The latest turn of events in southern Germany may yet have a positive impact on Portimonense’s efforts to put together a squad of players capable of competing at the highest level next season.
In summary, former Bundesliga champions 1860 Munich, stuck half-way down the second division, contracted Portuguese coach Vítor Pereira during the last winter break in a bid to restore the club to its former glories. The multiple title winner with Porto and Olympiacos immediately set about strengthening his team with signings which included Portimonense’s Amilton and Lumor (loan), but subsequent results went from bad to worse, ultimately leading to a two-legged relegation play-off loss to Jahn Regensburg.
The fall-out saw Pereira walk out with his backroom staff amongst chaotic scenes in the stadium, closely followed by former Liverpool chief executive and until then managing director Ian Ayre as well as club president Peter Cassalette.
The misery was then compounded by an announcement from 1860 Munich majority shareholder Hasan Ismaik, a Jordanian billionaire businessman, that he would not be bankrolling the club’s third division licensing fee, prompting a further descent down to regional amateur football if not complete bankruptcy.
The disaster triggered the immediate return of Ghanaian winger Lumor to the Algarve while Amilton could follow in view of the fact that payments relating to his transfer are still outstanding. Both players could be wearing Portimonense shirts again in the near future should no other lucrative offers from elsewhere materialise.
In the meantime, Portimonense have revealed their pre-season programme which to date includes a July 10 to 16 training camp in the north of Portugal taking in games against Marítimo, Vitória de Guimarães, Belenenses and Varzim.
Thereafter, June 19 will see a friendly against Sheffield Wednesday back in the Algarve followed by participation in a five-way regional mini-tournament involving Olhanense, Farense, Louletano and an Algarve XI on August 5 and 6.
By SKIP BANDELE
Photo: Ghanaian winger Lumor