Filipe Oliveira 40 - Happy birthday, Oli!

We interviewed former Vidi Portugal star Filipe Oliveira on the occasion of his 40th birthday.

- First of all, we would like to wish you the very best on your 40th birthday. How are you celebrating this nice birthday?

Thank you very much for the greetings, it is really nice of you to think of me. My family wants to organise a big celebration, 40 is a nice round number. However, I'm not the kind of person who needs a big celebration, I don't organise big birthday parties, but now my family is planning something special and I'm looking forward to it (laughs). I was working on the Portuguese Cup final on Sunday, so I'm not looking forward to today in the best condition, but I'm sure my family has prepared for this day with a lot of love, and for me that's the most important thing.

- It's been six years since you stopped playing football. How has life been after football for you?

After Vidi, I played for a short time in Famagusta and Sfântu Gheorghe. I was lucky because I didn't have to wait long after I finished my career to start working again. I owe a lot of thanks to Zoltán Kovács, who as sporting director gave me the opportunity to join Vidi's player scouting network in 2019. Tamás Balogh put the team together, which included Tamás Pető and Tamás Darázs, who were also members of the team together with me. At that time I learned a lot about this side of football, we formed a very good team at Vidi. I spent two seasons at the club in this position and then continued in Saudi Arabia, where I was able to use the knowledge and experience I had gained previously, and also further my education. During the two seasons I worked for Vidi, I attended post-graduate courses at Católica University in collaboration with the Portuguese Federation and successfully completed a degree in Football Organisation and Management. I then returned home to Portugal, where I received an exciting offer from Porto TV (Porto Canal) to work as a commentator.

But you shouldn't think of it as just commentating on the matches, because there are a lot of sports programmes on this channel. I was involved in various pre-match presentations and then, of course, after the matches, we did a lot of post-match evaluation, so it was a very complex job, where again I learned a lot. And not only did I have commentary duties, but I also worked as a video analyst, mapping Porto's current opponents.

For the 2022/2023 season, another exciting challenge awaited me, as FC Famalicão's chief scout. The team is owned by an Israeli businessman, Idan Ofer, who also owns 33% of Atlético Madrid in Spain, so the club is on very solid footing and we had a good season, finishing in mid-table. After that, I ended up back in television, because I was given a new job with much more responsibility, which was very exciting for me. I was no longer just a commentator, but we worked with a team of a few people to develop the concepts for the programmes. We even decided on small things like what graphics to use during the broadcasts and what typeface to use on those graphics. Last December, I started working with Tamás Balogh again, joining Brentford's player monitoring network, initially on a part-time basis, but from this summer I will be working full-time for the English club. I also got my UEFA B licence this year, but I didn't study because I had coaching ambitions, I just wanted to broaden my knowledge of football..

- Don't you miss football? Do you still play football at any level?

I don't miss football at all, I don't even play football on a friendly level. However, there is one thing I do miss about football and that is the atmosphere in the dressing room. That's a feeling that only someone who has played football in a good community, where there is an atmosphere in the dressing room that is hard to describe and that nothing can replace. That was the atmosphere in the dressing room at Vidi back in the day and I think that was one of the secrets of our success. We may not have been the best footballers, but we went out every game with the spirit of giving everything for each other and the club. When your teammates aren't just your teammates, but your friends, then nothing else really matters but your success together.

I'm lucky because I've spent so many years in this kind of dressing room atmosphere and I really miss that feeling. Not only the players were part of this great atmosphere, but also the staff. The masseurs, with whom we spent long hours before/after training sessions and in training camps, the kitmen, who also helped us a lot, so we really only had to concentrate on football. I would definitely include you guys in the communication department, as you were always there for us before and after every game, not to mention the midweek training sessions and training camps. Now that's an atmosphere I really miss. But not the football itself.

- Do you keep in touch with your old team mates?

Fortunately, due to my job, I keep in touch with a lot of my former Vidis teammates, as most of them have stayed in football in one way or another and when I have to scout players, there is often contact between them and my former teammates. In the last six months, I've spoken to Calatayud, Gyuri Sándor, Roli Juhász, Balázs Tóth, Nikolics, Mitrovics, Trebotic, Caneira, Brachi, and I've talked to a number of players. And these conversations always remind me of the great years I had as a player at Vidi. But now, as I talk to you, many good memories come to mind.

- Do you still follow Vidi's results?

I am up to date with Vidi's results. Unfortunately, I rarely have the chance to watch matches in their entirety because I have a lot of time for work, but I have all the Vidi notifications set on my phone, so I know the team line-up, the result, the scorers and the standings on match days. I'm aware that there are a lot more Hungarian players in the team now and there's a growing emphasis on giving talented young Hungarians more and more opportunities. I am particularly pleased that Tamás Pető - whom I consider a friend - saw his son make his debut for Vidi and scored his first goal. It is very important that the history of the club does not fade into oblivion, and that is why you do a lot of work, for example with interviews like this. But we former Vidi players also have our own responsibilities, one of which is to keep track of the team's achievements and if we are asked to give interviews about our years at Vidi, we are happy to do so.

And we wish you a happy birthday on behalf of the club! Happy birthday, Oli!

Author: David Rechnitzer

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