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Dev. FSH. Isaque Argolo | Austerlitz
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//Gábor Kléber, 1973
He was highly intelligent, impeccable in appearance, endearingly modest, well-read, well-informed and had that indefinable something that for us was leadership. He was aware of what his talent meant to Hungarian football, but he never played the prima donna, and he was far from haughty, conceited or arrogant. His play was generous, dynamic and witty. Clever and enjoyable. Every movement seemed natural and effortless. The way he took the ball and passed it straight to the right spot without thinking, you had the feeling that there was no other way to solve the situation. He moved all over the pitch, never letting his opponent stand still for a moment. He anticipated what would happen to the ball in 4-5 moves and positioned himself in such a way that he was almost certain to get it. He alternated the most unexpected moves with simple solutions. He was unpredictable. He could fool his opponent any way he wanted. There were many times when defenders were afraid to attack him for fear of making a fool of him. His body was dazzling, and he handled the ball perfectly with his left and right foot. With a movement of his chest and neck, he could catch the ball. In his heyday, he had such bomb shots that the ball would hit the net like a thunderbolt. His fearsome header could be the subject of a study, and his headers were as dangerous as his shots. He could always head from any position with his forehead, and he was able to make great use of his excellent form to do so. He controlled the ball with every inch of his body. He was very quick as a youngster, but later lost his speed, especially after breaking his leg. Although his upper body was not strong, Orth was a hard-bodied sportsman and could not be overpowered. He disliked and never initiated violent play, but opponents could not intimidate him, and he returned toughness with toughness. I was often amazed at his great solutions. Even in the most difficult situations, he could not be held at bay. He was incredibly quick to "switch" and shift his brain. He immediately found the key to the situation, his overview, his situational awareness was like that of a good commander. And it was also great! He could impose his intentions on his companions, making them feel with a single gesture what was to follow. He was the player who could single-handedly decide the fate of the match. He was also a selfless sportsman. He fed the ball to his teammates, helped mediocre players to great performances. We played once with the French, here in Budapest, in 1927. We won 13:1. Takács II. and Skvarek, the two inside players, were just pouring in the goals. And the crowd cheered for Orth. He sent the two inside players in front of the goal, he put the ball down for them so that they only had to kick it into the goal.
Friendly match: 25/06/1925, Sunday, 18:00.
S.K. Rapid — Nacional 1:2 (1:2)
Place: Hohe Warte, Vienna, Austria — Heinrich Retschury(Austria)
Attedance: about 19.000.
Coach: Dionys Schönecker.
XI: Janczik — Renard, Solil — Richter II., Silbeck, Nitsch — Wondrak, Weselik, Kuthan, Bauer, Wesely.
Coach: San Martin.
XI: Clavijo — Arispe, Fiorentino — Carreras, Zibecchi, Ghierra — Castro, Scarone, Nasazzi, Cea, Cassanello.
Goals: Weselik(40min) — Nasazzi(19min), Scarone(38min).
//Isaque Argolo, 14/03/2023
One of the main reasons for creating the first international club tournament was to unite and decide the champion of the entire Central European bloc. After the First World War, there were several conflicts between nations, the main one between Hungary and Czechoslovakia, that their clubs and national teams only went back to face each other only in 1925. Furthermore, there were conflicts between Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia due to the last matches that were quite controversial.
Since before the start of the tournament, there were already some doubts about the regulation. Still, the tournament started in such a way.
The poor sporting conditions presented on Yugoslav soil, in addition to them almost not showing any football, the teams from the former Yugoslavia presented a more violent football, so much so that in matches on Hungarian and Austrian soil there were two players who were sent-off and several conflicts.
On the side of the clashes between Sparta-Admira, in Vienna things got quite violent, to the point where Karel Pešek-Káďa, the centre-half captain of the A.C. Sparta, claiming that he would not play again in Vienna.
The final stages brought even more conflict — and diplomatic conflicts, for that matter. On one side of the bracket, there was the much-discussed case of the signing of Kálmán Konrád. This case became quite famous, therefore commented throughout Central Europe. At the time, according to what was decided by the committee, Konrád II., who had played and been considered the best player in the second match against A.C. Sparta, was considered unscalable for that match. Therefore, due to this irregularity, Hungária F.C. was disqualified from the tournament.
Even before the second match against A.C. Sparta, Dr. Henrik Fodor had shown constant displeasure with the ambiguity of the tournament's regulations. Many believed that he tried to pull off a diplomatic coup; others that he was trying to buy time for Konrád II. be regularized to play what would be the most important match. Even knowing that there was a chance of disqualification of the Hungarian team due to the irregularity, the risks were taken, therefore Konrád II. was selected to play.
Dr. Henrik Fodor, completely incredulous, wanted at least a third game to be played – which did not happen. He threatened to abandon the idea of the tournament altogether, and even create his own. This decision also caused widespread MLSZ diplomatic discontent with the Central European committee. In that context, there were doubts whether the Hungarians would go ahead with the tournament project.
In the other semi-final, more precisely in the match played in Hohe Warte,
The second disputed final was considered a real scandal, a completely violent battle between S.K. Rapid and A.C. Sparta. That was no longer considered football, it generated several bad comments about the relationship between Czechoslovakia and Austria.
Hugo Meisl: I am extremely sorry that the Cup final ended in such a scandal. We will do our utmost to avoid such disgraceful events in the future.
Ferdinand Scheinost: It is bloodcurdling the way the Viennese public treated a visiting team. We will not accept this. In any case, it has been unusual in Central Europe for guests to be at risk of stoning. The Czech team is no longer a threat to the Viennese public.
Karel Pešek-Káďa: I am sorry that I did not keep my word. But now my decision is final. It was my farewell match in Austria. The referee is also seriously guilty of scandals.
Walther Bensemann: In my long career as a sports journalist, I have never seen a scandal like this. It was Rapid's players who started the carnage, but Sparta were better at it.
Dionys Schönecker: Sparta are the toughest team, and they only play fairly until they are in danger of losing. It's amazing that players like Perner are still not banned for life. The referee ruined the game. With a decent referee, we would have equalised Sparta's 6-2 win in Prague.
Willem Eymers, the Dutch referee: Don't blame me, I assumed from my home experience that I would be dealing with 22 gentleman players. I was seriously mistaken. I was dealing with twenty-two madmen.
Eymers's wife, who was in tears on Sunday from the excitement she had endured: It wasn't twenty-two people who lost their minds at Hohe Warte, but forty thousand. I never would have thought that this was the way football was understood in Central Europe.
Throughout the tournament, there were many doubts whether another edition would be held, as the first one — sportingly and diplomatically speaking — was a complete failure.
"No man can hope to excel at games unless he has perfect body balance," said George Duncan, to his friend Dr. M'Ewan. "I don't care whether you take golf, cricket, boxing, or football, it makes no difference. The athlete so equipped will always be in the forefront."
Son of an eminet surgeon, a professor in Glasgow University, Dr. M'Ewan and the famous Aberdeen golfer, dearly loved to ventilate their opinions when they met a the Fulham F.C. headquarters in the years of the Great War.
