ticket prices have risen, so the fan base has become more upmarket.  And much of this change of identity has been given an extra push by the move to a new stadium; the impressive, historical but somewhat pokey Highbury giving way to the airier, more open and modern setting of the Emirates.  In geographical terms, though, they have hardly moved far – just a short hop from Highbury to Ashburton Grove.

What, then, might be the consequences of the move of Sao Paulo giants Corinthians from Pacaembu to their new arena in Itaquera?  The move from the centre to the east of the city will surely have some effect on the identity of the club.  Some fans might not follow the team across town.  Others, from the area surrounding the new stadium, will surely be attracted.

Perhaps it was fitting that the final league game to take place at Pacaembu before the formal hand over was against Flamengo, the mass team of Rio visiting its Sao Paulo counterpart – although the difference is that Corinthians, founded by factory workers, were born with the popular touch, whereas Flamengo cunningly bolted it on to their identity in the 1930s.

But both indicate the comparatively small part that city geography plays in Brazilian club identities – certainly when compared with London.  Arsenal and Tottenham are, above all, North London teams – hence the controversy when Arsenal crossed the river and ‘invaded’ Tottenham’s territory just over a century ago.  West Ham are defiantly East London.  Crystal Palace are South, and so on.

In Brazil big club identities have usually been based more on class lines, or on those of immigrant backgrounds (Palmeiras of the Italian community, Portuguesa of the Portuguese).  This is even stronger in Rio than in Sao Paulo, because in the former capital the big clubs have all used the Maracana stadium – though Vasco da Gama have retained some of their North Zone identity by having their own Sao Januario stadium.

In Sao Paulo the big municipal stadium is Pacaembu.  Other clubs have used it – Santos play there with some frequency when they want to bring a game into the state capital.  But the stadium is most identified with Corinthians.  For decades the ‘big team’ had dreams of building their own ground.  Projects were unveiled and quickly forgotten.  It hardly seemed to matter.  Pacaembu was an appropriate home – close to the centre of the city, easily accessible, it re-enforced the idea of Corinthians as being the foremost representative of the city, with a following from all social classes and immigrant groups that make up the sprawling metropolis of Sao Paulo.

Might this change with the move out east?  The dynamic of history has already brought about something of a change on the identity of one of Corinthians’ big local rivals, Sao Paulo FC.  They have always been associated with the city’s elite, the movers and shakers in a busy, practical, business capital.  Typical of the club’s cool rationality and long term planning was the decision to construct their own stadium, in the Morumbi district, inaugurated in 1960 and completed a decade later.

In keeping with the club’s historical identity, Morumbi is one of the plushest neighbourhoods in the city.  But over recent years, especially with the success of the wonderful early 90s side, the profile of Sao Paulo fans has changed.  Along with the old elite, they also have a huge following in the poor neighbourhoods on the periphery of the city.  And with Morumbi situated to the west of the city, and Corinthians’ new home way out east in Itaquera,  might that mean that the future fault line and identity clash of these two giant clubs will have much more to do with geography than anything else?  One thing is certain; there will be changes.

 

Latest articles

Roma defender Leandro Castan explains how he discovered cavernoma

Agent Gilmar Veloz insists Corinthians-owned forward Alexandre Pato will remain on loan at São Paulo

Agent denies Corinthians-owned forward Alexandre Pato is Fiorentina-bound

Paulinho to have second child

Oscar: 'Chelsea will have a special 2015'

Roberto Carlos: 'Marcelo is still the best'

Bruno signs two year deal with São Paulo

Dória prepared to leave Marseille

Chelsea's Eden Hazard inspired by Ronaldinho

Douglas Costa: 'We can beat Bayern'

Ricardo Goulart believes staying with Cruzeiro will help him earn Seleção recognition

Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva relaxed over future despite reported interest from Arsenal and Real Madrid

Report: Cruzeiro turn down second Real Madrid offer for midfielder Lucas Silva

Report: Fiorentina close in on loan agreement for Corinthians forward Alexandre Pato

Zidane leaves Neymar out of his best 11

Filipe Luís scores his first goal for Chelsea

Arsenal target Silva offered new bumper deal by Cruzeiro

Mourinho: 'Ramires is a Chelsea champion'

Cruzeiro midfielder Julio Baptista happy he returned to Brazil

Athletic Club Head Coach Ernesto Valverde wary of Amauri threat ahead of Europa League tie with Torino

Adriano Galliani compares Ronaldinho and Ronaldo to Milan Head Coach Filippo Inzaghi

Arsenal target Lucas Silva

Chelsea masseuse flying the Brazilian flag

Breno to join São Paulo in January

Chelsea to offer Ramires to Juventus

Mourinho: 'Chelsea were lucky'

Lucas believes in PSG's chances against Chelsea

Santos ready to let Leandro Damiao go to Cruzeiro

Luis Enrique confirms Neymar's absence

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho defends Diego Costa after his yellow card for diving against Hull City

Latest News.

