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You can’t help but look at Boavista’s badge and think of the UEFA cup in its heyday. They reached the 2002-03 semi finals, narrowly losing to Martin O’Neill’s Celtic, and between 1993 and 2003 performed unprecedentedly well in Europe, in both the UEFA Cup and Champions League. Their iconic chequered shirts and their exciting brand of attacking football were seen at Old Trafford, Celtic Park, Anfield, the San Siro and Rome’s Olimpico. Around the same time they broke Portugal’s big three hegemony in 2001. Chequered flags flying, literally racing to the league title, they became only the second team to beat Porto, Benfica and Sporting to the title.

Founded in 1903, it took As Panteras (The Panthers) almost 100 years to achieve this feat. It took them 30 to inaugurate their chequered shirts, first worn in a 4-0 friendly win against Benfica, they were inspired by the then President, Artur Oliveira Valença’s trip to France, where - impressed by a local team’s chequered kits - he decided to adopt them at his own club. Perhaps he thought they paid perfect homage to their foundation by British (hence the BFC - in that order) and Portuguese textile workers. Perhaps (and more likely) because he just liked the kit. Atop the badge sits a gold crown, it’s classically Iberian in design. All-in-all, the cheques are largely unparalleled across Europe’s elite leagues, almost unique in fact and, in a footballing world which is becoming increasingly uniform, Boavista are sorely missed on Europe’s highest stage.

Luke Connelly

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