I was resident in London then, and Phil Kelso and I would often be drawn into the discussion as one or other appealed support in an argument provoked by their favourite theme.
"George has the right end of the stick," Phil would chip in, with the sole object of prolonging the duel between two sportsmen whose analysis of the merits of boxing champions and style in boxing held Phil and I enthralled. No less entertaining were their views on football celebrities.
George Duncan always cited Bobby Walker as the perfect model of body balance. Those who can link past and present outstanding soccer personalities, and are qualified to judge. I am convinced, will be in agreement in awarding pride of place to Bobby Walker as the most brilliant inside right of all time.
The golfer who amazed the gallery with his fireworks, on the links, is still a close student of football, and his opinions concerning the greatest of all Heart of Midlothian players have not changed.
Of Bobby Walker, R. S. M'Coll, of Queen's Park, a centre-forward comparable with the great one of soccer, remarked after the rout of England's brilliant team at Celtic Park in 1900, that the idol of Tynecastle was "the most wonderful forward he had ever played with." That match was Bobby's debut against the Saxons, and he was still wearing Scotland's colours against England thirteen years later for the eleventh time in a career of brilliant service to his only senior club, and to his country. Altogether, he collected 44 caps, and only Alan Morton equalled his appearances against England.
Let's quote some other authorities on the genius of Walker. Naively put was Jacky Robertson's testimony when he peerless Bobby was nearing the end of his career. "There never was the like of him. He has eight feet when he walks into you, and you always go for the wrong pair." He was as big a puzzle to his opponents and almost as difficult to stop when nearing the end of his playing days as in his first season with the Hearts. A striking tribute from a man who captained International teams, and had played for Everton, Southampton and Rangers.
A Celtic half-back making a first appearance against Bobby Walker at Parkhead, turned to his captain, Jamie Hay, for advice. "Keep your eye on the ball. It's your only chance. If you try to follow Bobby, he'll have you as dizzy as a duck."
"It was my misfortune never to have seen Walker play. I have heard the leaders of football throughout England say that Bobby Walker was the ideal forward, and there was no one in England at any period 'quite so good" — so said the late Herbert Chapman.
There was something in Bobby's personality and skill as a footballer that the others seemed to lack. He stood 5ft. 8ins. and at 11st. 8lbs. was physically as near the perfect model footballer as ever played.
Years ago, I wrote that the spell of Bobby Walker's genius with a ball at his feet fascinated all who saw him play. He was masterful in dibbling, swerving and feinting, and a master of the unexpected goal.
Sometimes he would meander through a defence, with the ball and make a goal appear ever so easily taken — it was a flash of genius. At other times, he would fire a goal from long range to confound experts. Goalkeepers feared his approach.
Strong of body, he could resist and give a heavy body charge without losing balance. As fair a player as the game ever produced, he rarely spoke on the field, unless when imparting friendly advice to a young player.
I saw Ernest Needham of Sheffield, a wing half comparable with George Brown, give up Bobby as a bad job when he was opposed to him in International games in 1901 — one an Inter-League at Ibrox and the other the classic struggle at the Crystal Palace. The pair had never come together before. Needham did not get a kick at the ball, as the saying goes, in the first match. In the other, Needham took the outside man and left the sturdy Corinthian, W. J. Oakley, to look after Bobby Walker invited the challenge of Oakley, and just when the stalwart back believed he had his man in the tackle, Bobby had whisked the ball clear to John Campbell of Celtic.
But enough! Neither England's best back of the period nor Scotland's Jock Drummond ever learned the secret of how to stop Bobby.
First Division, 27th match: 02/02/1935,
Arsenal F.C. — Sheffield Wednesday F.C. 4:1 (0:0)
Place: Highbury, London — Referee:
Coach: George Allison.
XI: Moss — Male, Hapgood — Crayston, Roberts, Copping — Hulme, Bastin, Drake, James, Beasley.
Sheffield Wednesday F.C.
XI: Brown — Nibloe, Catlin — Sharp, Millership, Burrows — Hooper, Surtees, Palathorpe, Burgess, Rimmer.
Goals: James(3, ).
It is fairly safe now, I think, for me to offer my congratulations to the Arsenal club, the players and the managers, Mr. Chapman, on having practically won the championship of the Football League for the first time.
The honour is the greater because no London club has ever won the championship before, and also because it follows the Arsenal's Cup triumph of a year ago.
How exhausting and difficult a task it is to win the League championship only those who have succeeded, or have tried and just failed, can realise.
I can claim some knowledge of what it means, having been in the Huddersfield team in the season 1925-26 when Huddersfield crated a record by winning the championshop for the third successive year.
In the two following seasons Huddersfield were runners-up beaten first by Newcastle United by five points and then by Everton by only two points.
To win the championship a team must play not merely brilliantly but tenaciously, fighting every minute of every match, never surrendering, never slacking because of thoughts of Cup-ties or because the position looks comfortable.
During the recent attack upon the Arsenal's position by Aston Villa, when it was thought that the Arsenal were beginning to waver under the strain, the grim necessity for "keeping it up" was plainly seen. London began to get anxious. But the Arsenal kept it up — good luch to them for their stout hearts.
What is the recipe for the championship team? From his success at Huddersfield and now at Highbury it would appear that Mr. Herbert Chapman knows the secret. But I think he would be the first to admit that the recipe is not one to be adhered to rigidly.
There is a big contrast between that Huddersfield team and the present Arsenal side. Huddersfield were more brilliant, more spectacular, possessing more genius. The Arsenal's chief quality is a fine system of defence.
Huddersfield never depended upon any one man as the Arsenal depended upon Alex James. I think it is true to say that any one or two men might have been taken out of the Huddersfield side and the championship would still have been won; but I doubt whether the Arsenal would have been within sight of theri goal to-day without James.
The foundation of a championship team is eleven first-class men, not necessarily all stars (in fact, eleven men of exceptional individual brilliance would probably never win it), and the true team spirit — the spirit which leads every man to sink his own personality for the interests of the side and which make it possible for a system of team work to be built up.
A STAR TEAM.
Taking the Arsenal man by man. it will be admitted that few of them are what we call star players. Taken together, they are a star team.
The defence has been accused at times of being shaky, but with the shrewd position play of Parker, the speed of Hapgood the constructive ability of John and James and the cool watchfulness and tenacity of Roberts, they have all been welded together by understanding and have snatched victory after victory from other grounds while their opponents fully believed they were having the better of the game.
Therein lies one of the Arsenal secretes. They have so much confidence in themselves that they are content to play an apparently defensive game. They let their opponents bring the ball up, and appear to be defending desperately.
Then, in a twinkling, James picks up the ball from the ruck, andthe Arsenal forwards are away through a scattered defence.
Roberts has a bigger hand in this than some people suppose. He is particularly clever with his head, and it is frequently by means of his heading the ball aside to James or Jack that an attack is opened.
Mr. Chapman knows his job, as everyone will admit. He made no error in selecting and moulding Roberts to be the keystone of the defence, after the pattern of Tom Wilson, of Huddersfield. In the same way he secured Alex James to perform the duty, though in a different style, of Clem Stephenson.
