Name: Fernando Azevedo
Date of Birth: 19th May 1941
Place of Birth: Brazil
Signed: July 1965 from FC Guatemala City (Guatemala)
Departed: Released October 1965
Debut: 11th September 1965 v Morton (0-1)
Final Match: 11th September 1965 v Morton (0-1)
Fernando Azevedo was the first and as of April 2022, the only Brazillian to ever play for St Mirren, but his time at the club was fleeting to say the least and he was released after only three months but would eventually play professionally again in 1967 over in the USA, where the man who took him to Saints, Doug Millward, signed him again!
The summer of 1965 was a curious time in Scottish football, with the game going through a golden era where domestic clubs would challenge for European honours right up until the 1990’s, therefore South American agent Jose Ramos decided to target the market in Scotland with the most coveted commodity on the sporting planet at the time; Brazilian footballers.
Two of the leading clubs during this period, Celtic and Dunfermline, (Jock Stein was now Celtic manager having managed the Pars to great success) were targeted first by Ramos with various players, but at Love Street arrived forward Azevedo and centre back Roberto Faria for a trial, with the club expected to pay travel and accommodation for the South American pair throughout any stay at the club. Saints boss Doug Millward was impressed enough at first and decided to sign both on short term contract to see if they could adapt to Scottish football.
As Millward waited on international clearance for his new signings, Saints took on Northampton Town on the 7th August 1965 in the now defunct Paisley Charity Cup Final in front of 6,000 fans, who were entertained by a ball juggling Azevedo at half time to whet the appetite of the home support, but with Archie Gemmill breaking his ankle and a 2-0 defeat to the English club it’s unlikely any fan in attendance rushed home to talk about the half time show.
Just over a month later and with all the paperwork now in order, Azevedo was picked by Millward for the opening day of the 1965/66 top flight season, and a derby against Morton at Love Street. Just under 8,000 fans were in attendance for the first ever sighting of a Brazilian in Scottish football, however any thoughts of Saints unearthing the next Pelé were quickly forgotten as the performance of the 24 year old centre forward was overwhelmingly below average.
A few weeks later, Azevedo appeared in a Renfrewshire Cup match against Babcok and Wilcox along with Roberto Faria, and despite winning 3-1, this was their last ever involvement with the first team and both would leave the following month. Where Faria ended up after Paisley is unknown, but Azevedo signed for newly formed USA side Baltimore Bays in 1967, scoring 8 times in 15 matches for the club before vanishing into obscurity.