They might be giants: 10 would-be champions

ARSENAL’s defeat at the hands of Manchester City was emphatic and swung the pendulum away from the Gunners in the Premier League title race. People are starting to write-off Mikel Arteta’s side, but there can still be a twist or two in the last few weeks of the season. Like Liverpool a few seasons back, Arsenal have had the misfortune of going head-to-head with the well-oiled machine that is Pep Guardiola’s City. Should Arsenal finish runners-up, they will be in very good company; there have been some excellent teams that fell short at the final hurdle.

1912-13: Aston Villa

In 1913, Villa and Sunderland were the Manchester City and Liverpool of their day. Both teams were chasing the “double” and were pushed by teams like The Wednesday, who were not far behind. Sunderland edged the title by four points – they won three out of four points off of Villa – but Villa won the FA Cup final against Sunderland at the Crystal Palace in front of a record crowd of 121,000. Villa’s team was packed with big names of the era. They had legendary goalkeeper Sam Hardy who joined the club in the summer of 1912 from Liverpool. Harry Hampton was the star turn, however, netting 31 goals in 1912-13. He was nicknamed “the Wellington whirlwind” after the town of his  birth. Hampton, like Clem Stephenson, was an England player and one of the leading forwards in the years before WW1. Stephenson  would go on to play for Huddersfield, where he had a key role in the Yorkshire club’s hat-trick of league titles in the 1920s.

Villa’s league record:

    P W D L F A Pts
1 Sunderland 38 25 4 9 86 43 54
2 Aston Villa 38 19 12 7 86 52 50
3 The Wednesday 38 21 7 10 75 55 49

1923-24: Cardiff City

For the first time in the game’s history, the title was decided by goal average, and Cardiff were denied their first championship success. They went into the final game on top and needing a win to make sure of the top prize. Huddersfield were in second place but needed to win by three clear goals to have a chance of being champions. Cardiff were awarded a penalty in the 70thminute of their final game at Birmingham City. Top scorer Len Davies, who was not the team’s regular penalty-taker, but his effort was easily saved. Huddersfield were winning 1-0 against Nottingham Forest, so the title, at that point, was still bound for Ninian Park. But two more goals from Herbert Chapman’s side gave the Terriers a 3-0 win and with Cardiff drawing 0-0, Huddersfield won the title by 0.024 of a goal! Cardiff City’s team was captained by Fred Keenor, an uncompromising, hard-tackling player who won more than 40 caps for Wales. Keenor’s statue stands outside Cardiff City’s stadium, holding the FA Cup the Bluebirds won in 1927, the only time the cup has been lifted by a non-English club.

Cardiff’s league record:

    P W D L F A Pts
1 Huddersfield T 42 23 11 8 60 33 57
2 Cardiff City 42 22 13 7 61 34 57
3 Sunderland 42 22 9 11 71 54 53

1959-60: Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves were denied a hat-trick of league titles by Burnley, but the race was edge-of-the-seat stuff. With two games to go, Burnley were level on points with Wolves, who had just one fixture left. Wolves had hammered the young Burnley team 6-1 at Molineux at the end of March. On the final day of the campaign, Wolves won 5-1 at Chelsea, while Burnley drew with Fulham at home. That pushed Burnley down to third place, one point behind Wolves and level on points with Spurs, but they still had to visit Manchester City on May 2. A win would give them their first League Championship since 1921. Burnley won 2-1 to claim the title, leaving Wolves to console themselves with their FA Cup final triumph. The 1959-60 season was the club’s first without legendary skipper Billy Wright, who retired in 1959, but the team was still largely the one that had won the title in 1958 and 1959, though, with players like Eddie Clamp, Ron Flowers, Jimmy Murray and Peter Broadbent lining-up in the old gold shirts.

