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  Thursday, 22 August, 2002, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Fluminense fiesta
Fluminense's Maracana stadium
Fluminense's Maracana stadium
For some football fans in Brazil there's been more than a fifth world title to celebrate as Fluminense, Rio De Janeiro's oldest club, are 100 years old. From Rio, World Football's Aidan Hamilton reports....

Along with the events organised to mark the anniversary of the Tricolores, comes the realisation that the state of the Brazilian league does not mirror the success of the national side.

Fluminense had great trouble, for example, persuading anyone to play them in their centenary game.
The World Cup winning Brazil team of 1970
Felix was a member of the legendary 1970 team

Brazilian goalkeeping legend Felix was among the stars present at the Maracana stadium to celebrate Fluminense's centenary.

He won his 1970 World Cup winner's medal during his ten years at the club, and he associates being a 'Tricolor' with the euphoric and affectionate way he's received by fans and directors alike.

Another revered figure is Oscar Cox, the club's founding father.

"Throughout history the only sports of any significance in Rio were rowing and cycling" says historian and statistician Carlos Santoro.

"After spending his teenage years in Switzerland Oscar Cox, a Brazilian son of an English diplomat, who was founder of the two cricket clubs in Rio returned to Brazil with the purpose of gathering some friends to play football".
Marco of Fluminense
The 'Tricolores' celebrate their centenary this year

It was Cox who made contact with other football enthusiasts in Sao Paolo, resulting in the first inter-state games in 1901.

The Rio Championships got underway in 1906, with Fluminense champions, a feat they recently repeated for a record 28th time.

In Rio in the 1910s football was amateur - a game played only by the elite, and no club exemplified this more than Fluminense - even the club's mascot sports a top hat and tails.

At the start of the twentieth century Fluminense's neighbourhood was very aristocratic, and the club was founded by people from the upper classes.

One family, the Cuelho Nettos, came to symbolise the merging of sport and culture at Fluminense.

During the club's heyday in the 20s and 30s, musical works and plays were performed there, and Olympic disciplines were introduced. Son of a novelist, Joao Cuelho Netto, known as Preguinho, became a symbol of athletic achievement.
Uruguay score against Brazil in 1930
Preguinho captained Brazil in 1930

"Preguinho was fantastic because he played all kinds of sports, and played them well" says Fluminense president David Fischel.

"He belonged to the national teams of football, athletics and tennis, so he was a symbol of Fluminense, and at his time he was the most important athlete in Brazil".

Preguinho it was who captained Brazil in the first World Cup in 1930.

All-round exploits such as his were internationally recognised when Fluminense received the Olympic Cup, a model in sporting administration and excellence.

As the years past, the club continued to play a leading role, most notably in the campaign to bring morals and ethics back to football.
The Maracana stadium
The Maracana stadium

"At the moment Fluminense is involved in trying to re-structure the concept of football, and I am very willing to take a leadership position and try to change the actual concept and procedures in football, and I hope I succeed" says David Fischel.

It's Fischel's biggest and most important challenge as he presides over Fluminense's 100th anniversary - the club's current financial plight reflected in the choice of Mexican side Toluca as opponents for the centenary game.

You can hear all of Aidan Hamilton's report on Fluminense's centenary on World Football on Saturday 10 August. Use the audio link on the front page.


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