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Jenő Konrád, 1934: English tour notes
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-02-28 14:41:16
Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
English tour notes
Jenő Konrád | 30/12/1934
By being able to accompany the Austria team on their tour of England, my old dream came true. I spent two full weeks in the gymnasium. I watched ten English league teams in difficult matches, got to know the leaders of British football, admired the unparalleled impartiality of the English audience, the lavish furnishings of the pitches, the internal organization of the professional clubs and the unimaginable sporty atmosphere of British football. This visit to England, which I have longed for since I was a child, far exceeded even my most tense expectations. The two weeks I was able to spend in the homeland of sports will remain an unforgettable experience. So far, I have only guessed what the essence and content of the concept of sport is. And I know that what we call sport on the continent is just a caricature, a weak imitation of the British approach to sport.
The league president of 85 years.
Respect for tradition runs through the red thread throughout all aspects of English football. The age of federal and club leaders is usually between the ages of 70 and 80, and the action that has just begun in England to reach out to football leaders in their 60s and 70s is now a revolutionary movement. Mr. Kanne, the 85-year-old president of the English League, also appeared at the banquet for us at Sheffield. It was too late during the banquet speeches. The old-looking old man began his speech: “Sheffield has beautiful memories, as the cradle of English football has been rocking in this town. I played for his successor in Sheffield 55 years ago. It still annoys me that my shot, which looked unprotected at the beginning of the second half, bounced off the back of the goal, "then the league president greeted us, stating that you couldn't play better and behave more sportily than Austria did. Then he looked at his watch and said, "It's true that I'm the president of the league, but the train isn't waiting for me," and in the midst of a thunderous storm of applause, he leaned toward the exit of the hall. Meanwhile, about 200 throats sang a farewell to the well-known English song: "You're a Good Boy"...
Happy and cheerful English.
There are nowhere to see as many smiling, happy and cheerful people as there are in England. It is true, for example, that Liverpool, with a population of one million, has only 6 to 7,000 unemployed people in total. Vienna was once called the city of the “golden kingdom”. But even peaceful Vienna was not as carefree and cheerful as post-war England was today. This carefree serenity appears to the stranger halfway down the road. It has a refreshing effect.
It happened in Birmingham after the match. A shaver manufacturer there visited us at our hotel. He came to me as the leader of the team and handed me 14 self-shavers with the following remark: “your game is beautiful and clean. You need a clean face to play like that. That's why I brought you this little gift".
In Sheffield, Austria received a beautiful silver goblet in memory, and players and attendants received tasteful pocket knives. According to the superstition, the knife received as a gift is an misfortune. To avoid this, we all had to pay 1 to 1 pence as a “purchase price”.
Sheffield Wednesday featured the goalkeeper for United on loan against us. Speaking at the banquet, the president of Sheffield United noted that he did not understand why they were amazed that the otherwise talented team had beaten Austria. He takes this for granted, as the United goalkeeper defended the English net.
An English journalist spoke at the banquet in Stoke. We thought he was going to talk about football. He didn't even think of that. “They don’t know the evening yet,” he began, reciting the latest Scottish joke, reaping a storm of pleasure, and sat down.
What does the English audience like?
Knowing the English perception of sport, I strictly allowed the boys to rest on their judgment without reservation, even if they were to sentence us to a penalty for a henos in the middle of the field. Against Sheffield, the referee awarded two irregular goals. One of them was born from a strong offside position. The audience whistled at the referee, who, of course, could only be mistaken. Our players got up to start without comment or batting. For five minutes, a storm of applause rumbled at the sight of Austria's exemplary discipline.
The Liverpool half stumbled into Molzer and fell. Before the judge whistled, Molzer took the ball in his hands and put it in place of the free kick. I have seen little sympathy for what followed.
Viertl twice in a row badly deceived the Stoke City right back. After the second action, the defender ran up to Viertl and congratulated him with a handshake on the same trick for which no central European defender would have "revamped" himself in a very different way.
The centre-forward of Fulham was injured against us and had to be taken off the field. At half-time, Jimmy Hogan asked us if he could replace him with a fresh man. Although we did not address the issue of player or player substitution, we agreed to set up a reserve. When the new man appeared on the field, the audience first staged a huge demonstration against Fulham and then, after it had subsided, cheered us on for our loyalty.
We played with a big advantage against Birmingham and at times squeezed the English so hard that even Sesta showed up on the strike line. Birmingham's defense began to play in a struggle. A thousand throats shouted to the English players, "Give them a go, because they are better than you".
In Stoke, the porter of our hostel, who belongs to the City printing camp, gave us a formal speech at the farewell. He said, "You have lost 1-0, but the result is incidental to us. Austria’s best player, even without Sindelar, proved to be better than Stoke City. The audience celebrated you because you are excellent footballers and just as good athletes".
Everyone is equipped with an autogram book...
In England, autographing is also done sporadically. Every sportsman, even the most famous star, has an autograph book in which he collects the signatures of renowned players with childish joy and passion. After our matches, hundreds of students visited us at our hotel, where they stood in a line of geese and asked for the autographs of our players. At banquets, everyone from the old men to the English players besieged us for signatures, there were older ladies asking for autographs, and parents and their children asked us to enter our name in the “family” autograph book.
Sindelar, Nausch, Mock and Viertl are as well known in England today as the most popular English stars. Again, they were approached at the banquets by wild strangers, saying, "Have you ever been to the Austrian national team in England. I saw you play and I was delighted!"
It is characteristic of the mentality of the English that they did not want to earn in the matches of Austria. The revenue was used for hospitality. It is true that they have witnessed downright lavish generosity in this field. After each of our matches, there were 100-200 table setting banquets.
Alex James and Arsenal.
Arsenal is the most prestigious football club in England. They say that anyone who does not wear a monocle cannot be a board member there. A division that would emerge from the lords could be formed at the Arsenal. Money doesn't really matter at this club. Only players worth £ 6-10,000 will be on the team on this basis. Allison, the director of Arsenal, has been invited to join his team’s Wolverhampton Wanderers, which were won by Arsenal 7-0 in front of 45,000 spectators. The game of the English championship team is very interesting. A whole study could be written about it. Arsenal play with three backs, three covers and four strikers, but apart from the goalkeeper and the backs, the other seven players are constantly on the move and constantly changing their position. Sometimes the right winger pulls into the center and releases the ball to the right edge, where the centre-forward or insider is ready to hit the ball. It is not uncommon for the left half-back to suddenly appear in the right half-back position and vice versa. Arsenal’s style is quite special, but the whole game revolves around inside left Alex James. James is by far the most outstanding British football artist. He usually conducts the team from the centre-rhalf line, but with so many ideas and techniques that evokes in us the best of Orth, Schaffer or Csámi. James knows everything. He is the master of body tricks, short or 30-40 meter flat, half-height or high passes. All his actions are generous. Probably the greatest player I've ever seen. Arsenal's ability to score is proverbial. However, James has a maximum of 1-2 goals per season. In the past, as a great sensation, one of the English newspapers reported that James “almost scored!” James is also considered a unique phenomenon by English experts because the goal-scorer is more respected by the English than the creator. This also characterizes the British expertise. It is true that shooting science is even more advanced in amateur teams than on the continent.
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