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Discussion Starter #1
Hungarian Football Index, History, Links, Pics & Clips!


Welcome to the Hungarian section of xtratime! in this thread you will find everything you'll ever need to know about Hungarian football!

Over the last 2-3 years this section has grown bigger than I ever imagined. Therefore I've needed to create an index so certain quality threads don't get lost and members don't have to search forever for these threads :)
If you think that a link should be added to the index please don't hesitate to send me a private message.

After the index you'll find many articles I've found searching the net about the history of Hungarian football. Many of them have been altered a bit to edit out mistakes and I've also added some pictures which I felt was appropriate.

I hope you enjoy your stay here!
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited by Moderator)
Hungarian Football Index and Links



Watch this video before you post!

Goalkeepers:
Babos Gábor
Bogdán Ádám
Fülöp Márton
Gulácsi Péter
Király Gábor
Megyeri Balázs

Defenders:
Bodnár László
Dragóner Attila
Fehér Csaba
Gyepes Gábor
Horváth Gábor
Juhász Roland
Kádár Tamás
Korcsmár Zsolt
Lázár Pál
Máté Péter
Vanczák Vili
Vaskó Tamás
Vermes Krisztián


Midfielders:
Adorján Krisztián
Bodor Boldizsár
Böőr Zoltán
Buzsáky Ákos
Dárdai Pál
Dudás Ádám
Dzsudzsák Balázs
Elek Ákos
Filkor Attila
Gera Zoltán
Hajnal Tamás
Halmosi Péter
Huszti Szabolcs
Koman Vladimir
Laczkó Zsolt
Leandro
Lisztes Krisztián
Lovrencsics Gergő
Majoros Árpád
Pető Tamás
Pintér Ádám
Stieber Zoltán
Tóth Balázs
Tőzsér Dániel
Vadócz Krisztián
Varga József
Vass Ádám
Zsidai László

Strikers:
Bobál Gergely
Farkas Balázs
Feczesin Róbert
Ferenczi István
Futács Márkó
Hercegfalvi Zoltán
Hrepka Ádám
Kerekes Zsombor
Nemanja Nikolics
Németh Krisztián
Priskin Tamás
Rajczi Péter
Rudolf Gergely
Simek Péter
Simon Krisztián
Szabics Imre
Szalai Ádám
Tisza Tibor
Tököli Attila
Torghelle Sándor

Full list of Hungarians abroad

Hungarian club threads:
Budapest Honvéd FC
Debreceni Vasutas Sport Club
Diósgyőri VTK
Ferencvárosi Torna Club
FC Sopron
Győri ETO
Kecskeméti TE
MTK Hungária
Szombathelyi Haladás
Újpest FC
Vasas SC
Videoton
Zalaegerszegi TE

Previous greats:
Great Hungarians (In General)
Ferenc Puskás and the Aranycsapat (Golden Team)
Czibor Zoltán
Albert Flórián
Kubala László
Nyers István
Szövkap's Top 100 Hungarian Footballers

Hungarians abroad:
Hungarians playing in Austria
Hungarians playing in Brazil
Hungarians playing in Czech Rep
Hungarians playing in England
Hungarians playing in France
Hungarians playing in Germany
Hungarians playing in Scotland
Hungarians playing everywhere else

Managers and coaches home and abroad:
Hungarian Coaches (in General)
Pintér Attila - NT Coach
Bicskei Bertalan
Bölöni László
Bozsik Péter
Erwin Koeman
Egervári Sándor
László Csaba
Jámbor László
Jenei Imre
Várhidi Péter
Vermes Péter

Domestic Competition
MLSZ - The Hungarian FA
Magyar Kupa (Hungarian cup)
Liga Kupa
NB1 (2013/14)
NB2/3 (2013/14)
NB1 (2012/13)
NB1 (2011/12)
NB1 (2010/11)
NB1 (2009/10)
NB1 (2008/2009)
NB1 2007/2008
NB2 2007/2008
NB1 (2006/2007)
NB1 (pre 2006)

Miscellaneous:
Cigányválogatott
Croatia-Hungary 2012
FIFA Puskás Award
Foci Books & Materials
Hungarian Memorabilia
Hungarian players transfer thread
Hungarian youth teams
Kassai Viktor - World's # 3 Ref
Hungarian Ladies Football
Magical Magyar Torrents
Plymouth Magyargyle
Road to Euro 2016