I must also pay individual tribute to the skill of Bastin, the young outside-left, who, in my opinion, is going to be one of the finest players the game has known.
More thana year ago James told me that this boy was going to make hir makr, and his words have come true. Like Roberts, like Lambert, and others, Bastin has been moulded in a style that the conception of the Arsenal scheme demands.
Both Bastin and Hulme have developed the gift of being ready on the mark to dash away, taking the ball at full speed, cutting in instead of swerving out, and being there in the goalmouth when the ball comes across from the opposite wing.
I used to be accused of wandering out of position when I began to get goals from the middle or even fom the left. Bastin and Hulme are employing the same tactics in every match — and they pay!
One other item is necessary in the recipe for a championship team — good reserves. They need not be top-class players but they must be so taught that they will know their job if called upon.
It happens too often that a youngster who suddenly gets his chance has not realised the big difference between senior and reserve football. He flounders about out of position, is lost bu the speed of the game, and is too late with his passes.
How good the Arsenal reserves are we have seen. While Roberts was playing for England at Glasgow the Arsenal, with a reserve centre-half, were accomplishing one of their finest victories of the season, a 5-2 win at Middlesbrough.
That such changes as this can be made successfully shows, too, the strength of the team work fo the Arsenal.
THE ELUSIVE RECIPE.
Any team that can suffer the changing of the centre-forward during the season, and even during matches, as Lambert, and Jack have been changed, and still win matches well, must be strong everywhere.
In this respeect the Arsenal are similar side to Sheffield Wednesday, who have held the championship for the last two years.
A championship side is not to be built in a season. It often takes years. Many have attempted year after year to find the right recipe and have never succeeded.
There must be brains and inspiration behind the team, and in the team itself there must be a good football, firm friendship, courage, and an abiding enthusiasm.
The Arsenal are nearly at the od the road and they deserve our hearty congratulations.
A BOY — A WATCH — AND ARSENAL
— Roland F. Allen | 17/02/1931 —
Arsenal remind me of the boy who took his watch to pieces to find why it worked so smoothly. You will remember that he got most of the parts back, but had a few left over. He was surprised — as boys are in such circumstances — to discover that the smoothness had departed, that the watch went only when he did.
With the patient ingenuity which boys display when trouble is impending, he again broke up the timepiece, laboriously and hopefully reconstructed it, got the surplus parts back again — but found that others were now out of place. He was puzzled.
So, I imagine, are the people at Highbury, who appear to be trying to decide which is the best way in which to arrange the pieces in their player-puzzle without leaving out some which are essential.
It is a bit of a riddle. If Brain is in Lambert is out; if Jones plays Seddon must watch; if David Jack leads the forwards I cannot help wondering whether he is a better inside right. Which, moving around this bewildering cycle, brings me again to the puzzled contemplation of Brain left over. It seems that from whatever angle this riddle is regarded one arrives back to the unenviable position of the boy who looked at the little pile he had not placed and could not escape the worrying conviction that there were peices on the table which ought to be among the works.
I never felt violently critical towards that boy. He must have got a lot of quiet fun out of it — but he was always working in the shadow of possible and painful consequences.
IN FAVOUR OF EITHER.
It is in very much the same uncritical frame of mind that I approach the riddle of the Arsenal. The solution is not clear cut. There is definite evidence in favour of either of their two or three arrangements of the working parts of that football machine.
David Jack, it seems to me, is the key to this jig-saw business. I prefer him at centre-forward because he is a master of the constructive side of the game, and because, when he is leading the attack, his genius is not cramped by hanging back and doing the work which ought to be done by the wing half-back.
EVEN ALEX JAMES!
And when Jack is leading the line of the Arsenal become definitely an attacking side. Even those wing half-backs come forward and menace the opposing defence. Even Alec James crowns his exquisite scheming by shooting a goal!
It has been said that Arsenal have been covering a defensive weakness by the brilliance of their attack. I cannot see it. When there has been weakness it has, to my mind, been a question of tactics.
I have never liked the "W" formation, whether it has been adopted by the Arsenal or any other side. It assumes that half-backs are purely defenders. The Arsenal wing-halves seem to me to have realised that this is a false, even a dangerous assumption. I should like to see Roberts reach the same conclusion.
There have, I believe, been thoughts of juggling with the defensive section of the Highbury machine. Possibly reasons exist of which I am not aware which would justify this. But if I felt that temptation I should look carefully first of all at the possible alternatives. I cannot work them out.
The Arsenal will win the championship if they find the best arrangement of their violently contrasted mixture of works and spare parts. They have this advantage over the boy with the watch; they, with apparently essential parts left out, can get the machine working smoothly.
But, like the boy, they may, if they attempt too often to pull the machine to pieces and rebuild it, find that in the shadow of the trouble they are risking, they have missed the substance for which they are striving.
That would be a pity; as the boy realised, too late.
HOW NEWCASTLE UNITED MISSED JAMES
— Hughie Gallacher | 04/11/1930 —
Football luck is, as every footballer knows, fickle. I have known some of the greatest players who ever kicked a ball over Scottish turf come South and hit a bad patch.
Players speak a language of their own. When you hear a footballer moan the fact that "the ball did not run for me," you are listening to a real confession. Only a footballer knows that the moan means something more than an excuse for weakness.
When I told you last week how I signed for Newcastle, I could not help recalling my farewell to Airdrie.
The last man I spoke to was Alec James. At that time he was playing for Raith Rovers. Alec and I were always great pals. We played in the same school team toegether, we watched each other's football with more than casual interest. When I met Alec that day I was driving down the main street in a saloon car en route for Newcastle.
"Is it true you are going South, Hughie?" Alec asked.
I told him the whole story of my transfer. "I wish I were going with you," said Alec.
ALEC IN NEWCASTLE.
Arriving in Newcastle I remembered Alec's envious wish. No one knew better than I how well he was playing. Kirkcaldy people swore by him — he was to them what "Patsy" Gallagher was to Celtic and Falkirk crowds. I spoke of him to the Newcastle folk, and told them how much I thought of him.
Transfer fees were not so high then as now. It was my belief that he could be got from Scotland for a sum not far removed from 2,500, not more and, perhaps, less.
Alec James arrived in Newcastle during the close season along with his father-in-law, Dave Willis, and stayed many days in an endeavour to get fixed up at St. James's Park. Indeed, at one period of the negotiations he was practically assured that the spending of part of his vacation in Newcastle was certain to end in his transfer to Newcastle United, but hust when he expected this to be accomplished, the whole deal came to an end, and Alec left greatly disappointed.
DIFFERENCE OF 500.
A difference of 500 stood between his club, Raith Rovers, and Newcastle, and this figure was allowed to stand as the barrier to Alec James figuring alongside me in the Newcastle team, beause Newcastle were afraid he was too small for English football!
Perhaps they have changed their mind since and will be kicking themselves even now that they failed to seize their opportunity when it came.
What a great chance was lost! The fee asked was 2,500!
Think of it; less than three thousand pounds for the greatest inside forward of the day. Tell this to Arsenal supporters and they will laugh. But it is an actual fact just the same.
"No doubt he is a useful man, Hughie," I was told, "but he is too small."
