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Prof. Schmieger, 1921: Real class

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-01-09 02:15:50


Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Real class
Wilhelm Schmieger | 15/01/1921

In Budapest of late the long-time master, the M.T.K., has had to fight desperately to maintain his place at the top against the up-and-coming U.T.E. As is well known, the championship game of the two clubs even ended with a victory for the newcomers.
The two clubs have now made trips abroad and the results they have achieved are extremely instructive. They are incomparably cheaper for the M.T.K., so they seem to turn the paper form completely upside down. Because U.T.E. has beaten the M.T.K. and must therefore be stronger than this.
Of course, it is not reasonable to judge the strength of a team based on a result, but the Ujpest have other excellent championship results, so that their failure in Germany surely came as a surprise to the uninitiated. But whoever looked deeper will have foreseen the matter as it really came.
Tradition plays a big role in football, a much bigger one than you might think. Almost every large club has a more or less pronounced system according to which its team works continuously. This is just as the case in England as it is in our country and in Hungary. For decades, for example, the game of the Aston Villa is fundamentally different from the Chelsea or Woolwich Arsenal. How such a system arises in a club may have its various causes, but local, denominational and national influences certainly play a not unimportant role. There is a wide, still completely undeveloped field for interesting investigations.
With us, too, the diversity of the system or the style, as one also likes to say, is sharply pronounced. Rudolfsh├╝gel, for example, has played in exactly the same style since its inception until today, which tries to complete a wide pass with sharp shots. All the refreshments to the team and all the new hires have not changed that. In contrast, the Wiener Amateure always preferred a fairly short, shallow passing game based on sophisticated ball technique. Of course, there are degrees of perfection in every style of play and space enough for the often noticeable fluctuations in playing strength. Just as certainly there is not only a relatively, but also an absolutely good game system and only teams whose skills are really high and real will be able to perform good sport regardless of the paralyzing and encouraging circumstances, the place and the audience.
We find this view surprisingly confirmed in sports in Budapest. The U.T.E. has come very high in the championship and yet his team can still not be compared with that of the M.T.K., even if they have defeated him. It's a downright bullying team, made up of tough people, but some of them also have exceptional skills. Such an eleven is well suited to steal results, to scoop up points in tough championship fights, to wrestle down a technically far superior opponent even in bitter defensive battles, but not to demonstrate perfect sport, fine game for connoisseurs.
The arrangers of the U.T.E. trip promised their audience more than the Hungarians could deliver. Of course, the sensational 1-0 result against the M.T.K. was vigorously scrapped for advertising purposes, but the U.T.E. disappointed and the M.T.K. who appeared at the same time made a completely different impression. It's the same with class and style as with aristocracy: even these are difficult to acquire. I don't mean the external form, but the intrinsic value. One ascribes the class and the art of the M.T.K. to Jimmy Hogan, certainly only partly rightly. Even before Hogan's time, the M.T.K. people had the same system that Hogan did not first create in them, but to which he only gave new impulses, new cues. In general, one is often inclined to overestimate the work of a coach, especially Hogan, who had a dozen excellent player individualities at his disposal right from the start and who found an ideal systemic tradition. The writer of these lines has participated in training days of the M.T.K. more than once, during which Jimmy lay in the grass all afternoon and watched with a smile as M.T.K. were responsible for their training just as they had done before Hogan's time. Whoever stepped into the M.T.K team felt the invisible aura, could not escape the traditional custom; even when they were a wildlining, their refined game, they began to think and, so to speak, to play a well-thought-out football. For this reason we will not be able to learn more from any Hungarian team than from M.T.K. in the foreseeable future, even if he should not claim the top of the championship any more.
In our explanations we chose the examples of M.T.K. and U.T.E., although other, no less clear examples were closer to us. Class is not acquired, it is inherited. Only in absolutely exceptional cases can a team of very first-class, finely tuned players who have stayed together for many years, who come together by chance, develop into the highest class and create a tradition in their club that will continue to bear witness to goodness into later generations.