News sites (In Hungarian):
csakfoci
Foci 24
Magyarfutball
Nemzeti Sport
NB1.hu
origo.hu
Index
labdarugoliga
Hungarian NT's all time stats


News sites (In English):
Hungarian Football.com
Offical FIFA Hungary site
Hungarian FA
UEFA Hungary

Hungarian Football Tweeters:
@TMortimerFtbl
@TMortimerHUN
@Hungarianfoci
@DjGabyG
@mettszeli
@magyarlegiosok
@lilakgillsbhoy
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Hungarian Football section rules and guidelines​


Welcome to the Hungarian forums on Xtratime. Whether new or old, please feel free to introduce yourself to the community here. This piece has been written to remind us all of the rules & procedures used on Xtratime, more specifically tailored for the Hungarian section.

[highlight]• Respect[/highlight]
Xtratime is a multi team platform which brings together many fans from different perspectives. Please do your utmost to treat everyone with the respect you expect in return, & incase of disagreements, please try your best to refrain from personal insults.

[highlight]• Politics & Religion[/highlight]
Posts of a political or religious nature will not be tolerated on Xtratime. Please do not start such discussions, or if you come across an existing discussion do not under any circumstances continue it.

[highlight]• Posting in Hungarian[/highlight]
Xtratime is primarily an English website, so should you choose to make use of the Hungarian language, we will require that you provide at least a short English summary of the Hungarian content, be it a news article or an opinion. If you don't provide an English summary, the FM's can and will remove your post. Also, insults and personal attacks in the Hungarian language will be treated the same as an English insult, so don't think you can use Hungarian to curse and get away with it!

[highlight]• Rivalry[/highlight]
Whilst a little bit of banter is enjoyable for all, please remember that once you step into a rival thread, that you're somewhat of a guest & that you should act accordingly. Opinions about rivals can often be misinterpreted as provocation & lead to needless quarrels, so take the sensitivity of others into consideration.

[highlight]• The Kocsma[/highlight]
The Kocsma is intended to be a relief from football, a place where fans from all over can meet & mingle with eachother. Whilst the Kocsma has a somewhat "everything goes" atmosphere, please be aware that this DOES NOT mean that the rules don't apply. The Bar is for us to all have a little fun, but let's try our best to keep it tasteful.

[highlight]• Nickname Changes[/highlight]
Should you wish to alter your username, you should head over to this thread & request so. Be aware that you are only allowed one nickname change every 6 months, so put careful thought into any change you wish to make!

[highlight]• Posting about or linking to a rival website[/highlight]
Xtratime is a non profit website, However we reserve the right to help and protect our sponsors who help fund the site. So therefore linking or talking about a rival site is forbidden unless permission is granted beforehand.The FM's can and will remove your post.

[highlight]• Forum Managers & Authority[/highlight]
FMs are here to ensure that the rules are upheld, & to maintain the peace in the forums. Forum Managers have the right to edit, delete or move posts at their own discretion within the bounds of their forum, & any decision they make is final.

Should you be unhappy with the actions of a FM, any complaints should be sent via private messaging. If you are not happy with the explanation they provide you, then take the issue up with either their co-FM, or with a CM, again through private messaging, & the case will be examined further.

[highlight]• Reporting Problem Posters[/highlight]
Rather than respond to troublemakers, you should report them or their posts. This should be done by either sending a private message to the FM, or by clicking on the "Report" link attached to the post/s in question & providing a short report. The latter option will send an email notification to the FM/s of the forum in which the post is contained.

[highlight]• Punishments[/highlight]
Punishments handed out to problem posters include, but are not limited to:
  • A temporary ban (ranging from a week to several months).
  • A permanent ban.
  • A permanent IP ban.
  • Editing or deletion of posts.
  • A block from an individual forum.
  • Revoking of avatar & signature privileges.
  • Revoking of private messaging privileges.
Returning to the forum under an alias whilst banned or barred with another nickname will result in the alias being banned permanently & your barring extended further.

[highlight]• Enjoy![/highlight]
Whilst this all may seem a little overwhelming, these rules & procedures are put in place to ensure that everyone can get the most enjoyment out of Xtratime. Happy posting to all!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
History, Honours, Facts & Figures


(©UEFA)

Glorious history needs updating

Hungarian football has left its mark on the world stage. Even today, people remember the period five decades ago when the country's footballers set the pace both technically and tactically. Hungary can indeed be proud of those fine players that graced the international arena.

