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Wednesday, 30 May, 2001, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Two Corinthians sharing one spirit
Socrates
Socrates played against the Casuals 13 years ago
By BBC Sport Online's Andrew Warshaw

Thousands of miles from home, a group of English amateur footballers are reviving one of the game's most remarkable alliances.

Corinthian Casuals may be a dot on the map when it comes to pedigree and silverware but over in Brazil, the tiny Ryman League Division Three team are being treated like heroes.

It all dates back to 1910 when the Corinthians, as they were known then, became the first European team to visit Brazil.

They left such an impression that a group of Brazilian railway workers founded their own football club and named it Corinthians.

While the English Corinthians went on to fly the flag of amateurism, changing their name to Corinthian Casuals, their namesakes in Brazil were to become one of the most revered clubs in world football, spawning such famous names as Socrates and Rivelino.

It was an association that cemented with time but gradually disintegrated.

Jimmy Hill
Jimmy Hill is president of Corinthian Casuals

Now, however, it has been revived and daft as it may sound, 37 Corinthian Casuals players and officials have just embarked on their fifth pre-season tour to Sao Paolo but the first for 13 years.

Their week-long programme includes two matches against the under-20 and veteran Corinthian teams.

The gulf between the two sides is, of course, vast. Brazilian sophisticates against, by comparison, a cloggers' XI. But it's all about history, tradition and friendship.

"Their veteran team contained seven internationals including Mirandinha who used to play for Newcastle," said Casuals chairman David Harrison. "They thrashed us 9-0 and to use an old cliche, it was men against boys.

"We only lost the other game 2-0 but the results are not that important. We've had an incredible reception from the moment we got off the plane."


Everyone has paid their own way to get out here but that is what the Corinthian spirit is about
  David Harrison, Casuals chairman

So much so that when the Casuals team went to watch Corinthians play Botofogo in front of 80,000 spectators, they were cheered to their seats.

"They all knew who were were," said Harrison, a television producer by profession. "We were greeted like members of the family. They all wanted our autographs. Some of the lads couldn't believe it."

This week's tour is the first by the Casuals since 1988 when they took on a "best-ever" selection spanning 40 years, bringing together some of the finest internationals ever to wear the famous white shirts.

Socrates and Rivelino had never played World Cup football together. Their careers were a decade apart but they lined up in the same team that day in front of 15,000 fans and a television audience of 20m.

It's a far cry from your average Saturday afternoon in Tolworth, Surrey, where Corinthian Casuals play their home games in front of around 100 fans, often including TV personality Jimmy Hill, the Casuals president who couldn't make it to Sao Paolo.

"Everyone has paid their own way to get out here," said Harrison. "But that's what the Corinthian spirit is about!"

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See also:

20 Dec 99 |  World Club Championship
Corinthians: Rewarding the faithful
25 May 01 |  World Cup 2002
Confederations Cup fever
22 May 01 |  Football
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