Getting to the Jose Alvalade ground
I have arrived in Lisbon by train – and I’m just in time for the match! How do I get there?
If you got to Lisbon by train, you are probably at the Gare do Oriente. Gare do Oriente has a tube (also known as “metro, subway, underground, MRT or U-Bahn") station, so:
- Take the tube all the way down the red line till the Alameda station.
- Switch to the green line - “Linha Verde”, direction “Telheiras”.
- Leave at the “Campo Grande” station.
- The ground entrance is 100 meters away. Just follow the noisy crowd in green and white scarves and shirts and you will be there in a minute
You will have to buy a reusable card first (it costs € 0.50) and then charge it with “trips”. Each trip in the tube network costs €0.80. Reusable tickets and trip fares can be purchased at automatic vending machines. These machines are available in all tube stations and are operated via touch-screens. They have instructions in English, French and German and accept coins, bank notes and credit cards - so it should be no problem for you to move around.
Shoud you intend to stay in Lisbon after the match, you might consider purchasing 1-day, 3-day or 7-day tickets.
Who uses trains anymore? I got here by plane!
The stadium is pretty close to the Airport but sadly there’s no direct public transport connection.
You can always take a taxi. Beware though – airport taxi drivers are known to hike prices for foreigners and/or take them via the longest route in order to charge an exorbitant fare.
If you want a cheaper option, just catch one of buses #8 or #22 just outside the Airport and leave at the “Areeiro” stop. Enter the tube station and follow steps 2. 3. and 4. from the answer above.
On board bus fare is € 1.45 and is valid in the bus network for one hour. There’s also a special bus line called “Aerobus” but it is more expensive than the regular ones.
But I arrived early and want to do some sightseeing first! How will I get there then?
The Tube is again the best option. The network pretty much covers the East and Central zones of the town. Just take any line in order to get to the Yellow Line (direction “Odivelas”) or the Green Line (direction “Telheiras”). Then follow instructions 2. 3. and 4. from the above answer
If you are visiting West Lisbon (say, the historical neighbourhoods of Belém or Madragoa), just take the tram #15 or the bus #28 to get to the “Cais do Sodré” station. From there, pick the Green Line until – you guessed it! - the “Campo Grande” station.
What are the usual match days and kick-off times in the Portuguese League?
Sadly, fans are not one of the chief concerns for our football authorities, so match days and kick-off times tend to vary wildly. Worse still, the Portuguese Football League schedules official kick-off times just two weeks before the matches – leaving little time for planning ahead. So, always remember to check the club’s official webpage at www.sporting.pt/agenda for details on this.
Where can I buy match tickets?
There is an internet buying option, but it requires you to use an ATM with a portuguese card or access to a portuguese internet banking site. Thus the stadium ticket offices are still your best bet. If possible buy them at least two days before the match, as there is a €5 overcharge in tickets sold after that. Also, and despite rarely selling out, ticket lines on the hours leading to the game could make you miss the kick-off. So, getthere early - and while you are at it, visit the club’s museum.
Is it hard to get a ticket?
Not really. The stadium has a capacity of 52000, but the regular crowd in the last few seasons for league matches has been around 30000-35000 . So you should getting ticket should be no problem.
Unless, of course, you’re targeting a derby match with Benfica or a visit from FC Porto. These tend to attract capacity crowds or close to it, so it is wiser for you to get your tickets at least a week before the match day.
Which seats should I take?
It very much depends on the type of experience you are looking for. If it’s noise and raucuous 90-minutes-support from younger and more commited fans, pick the stands behind the goals – namely sectors A14 “Juventude Leonina (JuveLeo)”, A23 “Torcida Verde” and A17 “Directivo Ultras XXI (DUXXI)”. These are also the cheapest seats in the ground, at around €15-€20 each for league matches.
If you want a more relaxed – or, according to other versions, boring – time or are looking for the best views in the ground, try the central stands, both lower and higher. This is where older fans and families tend to. They are more expensive though, ranging from xx-xx.
Remember that the seats are numbered, so you will have to indicate where you’ll want to stay whilst buying your ticket.
Where can I eat inside/around the ground?
You can buy snacks such as hot-dogs or hamburguers below the stands, but these are expensive and not really that good.