Early steps

The first official match played in the central European state was between two teams from the Budapesti Torna Club on 9 May 1897. In the following years, the game grew in popularity, to the extent that in 1900 Budapest's city council considered a proposal banning the sport because of the many injuries incurred.

Federation formed

However, on 19 January 1901, football gained further credibility as the Hungarian Football Federation (the Magyar Labdarúgók Szövetsége or MLSZ) was founded by 12 clubs in Budapest. That same year, the first championship was organised, and in 1902 the national team made their debut, losing 5-0 to Austria in Vienna.

Turning pro


click to enlarge

The MLSZ existed independently in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, and became a member of FIFA in 1906. After the first world war, and Hungarian independence, the federation reorganised itself: in 1921, it introduced compulsory injury insurance for players, and in 1926, the first division was allowed to turn professional.

International competition


At this time, club competitions between central European sides were a regular feature. The national team participated in the 1934 FIFA World Cup and the 1936 Olympics without success, but finished second at the 1938 World Cup in France.

The war years



click to enlarge

During the second world war, the championship was interrupted, and the conditions of pitches and stadiums deteriorated. However, after the conflict, reconstruction of the country started with great intensity, and in 1946 the championship was resumed.

1950s brilliance


Under the communist regime, the federation continued its work as a department of the Sport Office. The national team won Olympic gold in 1952, and the next year, with players of the calibre of Nándor Hidegkuti and Ferenc Puskás, beat England 6-3 at Wembley in a match still referred to as the 'Game of the Century'. After losing the 1954 World Cup final to the Federal Republic of Germany, Hungary lost most of its legendary players. In 1956, Soviet soldiers crushed a Hungarian uprising. Many players emigrated and the political leadership stopped supporting football.

Gold medals




However, the country still enjoyed Olympic glory (gold medals in 1964 and 1968, silver in 1972, bronze in 1960), finished third at the 1964 European Nations' Cup and took fourth place at the 1972 UEFA European Championship.

Club honours

The 1960s also saw good displays in the World Cup (fifth in 1962, sixth in 1966). Flórian Albert was voted European Footballer of the Year in 1967. Clubs were successful too: Ferencvárosi TC won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1965 and were runners-up in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1975, while MTK finished second in the latter competition in 1964 and Videoton FCF runners-up in the 1985 UEFA Cup.

Bozsik programme



Since 1989, the MLSZ has functioned as a democratic self-governing organisation. With government support, important programmes involving stadium reconstruction and high-level coach training were launched. The Bozsik programme, a nationwide youth and football development project which started in 2002, has attracted thousands of children.

Fresh page

Hungary yearns to write a fresh page in its glorious history - in which not only great players but also renowned administrators such as Gusztáv Sebes, Sándor Barcs and György Szepesi have played a prominent role at European level.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Magyars make their mark
By Mark Chaplin


A number of countries can lay claim to having a profound effect on football's development over the years. The Brazilians of the 1970 FIFA World Cup and the 'total footballers' of the Netherlands later in the same decade are two that spring to mind. Hungary is another nation to have left an indelible mark on the game's evolution.

Revolutionary upheaval


In the early to mid-1950s, the Hungarians instigated a technical and tactical revolution that changed the way football was played, stimulated thought in coaching circles and caused upheaval in the established order that the history of football had hitherto formed.

Mighty Magyars


The generation known as the 'Mighty Magyars' will forever be remembered as the team that launched the modern football era, and the earthquake caused by their achievements had its epicentre at the very heart of the game - in England. In November 1953, many of the old preconceptions about how football should be played were cast aside on a memorable day at Wembley stadium, where Hungary's forward thinking - on and off the field - resulted in an astonishing 6-3 win over England's national side, the first time a team from continental Europe had defeated England on English soil.

W-M system


Previously, the main tactical system had involved the use of the 'W-M' formation - a 3-2-2-3 template, with two full-backs and a centre-half as the main defenders, two defensive half-backs, two attacking inside-forwards further up the field, and two wingers and a centre-forward as the main frontrunners.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Breaking the rules


(Guttman Béla pictured while coach of Benfica)​

Two men in Hungary, Béla Guttmann and Gustáv Sebes, had other ideas about how to build a team. Guttman, the MTK coach, did not withdraw the two inside-forwards. He pulled back the centre-forward, while another midfield player added stability to the defence by dropping back, creating a 4-2-4 system. This pattern was adopted by Sebes for the Hungarian national side and the outcome caused havoc for opponents accustomed to more rigid tactical formations.

