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09/07/1932: Becske interviews Konrád II.
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-06-13 22:49:58
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THE FOUNDING MASTER OF THE "VIENNESE SCHOOL" ON THE CRISIS AND FUTURE OF HUNGARIAN FOOTBALL
Frigyes Becske | 09/07/1932, Vienna
"Instead of players and coaches, it should have been the managers who emigrated" — "The only thing left of the art of football of the past is Ferencváros" — "The whole football camp is suffering from persecution mania" Where is the help?
In Vienna and Budapest alike, the classical masters of Hungarian football, Konrád II., Pataki, Orth, Schaffer and Slózi, who were once so admired and triumphant, are now much talked about. The frightening decline of Hungarian football has not only come as an embarrassing surprise at home, but has also been the subject of public debate in the ball clubs of neutral foreign countries. The astonishment and shaking of heads of foreign experts is understandable and natural, since the continent was taught the high school of football by masters who had graduated from the Hungarian football university, better and more perfectly than the English. Budapest also supplied Italy with the most distinguished football instructors and the foundations of the school of Beethoven, recognised as the pinnacle of footballing style and world-famous, were also laid by Hungarian football artists.
In Budapest, old, knowledgeable sportsmen sighingly recall the golden age of Hungarian footballing classics, while Italians, who are increasingly on the advance, loyally acknowledge the class-developing merits of outstanding Hungarian coaches. And Vienna, the pride and impregnable citadel of the universal footballing world, in the midst of its unprecedented triumphs, does not forget Kálmán Konrád, whose eight years in Vienna raised the class level of the "Viennese school" to heights never hoped for. Hugo Meisl said on more than one occasion:
— Perhaps the greatest success of my sporting career came when I persuaded Konrád II. and Schaffer to choose Vienna as the venue for their activities. My decision was vindicated by events. Konrád II. and Schaffer had a fruitful effect, their art was passed on to the Austrian playing material, and their unforgettably enjoyable years of teaching made Austrian football flourish.
Vienna's football camp favourite, Kálmán Konrád, the Csámi, is back in Vienna. As a cinema owner, he is bound to Berlin by his vocation, and in Vienna, the scene of his former legendary successes, he is on a four-week holiday. I couldn't miss the opportunity to interview the Hungarian grandmaster of the "Viennese school" in the "Hungarian debate", which is raging across the continent. The content of our conversation is given here.
BERLIN'S OLD STARS TEAM
— How do you like life in Berlin? Are the rumours true that you'll be joining a leading team in Vienna as a coach?
Konrád II.: My vocation, unfortunately, does not allow me to tie myself, either as a coach or as a manager, to a club. In fact, I have received offers from two clubs in Vienna. One offered me a coaching contract and the other offered me the title and nature of a remedial commissioner. I would be happy to take on these roles, but they would be conditional on a proper rental of my cinema in Berlin. This seems to be an insoluble problem at the moment. I have not given up football yet, even though I am 36 years old. In Berlin, I play in the "Oase" artists' club team with Popovich, Willy Meisl and several well-known Hungarian film actors and cartoonists. We play every week. I'm in pretty good condition. I would even dare to play in a league game for a half... I follow international football, I know the results and I watch all the interesting away teams in Berlin. In the capital of the German empire, the number of football fans is constantly on the rise. Berlin's international football programme features every top foreign team of note.
WHERE DOES HUNGARY STAND IN THE RANKING?
— How would you rank international football?
Konrád II.: I consider Austria to be a special class. Italy, Argentina and Uruguay are next. England and Scotland are also in the leading group. The current performance of the Czech, Hungarian, German, Spanish, Danish, Brazilian, Swedish and the re-emerging Swiss class is almost on a par with the current level. The Balkans have also made great strides, but have yet to surpass the international first class. The same applies to the Belgians, Dutch, Norwegians and French. The Czechs and Hungarians could regain their place in the top group if they reformed their league structure and style.
— How do you justify Austrian football's preeminence?
Konrád II.: The secret of a series of successes: perfect team play, a spirit of cooperation, disciplined thinking and calm nourishment based on reasonable self-confidence and secure control over the nerves. Leadership is paramount, with Meisl’s head in control of the entire organization. The clubs are run by amateur functionaries. The trainers have a free hand, no one talks into their resort. The activities of the managers are purely limited to matters of a financial nature, they have no say in power. Vienna does not have over a million state-subsidized football sports, and Austrians cannot import South American players, who — like the Italians — have become great through their own strength, skill and competence. Vienna, the city of misery, produces 30.000 spectators on Sunday and 60.000 spectators with national team matches. Clubs can make a living — because abroad is on its way.
EVERTHING THAT USED TO BE IS GONE, SO IS THE AUDIENCE
— Let's talk about the problems with Hungarian football. — What's wrong? What are the reasons for the tragic fall of the Hungarian class?
