Hailing from Dora, a port country, Fernando da Silva arrived in France at the age of 20. Thirty-two years later, the heart of the Franco-Portuguese is still beating in the rhythm of saudade, but especially the “Encanados”, the color (red) of his favorite football club, Benfica Lisbon. So much so that in his pavilion in Presagne-l’Orge, near Vernon (Ayr), he dedicated a personal museum with more than 13,000 exhibits. The record is entered in the Guinness Book of Records and is welcomed by the international press.
Born into a “poor family of six”, “We must not forget where we come from,” he says, “Fernando was not a great footballer, but he remains a big supporter.” and her star Eusebio. I must say that this is the largest club in the country, which has thirty-seven national titles, twenty-six times winner of the Portuguese Cup, five times finalist of the European Cup, for two victories in 1961 and 1962. Benfica has more than 60,000 supporters. This is a club that excites, dreams and allows you to party. There are fans all over the world, ”said the Franco-Portuguese.
So, like all children, he started collecting: “First, at the age of 7, a doll that my mother gave me for Christmas. She is wearing a red T-shirt with an eagle on her chest. I still have. Then it was little Panini stickers, magazines and a few items. ” 45 years later, Fernando already has more than 13,000, which allowed him to enter the Guinness Book of Records in 2008 with 1,527 links.
A construction worker, Fernando restored his house, landscaped his garden with a stone eagle to greet you, and, above all, ten years ago built a 70 m2 outbuilding to house his treasures: “This is my personal museum. There are newspapers, offal and products, miniatures, a series of eagles, balloons, bottles of port and champagne, programs and tickets to the match, autographed shirts and a ceiling with more than 300 scarves.
More unusual is the fact that the fan recently found cutlery engraved with the club’s emblem, and exhibited jars of sardines, player medals and, even more in the news, masks to protect themselves from Covid-19: “And it continues! Friends, family, and other collectors send me items. Every year I go on vacation for a month outside the city, so be sure to go through the official store and come back with thirty new items. I also trade around the world. I sign documents to the club for signing, which are returned signed. They know me well there, ”explains the enthusiast.
The most beautiful work, in his view, is this autographed photograph of all the players of the 1962 magic team, including his idol Eusebio, whom I first met during the match against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). He knew my collection and asked me to persevere. ” Somewhat disappointed with the last relegation against Chelsea in the Champions League, Fernando still believes in his eagles and continues his red search: “There are two things I would like. This is confirmed again by my Guinness Museum, and especially the fact that Benfica’s club television comes to report at my home. I’ve had French television several times, including Thierry Rolland for Téléfoot, but never on Benfica television. “