The 'Galloping Major'


Hungary's players changed positions and moved incessantly. The two inside-forwards operated as additional frontrunners, and the withdrawn centre-forward meant that opposing centre-halves, who usually marked him, were utterly confused as to their role and were drawn out of position leaving huge gaps for the four-man forward line to exploit. Hungary also had the players with the technique and intelligence to put the new system into operation. The 'Galloping Major', Ferenc Puskás pulled the attacking strings and Nándor Hidegkúti was the centre-forward who came deep to haunt rival rearguards.

Astute coaching


Sebes was an astute, meticulous coach who left nothing to chance. Before that epic win at Wembley, for example, he made sure that his players became used to the heavier English ball by borrowing several for pre-match training. His national team played friendly games against Hungarian club sides that would adopt the tactics of Hungary's next opponents. Lightweight boots, cut away under the ankle, were another sign that the Hungarians were different from what had preceded them.

Goal feasts


(Hungary's 7-1 win against England in Budapest 1954)​

"Neither the English, nor any of the other teams we met, seemed able to defend effectively against our tactical formation," remembered Hidegkúti, who scored three goals at Wembley. "If [right-half Joszef] Bozsik and I joined the attack, we had six strikers advancing, all capable of scoring goals." Puskás added: "We came to have a tremendous understanding of everything required to play the game." There were numerous goal feasts. England suffered an even greater humiliation - a 7-1 mauling - when they came up against their Wembley tormentors again in Budapest in 1954. Five or six-goal drubbings were a regular occurrence for overwhelmed adversaries.

Elusive silverware


But sadly, a world title proved elusive. A surprising defeat by the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1954 FIFA World Cup final in Switzerland, allied to the Hungarian uprising of 1956, heralded the decline of that great team. Nevertheless, the 'Mighty Magyars' left a crucial legacy - football's fluidity, movement and flexibility was, to a considerable extent, the product of Hungary's fleetingly brilliant era five decades ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Sebes' gift to football


There are very few teams who can genuinely be said to have developed a whole new style of play. The AFC Ajax of Johan Cruyff certainly did, as did Herbert Chapman's Arsenal FC. It is questionable, though, whether either made quite such a profound impact as the Hungary side of the 1950s.

Old methods
England had invented football, and, when Hungary arrived in 1953, they still played in the style of two decades earlier. Chapman had taken the 2-3-5 system, which was practically universal, and, largely in response to the change in the offside law in 1925, tinkered to produce a formation more attuned to counterattacking.


Béla Guttman - architect of the 4-2-4 system

Conservative culture
He withdrew the two inside-forwards back into midfield, and dropped the centre-half - the old No5 position - back into a central defensive role between the two full-backs, creating what was effectively a 3-2-2-3, the W-M. The English were happy with this; there had been no major changes to the laws of the game since 1925, and so there seemed little need to change tactics.


(Béla Guttman in his Hungary jersey)

Hungarian innovation
In Hungary, though, tactics were a matter for public debate, and a significant advance was achieved when Béla Guttman, then the coach of MTK Hungária FC, withdrew not the two inside-forwards, but the centre-forward. Realising this left him defensively vulnerable, he also dropped another midfield player back into the defensive line, creating what would become known as the 4-2-4.

Brazilian style
Gusztáv Sebes soon adopted the tactic for the national team; Guttman would later carry it with him to Brazil, where it formed the tactical basis for the gloriously fluid teams of Pelé, Jairzinho and Garrincha.

England baffled



(click to enlarge)​

In England, by contrast, the game was almost robotic. The No2 (right-back) marked the opposing No11 (left-wing), No3 (left-back) marked No7 (right-wing) and No5 (centre-back) marked No9 (centre-forward). Faced with a Hungarian team who interchanged positions, played with two additional forwards and had a central striker who did not even spearhead the attack, they were simply baffled.

'Utter helplessness'
"To me, the tragedy was the utter helplessness, at times, of being unable to do anything to alter the grim outlook," the England centre-back Harry Johnston wrote in his autobiography.

Altered pitch

But it was not just tactics that turned the game in Hungary's favour. Sebes had prepared meticulously for the game. He became almost obsessive, borrowing three footballs from the Football Association so his side could practise with the heavier English ball, and altering his training pitch so the dimensions matched those of Wembley.

