Dutch striker who decided grass was not greener away from Sporting
Back in May, after fans of Lisbon giants Sporting had viciously assaulted him and several team-mates at the club’s training ground, there seemed little chance of Dutch centre-forward Bas Dost ever playing for the club again.
In the wake of a turbulent season of underachievement at Sporting – finishing outside the Champions League qualifying spots and losing to Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Europa League – a slew of first-teamers were determined to head for the exit, outraged not only by the violence but also the attitude of ever-belligerent president Bruno De Carvalho, who following the loss to Atletico virulently criticised their commitment to the cause and threatened them with suspension.
Dost, left needing hospital treatment for two wounds to his head, accused an ultra of hitting him repeatedly with a belt, and like many of his colleagues immediately rescinded his contract, citing “just cause” – a legally watertight pretext for a course of action. Most of the discontented crew – including goalkeeper Rui Patricio, midfield enforcer William Carvalho, wingers Gelson Martins and Daniel Podence, and full-back Cristiano Piccini – all duly moved on to pastures new. However, for Dost, breaking up was much harder to do.
Despite Milan, Sevilla, Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers all showing strong interest, his wantaway instincts eventually cooled and in late July he plumped for the status quo option and signed a new three-year deal with the green-and-white hoops.
Why the change of heart? Basically, the 29-year-old ex-Heerenveen and Wolfsburg striker looked over the border and realised the grass was not greener. He had enjoyed tremendous personal success in his first two seasons in the Portuguese capital, netting 71 goals in all competitions and, apart from a gang of hooded thugs, had the backing of the vast majority of the supporters.
On the evening of the attack, hundreds of Sporting aficionados gathered outside the club’s Alvalade stadium to present a common front against hooliganism. Pride of place at the demo was a giant poster of Dost and a smattering of Dutch flags.
He would have been equally relieved to see the Trump-like De Carvalho ousted from the presidency. No more in-house sniping or psychological warfare for the dressing room to contend with. Here is a footballer at peace.
One-nil in favour of forgiveness.
Ups and downs...on target for Sporting and (right) playing with a bandaged head after the attack