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Frigyes Becske: Jacky Robertson

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-11-06 19:55:24

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Frigyes Becske | 03/03/1935 —

English newspapers have reported the passing of Jacky Robertson, the incomparable master of classic Hungarian football. The news of Robertson's death was greeted with deep shock. Uncle Jacky, whom we came to know, admire and love during his time in Budapest, is no more. We owe it to his unforgettable memory to recall the happy times when he lived among us and helped Hungarian football to unparalleled triumphs.
Robertson came to Budapest at the invitation of Alfréd Brüll, the distinguished president of MTK, whose sacrifice and sportsmanship knew no bounds. Only old Hungarian sportsmen know what this simple-mannered but brilliantly skilled Scottish coach's time in Budapest meant for MTK and the development of Hungarian football. Robertson laid the foundations for the heyday of Hungarian football, introducing Hungarian players to the secrets of higher footballing culture.
Jacky Robertson was the first football coach in Central Europe to teach his students how to play as a team. He discovered Braun Csibi, Konrád Kálmán, Nyul Feri, Kertész Vili and Adi, among others, and under his tutelage MTK's legendary team became a golden team. Robertson was the one who first brought Orth, Petar Szabó and Gyuri Molnár to the attention of the professionals, and he was also the most enthusiastic about the brilliant players from rival clubs. He loved Mihály Pataki, Imre Schlosser, Alfréd Schaffer, Sanyi Bodnár, Gyula Rumbold, Pista Tóth and Zoltán Blum as much as he loved his own students. Robertson bowed down before all great talents and no one understood better than he how to turn a winning talent into an artist.
When Lane, an unknown English boy, applied for a job at MTK, the club's management was very reluctant to accept the offer. But they did send the boy on a training assignment. The trial failed. Lane showed little. Robertson, however, commented: I think he's talented, I think he's worth booking. And within a few months Lane had become one of the most popular players on the Budapest football pitch. The English and Scottish teams that visited Pest, especially the Celtic players and their supporters, returned home to talk of the wonders of the English forward phenomena they had discovered in Budapest. Lane was soon invited to England, where he proved to be one of the Pro League's most prolific goalscorers and went on to a great career.
Watching Robertson on his training days was a treat. He was no longer a child when he came to us, but when it came to the demonstration sessions, we were all amazed at his sovereign skills. Anyone who knows the players in the big leagues knows that it is not the drummer who tests the players. He has to examine the players in front of them, and it depends on the result of his examination whether the players submit — not under duress, but voluntarily — to the authority of the instructor. Robertson came, saw and won. And yet the MTK playing squad of the time was recruited from a pool of footballers who were far above average in terms of judgement and intelligence. Learning from Robertson was a pleasure and even if Jacky didn't speak Hungarian, he was a great communicator with his enthusiastic students. They could read his movements and read in his eyes what he wanted them to do.
Jacky Robertson was never dazzled by his unprecedented success. Nor did he celebrate himself in Budapest. Even in the midst of his greatest triumphs, he kept a low profile with the modesty of a true sportsman. He lived his vocation. It was the only passion that filled his whole being. Everybody loved him and only resented him a little because he did not despise beer. In the evenings, Uncle Jacky could be found in the small restaurant in Terézváros, drinking a cheerful beer. At the regular table in the restaurant, we would listen with awe to his narratives, interspersed with Hungarian jargon.
How could this Scottish football coach, who came to Budapest from Glasgow, tell us about his playing experiences, his great football heroes, his homeland and how he was so enthusiastic about his Budapest club, its leaders and his students?!
Jacky Robertson left Budapest as a good friend. It was good to hear from time to time that our dear and beloved master is doing well in his homeland. Because even if he was no longer with us, we have not forgotten him. His memory will be cherished with grace now that the inexorable will of fate has called him from the ranks of the living.
Isaque Argolo: I don't believe he had seen values like Orth, Braun and Molnár even before Jimmy Hogan. Although Gyuri Orth calls him master, I still do not believe that Orth had any direct contact with Robertson. After all, Robertson left Hungary in 1913, while Orth, for example, was still quite young and other sources confirm that Hogan was the one who discovered him. Even in Jimmy Hogan's own biography, it is described that Hogan discovered Orth and Braun while they were both playing ball in a square.
See also: John Tait Robertson See also: Column #10