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Hogan, 1955: I wish there were more good players
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-02-02 16:04:25
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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 has 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 to 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 a 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.
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