  • All
  • Seleção
  • Teams
  • Players
December 19, 2014
16:34Roma defender Leandro Castan explains how he discovered cavernoma
16:27Agent Gilmar Veloz insists Corinthians-owned forward Alexandre Pato will remain on loan at São Paulo
16:23Agent denies Corinthians-owned forward Alexandre Pato is Fiorentina-bound
11:46Paulinho to have second child
11:25Corinthians sign Mendoza
11:12Cruzeiro set to make signings.
11:05Oscar: 'Chelsea will have a special 2015'
10:50Barcelona eye Brazilian duo
December 18, 2014
11:33Roberto Carlos: 'Marcelo is still the best'
11:19Bruno signs two year deal with São Paulo
11:09Dória prepared to leave Marseille
11:01Chelsea's Eden Hazard inspired by Ronaldinho
10:53Douglas Costa: 'We can beat Bayern'
December 17, 2014
17:54Ricardo Goulart believes staying with Cruzeiro will help him earn Seleção recognition
17:46Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva relaxed over future despite reported interest from Arsenal and Real Madrid
17:42Report: Cruzeiro turn down second Real Madrid offer for midfielder Lucas Silva
17:32Report: Fiorentina close in on loan agreement for Corinthians forward Alexandre Pato
11:23Zidane leaves Neymar out of his best 11
11:13Filipe Luís scores his first goal for Chelsea
10:53Atlético-MG sign Lucas Pratto
10:42Arsenal target Silva offered new bumper deal by Cruzeiro
10:34Mourinho: 'Ramires is a Chelsea champion'
December 16, 2014
18:20Cruzeiro midfielder Julio Baptista happy he returned to Brazil
18:15Athletic Club Head Coach Ernesto Valverde wary of Amauri threat ahead of Europa League tie with Torino
18:09Adriano Galliani compares Ronaldinho and Ronaldo to Milan Head Coach Filippo Inzaghi
11:34Arsenal target Lucas Silva
11:16Chelsea masseuse flying the Brazilian flag
11:04Breno to join São Paulo in January
10:52Chelsea to offer Ramires to Juventus
10:43Mourinho: 'Chelsea were lucky'
December 15, 2014
21:38Doriva is the new coach of Vasco da Gama
21:26Cesar Sampaio set to return to Santos
20:41Lucas believes in PSG's chances against Chelsea
20:34Santos ready to let Leandro Damiao go to Cruzeiro
20:23Luis Enrique confirms Neymar's absence
19:14Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho defends Diego Costa after his yellow card for diving against Hull City
19:06Sao Paulo loanee Alvaro Pereira not worried about his future
19:00Report: Daniel Alves set to miss Barcelona's Copa del Rey clash against Huesca
18:53Sampdoria forward Eder praises Carlos Tevez
11:55Mancini praises Sylvinho
11:34Brazilians in Europe: Lima impresses for Benfica
11:26Parreira: 'Dunga is a good choice'
11:13Fernandinho: 'We froze at the World Cup'
11:05Danilo: 'Benfica were lucky'
December 13, 2014
22:02Report: Sao Paulo consider bid for Internazionale midfielder Hernanes
21:52Luis Enrique confident Douglas can make an impact at Barcelona despite slow start
15:12Sylvinho confirms he is set to take role as Roberto Mancini's Assistant Coach at Internazionale
December 12, 2014
17:35Porto defender Alex Sandro pleased with Shakhtar Donetsk draw and eager to progress in the Champions League
17:27Agent insists defender Henrique wants to stay at Napoli
17:24Agent denies Internacional are interested in Napoli defender Henrique
December 11, 2014
23:27Brazil Head Coach Dunga questions Real Madrid full-back Marcelo's defensive credentials
November 25, 2014
09:29Brazil drawn in Group C alongside Colombia, Peru and Venezuela for 2015 Copa América
November 22, 2014
22:15Galatasaray midfielder Felipe Melo believes he deserves Brazil recall
November 17, 2014
22:34Brazil Head Coach Dunga confirms he will use the same line up that beat Turkey for Austria test
November 15, 2014
20:06Austria 1-0 Russia: Das Team maintain unbeaten UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying record ahead of Brazil friendly
November 12, 2014
20:44Neymar scored twice as Brazil turned on the style in beating Turkey 4-0
17:56Turkey vs. Brazil: Line ups
November 11, 2014
18:35Luiz Adriano expected to start for Brazil in Wednesday's friendly against Turkey
18:25Defender Miranda wary of Atlético de Madrid team-mate Arda Turan ahead of Brazil's friendly with Turkey
18:14Turkish Football Federation President Yıldırım Demirören honoured to see Istanbul hosting Brazil friendly
November 07, 2014
