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Konrád I., 1935: England and Central Europe

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-07-20 13:05:22

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Jenő Konrád | 25/12/1935

In England, interest in continental teams has declined so much in recent months that the British football market can only be considered as a serious source of revenue for Hungarian, Austrian and Czechoslovak teams that can win their first two or three tour games on English soil against leading league teams! The pathetic play of the Germans, the failure of the Czech national team and now the disasters of F.K. Austria and F.C. Wien have reaffirmed the belief of the British footballing public, somewhat shaken by the success of the Wunderteam, S.K. Rapid and last year's F.K. Austria, that English football is still unbeatable.
I spoke to Charlie Buchan — a former Arsenal star forward who is paid £1.500 as a football critic for a leading London daily — at a banquet at Westham for us about the England-Central European power balance. Buchan listened quietly and then said simply:
— You are playing good football on the continent, keep learning!
For a foreign team on English soil, this is a significant disadvantage:
1. The English climate. 2. The usually slippery, deep soil. 3. the English interpretation of the rules. 4. English balls.
I think it is very important to place particular emphasis on the fourth point. They pump up the secondary balls stone hard and they are also slightly bigger than our balls. However, whereas the English play in steel-toed shoes (with a padding underneath to protect their feet from pressure), our shoes are softer in every respect and it is almost impossible to pass the English ball with sufficient force or to direct it at the opponent's goal. After their training session in London, the German national team unanimously declared that it was impossible to play football with such hard and heavy balls.
England, on the other hand, are at a similar disadvantage when they have to play on the continent. They find the pitches hard and uneven, they often complain about the climate, they can't enjoy the templizen as much as they can at home and, finally, they complain about our light, fluffy balls. The balance of power at this time is best described as follows: on English soil, it is the Central European teams that are beaten, and on Central European soil, it is the British teams. The English team's home successes are therefore contrasted with their Central European losing streak.
A Sindelar, Sárosi, Müller, Cseh II., Stroh, Braine, Bican, Vogl I., Sesta, Lázár, etc. would be among the stars of Britain! The same applies to English and Scottish stars in a Central European context.
This of course only applies to the extra class. The average level in England is unimaginably high, which is not surprising, because every schoolboy plays football there and the number of class players is estimated in the tens of thousands. (Hungarian and Austrian football probably don't have 100 class players between them.) Football is England's national sport, a real mass sport with immense financial resources (3 or 4 English professional clubs could easily buy up the Hungarian and Austrian top footballers if they wanted to and if the authorities would give foreign footballers a licence to play. And that would be just a drop in the ocean of British football.) HOW WOULD HUNGARIAN FOOTBALL PERFORM ON ENGLISH SOIL?
I don't know when we will finally see Hungarian teams visiting England. As I said, there is little interest in continental teams on the island at the moment, but perhaps the fact that they have not yet played on British soil would add a certain attraction to a Hungarian away game. I think the Hungarian national team's debut could move the crowds. There are huge crowds for international matches in London, where the German team fought an unequal battle with the English national team in front of 65.000 spectators.
The Hungarian national team, in my opinion, is capable of extraordinary performances in its current composition, but I don't think it could avoid defeat on English soil, because as I said, it would start with too much handicap. The Mitropa Cup form Ferencváros showed would certainly also win the favour of the British public and their professionals, but they would struggle to prevail against top English teams on their home turf.
F.K. Austria, Admira, Ferencváros and Sparta, who are playing at their best and are absolutely fit, are the teams that I think could win one or other of their tour matches in England. If the Central European teams were to play more often on British soil, which is not likely to happen, they would be better able to adapt to the special conditions there and their chances of winning would increase.
Perhaps next May, when the English league teams preparing for the continent suffer further defeats in Budapest, Vienna and Prague, the football export of Central European football to England will once again become topical...