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Corinthians de volta ao corinthiano?

As of last year's Corinthians’ presidential elections, a big discussion on whether the newly elected president, Augusto Melo, would be able to solve the internal crisis lived by the club. Augusto broke a 16-year streak of Presidents from the “Renovação e Transparência”, the political party which held the streak of 6 consecutive mandates ahead of the club. This deed, alongside his powerful speeches and phrases, for instance, “Trarei o corinthians de volta pro Corinthiano”, brought upon the fans high hopes of change and prosperity. Although the president has only been in power for 1 month and a half, it is still possible to evaluate his performance in this period of time. To do so, 3 strands will be used; they are signings, on-pitch performances and financial decisions.

To begin with, Augusto Melo has brought upon the roster drastic changes, especially in age. One of the main complaints of the members of “Torcidas Organizadas” was that the roster was too old and that players weren’t able to play with the needed passion and love. Consequently, the president decided to seek younger players to provide the fans with the desired style of play. The current president has signed 9 new players to the roster, of which only 3 are 30 or above. To put this to perspective, the average age of the roster from the previous year was 26,2 years of age. Although this data may not seem absurd, the current average age is 25,3 years, a whole year less than the previous year in just a month in power. Evidently, the president has put effort into making the squad younger, and therefore has been praised by many. It is also crucial to note that 6 of the 9 signed players in his presidency have come from foreign countries. Although complaints against a Brazilian roster weren’t frequent, these new players have been able to provide the team with the desired passion, and therefore have been congratulated on their performances. Whilst these players have been performing at a high level, in my personal opinion, it is still hard to evaluate the performances given that they have only played a handful of games for the team and, as a consequence, data and statistics of these players will not be considered.

Despite recent praises, Sport Club Corinthians Paulista has had a disappointing start in the Campeonato Paulista, their state tournament. Corinthians, traditionally dominant in this competition, found themselves struggling this season, standing in fourth place of their group and battling relegation early on. With five losses in their first six games, memories of their 2007 relegation campaign echoed, leading to calls for the firing of former coach Mano Menezes. These requests came mainly from the teams “Torcidas Organizadas”, "Gaviões da Fiel" and "Camisa 12." Initially denying rumours of Menezes' firing, Augusto quickly went back on his decision and appointed a new coach, António Oliveira. Although there were initial doubts about António’s ability to help the team’s crisis, his early success showed hope, with three wins, one draw, and one loss in his first five games. A remarkable draw against rivals Palmeiras, where Corinthians came back from 2-0 down, the fans felt the roster's resilience and toughness under Oliveira's leadership. While in the following game a loss to Ponte Preta was a setback, fans embraced the team's spirit and unity on-pitch. António’s arrival was a turning point for Corinthians, providing both the squad and fans with hope and determination. His tactical and motivational skills won over players and supporters, given the renewed performances. Despite facing strong opponents and challenges, Corinthians showed resilience and the traditional fighting spirit under the coach’s command. The draw against Palmeiras was symbolic, the match evidenced will to win regardless of the situation. Trailing by two goals in the 80th minute, Corinthians had a thrilling comeback, scraping up a point with 2 late goals from Yuri Alberto and Rodrigo Garro. 

Finally, it is important to evaluate Augusto’s financial decisions and his stance on how he will pay a seemingly unpayable debt. As of today, Corinthians owes over 1.65R$ billion and is considered the club with the biggest debt in Brazil. Their debt can be separated into 3 main blocks, the stadium(706R$ million ), negotiated taxes(550R$ million ) and the remaining 400R$ million are debts that have to be paid up until June of this year. Augusto has aimed towards paying the debt as one of his main objectives. To do so, he has signed a financial audit which worked with Flamengo, a first division team from Rio de Janeiro,  and helped them pay their debts and also has prioritised being transparent and seeking strong investors. Augusto mentions that in approximately 40 days, the audit will provide him with information and orders as to what he should and shouldn’t do. The audit will also be public to all, therefore reinforcing his transparency with the fans. The president and his board have also been able to sign the biggest sponsorship deal of the whole country, the club will receive 360R$ million in the period of 3 years, which sums up to 10R$ million a month for the time established. This sponsorship will allow Corinthians to have a looser short period financial situation, but also allow the clubs to pay its debts and future signings if needed. Overall, Augusto Melo has walked towards a transparent and logical approach to the debt and financial condition of the club and has been rigid with new deals that might affect the club in the future.

Conclusively, in the short period of time Augusto Melo has been the president of the club, his impact has been undeniably positive. Through a combination of conscious and logical signings, managerial decisions, and a willing approach to addressing the club's financial challenges, Augusto has provided the fans with a sense of hope. His commitment with rejuvenating the squad by bringing in younger players, particularly those who embrace the needed style of play demanded by the Torcidas Organizadas, has had the approval of most fans. However, the club has not only improved on field, the president's approach to Corinthians' immense debt has been marked by his transparency and common sense. By acquiring the knowledge of a financial audit and ensuring that he values Corinthians sponsors, he has taken proactive steps towards ending the club's financial crisis while providing the club with long-term stability. 


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