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Player of the decade: 1920s
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-06-24 12:57:13
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This was the decade after the First World War, many footballing values were lost; others failed to reach their true potential or longevity in their careers, as was the case with Charlie Buchan and several other great England footballers. 1920s was the decade when tours, the famous excursions were held on a large scale. The development of football at the highest level has been incredibly noticeable. Several of the great values emerged in this decade, or, as is the case with other territories, reached their peak in this decade.
Starting with the British Isles, even with all the events of the past decade, the Englishman Charlie Buchan was the main name of England. Another name, David Jack, reached the peak of his career while playing for Bolton Wanderers. Everton's Dixie Dean was also one of the top stars in English football during this period. Scotland, on the other hand, was the leading nation in the British Isles, and their results, head-to-head and footballers, compared to England, are of very high quality. Players like Hughie Gallacher & Alex James emerged in the 1920s. Gallacher still reached the peak of his career in the 1920s, precisely wearing the colors of Newcastle United F.C. There was one Scottish player who reached the pinnacle and achieved tremendous regularity in that period – and that was the left winger Alan Morton, of Glasgow Rangers.
David Jack had football as polished and elegant as his own gentleman personality. Jack was an exceptional goalscorer and an excellent playmaker. His runs towards the opposing gate were electrifying. A tall, strong player, technically outstanding and with a tactical vision typical of a high-level schemer. Another great right inside forward was Bob Kelly, of Huddersfield A.F.C., but not of the same caliber as Jack.
Another big name to emerge in English football in the 1920s was William Ralph Dean or, as he disliked being called, "Dixie" Dean. The stalwart centre-forward reached the pinnacle of his career in the latter half of the decade, when he wore the colors of Everton F.C. Dean was a robust player, with a unique positional sense for completing plays made by his teammates. He could shoot with immense power and accuracy with both feet and possessed exceptional aerial play, particularly through his headers. Dixie Dean is one of the best headers to ever pitch a football pitch.
Of the great values produced by Scotland, Hughie Gallacher and Alan Morton reached the pinnacle of their careers in the 1920s. Even playing in a lower division, Alex James was considered the best inside forward of the last decade. James, however, did not reach the height of his performance in the 1920s; he did, however, hit in the first half of the 1930s. Gallacher, Wee Hughie Gallacher, was a phenomenal centre-forward with technical naturalness and tactical genius. The little Scotsman was a rather short player, but he had a lot of stamina and knew how to use his technique and body to protect the ball with ease. Gallacher was a very dribbler forward, he knew how to pass the ball with precision and had a precise and fulminating shot with both feet.
As much as Morton had a high level and constancy throughout the decade, he was not considered a player of the caliber of Gallacher and also did not reach a level similar to that which the Scottish centre-forward reached at the end of the decade. I, however, found it interesting to mention the Glasgow Rangers left winger.
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Continental European football grew in strength and scope more and more. After the First World War, Spanish football grew a lot with some local values and others that went to play there. Names like José Samitier and Ricardo Zamora were big names that deserved a mention. In other territories, such as Sweden, they revealed names that reached the first level of football in their position – Sven Rydel. On the territory of Czechoslovakia, Karel Pešek-Káďa was the main name. In Austria, names like Josef Blum and Fritz Gschweidl, for instance, stood out. However, in terms of quality, there was no country that reached the level of Hungarian footballers, especially in the first half of the decade.
The main great names in continental football were from Central Europe, mainly from Hungary. The Magyar territory, in fact, did not achieve great results against Austria and Czechoslovakia throughout the decade, but they produced brilliant players who, as was the case with Alfréd Schaffer and Kálmán Konrád, were responsible for enhancing the football of other nations. Hungary, however, had a player that, properly, it was not possible to describe exactly and precisely, accurately, what his football was like.
It was on Viennese and German soil, both by the 1. F.C. Nürnberg and F.C. Wacker München, which Alfréd Schaffer most stood out at a high level. Meanwhile, Schaffer from the Wiener Amateur S.V. it had something more than its other versions on German soil. He was a spectacular player. Robust, tall, highly technical and the reflection of scientific football. He could score several goals on Viennese soil, but he was more of a passer than ever; always aiming to pass the ball to a teammate to score. He, however, when he scored a goal, that goal was something completely different — above average in beauty.
Another great Hungarian name on Viennese soil was Kálmán Konrád, the younger brother of Jeno Konrád. Konrad II. — Csámi — was the main player of the Wiener Amateur S.V. throughout the 1920s. After all, Schaffer played far fewer games than his compatriot. Konrad II. was a player who could be summed up as the epitome of tactical intelligence and highly refined technique. It was through his style that he shaped the foundations of the Wiener Amatateur and enhanced Die Violetten in a gradual process over the decade.
The other great Hungarian name remained in Hungarian territory itself, and stood out in style even to the British who came to visit Central Europe. This footballer was the epitome of football.