21:11Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Ömer Toprak left out of Turkey squad for matches against Brazil and Kazakhstan
November 04, 2014
15:41Sambafoot exclusive: Adriano talks Le Havre, Neymar, Dunga and the Brasileirão title race
November 03, 2014
22:38Atlético Mineiro forward Diego Tardelli admits relief at breaking Brazil duck
October 29, 2014
16:57FIFA President Sepp Blatter claims Russia's 2018 World Cup preparations are "considerably ahead of schedule" compared to Brazil
October 24, 2014
14:13Kaká confident he can help Brazil over the short-term
October 23, 2014
23:14Head Coach Dunga refuses to confirm whether Neymar or Thiago Silva will captain Brazil
23:10Brazil Head Coach Dunga hopes Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano can help "create an alternative approach"
October 21, 2014
21:161994 World Cup winning Head Coach Carlos Alberto Perreira believes Brazil must regain their identity
October 20, 2014
23:09 José Mourinho praises Dunga despite frustration over lack of communication with international managers
October 18, 2014
21:55Carlos Alberto Parreira: Dunga's "been doing a good job"
October 16, 2014
17:18Dunga’s Most Important Players
October 15, 2014
16:24Santos forward Robinho: Brazil want to "win the World Cup in Russia"
12:26Brazil forward Neymar reveals Head Coach Dunga's advice after 4-0 friendly win over Japan
October 14, 2014
22:43CSKA Moscow defender Mário Fernandes hopes he "pleased Dunga" with Brazil debut
22:38Brazil goalkeeper Jefferson pleased late save against Japan kept clean sheet run intact
22:32Brazil goalkeeper Jefferson: "It is good to see Dunga’s philosophy is working for us"
18:09Neymar admits four goal haul against Japan "gives me goosebumps"
18:03Neymar not concerned about Brazil goal tally
13:59Brazil destroy Japan thanks to a fantastic Neymar
08:46Brazil-Japan (National Stadium, Singapore): Preview
October 13, 2014
15:57Internazionale defender Yuto Nagatomo insists Japan must play as a team against Brazil
15:52Japan Head Coach Javier Aguirre "relaxed" ahead of Brazil friendly
15:45Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirms David Luiz is a doubt for Japan friendly
15:41Mainz 05 forward Shinji Okazaki insists Japan must be clinical if they are to get a result from Brazil friendly
October 12, 2014
22:38Neymar unconcerned with physical approach during Brazil's 2-0 win over Argentian
22:34Brazil Head Coach Dunga insists Argentina win "gives huge confidence to the players"
13:14Brazil goalkeeper Jefferson: “I have studied the way Lionel Messi takes penalties"
13:09Atlético Mineiro Diego Tardelli admits its "a unique feeling" to score for Brazil after Argentina brace
11:10Brazil Head Coach Dunga questions appointment of referee Fan Qi for Argentina friendly
October 11, 2014
17:29Argentina 0-2 Brazil [Superclásico de las Américas, National Stadium]: Player ratings
16:13Argentina 0-2 Brazil [Superclásico de las Américas, National Stadium]: Diego Tardelli brace earns Seleção prestigious friendly victory
12:08Argentina 0-2 Brazil [Superclásico de las Américas, National Stadium]: Minute by minute
11:59Brazil Head Coach Dunga concerned about effects of Beijing smog on Superclásico de las Américas against Argentina
October 10, 2014
22:38Neymar hails Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi ahead of 2014 Superclásico de las Américas
16:182014 Superclásico de las Américas: Argentina vs. Brazil preview
October 09, 2014
22:50Danilo and Elias expected to start for Brazil in Saturday's 2014 Superclásico de las Américas against Argentina
22:45Brazil Olympic squad line up announced for Bolivia friendly
22:35Corinthians defender Gil believes Seleção team-mate Neymar is better than Lionel Messi
22:13Sambafoot is recruiting!
20:55Japan recall Kagawa for Brazil clash
June 26, 2014
14:33Report: Flamengo one of eight clubs who have enquired about loaning Internazionale midfielder Rubén Botta
June 16, 2014
11:35Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari backs Portugal to recovery from heavy Germany defeat
June 09, 2014
23:18Italy forward Lorenzo Insigne insists Italy’s poor defending in victory against Fluminense is “not important”
23:12Italy forward Ciro Immobile “excited” with hat-trick against Fluminense
