Sócrates – The Peoples Player

By Gerardo Lara – FLAF Americas

“If I were on the other side, not on the side of the people, there would be no one to listen to my opinions.”

On 19 February 1954 Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira was born. Sócrates is the example of a football player that never separated success from his working class origins, here is an example: It was in the 1970s, while Brazil suffered under the jackboots of a military dictatorship.

It was Socrates and the football club Corinthians that inspired the breaking of the rules and put into practice an egalitarian system among all the members of the São Paulo squad. Among other things, it is said that the money collected as a prize for the club’s victories, television advertisements or sponsorships, was distributed equally among players, doctors, drivers and cleaners.

The schedules, methods and intensity of training sessions were put to a vote, as well as new signings of players and even the coach; the dates or means of transportation for the away matches were also chosen by majority.

The Corinthian Democracy was not well received by the dictatorship because it marked opposition and the base for the rest of clubs in the same Brazilian society to act in a similar way. We shall remember him then, as an example in history of collective organization and popular participation in every decision, a social model.