György Orth was something completely different on the football pitch. He combined the artistic value with efficiency, versatility and his style of elegance above any other footballer. A player who clearly had a genius, but not like other historic players. Orth had a much higher level of understanding, as his quick thinking meant that he was several moves ahead of the opponent and could perform such actions in the blink of an eye. What a repertoire of tricks Gyuri had! Every week he had a new trick, the public never knew what to expect from the great Hungarian master. This was a player show. Unfortunately, his fate was drastically decided in Vienna.
SOUTH AMERICAN GREATS.
One of the great surprises in world football was the great presentation of the South Americans to the European vision of football. Prior to the 1924 Olympic Games, there was almost zero idea of what to expect from South Americans. In turn, the South Americans themselves, mainly the Uruguayans, did not know what to expect from European football. With the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games and with the tours carried out by South American and European teams to both territories, the authorities of continental Europe realized that the level of the South Americans was close to, identical or even superior to the level of football played in the British Isles.
The main names in South America were focused on Argentina and Uruguay. José Nasazzi, José Leandro Andrade and Héctor Scarone for Uruguay; Manuel Seoane and Gabino Sosa for Argentina.
Starting with the Argentines, more precisely with Gabino Sosa, a centre-forward of Abanico. Sosa was a player very similar to the sovereign José Piendibene, largely because of the system applied. Sosa was a highly technical centre-forward with above average tactical sense; focused on preparing plays for the other four in the forward line, mainly both inside forwards. He was an excellent passer, especially in vertical passes, and had a quality of dribbling far above average. He was a finesse player, without much force in his actions. He was a teamworker, a player far from being an individualist.
Manuel Seoane, on the other hand, was different from Sosa in several ways. Seoane could play inside forward and centre-forward. He was a player focused largely on tactical intelligence, with the clearest and most accurate movements in his actions. A tactical genius with a unique touch of far above average perception, with three or four moves ahead of any scorer.
I only mention Gabino Sosa to add more players to these lines, but Manuel Seoane was clearly the best Argentine player in the 1920s. As for that there's not much comparison.
Celeste had big names throughout the decade, with them being more representative in the last decade, as was the case with Ángel Romano and the aforementioned José Piendibene. Others, such as Pedro Petrone, emerged and reached the peak of their careers in the 1920s.
THE OLYMPIC URUGUAYANS.
As already mentioned before, the Olympic Games were the gateway from South American football on a large scale to world football. In those exceptional teams that formed in 1924, 1928 and in 1925 when Nacional held one of the greatest tours of all time. Perhaps the greatest tour of all time. In the main teams that Uruguay assembled throughout the 1920s, there was a great highlight in each sector of the line: José Nasazzi, full-back; José Leandro Andrade, half-back; Héctor Scarone, forward.
Starting in rank order in a standard tactical organization, Nasazzi captained his teams; not because of his technical value, but for his strong personality and leadership on and off the field. El Mariscal was a robust player, tall, firm and confident in his actions on the pitch. He had almost perfect timing to intercept or tackle in every situation. His aerial game was sublime, it was very difficult to get past Nasazzi. The aforementioned traits along with his stamina and determination at home have made him one of the best defenders of all-time.
JOSÉ LEANDRO ANDRADE
Half-back José Leandro Andrade played football as splendidly as he barbecued. He was a complete player, highly versatile, fast, technical, elegant and had an enviable stamina for any other player. Both offensively and offensively, destroying opposing actions or building for his team, Andrade was the perfect half-back, whether playing wing half-back or playing centre-half. Andrade stood out at a high level in the Olympic Games, when he was almost unanimously considered the best player of the tournament. Unfortunately, Andrade was unable to maintain consistency throughout the decade. Even so, Andrade always maintained a high level, although not close to his level of performance in the first half of the decade.
To conclude on the Uruguayans, Héctor Scarone was, in many South American and European opinions, the main Uruguayan player, even though Andrade initially got a great prospect for the Europeans.
Scarone was, at first, an inside forward, more precisely a right inside forward. He, however, was a highly versatile player who could even play as a half-back. Technically a completely out of the ordinary player; either through his passes, shots, dribbling and ball control. Scarone was the reflection of the determined player on the field and who always fought for any ball – and this is explained by his reactions. Fast, tough, offensive and defensive. Scarone could create offensive actions and destroy opposing actions with equal quality.
To conclude this article, although players such as the Hughie Gallacher (Scotland), David Jack (England) and Manuel Seoane (Argentina) reached their peak in the 1920s. In the case with Charlie Buchan (England), due to the War, his best moments were during the first half of the decade. The dispute I see in the decade is between Héctor Scarone (Uruguay) and György Orth (Hungary).
Scarone and especially Orth reached the peak of their careers in the first half of the 1920s. In the case of Orth, it is almost certain to say that the young Hungarian's career ended in September 1925. In the case of Scarone, even after his heyday, he still maintained a high level of performance. However, the football that Orth presented in the first half of the 1920s was never repeated afterwards.
In this case, I put in order: 1# György Orth, 2# Héctor Scarone, 3# Charlie Buchan.
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