Wolves’ league record:

    P W D L F A Pts
1 Burnley 42 24 7 11 85 61 55
2 Wolves 42 24 6 12 106 67 54
3 Tottenham H 42 21 11 10 86 50 53

1967-68: Manchester United

United could well have won the title on the final day of the season, but their local rivals, Manchester City, won 4-3 at Newcastle United and the reigning champions slipped-up at home to Sunderland. They had been locked in combat with City all season, who had a vibrant young team managed by Joe Mercer. United were distracted by their pursuit of the European Cup, which included difficult ties against Gornik and Real Madrid. They eventually won the Cup at Wembley by beating Benfica 4-1. The result that really cost United the championship was on April 29 when they were beaten 6-3 at West Bromwich Albion, but they had shown signs of vulnerability, losing at home to Chelsea and Liverpool and away at Coventry in the run-in. Despite having George Best in his prime and the experience of Bobby Charlton and injury-prone Denis Law, United would have to wait until 1993 for their next title.

United’s league record:

    P W D L F A Pts
1 Manchester City 42 26 6 10 86 43 58
2 Manchester Utd 42 24 8 10 89 55 56
3 Liverpool 42 22 11 9 71 40 55

1970-71: Leeds United

The battle between Arsenal and Leeds United was attritional, a clash of the ultra-professionals that defined the early 1970s. Leeds, widely considered to be the better team, were eventually beaten-off by an Arsenal side that won the double. Leeds had suffered a heart-breaking season in 1969-70, but once more, they were fighting on all fronts: the Inter Cities Fairs Cup, the league and the FA Cup. Into 1971, they suffered some setbacks. First of all, they were beaten at home by Liverpool in the league and then a week later, they lost 3-2 at Colchester in the FA Cup. There was worse to come, although at the beginning of April, Leeds were six points ahead of Arsenal who had three games in hand. While the Gunners kept chipping away, Leeds drew at Newcastle and then on April 17 came the killer blow. West Bromwich Albion won 2-1 at Elland Road thanks to an “offside” goal from Jeff Astle that sparked a pitch invasion. Leeds’ defeat and an Arsenal win meant the two teams were level on 58 points, but the Londoners had a better goal average. Leeds regained some ground when they beat Arsenal at Elland Road on April 26, thanks to a disputed goal from Jack Charlton. Leeds were tiring and they played four games in eight days to end their domestic campaign. They had 64 points and Arsenal were one point behind on 63 with a game to go – the North London derby with Tottenham, which they won 1-0. Leeds were bridesmaids once more.

Leeds’ league record:

    P W D L F A Pts
1 Arsenal 42 29 7 6 71 29 65
2 Leeds United 42 27 10 5 72 30 64
3 Tottenham H 42 19 14 9 54 33 52

1975-76: Queens Park Rangers

QPR manager Sexton was one of the few English coaches who made the effort to attend the World Cup in Germany in 1974 and when he saw the the Dutch and German teams, he was keen to bring the concept of “total football” to England. In 1975-76, QPR were unbeaten until October 4 and from the end of January, QPR went on a superb run that included 11 wins and a draw in 12 games. On March 6, Rangers went top after beating Coventry 4-1 and after overcoming Manchester City 1-0, they were one point ahead of Manchester United and Derby and two in front of Liverpool. They barely put a foot wrong, but when they went to Norwich, they were beaten 3-2, despite outplaying their hosts. It was a costly defeat that sent a signal of hope to the other clear challenger for the title – Liverpool. Rangers ended the campaign with a 2-0 win against Leeds United at Loftus Road. It put them top of the table with 59 points, but Liverpool – one point behind – had one game to play, against struggling Wolves. It ended 3-1 to Liverpool and Rangers finished runners-up. This was a wonderful team to watch, with a solid keeper in Phil Parkes, experience in the form of John Hollins, Frank McClintock and David Webb, a cultured midfield that included Don Masson and Gerry Francis, and the sublime skill of Stan Bowles. But it was, essentially, a one-season side that was so unlucky not to be crowned champions.