Team play
Sebes was also extremely astute politically. He had impeccable socialist credentials having organised workers at the Renault car factory in Paris between the wars, and regularly insisted that his side played 'socialist football'. The goalkeeper of the Golden Squad, Gyula Grosics, is sceptical about whether Sebes himself believed that claim, but it was music to the ears of the regime. Certainly the Hungarian style was far more rooted in team play than the individualistic English game.

Tactical awakening
Its victory at Wembley that November afternoon was the beginning of the modern age. England were slow to learn, losing 7-1 in Budapest the following May, but learn they did, progressing themselves tactically through 4-3-3 to the 4-4-2 with which the FIFA World Cup was won in 1966.

Major event
It would seem like madness now anywhere in the world to suggest that players should not switch positions, to argue that movement off the ball was not part of football; fluidity these days is everything. The Hungary victory in 1953 took the world a long way towards recognising that.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
England 3-6 Hungary


Kocsis (left) stretches for the ball as England goalkeeper Gil Merrick
comes out.


They had dubbed it the 'Match of the Century' and it lived up to its at defined his generation.

[tuB]QgOs_m5bXCs&rel=1[/tuB]​

Legendary goal
Czibor crossed from the right, finding Puskás at the near-post. He shaped to check back, at which Wright desperately hurled himself across goal. "He was expecting me to turn inside," Puskás said. "If I had done he would have taken me and the ball off the pitch and into the stands. So I dragged the ball back with the studs of my left boot and whacked it high into the net."

[tuB]ZCaEDoB2oxc&rel=1[/tuB]​

Crucial strike
It was a goal that would cement Puskás's place in the footballing pantheon - the Hungarian radio commentator that day, Gyorgy Szepesi, even suggested installing a plaque at Wembley to commemorate the drag-back. Crucially, it was also Hungary's third of the afternoon, the goal that put them out of sight. England were reeling, and matters soon got worse as a Bozsik free-kick was deflected past the luckless Merrick.

Half-time



Mortenson pulled one back, but at half-time Hungary led 4-2, and England, bewildered by Hungary's movement off the ball and their deployment of Hidegkúti as a deep-lying centre-forward, were facing their first home defeat against continental opposition - they had previously lost to the Republic of Ireland at Goodison Park in 1949.

Late consolation
If England harboured any hopes of a comeback, they were swiftly dashed. Merrick reacted well to push Czibor's 55th-minute header against the post, but Bozsik pounced to lash home the rebound. Hidegkúti completed his hat-trick by volleying in a looping Puskás cross, before Alf Ramsey's penalty clawed back some respectability for England.

It was like race-horses against cart-horses
Sir Tom Finney 'The greatest'



Some, but not much. As Sir Tom Finney said, "It was like race-horses against cart-horses. They were the greatest national side I played against, a wonderful team to watch with tactics we'd never seen before." Football would never be the same again.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Puskás the goalscoring major



He was a star player for Kispest Honvéd FC and Real Madrid CF. He led Panathinaikos FC to the European Champion Clubs' Cup final as a coach. And now he gives his name to Hungary's national stadium.

Early starter



It is no surprise that Ferenc Puskás is his country's Golden Player. Puskás remains the greatest name in Hungarian football. Born in Budapest on 2 April 1927, his first mentor was his father, a coach with Kispest Athletic Club where Ferenc played under an assumed identity - Miklós Kovács - until his 12th birthday when he was officially old enough to join in.



Honvéd have retired Puskás' famous number 10 shirt

Childhood friends


Even before then he had met his best friend and future international colleague, József Bozsik, who would win 101 caps to Puskás's 85. "I was three or four years old when Bozsik moved into our neighbourhood," he explained. "We soon became friends and had a secret sign - if I knocked on the wall, it meant: let's go and play football."


On the ball

Puskás was blessed with one of the best left feet in the history of the game, yet it was the ball which, he always said, was his "kabala" or lucky charm: "I'm only calm when I have it with me." With it, the inside-forward won five Hungarian championships with Honvéd, was the league's top scorer on four occasions, claimed an Olympic gold medal in 1952, and finished runner-up at the 1954 FIFA World Cup finals as Hungary surprisingly lost to Germany.


