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György Orth - 1919/20
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-08-23 15:53:18
Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
This article was made in honor of the dedication to the memory of Mr. Jimmy Hogan.
After the tours of the 1918/19 season, some MTK players, for reasons that at the time were not well explained to the public, did not return to the team's roster — Alfréd Schaffer, Kálmán Konrád and Péter Szabó. Consequently, the new forward line was still an enigma for MTK's football supporters. Without two of its main names, the team's reaction was pointed out as different. However, even in 1919, the young György Orth — who was already considered the main player on Hungarian soil and one of the best in the world, perhaps the best in the world — was one of the candidates to be the centre-forward of the team, the attack leader. As much as Orth had been more tested in more defensive positions, mainly as a full-back, due to his great versatility, he was appointed as MTK's centre-forward for 1919/20. Although Orth's skills were not discussed, this caused a number of doubts for some authorities, whether Orth would adapt to the center of the attack with constancy instead of being a great full-back, half-back or inside forward.
However, Orth was tested as centre-forward while MTK toured Germany and in the last match against Austria on 06/04/1919, and showed an excellent form. He was the best candidate for this position.
The styles of Orth and Schaffer — who alternatively was centre-forward with Konrád II. — were then different. Schaffer was more of a breakthrough; Orth was more of a combination style, a style more close to G. O. Smith's. Furthermore, there was doubt as to whether Orth would get along with Imre Schlosser. Some claimed that Orth would not be qualified for this, because, according to them, the young Hungarian had no determination in the plays and was considered too delicate. However, over the course of the season, this was mitigated to a point where Orth was sovereign in the center.
The season started with Orth being the team's centre-forward in the match against BAK. It was said that Orth was a first-class centre-forward, even though he lacked as much agility and speed.
After the match against BTC — a match in which Orth stood out a lot as a centre-half —, the young Hungarian star played a sequence of matches in the center of the half-back line of MTK. There, he played nimbly, very cleverly and with surprising calmness. Through his high technical and tactical ability, Orth commanded the team's defensive and offensive actions, especially the offensive actions.
Due to his high performances playing as a centre-half, Orth played the first match of the season against Austria in the middle. The away team — Hungary — was led by Orth, who was mentioned as playing in the English style centre-half. According to general opinion, he outplayed all halves of the field.
After the first match against Austria, this was written about Orth:
But how few Orths there are in world football today. For it is not only in Vienna, not only in Budapest, that the style of the game has declined. We hear the same from England. The war has chipped away at the centuries-old enamel of English football, and the matches of English professional teams are bleak and frighteningly meaningless. Czech football is also close to total destruction. Once a force to be reckoned with on the continent, it now barely beats the average Viennese class.
Across the board, players have declined and with them the standard of play. Technique, initiative, ingenuity and combination are all of the past. That's why the footballer who shines with all this is looked upon as a tower of light. That is why Orth was admired as a "relic" in Vienna. He had to stand out, because in his shabby surroundings he played football made up of technique, simple and yet noble actions, and glittering finesse, the kind of football that we sometimes think about.
Right after the match against Austria, MTK played against TTC, Terézváros. Orth went off injured after 15 minutes of play, then came back 10 minutes later with a bandaged head, but from then on he was unable to play a serious role in the game, which was to the detriment of the whole team's effectiveness. Without him, the team could not find itself and, against a Terézváros team that worked with great enthusiasm, it was very difficult to win. Later, Orth was sent off in the 20th minute of the second half.
Later, Orth played a few more matches as centre-half, always being the highlight of the team, until he returned to the centre-forward position. MTK used a new formation, after several performances considered weak by general critics, in which Orth would be the centre-forward against MAC. After a long time without much refinement, the forward line was better, but Orth had not shown the same football as a centre-half.
However, match after match, Orth came to prominence as centre-forward. Previously, yes, it had been centre-forward, but not as consistently as when it was introduced in 1919/20. Not just in his most brilliant plays, but Orth's great class was expressed in his goals, too. Orth shined through his master tricks and intelligence. He was more adapted, although there was still some criticism for his lack of ambition as a centre-forward. Nevertheless, Orth did what he wanted with the opposing defensive system; whether on Hungarian soil; either on Austrian soil. In the matches played against Wiener A.C. and Wiener Amateur S.V., Orth demonstrated outstanding perofrmances. Even on a few occasions when he was injured or completely ill to play against the opponent, Orth showed what a unique footballer he was.
Even having incredible losses at the beginning of the season, MTK stood out once again. This time, Orth took over, for most of the season, the two axes of the team: centre-half and centre-forward. Playing centre-forward, Orth demonstrated his technical and tactical knowledge. He, nevertheless, was criticized for not having vigor, determination, so much agility and speed to break the opponent's defensive system. Orth was touted as a top-class player, but not truly a centre-forward. According to a good part of the criticism, there were still some aspects missing for Orth to lead the center of the MTK attack. Impressively enough, before Orth started to act as a centre-half, he had scored eight goals in just five appearances as a centre-forward, in addition to all the offensive planning that went through him.
Many believed he was a legitimate half-back, including Hugo Meisl. This was an opinion shared by both Hungarians and Austrians. From what the critics at the time showed, it was something specifically aimed at individual plays — aspects that Schaffer, then breakthrough centre-forward by MTK, had a lot.
While Orth was the centre-half of the team, things have changed a lot in MTK. The team's main line was no longer the forward line, but the half-back line. The same happened with the Hungarian National Team. Alongside Kertesz II. and Nyúl, Orth performed brilliantly. The duo with Kertész II. was the most outstanding; with both demonstrating refined technique and superior class in tactical actions. Both have been mentioned as English half-backs of the highest order.
Anyway, even though he was still very young, the team adapted to its style, therefore enhancing it even more. If Orth wasn't on the half-back line, it weakened. The same happened with the MTK forward line.
Orth had subsequently returned to the offensive line, playing once at inside right and 19 times at centre-forward. He was better suited as a centre-forward, even better than in his first attempt in 1919/20.
Throughout the season, week after week, Orth further enchanted fans with his far above normal class. Whether on Hungarian soil; whether on Austrian soil; whether on German soil, his universal class made him the main attraction of matches held by MTK.
By the end of the season, with only 19 years old, György Orth was considered, alongside Alfréd Schaffer, as the best forward in the world. For many, even the most assipid German Schaffer admirers, Orth was the best player on the continent, and even the world.
For many, MTK was the best team on the continent, because, according to them, the best player in the world was there — György Orth!
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