"He is half a head taller than I am," I retorted though secretly consoling myself with the knowledge that when we played in the school team, I gave him inches and was besides, broader built.
"Nevertheless, he is too small for us," they told me at Gallowgate.
That ended my efforts to bring Alec James to Newcastle, but now when I read of Alec's doing at Highbury and elsewhere I smile and think of the way in which luck can lead the footballer — and even the talent spotter.
Newcastle's loss, or mstake, was Preston North End's gain, for wee Alec went to Deepdale, and later Arsenal paied the Lancashire club nearly 9,000 for him.
Orsi Sindelar Zischek
Lázár Dr. Sárosi Barátky
I WISH THERE WERE MORE GOOD PLAYERS
— Jimmy Hogan | 01/03/1955 —
When I returned from the Continent and took over at Villa Park as Team-Manager-Coach in 1936, I tried to make myself a real players manager. Having been through the mill of experience as a professional player, I was determined to make the players happy and contented, and to give them more privileges than I had enjoyed as a player when the maximum salary was four pound per week.
I remember telling the lads that we were all in the game together. If they did well, I did well, and vice versa. We were a grand playing side, a happy band of fellows, and we reached our objective — promotion to the First Division. I insisted on every man doing his duty, then I would attend to that player's rights. But duty must come first.
A certain famous old player was expressing his opinion the other day that many of our modern players are more concerned with what they get out of the game than what they put into it; that there is more talk about money matters in certain dressing rooms these days than there is on football.
I think this only applies in odd cases, but the approach to the game of many players is entirely wrong.
There appears to be a self-centred outlook in which nobody else counts.
There are many exceptions, I agree — good, genuine club servants who always do their utmost according to their ability. Indeed, the game as plenty of good triers. I wish it had more good players. There are on the other hand, some who do not take the trouble to improve. I wish they had sufficient pride in their craft to strive to attain a higher level.
There is far too much of the if-I-don't-look-after-myself-nobody-else-will attitude among players today. This matter, based on the short span of a players's life, is quite common in some clubs. It is a purely selfish attitude, for which the clubs cannot escape some responsibility, for they have neglected to introduce means of ensuring long and loyal service from good players.
I think that if a player qualifies for a second benefit, the amount could be increased say to £1,000 or more, with a similar increase for a third benefit.
In the bad old days when I was a professional player, never a week went by without a collection in the dressing room for some player who had gone out of the game penniless.
Benefit and Provident schemes have considerably reduced the possibility of that sort of things, but I feel that something more should be done for the true and loyal servant.
Although my work on the Continent was generally that of official coach to the different Football Associations, perhaps my happiest thoughts will always be centred round the famous M.T.K club in Budapest.
it was certainly the best individual club I ever coached on the Continent, and whilst with it I found two players who will rank among the greatest of Hungarian footballers.
It happened one day when I was taking a walk through the Angol (English) Park. On my walk I saw a group of youngsters kicking a ball about, and two of them, particularly, attracted my attention.
I stopped and spoke to them. They were Gyury (George) Orth and Josef Braun, school-boys who proudly admitted that one of their subjects at school was the English language. I quickly responded with: "Please join the junior section of my club, M.T.K, and I will not only teach you how to play scientific football, but also help you with your English lessons."
I never saw players develop so quickly as Orth and Braun. I had them after school hours every day on the playing pitch, doing various exercises and playing in sides, and then in my room for a cup of English tea and a chat about football.
Literally, I taught them how to play football at my very knees, and they were wonderful pupils.
Both these lads played for Hungary against Austria at the age of 17, and the great Hugo Meisl was astounded at their form. He said they played like two first-class English professionals. Both went on the be capped at least 40 times for their country.
When George Orth was badly injured in Vienna — an injury which put him out of the game as a player — the incident almost produced an international crisis. On his return to Budapest from a Viennese hospital there were manu thousands of Hungarians at the station shouting "Down with Austria! War with Austria!"
I say without shadow of doubt that as a footballer Orth was similar value to Hungary as Caruso was as a vocalist to Italy. He has been in South America for some years now, teaching what is commonly called the "Hogan style of football."
He was the most versatile of players. Bolton Wanderers came to play in Budapest after their 1926 Cup win over Manchester City. Orth was centre-forward for M.T.K. that days until full-back Mandl, the present Hungarian trainer, was injured early in the game. But with only ten players M.T.K. were able to force a 1-1 draw, thanks largely to Orth who went to full-back and played Smith and Vizard out of the game.
Certainly he was the greatest and brainiest player I ever saw. He could have walked into any English or Scottish eleven of all times. Several British clubs tried to sign him, but he would not leave Budapest.
Braun was a brilliant outside right; fast and tricky, a wonderful header, and he could shoot or cross the ball with either foot. At the end of his playing career he went to Jugo-Slavia where he did great work as a coach.
Everybody who is au fait with the history of Soccer football know something about the great days of Preston North End, whose name is indelibly inscribed on the role of fame for a variety of reasons.
In the first place they were the pioneers of professionalism, they had at one time a well-nigh invincible team, which played what old-stagers tell us was the most scientific game ever seen, and their feat of winning both the League and Championship and the F.A. Cup in one season — the former without a single defeat and the latter without losing a goal — has never been equalled or ever approached.
There have been endless arguments as to whether the team that accomplished that wonderful achievement would have been as all-conquering in modern football as it was in the late 'eighties. It is obviously difficult to be definite on such a point.
But the fact must not be overlooked that Preston, as a result of the shrewdness, sound judgment, and enterprise of Major William Sudell, who was elected a member of the club in August 1867, was the first club to see possibilities in introducing the best footballers of the day into any position which, in the opinion of the management, required judicious strengthening.
Major Sudell determiend to run a team of out-and-out professionals, men who should make football their calling and devote themselves to it assiduously rather than spasmodically. The result was the building up of a team which in point of individual and collective kill, of perfect physical condition brough about by systematic training and of complete subordination of self, was for the period supreme.
ONLY CUP WIN.
There were only twelve clubs in the League at the time they were champions, and none of their rivals had cultivated either method, condition or combination to the same extent as did the Old Invincibles. The team which made Preston the temporary home of the F.A. Cup for the first and only time included Dr. R. H. Mills-Roberts; Howarth, Holmes; Drummond, Russell, Graham; Gordon, J. Ross, Goodall, Thompson, and F. Dewhurst; and there is a widespread opinion that that was the finest team that has ever worn North End's colours.
I shall not attempt to dispute it, though since that day there have been certain players who callenge comparison — in some cases fabourably, I think — with the great eleven of 1888/89. Take as an illustration, James Trainer, who has often been described as the Prince of goalkeepers. He would have been in the invincible eleven had he been eligible to play in the Cup-ties.
A WELSH STAR.
This Welshman from Wresham first played for Great Lever, a Bolton club, and then for the Wanderers, and was in the latter's goal when North End took the liberty of putting twelve goals past him. Their defence, nevertheless, realised that here was a goalkeeper par excellence, and there was some heart-burning in the Bolton camp when Trainer went over to the enemy. There have been other great goalkeepers on the Deepdale staff, including Peter McBride, a Scotsman, who graduated with the Ayr club, and W. C. Rose.
