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New Article: Whatever Happened to Sergio Leite ???

It's the question that keeps most Addicks fans awake during the small hours of the night. Well @Tricky finally had enough, and decided to do some investigating

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The 2003/2004 season was an extremely memorable one for all Charlton fans, particularly given the rather dramatic fall from those lofty heights that has occurred in the last 7 years since. Performances from players like Paolo Di Canio and Scott Parker, and results like the 4-2 mauling of Chelsea tend to stick out. However, there was more than one first-team player who never made an appearance that season. One of whom was Stephen Hughes, who stayed for one season without making his debut, then moved on a free transfer to Coventry.

The other was Sérgio Leite, the Portuguese goalkeeper who also stayed for one season without making his debut, and then moved on a free transfer.

Ironically, both these players were signed on the same day – the 14th August 2003. They were also released on the same day on the 7th June 2004. Since that day, it could be said that Sérgio Leite’s career has gone in parallel with Charlton’s decline.

When Sérgio Leite first arrived in England, he was the proud owner of 25 Portugal U21 caps, including a "stunning" performance against Spain in Faro, according to media reports. He had been at Boavista, at that stage still one of the biggest clubs in Portugal. He was being kept out of the Boavista side by penalty saving genius and scourge of England’s Euro 2004 campaign, Ricardo.

No doubt wanting to prevent his career from stagnating, Leite joined Charlton, after several loan spells at lower league Portuguese clubs. It is testament to Dean Kiely’s ability, temperament and fitness, that there are more than a couple of goalkeepers who merely sat on the bench at Charlton during the Premiership years. Leite can call on now Addicks goalkeeping coach Ben Roberts, Tony Caig and Paul Rachubka for similar experiences of trying to remove deeply embedded splinters from the derriere.

Perhaps this season of inactivity hindered Leite’s progress? Leite didn’t seem to think so. With the benefit of internet translators, we can find out that he believes "Although to never have actuado in the main formation, I evolved very as player". He was also very happy that he was able to help the reserves win the league that year.

He was also loaned back to his own country in the shape of A.D. Ovarense, a Portuguese Second Division side.

So, after a year of experience under the tutelage of one of the best goalkeepers in Charlton history, a few more appearances back home, and his "evolved" self, Leite was ready to spread his wings and flourish.

Instead, he ended up in Hull.

Not only at Hull, but back on the bench at Hull. A small success was afforded to him when he made his first appearance in English football, away at Blackpool in the League Cup however the Tigers lost 2-1, and Leite didn’t make another appearance. Back to the bench he went. This time it was up and coming ‘keeper Boaz Myhill that was keeping him in regular practice with the tweezers. Such is the life of a back-up goalkeeper. Many goalkeepers have barely made 100 appearances in their whole career. Perhaps Leite was stinted by such lack of first team action that he could never live up to his early potential.

Or maybe he was just no good.

After leaving England, Leite went to Romania, more specifically top division side, FC Vaslui, makingjust one appearance. Onto Brasov then, where Leite enjoyed some first team action, making 15 appearances.. Happy days for Sérgio. Perhaps not that happy for poor Sérgio though, because like his whole career, he would be moving on again after just a year. Who knows whether it was a multi-million pound bid that meant Brasov just couldn’t keep hold of their star goalkeeper? Given that the side he went to were Cypriot and European sleeping giants Atromitos Yeroskipou, we can probably assume it was not a 7-figure fee. Perhaps am underestimating the amount of money and cash (and that other word beginning with "H" that Jay-Z likes to rap about) that there is in the Cypriot game. After all, there must have been some reason why Chris Dickson went there too. Anyway, back onto Sérgio’s plight and his as-yet unspectacular career.

Atromitos were a second division side for the 2007/2008 season and had Sérgio Leite in goal for 25 matches. Atromitos were actually in the middle of a meteoric rise, from being promoted from the Paphos local league to the Cypriot first division in just 4 years. Sérgio must have been a part of that considering he was made those 25 appearances. He was then missed the next season, as Atromitos were relegated back to the second division. By that time though, Leite was gone again, this time back to where it all began.

Ten years after the start of his career at Boavista, Leite was back. However, this was a different Boavista to the one had been at before. The chairman of Boavista, Valentim Loureiro had been found guilty of abuse of power by trying to corrupt referees. On the 9th May 2008, Boavista were relegated for bribery.Not only this, but Boavista were on the verge of financial meltdown. Leite made 22 appearances for the Panthers/the Chequereds. They finished 15th in the league, but were eventually relegated for financial debts, along with Vizela for their part in the corruption scandal. Amazingly enough, to my mind anyway, Boavista are now competing at the third level of Portuguese football. It has to be said, Leite hasn’t had the luckiest of careers.image

 

In 2009, Leite moved on to Gondomar SC, where he has remained since and continues to guard the posts in the hotbed of third division Portugese football. Whether it is as much of an "exciting league" (copyright Oohaahmortimer) as the English equivalent, we can only speculate, but a look over Sérgio Leite’s career does answer the one burning question on everybody’s lips.