22:56Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli pleased with Fluminense victory
22:52Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli delighted with Brazilian support
June 07, 2014
23:32Italy line up confirmed for Fluminense friendly
May 19, 2014
22:13Portugal Manager Paulo Bento names his 23-man 2014 FIFA World Cup squad
May 18, 2014
19:09Sambafoot Sunday: Botafogo's Shaky Start to 2014
April 13, 2014
08:34Sambafoot Sunday: Brazilian Clubs' Libertadores Numbers Game
April 06, 2014
09:20Sambafoot Sunday: Atlético Mineiro's Anelka Interest Should be the Norm
February 14, 2014
12:23Shakhtar Donetsk: President decided to support Maicon’s family
February 09, 2014
09:25Sambafoot Sunday: Where’s Wallyson? Botafogo find their new hero post-Seedorf
January 26, 2014
10:09Sambafoot Sunday: Cruciate curse affects Seleção hopes of three midfielders
December 01, 2013
13:36Sambafoot Sunday: Could Éverton Ribeiro Crack Europe?
November 25, 2013
11:39Brasileirão Week 36 round up: Vasco shock champions to stay in contention while defeat leaves Ponte Preta on the brink
November 24, 2013
10:17Sambafoot Sunday: Palmeiras Promoted with Chapecoense in Tow
November 17, 2013
12:00Palmeiras secure Brasileirão Série B title with 3-0 win against Boa Esporte
November 12, 2013
08:42Relegation threatened Fluminense sack head coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo
November 10, 2013
12:59Sambafoot Sunday: Atlético Paranaense's hurricane season
November 09, 2013
10:05Drummer angers Flamengo fans
November 04, 2013
13:04Brasileirão week 32 round-up: Big win for Vasco as in-form Goiás maintain top four push
November 03, 2013
17:31Sambafoot Sunday: Surprise Packages in the 2013 Brasileirão
October 28, 2013
11:31Brasileirão Week 31 round up: Vital win for Ponte Preta while Goiás maintain top four push
October 21, 2013
13:21Olympique Marseille without defender Lucas Mendes for Napoli fixture
12:12Injury rules Bayern Munich defender Dante out of Viktoria Plzeň tie
October 20, 2013
23:50São Paulo president Juvenal Juvêncio admits interest in Lucas Moura loan return
October 18, 2013
11:47Diego Maradona dispute’s Pelé’s FIFA recognition
09:04Del Bosque: Costa approach no insult to current strikers
October 17, 2013
21:43Hard work is paying off insists Bayern Munich defender Rafinha
13:17Rodrigo Lasmar: Ronaldinho on track to be fit for the Club World Cup
October 16, 2013
19:53Report: Tottenham Hotspur set to offer Paulinho extended deal
09:12Report: São Paulo could terminate Lúcio’s contract if injury concerns prevail
October 13, 2013
18:32Brasileirão: Grêmio slip up as Vitoria and Santos grab victories
14:49Vanderlei Luxemburgo: ‘Simulation part of football’
October 09, 2013
20:37Mineiro learn Club World Cup fate
October 06, 2013
22:39Oswaldo de Oliveira in hospital after Botafogo defeat
11:55Sambafoot Sunday: Cruzeiro cruising at the top of the Brasileirão
October 04, 2013
23:52Internacional manager Dunga sacked
September 14, 2013
14:29Guerrero: Corinthians can still be champions
September 11, 2013
20:49Roberto Carlos: Anzhi could collapse
14:57Exeter City play down Brazil fears
September 07, 2013
14:12Atlético Madrid's Filipe Luis: Barca-Madrid dominance an injustice
September 06, 2013
19:04Santos announce tour of South East Asia
18:42São Paulo slump to defeat as Rogerio Ceni misses penalty
September 05, 2013
19:17Cruzeiro go four points clear after defeating Bahia
18:43Romário and Maradona fight against CONMEBOL corruption
September 03, 2013
21:29Marcelo Mattos says Botafogo will overcome difficulties
20:54Réver believes Atlético Mineiro can challenge for Brazilian title
September 02, 2013
23:21São Paulo to honour Brazil legend Leonidas da Silva
December 19, 2014
16:34Roma defender Leandro Castan explains how he discovered cavernoma
16:27Agent Gilmar Veloz insists Corinthians-owned forward Alexandre Pato will remain on loan at São Paulo
16:23Agent denies Corinthians-owned forward Alexandre Pato is Fiorentina-bound
December 17, 2014
17:54Ricardo Goulart believes staying with Cruzeiro will help him earn Seleção recognition
17:46Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva relaxed over future despite reported interest from Arsenal and Real Madrid
17:42Report: Cruzeiro turn down second Real Madrid offer for midfielder Lucas Silva