Konrád II.: Let's start at the root of the trouble. The mistake started there when the best players and the most qualified trainers were released by the Hungarians. If the managers had emigrated instead, Hungarian football would not have been in crisis today. The greedy, selfish and short-sighted policies of the managers worsened the atmosphere of Hungarian football. During the biting and abundance of the mercantile spirit, the tracks deteriorated, the trust of the masses was lost, the old, proven pedagogy was destroyed, and a small camp of experienced and competent professionals retired.
» Then came the false slogans, the misjudgement of players; the tied-handed, opportunistic coaches, the confusion of style and terminology, the cult of personality, the frivolous advertising, the total lack of self-criticism, the uneducated ostrich policy of excuses and evasions, the league split into big, medium and small teams, the predetermined championship race, the failures of sporting policy and sporting life, and the public's dislike of attending matches. In the days of the old MTK, Vienna had a record crowd of 10.000, while Budapest could boast a crowd of 30.000. Because the crowd had confidence. And that is the basis for the success of any movement. It's true that at that time Henrik Vida, Gyula Kiss, Ede Herzog, Stobbe, Malaky, Zoltán Speidl, Kárpáti, etc. were the leaders of Hungarian football. And Fehéri, Pista Sugár and a few others were referees who respected the spirit of the rules and who were ignorant of the glorious principle of discretion. Those were idyllic times. Unguarded hands soon destroyed what the ancients had built.
» In every respect, I subscribe to what the Pesti Napló writes against the interested front of tendentious distortions aimed at sidetracking crises. Hungarian teams away from home are not "pushed by the referee", not "hounded by bad luck", not beaten by the "handicaps of the away pitch", not put on the back foot by the "opponent's roughness", but by the course of vested interests that hold the power in their hands. If the economic crisis or the so-called 'overplay' and 'ball ignorance' were the cause of the decline of Hungarian football, I would ask why Vienna's football, whose economic preconditions are even worse due to Austria's financial misery and whose teams play twice as much on average, will not fail like the Hungarian teams?
EVERYONE LEARNS THE HUNGARIAN-SCOTTISH STYLE — THE HUNGARIANS FORGET
» These arguments belong to the realm of fairy tales and excuses. Just like the myth that strength, drive and fitness are important in football. Just as it is a fundamental fallacy to say that anyone who can turn the ball over is a footballer, and that anyone who can hit the opponent is a tough player. At the old MTK, we learned to play football from our unforgettable master, Jackie Robertson, according to quite different principles. Today, the whole continent is learning the principles of the old Hungarian-Scottish school, only Hungary has forgotten them. The situation today is that there are no Hungarian football stars. There is only Ferencváros. And that too must fall, because he has no rival at home, no opponents to test his knowledge and performance. What a great footballer Turay started out to be! What a class act Takács II. and Skvarek were. I wish I had always had such partners! And where has Strock's knowledge gone? How he burned Caligaris in Rome! Of course, if Takács is threatened with a frostbite kick by the backs who play hard by today's Hungarian pedagogical standards, then a certain fear psychosis will soon set in, which is then difficult to cure. The ills of Hungarian football include the ill-advised 'KISOK' law and the heavy taxation of football.
» I therefore believe that the success of the reform depends on the possibility of implementing the following points:
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1. The grassing of the pitches;
2. limiting the powers of managers;
3. reactivation of old professionals in clubs and in the federation;
4. competent coaches who can teach, with independent jobs;
5. tactical seminars for coaches (I am thinking of a lecture course by Gyuszi Biró, Pataki, Pozsonyi, Potya, Béla Sebestyén);
6. the creation and cultivation of a uniform style of football according to the Viennese model;
7. striving for and facilitating a balanced league field;
8. limiting the number of selection matches;
9. exercise self-criticism across the board;
10. frequent visits of Viennese teams for study purposes;
11. easing the tax burden;
12. repeal of the KISOK regulation.
EVERYTHING CAN BE FIXED IN ONE YEAR
— Do you think that these reforms can be implemented in Hungarian football today?
Konrád II.: Football is one of the biggest mass movements today. It is a powerful propaganda tool. That is why I believe that the support of the authorities could be obtained - if they could see that the managers are guided by idealistic criteria. Today Hungarian football is controlled by managers. They see football as purely a question of money (by purely, I mean "exclusively"). This is why Hungarian football education has become a pressure cooker. The result: a soup. Today the entire Hungarian football camp, including the players, suffers from persecution mania. This excuse is the result of an agitation against referees, opponents and the away crowd. If management, control and executive power are returned to the hands of the old, proven, respected and selfless sportsmen and women, the oppression of class, the disgraceful state of the pitches, the mowing down, kicking and kicking under the name of the hard game, the indulgence in false illusions, will surely cease, because the player material is talented and can be developed. In one year, Hungarian football can make up for much of its loss of quality if the reform is carried through honestly and the 'pseudo-leaders' who do not belong are driven out. Then there will be classical football again and the stands will be full again. The old, honest leaders who have been ignored and excommunicated will surely throw their personal grievances to the wind in the interests of the cause, because they love Hungarian football much more, let alone not rush to its rescue.