QPR’s league record:

    P W D L F A Pts
1 Liverpool 42 23 14 5 66 31 60
2 QPR 42 24 11 7 67 33 59
3 Manchester United 42 23 10 9 68 42 56

1980-81: Ipswich Town

Bobby Robson’s Ipswich Town never won a title, despite being contenders on a few occasions, almost always being denied by the size of their squad. In 1980-81, Ipswich were the best team around, but their playing resources were stretched by seeking success on three fronts: the league, the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup. Ipswich had a marvellous, continental-style team, inspired by two Dutchmen in Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijjsen and including England internationals Mick Mills, Terry Butcher, Eric Gates, Paul Mariner and Russell Osman. Added to that were Scots George Burley, Alan Brazil and John Wark. Ipswich had to battle it out with Aston Villa, whom they beat twice in the league and once in the FA Cup. After beating Villa for the third time on April 14, their title bid collapsed as they lost four of their last five games. In the FA Cup, they were beaten at the semi-final stage, going out to Manchester City by 1-0, ironically at Villa Park. But they did win the UEFA Cup, beating AZ Alkmaar 5-4 on aggregate over two games. Villa may have finished champions, but Ipswich won many friends for their commitment to flowing football. How their followers, who have seen the club slump to the third tier of English football, must hanker for the days when an unfashionable club from East Anglia delighted the football world.

Ipswich’s league record:

    P W D L F A Pts
1 Aston Villa 42 26 8 8 72 40 60
2 Ipswich Town 42 23 10 9 77 43 56
3 Arsenal 42 19 15 8 61 45 53

1985-86: Everton

Everton and Liverpool were neck-and-neck all season but it was the red half of the city that came out on top in both the league and FA Cup. Everton, defending champions in the first division, were arguably a stronger side than their title winning combination of 1985, thanks to the addition of England striker Gary Lineker, who scored 38 goals in 1985-86, his only season with the club. It was a close-run title race that also included West Ham United, Manchester United and Chelsea and on the final day, the championship could have gone to three clubs. While West Ham won at West Bromwich and Everton trounced Southampton 6-1, Liverpool won the day with a 1-0 victory at Chelsea, with Lineker scoring a hat-trick. Everton and West Ham still had one game to play, against each other, but Kenny Dalglish’s team could not be caught. A few days later, Everton’s agony was complete as they lost an all-Merseyside FA Cup final to Liverpool, despite going ahead through Lineker
The Everton side was largely the one that won the title in 1985, with Neville Southall in goal, a defence that included Gary Stevens, Kevin Ratcliffe, Derek Mountfield and Pat Van Den Hauwe, a midfield of Peter Reid, Kevin Sheedy, Paul Bracewell and Trevor Steven, and a front two of Lineker and Graeme Sharp.

Everton’s league record:

    P W D L F A Pts
1 Liverpool 42 26 10 6 89 37 88
2 Everton 42 26 8 8 87 41 86
3 West Ham Utd 42 26 6 10 74 40 84

1995-96: Newcastle United

Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle were the neutrals’ favourites, a team committed to attack and entertainment. But this flamboyant edge made them vulnerable, particularly to teams that would exploit their somewhat cavalier approach to defending or closing down a game. Keegan’s Newcastle led the Premier League at Christmas 1995 and had a 10-point lead at the top, which extended to 12 points into the new year. However, a run of five defeats in eight games enabled a determined Manchester United, who were rejuvenated by the turn of Eric Cantona from suspension, to overtake them and win the title by four points.The Newcastle approach was encapsulated in a game at Liverpool when the home side beat the Geordies 4-3 after they had led three times.
Newcastle’s team included flair players like David Ginola, Peter Beardsley and, latterly, Faustino Asprilla. Les Ferdinand, a big-money signing from QPR, scored 25 goals in his first season with the club. Other big signings included midfielder David Batty from Leeds and full-back Warren Barton. Newcastle are still waiting for thatfirst title win since 1927.