Puskás celebrating his 75th Birthday


Video compilation of speical Ferenc Puskás moments:

[tuB]qU7LzHoCspU&rel=1[/tuB]​
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Wembley win


He was a national celebrity and there is a publicity shot of him and his 'Magical Magyars' team-mates laying the foundations at the Népstadion, now the Ferenc Puskás stadium. That Hungarian side was perhaps most famous for beating England 6-3 at Wembley on 25 November 1953, when Puskás scored two of his 84 international goals. However, the team broke up with the 1956 Revolution, which erupted at a time when Honvéd were touring abroad.

Conquering Europe


Galloping Major

Puskás duly joined Real Madrid, where he further embellished his reputation. Playing alongside Alfredo Di Stéfano,


Francisco Gento and Luis Del Sol, he registered 324 goals in 372 games for the Spanish giants (finishing as the Primera División's leading marksman for four seasons), won six Spanish titles and the European Cup in 1959/60, when he scored four times in the 7-3 final victory against Eintracht Frankfurt.


Watching television images of that game, it becomes clear that the 'Galloping Major' didn't actually do too much leg work. Instead, he moved slowly but inexorably towards goal before letting fly shots from all possible angles and distances.

On the bench


Puskás eventually retired from playing in 1966. He would coach teams in Spain, the United States, Canada, Paraguay, Chile, Saudi Arabia and Egypt until, in 1993, he took charge of the Hungarian national side for four matches. Yet the highlight of his career on the bench came in Greece with Panathinaikos, whom he guided to the European Cup final in 1970/71. It is through his exploits on the pitch, however, that he has the status of a sporting legend.


(Puskás with his Panathinaikos team)​
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
When Puskas came to Leicester : 1973


Ferenc Puskás in a leicester shirt!​


by Joe Schmidt aka Ultrafox

November 2003 marks a world famous football anniversary. It will be the 50th anniversary of the day when Ferenc Puskas brought his legendary Hungarian team to Wembley and started a new era of football. On 25th November 1953 the ‘Magical Magyars’ rewrote the history books by thrashing Billy Wright’s boys 6-3, thus ending England’s unbeaten home record at Wembley and their world domination of the beautiful game.

October 2003 marks a lesser known football anniversary. It will be the 30th anniversary of the day that Ferenc Puskas came to play a match at Filbert Street. On a particularly freezing cold night on 16th October 1973 a charity match between Old England and The Rest of Europe brought some of football’s greatest players to Leicester for an occasion of pure nostalgia.

I have dubbed this game the forgotten match, because nowhere in my many books on the history of Leicester City Football Club, and Filbert Street is it ever mentioned. Even when I referred it to a colleague of the authors of ‘Of Fossils and Foxes’, (before the 2nd edition was printed), he said they had no recollection of the game. I was beginning to think I had dreamt it up, along with my countless fantasies of Leicester actually winning the FA Cup or the Premier League.

In spite of this, a recent chance finding on Ebay of the actual matchday programme, and then a little help from the Leicester Mercury confirmed that the match really did happen. It was all in aid of Goaldiggers – a charity set up to help struggling clubs and to develop football at grassroots level. Whatever happened to that?.

Sadly the game only attracted an attendance of 3,181, possibly because of the bizarrely harsh sub-zero conditions on the night. But I was there with my dad all those years ago and to be honest the match was a dream come true. It may have been only an exhibition match, but the chance of seeing and possibly meeting the legendary Ferenc Puskas aka the ‘Galloping Major’ meant a lot to both me and my Hungarian-born father.

While growing up in Leicester and nurturing my devotion to LCFC my late father, a refugee from the 1956 Hungarian uprising, made me aware of Hungary’s great football tradition. Up until 1978 Hungary had had a good record against England. They had a 100% record against Brazil in several World Cup matches and had appeared in the World Cup final twice in 1938 and 1954. For me at the time, being an impressionable football crazy 10 year old, Hungarian football was something to be proud of. Unfortunately, since then, Hungarian football has taken a serious nose dive, but we won’t go into that.

Hence I couldn’t believe my eyes when on the way home from school one day in 1973 I saw a Leicester Mercury billboard that had the headlines ‘Banks and Puskas to play at Filbert Street’. Unbelievable! Why Leicester? Maybe it had something to do with our then famous hot-air balloon that kept the pitch playable all year round. But who cares? It was my good fortune, and I knew it would mean another rare trip to Filbert Street for me (my parents were generally reluctant to let me go to Filbert Street in those days on account of the reported hooliganism).