Nicholas J. Ross, and Edinburgh slater, who left the Hearts because he desired to follow his trade, was unquestionably the greatest back who ever served North End. He missed his Cup medal because he had tempoerarily transferred his services to Everton. He was a lissom fellow, who put his whole heart and soul into the game.
He was very fast, tackle with such vim and accuracy that it was tremendously difficult to get past him, kicked with tremendous power, and was a most uncompromising foe.
NAME STILL LIVES.
He saved manu a maych when matters were going against his die by going to centre and showing his forwards how goals could be got. He has been dead 36 years yet his name still lives.
The two backs who were on duty when Wolverhampton Wanderers were beaten 3-0 at Kennington Oval in the Cup final were locals who were grand defenders, even though they lacked the "devil" of Ross. Both played for England against all three countries.
Few more judicious backs have been associated with the game than Holmes, whose first club was Blackburn Olympic, and who became a referee, then trainer, and an active member of the Player's Union.
In the palmy days of the Preston club they had a matchless trio of half-backs in Robertson, Russell, and Graham; they could play any kind of game. Strong and skiful in every sense, they were perfect tacklers and made their forwards play. Sandy Robertson, who came from Edinburgh St. Bernards, was as hard as nails, and to his lasting regret lost his place in the Cup team through an injury.
David Russell, of Stewarton, Ayrshire, a mafnificently-built man, was a great breaker-up of combination, and John Graham, of Annbank, in the same county, did some wonderful work.
THE IDEAL TEAM
— Unknown | 01/03/1935 —
A kind of question which I do not care a great deal for — which eleven do I think is the finest, composed of players of all nationalities. It gets one nowhere, and serves little purpose (states a northern sports expert)
But for what it is worth, my ideal team would be: Traine; Crompton, N. Ross; G. Howarth, McCall, Needham; Simpson, Bloomer, Woodward, James, and Spiksley.
A second which would run it very close, however, would be: Sutcliffe; Arnott, Crabtree; Gibson, Raisbeck, Forrest; Bassett, Walker, G. O. Smith, Chadwick (or Morris), and Townley.
Probably other elevens will suggest themselves to other minds which have had experience of more than one generation of footballers, and necessarily many outstanding players are not included because they have more challengers for their positions.
The striking thing about this species of examination is that James is the only man of the present age whose claim to vertuosity is really acclaimed.
But that, after all, may be, probably is, due to the point I have been stressing of late — that the approved football of the moment does not make specialists and "stars."
That is why the race of gianst, in an international valuation, appears to have petered out, and why so few of the players of to-day leave the deep impression on the mind that their predecessors did.
The game is so different, both in style and exture, indeed it is hardly recognisable as the same game, and I am quite prepared to admit that some of the big men of old might not to-day measure up to their standard, at least, in the same way.
WHAT FOOTBALL OWES TO THE CORINTHIANS
— R. H. Bruce Lockhart | 02/01/1932
This year the Corinthian Football Club celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of its existence.
The sponsor of the club was the redoubtable N. L. Jackson, then assistant honorary secretary of the Football Association. Its origin was due to two causes.
Mr. Jackson, dismayed by the superior combination of the Scottish teams in their international matches against England, was determined to provide an opportunity for the best English amateur players to play together. There were, too, many old public school boys, who found Saturday football too scant an outlet for their energy.
Here then was the chance to found a mid-week playing club which could draw its strength from the best players in other clubs.
Among those present at the inaugural meeting was Mr. E. C. Bambridge, the present secretary, known to his friends as "Charlie Bam," and one of the greatest outside-lefts of all time. The name first suggested was the Wednesday Club, but wiser counsels prevailed, and the more robust title of Corinthians was selected.
TOURING THE NORTH.
The early beginnings of Corinthans were modest. The first match played was against St. Thomas's Hospital on November 2, 1882, at Lambeth, and resulted in a Corinthian victory. At the end of this first season, however, the team toured the North of England and everywhere was welcomed with tremendous enthusiasm.
Drawing most of their support from the Universities and public schools (for many years there was an unwritten law confining election to members of these institutions), the Corinthians soon developed a style of their own, of which the chief features were the forward pass, always executed on the run, and the close proximity of the backs and the half-backs to the forwards.
It was not, however, until the season of 1884-1885 that the Corinthians launched their general attack against the best professional sides. The contact produced startling results. From that moment until 1905 Corinth never looked back and on many a field proved that she was fully a match for the best professional talent in the country.
THEIR GREATEST DEEDS.
The modern footballer, who has seen only the indifferent performances of the post-war Corinthians, is inclined to be sceptical about the prowess of their former heroes. The professionals, he will say, did not take these matches seriously.
There is only one answer to these detractors. Let them ask the old professionals who played against these amateurs. Their answer will be unanimous and entirely laudatory. There is another indirect proof. During the first twenty-five years of the clubs's existence it supplied, in the face of the best professional competition, 43 players (33 per cent of all the caps) to the all-England eleven against Scotland!
Who shall say what was the greatest team that the Corinthians ever fielded? Almost every year has its own advocates. The team of 1885 defeated Blackburn Rovers (winners of the English Cup) twice, Preston North End twice, and Sheffield. Successes against Cup winners were frequent in subsenquent years. On two occassions — in 1894 and again in 1895 — the Corinthian side was selected en bloc, in preference to the professionals, to do battle for England in an International. My own choice — and I am not forgetting the period of the Walters, of Cobbold, of Tinsley Lindley, of C. B. Fry and of G. O. Smith — falls on the Corinthian side which in 1904 defeated Bury by ten goals to three in the match for the Sheriff of London Shield. Never have I seen such irresistible forward play as that served up by G. C. Vassall, S. H. Day, G. S. Harris, S. S. Harris, and B. O. Corbett.
Nevertheless, perhaps the most outstanding performance of Corinth was achieved by the "stalwarts" of 1892, who challenged the Barbarians to a quadruble test of prowess at "Rugger," "Soccer," athletics and cricket. Strangely enough, the Corinthians lost the cricket match. But in spite of the presence of C. J. B. Moneypenny — then a world champion — in the ranks of the "Ba-Ba's," they won the sports. The Soccer match, won by 6-1, was a foregone conclusion. Then came the great surprise. The Barbarian "Rugger" side, which comprised seven Internationals and six Blues, was defeated by 16 points to 13.
I can see "Rugger" men of the post-war generation smile contemptuously, but there was no fluke about the victory. The Corinthians of those days were giants. Their "Rugger" side included P. M. Walters at full-back, C. B. Fry at wing three-quarter, A. M. Walters and Tinsley Lindley at half-back, with the perennial Wreford-Brown at forward.
In spite of these triumphs, Corinth's great service to football is in the pioneer work it has done abroad. Its Imperial and foreign teams laid the foundations of football's popularity. In those days professional teams went aborad for a joy-ride, and their tours brought little credit either to football or to Englishmen. The foreign tours of the Corinthians were models of clean football and good sportsmanship. They left behind them a memory and an example which have remained to this day.
PAST AND PRESENT.
