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12/05/1925: Rónay interviews Jimmy Hogan

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-06-07 18:02:12

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Victor Rónay | 12/05/1925

"I will be looking for new talent and I will introduce them to the queen of sports, football — "MTK is still a great team that any nation can be proud of"

Since Sunday, a new name, a new force and a new will have given fresh impetus to Hungarian football. In other words, we have not expressed ourselves well. We are not talking about a new name, a new man, but about an old, enthusiastic and lucky worker in Hungarian football, Jimmy Hogan, who has returned to us.
We could almost say that he has come home again, because although Jimmy Hogan's cradle did not lie in the land of mirages, he is one of us, a good friend whom we have not forgotten during his long absence, and who, far away, treated every Hungarian footballer he brought to his good fortune like a father treats his son.
The return of Jimmy Hogan is not only a private matter for MTK, but also a welcome event for the entire Hungarian sporting community, because his actions, as in the past, will have a positive impact not only on MTK, but also on the universal Hungarian football sport.
You can't even get him in a short news item. We caught up with Master Hogan to talk to us about the circumstances of his return, his plans, his work programme and, after witnessing the MTK-Bolton Wanderers match on Sunday, his impressions of the game.
To put it this way, we approached Master Hogan, it sounds very simple and you would think it would be even simpler. In reality, however, it was a real chase, from the master's apartment in Hungária Street, through Orth's sporting goods shop on Andrássy Street, the MTK casino on Ferenc Liszt Square to the Hungária Street track, where we finally got lucky enough to find him.
But you couldn't talk to him here either, because you had to wait until the "match" was over, until he had taken off his shirt, washed, massaged and finally wore it again. What kind of match, you ask, dear reader. Well, please, with love, Uncle Jimmy, this grey-haired gentleman of nearly fifty, heard that on Monday afternoon the MTK old-boys' team would be playing the Színpadi Munkás — Stage Workers' — team, so, disregarding the fatigue of the long journey, which he had not yet had time to rest, he went to the pitch where football could be seen and not only watched, but also wore the shirt and joined the team as an inside right and played.
But how he played. As a young representative with such ambition. I came out towards the end of the game, but I was lucky enough to see him score a goal from fifteen yards. MTK won the match 4:2.
While Sunday's match was played on a pitch that had not yet been cleaned of litter and Uncle Jimmy stood out from the rest of the field with his class, a few determined MTK fans on the sidelines were already painting the future. What will Master Hogan make of the MTK team...
Upstairs in the box of honour of the MTK-pálya sat the pale, golden-haired Giziké regaling the small but enthusiastic group of her suitors with authentic Hogan anecdotes. The blonde Giziké is an old acquaintance of the blessed good Uncle Jimmy, whose protégé, as Giziké laughs, recounts, "when I was a barefoot girl, I used to pick on all the boys and throw them off the pitch".
Finally the two oldboy teams pull off, dusk falls and only a few of Master Bodor's determined pupils are wandering around the pitch. Blonde Giziké is also left alone, munching on a friendly loaf of strawberry jam with great gusto. Suddenly she giggles out loud. There is a long ring of laughter and I look around in amazement, but I don't see a single creature besides the two of us. At last I understand. Giziké is still not reformed, and she's still picking on all the boys. That's why I quietly keep my head down, lest Uncle Jimmy's protestations throw me off the track.
Finally, amongst the clothed MTK old boys comes Jimmy Hogan. They head into town. I join them and Ági Weisz, who has produced a miraculously vigorous half-back game in the oldboy team, introduces me to Mr. Hogan and we are off to have a chat. He asks me if I'm more comfortable speaking German, French or English. After we agree that it's all the same to both of us, we change the language of conversation with real juggling speed.
Hogan: I came back to Budapest, not only because MTK called me (I had just recently been called to Spain, Italy, Germany and Switzerland for two other clubs), but because I was happy to take the first opportunity to return to Hungary, where I have so many good people, where I have always had a good time and where my work has always been appreciated.
» But apart from my pleasant memories, what brought me back was the knowledge that the Hungarian land is the birthplace of sporting talent, and since I have been gone, there have certainly been some sprouts that have been re-sprouting and that can fully develop under my care and guidance. FOOTBALL SONS
Hogan: A coach can't create football players, but where there is talented material, management can work wonders. My secret is that my team training sessions are not unpleasant, monotonous work for the boys, but I try to make the exercises as interesting as possible, so that the players can almost do what they want when it's their turn. The best proof of how successful this has been in the past is the fact that Braun Csibi, Gyuri Molnár, Opata and the others have all been with me all the time, even outside training time. They spent every free moment on the pitch and when the weather was bad, we would go up to my room and talk about our common love, football. And I know that the kids back home were often scolded for this great enthusiasm for sport, but I didn't have the heart to chase them home, because I really loved something as much as my own son.
» I have to make a special mention of Gyuri Orth, because he was the most dangerous footballer of all my sons. When the others had all gone home, he stayed apart and wouldn't leave me in peace until I told him about the great English footballers, famous national team players and interesting match stories. It seems to have worked, because on Sunday he played as if he had read it in a book. THE WORK PLAN
Hogan: It is too early to talk about a detailed work plan, but I will stick to my old system and my goal will not only be to improve physical fitness, technique and tactics, but also to prepare the boys morally and psychologically for every match.
» That's why it felt so good that after I said a few words of encouragement to the boys before they took to the pitch, Gyuri Orth said to the others, "Boys, today we should not only fight with all our might for the honour of Hungarian football and the club colours, but also show our old coach, Uncle Jimmy, that we can still play if we have to". This enthusiastic atmosphere dominated the MTK game throughout and for that reason, I think I am not being immodest when I take some small credit for the team's fine performance yesterday. I was really pleased with every player without exception. No matter what was said, no matter how much they tried to discourage me in Vienna by saying that MTK is no longer a team, I am pleased to say that MTK is still a great team of which any nation's footballing sport could be justly proud. THE MATCH AGAINST BOLTON
Hogan: The Bolton game was disappointing for me, they didn't play as they should have. I know them well, without doubt one of the best teams in England. I hope they will show more on Sunday. It was a strong handicap for Bolton that centre-half Seddon, the best player in the team, was unable to play due to injury and so they had to rotate players a bit. They were also made nervous by the referee who made error after error and, on top of that, was unable to make himself understood. Only this can go some way to excusing the incident at the end of the match. TEAM ADAPTATION AND NEW TALENTS
Hogan: Now, the first thing I'll do is to get to know the players I'll be dealing with and see who I'll have to pay more attention to. Then I will also look for new talent and try to attract them to the sport and make them love the queen of all sports, football.
» If I can do that, I have a winning case. Success is always the proof of a coach, which is why I don't want to make any predictions, but I hope that, as in the past, I won't be brought to shame by the boys.