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24/12/1923: Herendi interviews Alfréd Schaffer
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-06-07 18:07:37
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WITH SCHAFFER FACE TO FACE
Arthur Herendi | 24/12/1923
"Football is a mental game for me" — Intimacy about the Nuremberg-Basel-Munich-Prague-Vienna cruise — He discovered Germany's finest centre-half — Schaffer's Olympic team.
Six o'clock in the afternoon. At the Terézváros Casino, MTK's homestead, where a rather international crowd is sitting together at tables laid out in green, fierce card battles are raging. Contras and re-contras are flying in the air, much to the annoyance of the chess matadors at the corner table, who are entangled in a mate problem, while the more peaceful MTK players retreat to the lounge. Most of them are players on tour, obviously discussing their battle plan to beat FC Barcelona. Because the general consensus is that the revons match on the 6th of January will be impossible to win, a national tradition in Barcelona.
I also find Alfréd Schaffer in the lounge, he is not excited about the card, he came home to rest for a few days because he has to be in Vienna again for Christmas. The Amateurs team will stay at home, so it is appropriate for the team to sit around the Christmas tree together, with a good number of Hungarian boys.
As bohemian and full of mood on the football field or in an intimate circle of friends, it’s as direct and immersive when the word gets serious. He loves jokes, but he also enjoys immersing himself in serious sports debates, except that he is aloof in nature and reluctant to converse about his own affairs. He explains that rumors and serious announcements have been made about him in the Austrian, German, Swiss and Czech sports press, but he did not provide the topics because, strange as it may sound, he avoids being in the center of interest and dislikes the press deals with it a lot. I’ve even come across a few footballers in my life who would be more modest than Schaffer, the uncrowned football king of the continent.
I will tell him that during the summer, when I was in Vienna, I wanted to talk to him, I was also interested in the athletes who had moved to Vienna to find where I could find him, but no one could give me any information.
— He would have asked any cop, he would have told me. — he says jokingly arrogantly.
I would ask you to tell me details about your stay abroad, but especially about why you took the wand so many times. He was esteemed and cherished everywhere, yet why he disappeared overnight from Nuremberg, then from Basel, Munich, and finally from Prague. There was a lot of information about him, not just why he changed clothes so often.
Schaffer: Perhaps I would still be a player at IFC Nürnberg today if I hadn't been bored with the intrigues of Trag, Nuremberg's representative inside left.
» He saw a competitor in me, even though they could entitle me to everything, except that I was selfish, because when I stood in front of the empty goal, I even gave him the ball because I knew how vain a man was and how goal-hungry he was.
» But I was idolised in Nuremberg, as the team, which had played only a minor role in southern German football, won not only the South German championship but also the Reichstag championship in the first year I coached the team on an amateur basis and was their centre-forward.
» I consider one of my biggest sports successes to be the discovery of Kalb, who really developed into the best centre-half in Germany.
» When I trained the team, more or less all the players were satisfied, only the centre-half was not found for the right person. We have thirty-six teams, management said, but if we can’t find a suitable player and then buy from elsewhere, that was the fashion at the South Germans at the time. Soon, the small and big of all thirty-six teams marched in front of me, among whom the fourth, playing in the student team, Kalb appeared to me. He moved with difficulty, but I immediately saw that he was a talented boy from whom a great player could be carved. They said he was a pity for the fatigue, they had tried him several times already in the third and second teams, but always failed. I had a lot to do, I put twenty pounds off the boy with running training and in six months he has become the centre-half for the goblet matches between the districts.
» Nine months later he became a national team player in South Germany, and three months later he became the centre-half captain of the German imperial team. Something hadn't existed before, and since then Germany has no centre-half of similar quality.
» I was at FC Basel for six months and I also left the Swiss team due to my disagreement with a player.
» I note that the Basel team also improved incredibly during my training, because before I got to work, they did not win a single game in six months. True, we lost the first league match. The match was in our favor 1:0 and during the break I warned our left half-back, the representative Kaltenbach, to take care of the opponent’s right winger, who I think was the most dangerous man on the team. And Kaltenbaeh took my warning so literally that he was really hanging on to the right side, and the ignored inside right scored three goals in the meantime.
» I trained Wacker in Munich for seven months until I got my license back from the South German federation.
» I had the hardest time working with Wacker because I had to start with the gray band at the alphabet of work. Let the facts speak instead of self-praise. In a year and a half, the team mastered a mature style similar to that of MTK, winning the South German Championship that year, and carving out national teams from six or seven players.
» For me, football is an intellectual game. I never strive for self-efficacy while playing, but I am constantly watching, researching and learning. I admit I have bad days too, but that’s just a matter of spiritual disposition.
» Then Sparta, from Prague, came for me. It would have been my job to bring a new style to the team and I probably would have achieved a goal, but the old players of Sparta didn’t have a good eye on my operations and so I soon left them there. Yet the trouble with Sparta and the need for a new style is evidenced by the achievements of my later team, Amateur, against Sparta this year.
» In the spring, we beat Sparta 5:3 in Vienna. I wanted to show Sparta what I know and I think I did it too, because I had a part in achieving all five goals, even indirectly, ox directly. At the beginning of the autumn, Sparta was only able to beat us bitterly 1:0 in Prague, and then our next meeting in Vienna ended in a 1:1 draw.
» I can tell you that Sparta has since done everything to get me back, as I still get an average of two to three offers a month from abroad that promise gold mountains. But I’m past that, I can’t play as much as I can in football anymore.
I asked what was true about not being able to fit in with the two Konrád and that Konrad II. hadn’t intentionally been playing lately when Schaffer was also playing for Amateure.
Schaffer: Gossip, nothing else. It was invented by the guests in the cafes who sit around the Amateure's regular tables. Konrád II. did not take part in the last matches because his legs were not right. I used to argue with Konrad I., but that’s just the kind of criticism that’s commonplace among players on a team.
— And what is your opinion about the chances of the Hungarian national team?
Schaffer: I think the Hungarian team will definitely start with victory chances, if it could strengthen the fight with some of the players who are now abroad. I was delighted with MTK’s Sunday game and it’s just a few posts that should be confirmed with away players now. I won't find a left winger soon, otherwise I would dare to stand with the following team for the start of the Olympics:
» For myself, without modesty, I intended the role of the inside left and not the centre-forward, because I would dare to entrust the control of the forward line to Konrád II., and I, as an inside left, have the opportunity to score goals in this position, provided that I can only get two or three balls per match from which a goal can be achieved.
Finally, we asked what is true about coming home to Budapest for free in the spring?
Schaffer: Whenever I have something to do in Pest, I am always rumored to have come to discuss my return to MTK. I don’t understand people, so do they think I would make it a condition if I could return to my family, relatives and friends?
» I would be happy to stay home a thousand, just add a way. I like to work, just pay me to make a living. There are some prospects for this now as well, and I would be happiest if I could play here again in front of the enthusiastic, fanatical Hungarian audience at home, and then in the red shirt of the national team at the Olympic football tournament.
I said goodbye to the warm-hearted, lovable, and serious bohemian athlete.
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