Those who hold that football interferes with success in life may be interested to know the later history of these early Corinthians. If they have provided no Prime Ministers, they have at any rate put brains into football.
As a matter of fact, their failures in life have been few, and they have provided England and the Empire with many useful citizens. Their successful preparatory-school headmasters include G. O. Smith, C. P. Wilson (who played for England both at "Rugger" and "Soccer"), W. J. Oakley, S. H. Day and G. C. Vassall. Famous Corinthians in other walks of life include Sir E. Farquhar Buzzard (who played half-back in the Oxford XI. of 1890 along with Fry, Oakley and G. O. Smith), and who attended the King during his severe illness in 1930.
Some, like "Tip" Foster, greatest of all-rounders, and the inimitable "Shoot" Harris, died young. The war took its toll of others. C. B. Fry, great scholar and great athlete, has had a severe nervous breakdown.
Unfortunately, their mantle has not descended upon the post-war Corinthians. The increased speed of the modern game and the decline of public school "Soccer" have been a sore handicap, and to-day Corinth, "faint yet pursuing," finds it hard to maintain her place in first-class football.
But even if she is but a shadow of her former greatness, her name will endure so long as football is played. She has established traditions which the best footballers in all countries will always strive to follow.
SOME GREAT FOOTBALL CAPTAINS
— "Penalty Spot" | 14/12/1924 —
There is a slight disposition — or, at any rate, there was at one period — to underestimate the value of the captain in modern football. There was, however, prior to that a time when the art of captaincy was greatly appreciated. I recollect what a force captaincy was in the old Villa side that won the Cup and the League in 1897, and indeed during the whole or the eventful period when they secured either the Cup or the League with such wonderful frequency.
For there was a period often called the golden age of the Club, in which they obtained honours at a greater rate than any other club has been able to achieve them. That was the period during which John Devey acted as captain of the side. And who shall overestimate the value of his brainy leadership? As one who watched many of their historic games, I say without fear of contradiction, that this astude leadership was of inestimable worth, and that fact was freely recognised.
John Devey captained Aston Villa for eight years, and they were emphatically the best eight years the club has had. The whole of the players admitted the stimulating effect which Devey's leadership had upon them. I remember the famous Mr. J. H. McLaughlin, the head of the Celtic club, and for many years the most prominent football magnate in Scotland, telling me that he had never met any player who has so potent an influence on a team as John Devey has on Aston Villa; and he used also to say that England has made a big mistake in not more than once including John in their side to meet the Scots in international strife. The value of his leadership, he said, would have been invaluable.
The what a wonderful leader was Nick Ross, of North End! He was a great and sweeping player, but he was also able to communicate much of his exceptional animal magnetism to his side. When things were not going well, as occasionally happened — not often, perhaps, but sometimes — Nick would go forward and infuse immense vigour into the attack. A great personality in the game, was Nick Ross.
Then there was Charlie Campbell, who played on 10 successive occasions for Scotland against England, and made Queen's Park the great club it was during the long term that he acted as skipper. Charlie Campbell was a wonderful header, and there was tremendous enthusiasm in all his actions.
Ernest Needham was another fine skupper, and the ever-green "Nudger," as he was always styled, was as big force by reason of his genius as a leader as he was by reason of his novel skill. Another fina leader in the old days was John Brodie, the strong and bustling captain of the old Wolverhampton Wanderes. "Now lads," he would say, and sweep the goalkeeper out of his path, and out of the path of his fellow-forwards in the mightily convenient fashion permissible in those days.
Jem Bayliss, the Albion's old-time skipper, was also a great leader, and in later years Jesse Pennington and Syd Bowser won high fame by the astuteness of their captaincy.
GREATEST OF ALL TIME.
The greatest captain I have ever seen — by far the greatest, and I have seen practically all the big ones the gane has known — was Archie Hunter, the man who brought the Villa club from a local side to the finest body of footballers in the country. He had a magnetic personality, the like of which I cannot recall. He was the most inspiring player I have seen, and there is not a single man associated with Aston Villa in Archie's day who would fail to endorse that opinion.
Frank Forman, of Notts Forest, was another stimulating leader, and in the earlier days of that club, Sam Widdowson was a distinguished leader. Tinsley Lindley was another great source of inspiration for the Forest, his captaincy extending over a number of years.
Two entertaining and ultra successful skippers I can recall among the players that many of my readers will know more intimately were Caesar Augustus Llewellun Jenkins (yes, those were Caesar's initials) and Alec Leake, who for so many years between them controlled the destinies of the old Small Heath club in their Conventry Road days. Caesar as a redoubtable fellow, immensely strong, and I remember that in one out-match someone spread the rumour that Caesar was a parson, and I believe his name figured on the card as Rev. C. A. L. Jenkins. When in the first minute he charged the opposing captain, knocking him about 15 yards, the onlookers indignation knew no bounds, and cries of "He's a — nice parson, he is!" were heard all over the ground. Alec Leake was a merry wight, a man with an inexhaustible fund of anecdote, and the life and sould of every company in which he found himself.
BEST OF THE MODERN SCHOOL.
Joe McCall is one of our best modern captains. He is wonderfully successful oftentimes in getting his side buck up, as the saying goes, just when they were either showing signs of slacking, or the game seemed to be slipping out of their graps. There has scarcely been a better leader in purely modern times.
And here it may be said without in the slightest degree impreaching modern football, that the number of really great captains has shown a disposition to decrease. Quite why tgat is one does not know, except that right throughout life there has been a disposition for men of outstanding character to become fewer in number. That is probably partly due to the general levelling-up process that has been in progress, and partly due to the general standardisation that seems to be going on right through the nation.
Frank Barson has always been a fine stimulating player; one who has immence influence upon those associated with him. I doubt if there is any one in football to-day who can pull a side together better than he can.
THREE FINE AMATEURS.
C. Wreford-Brown was also an excellent captain; he led the English eleven at Celtic Park in 1898, when England beat a strong Scottish side by 3 goals to 1. He was a tactful fellow, too. Some one with good intentions, no doubt, but with doubtful judgment, offered a bicycle to the man who should score the first goal for England. That would have meant trouble, possibly, as all the forwards might have held the ball, intent on being the actual scorer of the goal. Wreford-Brown realised that, and immediately put his foot down, but put it down very good humouredly. He explaied what a bad thing it was for the game, and then induced the man to agree that the bicycle should be sold, and the money pooled among the nine professional members of the team — the famous G.O. Smith (who assuredly has the best chance of scoring) was the other amateur.
Fred Spiksley gave 5 for the machine, and the cash was then divided equally. I believed Fred Wheldon scored the first goal, but that is neither here nor there. But Wreford-Brown without doubt was responsible for a splendid act of captaincy; indeed, he was immensely popular with the professionals, and so was his old fellow Carthusian G.O. Smith.
W. E. Clegg, a former Lord Mayor of Sheffield, was a glorious captain in the very old days, and so was E. H. Greenhalgh, of Notts County. Bob Crompton in later times was quite effecive; Arthur Grimsdell was a distinctly good skipper for the Spurs, and so was Harry Makepeace during his long career with Everton. Billy Wedlock, of Bristol City, was one of the few really great captains the game has known; it was a serious matter for his club when his masterly tactics were no longer available. He had the true gift of leadership, and it is a gift which falls to few.