The Old England team was made up of some of England’s 1966 World Cup winners. They included Jack Charlton, George Cohen, Roger Hunt and Gordon Banks in what must have been his first return to semi-competitive football since the car crash that caused him to lose sight in one eye. Making up the rest of the England team was Bill McGarry, Bobby Robson and a quartet of Jimmys’. Jimmy Greaves, Jimmy Armfield, Jimmy Hill and the then current Leicester manager Jimmy Bloomfield.

With Puskas in the Rest of Europe team was his former Real Madrid partner, Francisco Gento, the only man to have played in 8 (yes, EIGHT) European Cup Finals and have 6 winner’s medals. Also in the team were World Cup Finalists of 66 , Uwe Seeler and Willi Schultz, as well as the Welsh “gentle giant” John Charles and Gyula Grosics, the great Hungarian goalkeeper of the 1950s. It promised to be a very interesting encounter.

The score on the night was 4-2 to Old England. Goals from Hunt, Greaves, a 30 yard strike by Charlton and a late goal by Jimmy Hill completed the scoring for England, while Puskas and Charles netted for Europe. But the result was of little significance. What was more important was the occasion, and the sheer theatre of the individual performances.

As the Leicester Mercury recalled, “ A superstar show was put on by the heaviest there – the legendary Ferenc Puskas, who warmed the crowd with a skilful display of old fashioned ball play.” They also described how Gordon Banks… “displayed all his old agility and sound positional judgement and came out on top in a personal duel with Spain’s Francisco Gento, the great winger of Real Madrid’s heyday”

My own recollection of the match recalls Puskas gamely trying to explain to his wingers where he wanted the ball delivered, right down to pointing to the spot on the ground. On several occasions the portly Puskas would follow through on crosses that had passed by him seconds earlier, just to demonstrate to the appreciative crowd his dazzling intentions.

At the full time whistle I ran onto the pitch (oooh err) to collect some autographs in the autograph-book my mum had bought me especially for the occasion. Amazingly even then, stewards were at hand to shepherd stray fans off the pitch (or maybe I was picked on as an easy target). Consequently I left the field empty handed. A further attempt at some autograph hunting later on at the players’ entrance ended up with only two paw prints. One from Jimmy Armfield, the other, Lord knows! It could have been the steward that had earlier ushered me off the pitch; such was my desperation to return home with something in my brand new autograph book.

As for meeting Puskas himself? Well, all the players were treated to a huge banquet after the match that went on until the early hours. My dad and I waited outside a dimly lit Filbert Street for over an hour, listening to the feast that was obviously going on within and freezing to death in the process. In the end two factors determined my fate. I had school in the morning and Puskas is renowned for his love of food, so I suppose our meeting was never to be.

Still, I was there and enjoyed this rarely mentioned historical event at Filbert Street. Therefore now, exactly 30 years later I feel compelled to echo the sentiments of the song that was played out as the teams left the field that cold and wintry October evening back in 1973. “Thanks for the Memory”.

--
(Click each image to enlarge)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
László Kubala


László Kubala (June 10, 1927 in Budapest - May 17, 2002 in Barcelona),


Kubala's first team was Ganz TE, where he played among 14-16-year-olds even though he was only 11. At the age of 18, he was signed by Ferencváros.

As the communists took over the government, however, Kubala had to pay some smugglers to take him to Italy. Once there, he and others formed a team and played exhibition matches. The team, comprised of Hungarians living in the area, managed to beat Real Madrid 4-2 in Madrid, the Spanish national team (who were getting ready to play in the 1950 World Cup) and Espanyol. During the Espanyol match, scouts from Barcelona saw Kubala and offered him a contract. He signed it on June 15, 1950 and became a Barcelona player, beginning his career in a third country.


Many teams wanted to sign Kubala at various times, including Pro Patria, Inter Milan and Torino. In fact, Kubala agreed to play a friendly for Torino in Lisbon when the club was at the top of the game in Italy. However, in what turned out to be an incredible stroke of luck, Kubala didn't board the plane because his son was ill. On the return journey, the plane crashed, killing everyone on board.



Depite all this interest, Kubala stayed at Barcelona until 1963. While there, he played for Spain 19 times. After leaving Barcelona, he became player-manager of Espanyol, FC Zürich and the Toronto Falcons. He eventually retired in 1968.


As coach of Spain, he ended the national team's 12-year absence from the World Cup in 1978, but could not steer them through a first-round group that contained Brazil, Sweden and Austria. He also managed them at Euro 80, where they again went out in the first round.