Newcastle’s league record:

    P W D L F A Pts
1 Manchester Utd 38 25 7 6 73 35 82
2 Newcastle Utd 38 24 6 8 66 37 78
3 Liverpool 38 20 11 7 70 34 71

2018-19: Liverpool

With 97 points, one defeat, 30 victories and a lethal forward line that netted 56 goals, Liverpool represent the most prolific of all runners-up. Their only league defeat, unsurprisingly, came at champions Manchester City in Liverpool’s 21stPremier League game. Jürgen Klopp’s team went top on January 8 (they had led the table early in the season, too) and stayed their until the end of January. Around this time, the Reds drew six times in eight games and this effectively cost them their first title since pre-Premier days. Despite winning their last nine, Liverpool were unable to prevent Manchester City from regaining their crown. Nevertheless, the general consensus was that this had been the most exciting Liverpool team since the club’s glory days. This was underlined by their goalscoring prowess, with Sadio Mané and Mohammed Salah both netting 22 goals and being joint winners of the Golden Boot (along with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang). Roberto Firmino also grabbed 12 league goals. Liverpool’s team also included the outstanding central defender Virgil van Dijk.

Liverpool’s league record:

    P W D L F A Pts
1 Manchester City 38 32 2 4 95 23 98
2 Liverpool 38 30 7 1 89 22 97
3 Chelsea 38 21 9 8 63 39 72

Other teams worthy of honourable mention:
Sheffield United (1899-00), Aston Villa (1902-03), Manchester United (1946-47), Wolves (1949-50), Preston North End (1952-53), Leeds United (1964-65), Manchester City (1976-77), Liverpool (1988-89), Manchester United (1991-92) and Chelsea (2007-08).

Crossing the Danube – the story of the inaugural Mitropa Cup

FROM THE LATE 19th century and into the 1920s, Vienna became what many writers have called a “centre of fermentation”, propagated by the cultural and intellectual elite of the city. Ideas, ideaologies, social movements, progressive medicine, music and literature filled the air of Vienna’s cafés and coffee houses. The Vienna Circle, a group of philosophers hell-bent on bringing scientific enlightenment to people, also emerged from the city.

Football also benefitted from this culture of cerebral curiosity. Today, in Britain, we see the public house as the “social club” of the game of football. In 1920s Vienna, indeed much of central Europe, the coffee house was where the game, its structure and its tactics were discussed. Amid the cups of thick, dark Viennese coffee, the very roots of the UEFA Champions League can be traced.

UEFA was formed in 1954, the European Cup came a year later, in 1955-56. But the idea of a pan-European football competition dates back to the late 19th century. It was not so much pan-European, but a product of empire – the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Needless to say, this competition, which ran from 1897 to 1911, was dominated by teams from Vienna, Budapest and Prague.

While many people assumed that Britain was the spiritual centre of the game, continental Europe was making rapid strides and, arguably, becoming the seat of innovation in football’s evolution. Most of the game’s bright ideas seem to have been germinated in France or central Europe. But, ironically, the inventor of the Austro-Hungarian Challenge Cup was one John Gramlick Senior, an English plumber who was also a co-founder of the Vienna Cricket Club.

The competition ended in 1911 with Wiener Sport Club (WSC) beating Ferencvaros of Hungary, but after the first world war, the concept of a European football competition was revisited. By this time, professionalism was starting to sweep across the region, with Austria turning pro in 1924, Hungary in 1925 and Czechoslavakia a year later. In Vienna in 1927, the momentum behind this idea resulted in the formation of the Mitropa Cup, as well as a competition for national teams, Coupe Internationale europeenne, also known as The Dr Gero Cup.

Visionary Meisl

The driving force being the Mitropa (an abbreviation of Mittel Europa, or central Europe), or to give it its full name La Coupe de l’Europe Centralewas the head of the Austrian Football Association, Hugo Meisl. Meisl was the sort of character who could name the likes of Vittorio Pozzo (Italy’s World Cup winning coach) and Arsenal’s Herbert Chapman among his friends. It is not an exaggeration to say that Meisl was the most influential figure in European football in the first half of the 20th century. He was clearly a child of the Habsburg empire, born near Ostrava in Bohemia, Jewish, multi-lingual and between 1912-14, the coach of the Austria-Hungary team. Meisl was also instrumental in bringing professional football to Austria and later coached the legendary Wunderteam. His experiences during the first world war in Serbia helped formulate a belief that sport, and football in particular, could help develop bonds between nations.

