In the know: Grupo Desportivo de Chaves

Mário Ferreira is a Chaves resident and a fervent supporter of the town’s football club. He’s going great @DepressaoChaves Twitter account.

Mário gives us the facts about the match day in Chaves and tips for first-time visitors to the city.

How much do match tickets cost? Can you buy your ticket on match day or should you buy it beforehand? Are the games often sold out?

Last season, ticket prices varied between 5 and 20 euros depending on the stand and opponent. That socios (Members) always have better deals than non-members, with discounts on tickets and fan merchandise from the club shop.

Yes, it is possible to buy matchday tickets from the club box office as long as they are not sold out, but not much has happened in the second division. You can’t say that now that we’re playing in the premier league and for many games the stadium will be at 100% capacity. It is advisable to buy your ticket well in advance, but if this is not possible there is always a chance to get it on the day of the game.

Where would you recommend having a drink before/after the game?

There are several places where you can have a drink before the game. Drinks can be bought inside the stadium itself, in the various bars in the stands, but fans usually gather on a nearby street where the City Market is located. There are several cafes on this street that our fans scatter around for a beer or a coffee. The most visited pubs/cafes just before the game starts are the Stadium snack bar, Café Padaria S.Neutel, Cafe Dias and Manuel da Praca snack bar. When we walk past this street and see a large crowd of fans wearing Chaves scarves and shirts, we know a game is on.

derbies Who are your local rivals? Is it a strong rivalry?

Currently there is not much rivalry with local clubs as the divisions are different between us and the closest clubs. But in the past Grupo Desportivo Chaves’ greatest rivals would have been Ribeirão 1968 FC. They were always hot-blooded matches without quarter, but in general they were always great football spectacles. There is also the match which can be considered as a derby against Sport Clube de Vila Real as they are clubs from the same district but as this club is now playing in the lower leagues we rarely play against each other. A game that is always full and that will probably remain this year is the match against Vitória Sport Clube (Guimarães). There are always many goals between these two clubs. I’m looking forward to seeing this game again this year in the premier league.

When the “3 Grandes” travel to other clubs in Portugal, they often have more fans in the stadium than the home team. This does not happen in Chaves. Why?

No matter who the opponents are (Benfica in this case), Chaves fans will be in the vast majority

Yes, it is true. The influence of the fans supporting the 3 Grandes has always been strong when they played away against clubs that were considered ‘small teams’. It’s different with Chaves. The Flavienses (residents of Chaves) have always loved this club very much, they have never failed the team when it comes to supporting them, whatever the opponents. This just goes to show that this region deserves to have a club in the top flight because wherever Desportivo go, they will be followed by a large group of fans supporting them. To sum up, the blue and maroon colors will always be the dominant colors in the stands against the 3 Grandes as the fans are excited and have tremendous pride in their club.

What are the best bars in Chaves to watch football matches on TV?

In Chaves, the best place to watch football is of course the Estádio Municipal Engenheiro Manuel Branco! But there are many bars that are good for watching football, such as Twins bar, Dom Quixote, Cafe Curt, Coffee Coffee and Neighbor.

What should visitors do/avoid when visiting Chaves?

If you have some free time in Chaves besides watching the game, I recommend you to visit our Roman Baths, visit the Largo das Caldas where you can drink our spring water. You can also take a walk along our beautiful Tâmega river to relax.

If you are more interested in the historical side of the city, you can visit our castle and its walls with its beautiful gardens and our Roman bridge. There are also some museums that represent the Roman times of our city.

What to avoid in terms of football, if you are coming as an away supporter try to get to the stadium early to avoid any conflict or confusion and to ensure there are no skirmishes between fans of the two clubs. I don’t think that’s football at all. You should go to the visitors’ gallery to avoid this possibility. Then come full of joy and prepared for a great football game!

Do you have a recommendation for a good restaurant?

There are many quality restaurants in Chaves. The ones I would recommend the most are: Marisqueira O Principe, Toca da Raposa, Taberna Benito, Restaurant Carvalho, Mr. Preg, Porfia dos Leitões, Pensao Flavia and Quinta da Cera.

With any of these suggestions, I believe you will have a quality meal at a good price.

Any suggestions on where to stay?

A touch of luxury: Forte de São Francisco, just 1.5 kilometers from the stadium

There are several options. For those who like something a little more luxurious, we have the Forte de São Francisco or the Hotel Casino de Chaves. For something more casual we have other options like the Ibis Hotel Chaves, the Castelo Hotel or the Hotel Aquae Flavie. If you want something more relaxed, we have the Residencial de São Neutel or the Residencial Bem-Estar.

All of these options are right in the center of Chaves, making it easy for visitors to get around.

Any other tips to help a football fan traveling to Chaves?

R: The only tip I can give is that you come knowing that you can look forward to a good football spectacle here and that you will be well received in our city.

I realize it can be a bit of a trek due to the distance between Chaves and other towns in Portugal, but I believe you will be well rewarded at the end of this long journey. Come with energy and ready to watch a great football game!

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