IN OUR SECOND GOTP special, we cross the Austrian border into Hungary. It was good news for the Magyars that they qualified for Euro 2016 – it isn’t quite the days of Puskas and co., but Budapest will be buzzing next summer.
GOTP has produced a number of articles on Hungarian football. Here’s a selection:
Ferencvaros – where the world is green and white
It’s a good time to visit Fradi, as they are known. The new stadium, the Groupama Arena, was opened in August and is looked upon as a springboard for better things. Fradi have not won the Hungarian League since 2004, the same year they last won the Cup. It’s been a lean time for Budapest’s most notorious and, at the same time, most loved football club.
The Nep, stadium of the people
It was a name that once struck fear into the hearts of Englishmen. 1954, 7-1. Enough said, really. It was a stadium that provided a fitting home for the Hungarian golden team. And it was widely regarded as one of Europe’s great football venues. But like Hungarian football, the Nep Stadion has seen better days. Much better days. It’s also not known as the Nep anymore, as it was renamed the Puskas Ferenc Stadion in honour of the great man. But it’s no longer a fitting tribute to Puskas, but a crumbling edifice. A venue with a limited future.
Ankle-gate, the plot against communism
If justice was done, Hungary would have won the 1954 World Cup held in Switzerland. Instead, it was the West Germans who lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy in one of the biggest upsets in the competition’s history. It’s hard to equate the name “Germany” with “upset”, unless, of course, they are on the receiving end of it, but in 1954, Hungary were red hot favourites.
Vasas: Goulash communism and comrade Janos
In April 1958, Vasas Budapest beat Real Madrid 2-0 in the second leg of the European Cup semi-final in front of 100,000 people in the Nep Stadium. They had already lost the first leg 4-0 in Spain, so a run that saw them beat CSKA Sofia, Young Boys of Berne and Ajax Amsterdam came to an end.
60 years ago, Puskas and Co. lit up the Olympics
Hungary’s superbly talented team, which lit up a gloomy post-war Europe, won Olympic gold in Finland, and were immediately tagged favourites for the World Cup in 1954. In between the two tournaments, Hungary taught England two bitter lessons, wracking up 13 goals against a nation who considered it had little to learn from “johnny foreigner” about the beautiful game.
You’ve got to hand it to Hungary’s fans
Game of the People found itself on the frontline on a grey October Sunday afternoon in Budapest. Around 3,000 football fans, drawn from various clubs, including Ujpest, MTK, Honved and Ferencvaros, demonstrated their anger at the proposed introduction of biometric scanning of supporters’ hands as they enter a game.