Vivian Woodward was nothing like so stimulating a leader as G. O. Smith, despite his great natural ability. Andrew Aitken was a splendid captain for both Newcastle and Middlesbrough, and J. R. Auld, in the far away days of Sunderland, when they were "The team of all the Talents," was one of the finest leaders I have seen. He was a great skipper. But few skippers of to-day seem to force themselves on one's notice.
IS DEAN AS GREAT AS G.O. SMITH?
— James Catton | 12/12/1931 —
Just as people who never saw W. G. Grace will timidly inquire if he was really as wonderful a cricketer as greybeards conted, so they startle veterans with such a query as:
— Do you think that G.O. Smith was as effective a centre-forward as this fellow Dean, of Everton?
W.G. and G.O. are almost mythological heroes to the youth of this generation. Comparisons with the long ago are difficult. Association football has changed in several essentials. In all periods the position of centre-forward has afforded scope for individual brilliance. In every age, and whatever his style of play, it has been and is vital that the centre should be a sure shot for goal.
Yet G.O. Smith never scored with such frequency as Dean. A study of the great matches in which the Old Carthusian and captain of Oxford University played, offers convincing evidence that he was not merely a finisher of movements.
His gentle manner and modest speech did not suggest the generaç conception of a footballer. When he came off the field not a hair of his head was out of place. He possessed perfect body balance in all movements. Smith once summed up his style to me in this way:
— In my day the centre was supposed to be the leader of the forwards and the pivot on which the others turned. His task was to initiate attacks, to make openings for the inside forwards. He had to lure the defence to one side and then pass to the other and keep the backs engaged.
How different it is to-day! The other forwards work out their schemes, then give the ball to the centre-forward, who is expected to score. We now look upon the centre as a "spear-head," as a thruster and not a developer. To most people he takes all the glory as the scorer. He is not a general, but a private soldier whose duty it is to make a definite break in the bastion.
In Smith's day newspapers did not print lists of the leading scorers. Who scored was of no consequence so long as somebody did. And if we ask an ancient like John Goodall, of Watford, who was the greatest of centres, the old professional will say:
— 'Jo' Smith, because he was so easy to play with.
Do we not overlook this accomplishment now? Do we see the centre-forwards who make it easy for their colleagues to place the ball in the net? G.O. was the universal provider.
Yet he once got 14 goals in a week! No goals in his career gave Smith such satisfaction as that he scored in the Dewar Cup match of 1899-1900, when the Corinthians defeated Aston Villa by 2-1. G.O. writes:
— I was lucky enough to get the winning goal and we were all very proud of having beaten our redoubtable opponents.
While John Goodall says that Smith was easy to play with, the old Oxonian retorts:
— In all my international matches the way was made fairly easy for me.
In these phrases and remarks do we not trace the perfection of understanding and combination so often lacking in these days?
A GREAT CENTRE.
No one can deny that Dean is a great centre. Scotland has had her heroes in R.S. McColl, A.N. Wilson, Dr. John Smith, the giant of Mauchline, William Sellar, and many others, but even Scotia has never had such a scintillating scorer as Dean. The Evertonian, like G.O. Smith, is always in the best position for his purpose — to get goals. Stein may make perfect centres, and Johnson and White, the forwards on either side of Dean, may provide the final pass, but of what use would such efforts be if Dean were not there? He should be called Dean, The Ever Ready, with either feet or head.
Never has there been a centre-forward so adept with his head. With a nod he flicks a ball here and there: he diverts it where he wills. McGrory, of Glasgow Celtic, is a clever "header," but no one has ever equalled Dean in the downward subtle turn that he can give the ball with his brow or the side of his head.
Men like Jack Sharp, who have played first-class football, and watched it latterly, are positive that there has never been a man with such a head: not even the renowned Scot, "Sandy" McMahon, of the Glasgow Celtic, or the other "Sandy" — Turnbull, of Manchester.
There are many kinds of centres. George Allan, of Liverpool, was of the big bustling type, who dashed headlong for goal. Did not William Foulke, the Daniel Lambert of all goalkeepers, once embrace Allan and stand him on his head?
RESERVES OF STRENGTH.
Of Allan's style was Albert Shepherd, of Bolton, Newcastle, and Bradford City. Not quite so powerful as Allan, he had such reserve of strength that he could plough his way through mud at a speed that would have exhausted most men; but Shepherd had always a shot left in his stride.
Perhaps some can remember how Shepherd, at Stamford Bridge 25 years ago, scored four goals against the pick of the Scottish League with Charles Thomson, of the Heart of Midlothian, at centre-half-back.
Speed and power are incalculable assets to the modern centre. Lambert, of Arsenal, is of this kind, while Waring, of Aston Villa, with explosive élan and always fresh, fearless and tireless, possesses a shot that recalls the swiftness of a swallow in its swerving flight.
Scotland has had more really great centres than any country. Right from the faraway, when Geordige Ker of the Queen's cast a spell over his adversaries, down to this hour, Caledonia has had a clever and cute centre-forward. Their reigns may have been brief, but they were popular idols.
Pedernera Bican Matthews
Loustau Pedernera Matthews
The line of half-backs did not have several values on the sides, but there was an exceptional dispute for the position of centre-half. Some half-back lines promised great performances during the tournament; others were completely modified for the World Cup; others performed better than expected. The tournament lacked side half-backs like Gyula Lázár, who was injured in the first game against Egypt, and Walter Nausch, who was cut due to injury. These two were regarded as the continent's premier left half-backs. For example, Nausch was replaced by Hans Urbanek, who was far from performing well in the tournament.
AUSTRIAN AND CZECH DOWNGRADE
It's impressive how Austria lost a huge amount of quality during the preparation for the World Cup. Austria has already set up the following half-back lines: Braun-Smistik-Nausch, Nausch-Smistik-Gall, Wagner-Smistik-Nausch and among other exceptional ones, which had Leopold Hofmann as right half-back or centre-half. However, for this edition of the World Cup, Austria had a half-back line far below the quality of the previous ones — and that was largely due to the injury of Walter Nausch in the match against Bulgaria.
On the other hand, it is also impressive the fact that in 1920s Czechoslovakia had the duo František Kolenatý & Karel Pešek-Káďa alongside Antonín Perner, Jaroslav Červený, Emil Seifert, Josef Pleticha, Ferdinand Hajný and among other exceptional half-backs. However, the half-back line Košťálek-Čambal-Krčil did not let the supporters down, mainly because of the excepcional World Cup which Štefan Čambal had.