A cheaper alternative is the restaurants and fast-food joints in the “Alvalaxia” mall. The mall stands below the Central Stand, closer to the tube station. A lot of fans use it during match days, so get ready to wait a bit in the lines.
Another option is the trailers near the ground. Until some ten years ago, these were the main food providers in portuguese football grounds. A traditional meal there included beer and a sandwich (known as “couratos”) or (known as “entremeada”). Sadly, their menu has evolved to include less typical options such as hot-dogs and hamburguers and their prices have soared; so it doesn’t really add up to it anymore. Still, if you want to get a glimpse of tradition, give it a try.
There is also some restaurants with some pretty decent environment in the streets around the stadium and a McDonald’s at a nearby service area for those who can’t live without it.
What is the club’s nickname?
It depends. If you are Sporting fan, the nickname would be “leões” (“lions”) due to club’s crest. If you’re not, you’d probably call us “lagartos” (“lizards”), due to the green-and-white shirt. However, “lagarto” is also used by some fans to qualfy themselves.
Humm. Lions in Lisbon, a Green and White Hoops shirt… Are you Celtic in disguise?
Not at all. The sacred green-and-white-hoops strip were adopted in 1927, when a member of the board fell in love with the rugby shirts of an historical Parisian team. Prior to that, the team used a half green - half white jersey (similar to Feyenoord’s, but with a green half instead of a red one) and in the first two-three years after foundation the players bore an all-white strip. The lion is on the club’s crest since its foundation in 1906, way before the Scottish press dubbed the Celtic’s European Cup-winning side of 1967 “The Lisbon Lions”. So now you know.
Who are Sporting’s main rivals?
Benfica. The origin is lost in the mist of times (actually dating to the beggining of the 20th Century). Nothing beats the pleasure of winning a derby or the sadness of losing it. How should I put it? I deplore any harm to their fans, injury to their athletes or damage of their property. Other than that, a plunge to the Third Division is still too good for them!
There’s also Porto, a rivalry that as grown in recently due to the fact that they became the major power in the Portuguese League in the past 25-30 years - partly due to some great teams, partly to some shady activites – they were charged and convicted of match-fixing offenses at the end of last season, for instance. But it lacks the spark of a Lisbon derby, if you ask me.
Is the Sporting-Benfica rivalry founded over any class/ethnic/religious cleavage lines?
Not anymore. When both clubs were founded at the beggining of the century, Sporting drawn from a middle and upper class support, while Benfica had more of a working class fan base. However, such divisions have diluted with the massification of the game from the 1920s onwards. Nowadays, it is more of an all-encompassing rivalry cutting across families, friends and neighbours.
What are the Sporting’s goals for this season?
The title, first and foremost – even if we only got it four times in the past 30 years. Sporting, Benfica and Porto – known collectivelly as the “Big Three” - have won among them all but two league titles since its inception in 1938. So finishing second is a bitter disappointment, third is akin to unaceptable mediocricy – and finishing below third represents utter humiliation. Indeed, our worst postions in the league were two fifth places in the 1970s. It’s not as if the “Big Three” always feature super-squads – boy, were we rubbish in late 1980s and the late 1990s! But the difference in terms of number of fans, working conditions and economic capacity is so large that you have atrociously incompetent to finish behind a non-“Big Three” club.
Then there’s the Portuguese FA Cup – that we have won in the past two seasons - and finally the newly-created League Cup.
As to Europe, it depends on which competition we are playing on. Having shaken off the milestone of european underachiving by reaching the UEFA Cup final in 2005, we now regard the quarter-finals as some sort of minimum requirement. But the Champions League is a whole different game - currently the Holy Grail is getting past the group phase.
When was the club’s golden era?
That would be the late 40s – early 50s, when led known as “The five violins” won seven out of eight league championships. Sadly, it was right before the creation of the European Cup. Check our Wiki Forum SCP for these and other interesting facts on Sporting’s rich history.
EDIT: Typo error.
EDIT2: Replaced “defunct” by “historical” Parisian team, since the team still exists.
EDIT3: Added supporter group areas in the stadium, several edits related to the subway and eating places around the stadium.
EDIT4: Added link to new club wiki (ForumSCPs Wiki)