Influence


It was Kubala who recommended such great players as Kocsis, Czibor, Kaszas and Szalay to Barcelona.


At Barcelona's 100th anniversary in 1999, fans voted Kubala as the best player ever to play for the club. He beat players such as Johan Cruyff and Diego Maradona to this honour. He was also chosen as the second-best player in Spain during the 20th century by sports journalists. Only Alfredo Di Stefano was judged a better player than him. Finally, he was awarded the Grand Cross of Sports by the Spanish government.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
'The greatest Barcelona player ever'


László Kubala was the greatest player in FC Barcelona's history according to a poll conducted in the club's centenary year.


(video of Kubala's impact on 'El Classico' and Barcelona)​

Halcyon days
As well as inspiring the Catalans to unprecedented success in the 1950s, he was also credited with revolutionising the Spanish game. Kubala won four league titles, five Spanish Cups and two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups in 11 seasons at Camp Nou.

Barcelona break
Legend has it that Kubala was blind drunk when the ex-Barcelona star turned agent put him on a train from Madrid to Barcelona to initiate his transfer in 1950. Though Kubala sobered up enough to sign on and make his debut in April that year - the first of 329 appearances yielding 256 goals.

'Equipo de las cinco copas'
His arrival coincided with a golden era. Blessed with strength, technique and power in his boots, Kubala was the ideal attacking complement to the 'equipo de las cinco copas'. The so-called 'team of the five cups' lifted five trophies between 1951 and 1953. The pity was that their domestic achievements would be overshadowed by Madrid's early dominance of the European Champion Clubs' Cup.

Mightiest of Magyars
For a decade, though, Kubala was the hero of a city. And even after Ferenc Puskás and other Hungarians followed him to the Primera División, Kubala remained Spain's original Magyar - with ball skills and devastating shooting to match.

Goals galore
Kubala liked to enjoy himself off the field too, and his taste for the high life was a source of conflict with the club's management. But he stayed long enough to become the Barcelona's second-top goalscorer behind the man who had brought him to the Ciudad Condal, Samitier.

An Espanyol swansong
Then, after an ill-fated interlude as Barça coach, he moved across the city to end his playing days with Espanyol, alongside his old Madrid nemesis Alfredo di Stefano.

Coaching credits
By the time he hung up his boots, Kubala had played 19 times for Spain, registering 11 goals. Yet it was as a coach that he served his adopted country with distinction. He trained the national team between 1969 and 1980. His other coaching credits include Barcelona (again), Espanyol, Real Murcia CF, Elche CF, Córdoba CF, Málaga CF and spells in Switzerland, Canada, Paraguay and Saudi Arabia.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Award for Barcelona great


Former FC Barcelona forward and Spain coach László Kubala has been awarded a posthumous Order of Merit by world football's governing body FIFA.

Many honours
Kubala, voted the greatest player in Barcelona's history during their centenary in 1999, died in May at the age of 74. With Barcelona, he won four league titles, five Spanish Cups and two Fairs Cups before retiring in the 1961/62 season.



Kubala in 1950 - click to enlarge

'Distinguished service'
FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter said the Hungarian player was given the award for "the distinguished service that he gave to football during his long career". Kubala played 329 times for Barcelona, scoring 256 goals in his ten years at the club.


Vast experience
His other coaching credits include Barcelona (again), RCD Espanyol, Real Murcia CF, Elche CF, Córdoba CF, Málaga CF and spells in Switzerland, Canada, Paraguay and Saudi Arabia.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Aranycsapat Pictures



The Aranycsapat legends!

Goalkeeper: Gyula Grosics


Right Back: Jenõ Buzánszky


Centre Back: József Zakariás


Centre Back: Gyula Lóránt


Left Back: Mihály Lantos


Right Wing: Mihály Tóth


Right Half: József Bozsik


Playmaker: Nándor Hidegkuti


Left Wing: Zoltán Czibor


Striker: Ferenc Puskás


Striker: Sándor Kocsis



Puskás in a Barca shirt with Kubala and Di Stefano!



Monuments and items made in tribute to the Aranycsapat








Puskás IFFHS's world record certificate (click to enlarge)


More recent pictures of the legends

Buzánszky celebrates his 77th Birthday



Gyula Grosics with László Bölöni cheering on Hungary againts Germany



Grosics-Puskás and Aranycsapat commentator György Szepesi

 
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