17:32Report: Fiorentina close in on loan agreement for Corinthians forward Alexandre Pato
December 16, 2014
18:20Cruzeiro midfielder Julio Baptista happy he returned to Brazil
18:15Athletic Club Head Coach Ernesto Valverde wary of Amauri threat ahead of Europa League tie with Torino
18:09Adriano Galliani compares Ronaldinho and Ronaldo to Milan Head Coach Filippo Inzaghi
December 15, 2014
19:14Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho defends Diego Costa after his yellow card for diving against Hull City
19:06Sao Paulo loanee Alvaro Pereira not worried about his future
19:00Report: Daniel Alves set to miss Barcelona's Copa del Rey clash against Huesca
18:53Sampdoria forward Eder praises Carlos Tevez
December 13, 2014
22:02Report: Sao Paulo consider bid for Internazionale midfielder Hernanes
21:52Luis Enrique confident Douglas can make an impact at Barcelona despite slow start
15:12Sylvinho confirms he is set to take role as Roberto Mancini's Assistant Coach at Internazionale
December 12, 2014
17:35Porto defender Alex Sandro pleased with Shakhtar Donetsk draw and eager to progress in the Champions League
17:27Agent insists defender Henrique wants to stay at Napoli
17:24Agent denies Internacional are interested in Napoli defender Henrique
December 11, 2014
23:31Lucas Silva's father wants him to remain at Cruzeiro until the summer
23:20Agent confirms Sao Paulo defender Rafael Toloi wants Serie A return
December 10, 2014
19:18Ronaldo backs Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo to win 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or
18:29Benfica defender César "happy with the opportunity to play" after starting in Bayer Leverkusen stalemate
17:24Goa manager Zico describes reaching ISL semi-final as "one of the greatest moments of my career"
16:39Report: Arsenal ready to match asking price for Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva as Real Madrid switch targets
15:32Report: Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto keen for wage increase as part of new deal
December 09, 2014
19:19Major League Soccer outfit Portland Timbers announce signing of full-back Jeanderson
18:38Real Madrid Head Coach Carlo Ancelotti confirms interest in Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva
17:35Barcelona Vice-President Javier Faus insists Neymar will "never be sold"
16:34Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva pleased with Real Madrid rumours and keen to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo
15:59Diego Tardelli suggests he could leave Atlético Mineiro
December 03, 2014
22:31Ronaldinho explains how he joined Barcelona rather than Manchester United in 2003
16:16Juventus legend Claudio Gentile expects interest in Torino wing-back Bruno Peres
16:12Agent denies highly-rated wing-back Bruno Peres will look to leave Torino in January
16:04Report: Guangzhou Evergrande Technical Director Marcello Lippi ready to raid Brasileirão
15:51Report: Guangzhou Evergrande ready to move for want-away Fluminense forward Fred
December 02, 2014
23:19Report: Arsenal join race for Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva
23:112014 Brasileirão Team of the Year announced
23:00Felipe Anderson pleased to get playing time at Lazio
22:55Lazio midfielder Felipe Anderson happy to score 3-0 Coppa Italia win over Varese
December 01, 2014
21:08Camilo Sanvezzo and Diego Costa miss out on final shortlist for 2014 FIFA Puskás Award
21:02Diego Costa and Neymar named amongst forwards nominated for the FIFA FIFPro World XI
20:57Torino defender Bruno Peres admits last minute Derby della Mole defeat to Juventus was tough to take
20:51Torino defender Bruno Peres delighted to net in Derby della Mole
20:45Report: Fiorentina need to sell before moving for Corinthians forward Alexandre Pato
November 25, 2014
18:04Report: Internazionale eager to sign Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva in January transfer window
16:18São Paulo Head Coach Muricy Ramalho hopes for strong home support to help overturn Copa Sudamericana semi-final against Atlético Nacional
08:37Corinthians forward Alexandre Pato open to Serie A return
November 24, 2014
22:27Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho defends Diego Costa's Spain absence
To the top