Mentioning only the best: Franz Wagner. The right half-back of S.K. Rapid was exceptional, marking extremely high-level opponents very well — Raimundo Orsi, for instance — and supplying the forward line very well with precise passes. Wagner was considered the best passer of the Austrian national team. Wagner's best performance was against Italy, when he was widely regarded as the best player in that battle. Hugo Meisl was quite proud of his half-back's performances.
|1# JOHN GOODALL|
|2# DR. TINSLEY LINDLEY|
|1# GABINO SOSA|
|2# JULIO LIBONATTI|
|1# ARTHUR FRIEDENREICH|
|2# PETRONILHO DE BRITO|
|1# PEDRO PETRONE|
|2# JOSÉ PIENDIBENE|
|1# PEDRO PETRONE|
|2# ARTHUR FRIEDENREICH|
//Rankings: Central Europe 1920s | Players
Throughout the 1920s, some half-back lines stood out from the rest, mainly being represented by Czechoslovakia players, more precisely the lines on which A.C. Sparta formed, which they had in Kolenatý, Káďa and Perner as the most prominent. However, the other two — with Jaroslav Červený, Ferdinand Hajný or Antonín Carvan — also achieved worldwide success. Another famous half-back trio of Czechoslovakia was S.K. Slavia's Vodička, Pleticha and Čipera. The choice wasn't too difficult, at least not with regard to the right half-back and centre-half. However, the dispute becomes good when the topic reaches the left side of the half-back line. There wasn't a player who excelled the others with extreme clarity, but some who reached an exceptional level to the point of choosing to become valid if you turn to any opinion.
EASY CHOICE: KOLENATÝ
In the aspect more focused on the right side, above all, I directly highlight the Czech class, as they had one of the highest values for the position throughout the decade. Straight to the point, the best: František Kolenatý, of A.C. Sparta. This right half-back was an exceptionally dominant player in his position. Fast, athletic, artistic and with an advanced tactical sense. He was a skinny player, not strong, but he had a lot of stamina and determination in every action. Without any doubt, Kolenatý is the first option to this position. Czechoslovakia produced others of high level, as is the case of Antonín Vodička, the half-back of S.K. Slavia, however, did not have that much opportunity in the 1920s, as his countryman was much superior. In terms of football qualities, Vodička had nothing in special, but he was efficient to a point that he could nullify his opponent. Although he was also a fine passer, Vodička's main task was that the opposition did not have enough time to play, thus being constantly tackled.
Perhaps the only one who could rival the skinny, lightning-fast Czech would be Vilmos Kertész — Kertész II. —, from MTK, a versatile player and more focused on offensive plays. Kertesz II. was a player with complete attributes and always praised as one of the most important figures of MTK Aranycsapat. He, however, as much as his football only improved with age, he did not play for the entire decade. Kolenatý, in addition, reached a class still superior to Kertész II. In addition to Kertész II., another Hungarian emerged to stand out in the right half-back position, and that was Ferenc Borsányi, from the Újpest ascendant. Unlike the player who was Kertész II., Borsányi was not a robust physique player and not as imaginative as the jokester Kértész, but he was a player who had an even bigger fight.
Compared to the Czech and Hungarian representatives, the Austrian class remained quite low. However, good names emerged, such as Johann Richter, from S.K. Rapid, Josef Schneider, from F.K Austria — Wiener Amateur — and Karl Kurz, from Wiener Amateur — especially the latter. Karl Kurz was part of a transitional era of level for the Wiener Amateur. In the first half of the 1920s, he was the most obvious option for Hugo Meisl. He was a representative of a school more oriented to technique than a more athletic style.
ANOTHER EASY CHOICE: KÁĎA
There are some centre-halves who are important figures in their teams; others are among the best in the world; others are the best in the world; others mark the history of football — and this is Karel Pešek-Káďa. The blonde, classy, and elegantly styled short pass and tactical perception is far above any centre-half that appeared not just in Central Europe but across the world in the 1920s. Káďa, the captain of A.C. Sparta, was in a class of his own.
After Brandstetter, some naysayers believed that a centre-half would hardly emerge that could equalize class of the S.K. Rapid's axis. They, however, were mistaken. Two players emerged to give Hugo Meisl more options: Leopold Hofmann & Josef Smistik. Both were very different players, but of the highest class, even having reached their respective peaks later. Still, for example, Hofmann was already one of the top centre-halves in the world by 1927 and Smistik boosted his level well into the late 1920s. They are, in fact, important names to be mentioned.
On the left side of the half-back, compared to the other two positions, there is a big difference between quality, as the left side is much lower — at the class level. Once again, the Czechs stand out in this position with three highly versatile players, but who showed immense quality as left half-backs: Seifert, Perner, Červený & Hajný. The first, Emil Seifert, from S.K Slavia, was a more defensive player, a technical player and focused on a tactical sense. Perner was the best of the three A.C. Sparta — Perner, Červený, Hajný — however, due to his lack of regularity in the 20s, Červený ends up standing out among Czechoslovakia's left half-backs.
However, while the Czechs had a lot of variety, they did not have the quality of a Leopold Nitsch from S.K. Rapid, which was the main half-back wing of the Austrian territory. Leo Nitsch was a shy but effective, reliable and intelligent player. Nitsch was not a tall player, no, far from it. He, however, had a robust physique, therefore capable of winning tackles against so-called tougher opponents. Over the years, Nitsch gained more and more weight, but his excellent positioning ability and excellent head and foot technique made him still a difficult obstacle to overcome. He is the team's left half-back.
|1# TED DRAKE|
|2# JIMMY MCGRORY|
|1# MATTHIAS SINDELAR|
|2# DR. GYÖRGY SÁROSI|
|3# GIUSEPPE MEAZZA|
|1# ARSENIO ERICO|
|2# LEÔNIDAS DA SILVA|
|1# RAYMOND BRAINE|
|2# ISIDRO LÁNGARA|
|1# MATTHIAS SINDELAR|
|2# DR. GYÖRGY SÁROSI|
Nitsch Káďa Kolenatý
A complete half-back, in fact, with A.C. Sparta being superior to all other Central European halves. The ranking of the three halves ends like this:
|1# Karel Pešek-Káďa|
|2# František Kolenatý|
|3# Leopold Nitsch|
Alex James, Alfredo Di Stéfano, Antonio Sastre, Diego Maradona, Ernest Needham, Héctor Scarone, Jimmy Crabtree, Lionel Messi, José Manuel Moreno, Pelé.
Adolfo Pedernera, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ferenc Puskás, Franz Beckenbauer, György Orth, Johan Cruijff.
Alfréd Schaffer, Arsenio Erico, Bob Crompton, Bobby Walker, Charlie Buchan, Dr. Gyorgy Sárosi, Eusébio, Garrincha, G.O. Smith, Hughie Gallacher, José Leandro Andrade, Káďa, Lothar Matthäus, Manuel Seoane, Michel Platini, Ronaldo, Stanley Matthews, Steve Bloomer, W.N. Cobbold, Zico, Zizinho.
Friedrich Gschweidl, Andrés Iniesta, Kálmán Konrád, Sándor Kocsis, Xavi.
* * *
Lev Yashin, Ricardo Zamora.
Dino Zoff, František Plánička, Gianluigi Buffon, Gordon Banks, Jimmy Trainer, Manuel Neuer, Peter Schmeichel, Sam Hardy, Sepp Maier.
Puskás Hidegkuti Kocsis
Czibor Budai II.
* * *
Czibor Puskás Kocsis Budai II.
* * *
Czibor Budai II.
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