Would we still be where we are today if we had kept Sérgio Leite? Yes, we probably would.

Darn it, another one Curbishley got right !

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Liked this article ? If you fancy writing an article for Charlton Life or can think of an interesting topic, please drop AFKABartram a message using the inbox at the top of your screen.
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Comments

  • edited June 2011
    Really good article, would like to read something of that nature on a regular basis - there's plenty of other similar cases to right about
  • Without doubt, the mosts fascinating article I've read on this site. I wonder if it is a coincidence that Macron also make his current team's kit!
  • good story, poor fella has been living out of a suitcase for the last 10 years of his life
  • edited June 2011
    You could make a squad out of the "Who? Were they really Charlton players?"
  • Just chopped out some of the names mentioned guys as I don't want to spoil future articles.
  • Pretty sure I have his autograph, got it outside the training ground when Di Canio had signed and a few fans were outside the entrance to Sparrows Lane getting players to sign stuff.

    Stephen Hughes was the only player who did not stop! Parker has his brand new Aston Martin and Di Canio was very nice.

  • Excellent  article Afka.......
    In fact good enough to be in the  CAFC programme........

    By the way....... what happened to the idea  of the  CAFC  matchday programme  being on here or on the CAFC site? 
    The pdf they produce for the printers could be made into a low res for the web....... 
  • Tricky's excellent work Ken, not mine.

    I'm the one who writes all the other average guff ! ;-)
  • Tricky's excellent work Ken, not mine.

    I'm the one who writes all the other average guff ! ;-)
    True.  Only Tricky and his uncle write decent articles on here now : - )

    Come on the rest of you budding writers, give it a go.
  • Some of us are keeping our 'ideas' for the production editors job advertised in the Guardian Henry!.....
    Managing the matchday programme and so forth....... 500,000 match day tickets,per year...... dvd's, and stationary to organise and produce the club handbook, amongst an array of other duties.

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  • Some of us are keeping our 'ideas' for the production editors job advertised in the Guardian Henry!.....
    Managing the matchday programme and so forth....... 500,000 match day tickets,per year...... dvd's, and stationary to organise and produce the club handbook, amongst an array of other duties.

    You shouldn't have said that, I might apply now.  Is is part time and do get to play on the twitter account?

    If you do get the job can I have my column in the programme back.  That Matt Wright dumped me for a bloody Arsenal fan and I've never forgiven him.
  • Please feel free to apply...... although there is a heavy emphasis on print production, web design and I am sure producing flyers, posters, print costings,production schedules, and working with a graphic designer in Quark x press. Apple networking ( so Leroy will not be applying!) and such like.
    In the unlikely event I get an interview, being a supporter  will probably be the last requirement  that is wanted ( was not mentioned in the advert). 
    Having spent 40 years as a print/designer journalist, and having worked with  a young Peter Cordwell on the football handbook, amongst 60 other national titles I am sure others will be better qualified than myself!
    and a closet place fan  get the job!........( I know of one such person who was at the bbc who runs a palace website was 'considering this')

  • Good stuff Tricky.
  • it's yours Ken, I'll expect some nice bits of freelance though ; - )
  • I think my report on Greg Dyke and Micheal Grade...... and illustration of swinging handbags in the bbc ariel newspaper that I art edited, did my possible  glittering career in at Charlton, a few years ago......

  • Really enjoyed the article, best thing I've read on here for a long time.
  • Great Article @Tricky, great read.
  • Some of us are keeping our 'ideas' for the production editors job advertised in the Guardian Henry!.....
    Managing the matchday programme and so forth....... 500,000 match day tickets,per year...... dvd's, and stationary to organise and produce the club handbook, amongst an array of other duties.


    You might want to check how to spell stationery before applying . . . :-)
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  • Brilliant if real!
  • edited June 2013
    Leite said:

    Dear fans,
    First of all ,congratulations for the forum and this article.
    My time at Charlton was wonderful, great team mates, excellent staff and enthusiastic fans, no doubts.
    My career was the possible career, i was the sub of Dean Kiely that made the best season of his life, but i also won the reserve league,save penalties and was wanted by Portsmouth and Crystal Palace for loan spells, but Alan never let me go.
    All my life i choose to play than be nº2 or n3, the only bad choice that i made was going to Romania, but money talks in that time.
    I never had opportunity to play, but i was released because i wanted not because Alan wanted,he can confirm that.
    I always will be a Charlton fan!

    Awesome post out of the blue.
  • Wow...nice one Sergio. Best of luck to you.
  • Hi Sergio, I see you are still in Portugal.

    Are you still playing ?
  • Whatever happened to Tricky and to good articles on CL?
  • edited June 2013
    Is that genuine?

    That's unreal if it is
  • edited June 2013
    Really nice response to a good article. I'm sure lots of current and former players drop by for news and views. And journalists, agents etc.
    Cheers Sergio, all the best to you.
  • Cheers Sergio!
  • I've always liked his coffee
  • You'r more than welcome Sergio!!!

    Cheers.
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