The initial competition would involve two teams from each of Austria, Hungary, Czechoslavakia and Yugoslavia, nations from where some of the more progressive football ideas were emerging. British football seemed still rooted in the hefty boot upfield and lacked the finesse of what people started to refer to as the “Danubian style”. This revolved around a modification of the classic 2-3-5 formation in which the centre forward played in a more withdrawn position. It was first developed by the Austrians, Czechs and Hungarians in the mid-1920s, but wasn’t until much later that British teams started to adopt it. It is likely that this more scientific approach was developed among the coffee-drinking, intellectual – frequently Jewish – chess-playing fraternity. Today, there is still a Mitropa Cup, and it is a chess competition!

This was all very alien to England, whose football team never ventured much further than cross-Channel hops to France and Belgium in the 1920s. The likes of Belgium, France and Holland were way behind the central Europeans. In fact, when England did travel to Austria, Hungary and Czechoslavakia, they didn’t come away with a victory.


Meisl was keen that each Mitropa tie should consist of two legs, thereby laying the seeds for the European competitions that were to follow in the 1950s. There were also suggestions that the competition should be run on a league basis, but these were rejected owing to scheduling difficulties.

In Austria, Admira Vienna had won the league and they, along with third-placed Rapid Vienna (instead of Brigittenauer) were invited to take part in the inaugural Mitropa Cup. The organisers wanted the strongest possible field and they also preferred the “centre of competence” to come from Vienna, Prague and Budapest.

Admira, whose identity would be gradually eroded down the decades after mergers and rebranding, were in the midst of a golden period. From Czechoslavakia came Sparta Prague, the 1926-27 champions and the runners-up Slavia Prague. Sparta, like Admira, were enjoying a period of success – they had won the last two Czech championships and they were coached by Scotsman John Dick. It was during this time that the nickname “Iron Sparta” was developed. The team of the era was really Slavia, Sparta’s great rivals – they won the Czech league eight times between 1925 and 1938.

As for Hungary, domestic football was dominated by Budapest. In 1926-27, Ferencvaros won the title and Ujpest finished runners-up. But while Ujpest took their place in the Mitropa, “Fradi” were not invited. Instead, MTK Hungaria, a Budapest club favoured by the city’s Jewish population, were included. This may have been something of an “old pal’s act” as Meisl was a great friend of MTK’s coach, the Englishman  Jimmy Hogan, who had been very influential in shaping Meisl’s footballing philosophy. Hogan was one of a number of football pioneers from England who found greater fortune abroad than in their own country. He was credited, to some extent, with developing the style of play that Hungary would use to devastating effect more than two decades after the launch of the Mitropa Cup.

Yugoslavia’s contribution came in the form of 1927 champions Hadjuk Split (their first title) and runners-up OFK Belgrade. It was a tough field, but the two favourites were Admira and Sparta Prague. They were drawn to meet each other in the first round.

Prague 1937, soccer match between AC Sparta and SK Admira Vienna

Early exchanges

The first games kicked off on Sunday August 14, 1927. In Vienna, a hat-trick by Rapid’s 19 year-old forward, Johann Hoffmann, helped the home side to an 8-1 win against Hadjuk.  In Belgrade, OFK were beaten by Hogan’s men 2-4. But the game of the day was in Prague, where Sparta trounced Admira 5-1. Two of Sparta’s goals came from Evzen Vesely, not normally a first choice forward and barely seen again. Admira, and the Austrian football authorities, were shocked. A week later, Slavia Prague were in action, thrashing Ujpest 4-0. It was clear that the two Czech sides would take some stopping.

The second legs, on August 28, did little to disperse that view. When Sparta travelled to Vienna, they faced a rampant Admira team that raced into a 5-1 lead. Anton Schall, a 20 year-old forward who would later represent Austria in the 1934 World Cup, scored twice , but it was a brace from that man Vesely who put Sparta through with two late goals.

Rapid added to their 8-1 win with a 1-0 victory in Split, while MTK added another four to their first leg win in Belgrade. Two of their goals came from Gyorgy Orth, an inside forward who had returned from a stint in Pisa, despite struggling constantly with fitness. Ujpest and Slavia drew 2-2 in their second leg.

So in the semi-finals, it was two Czech sides and one each from Austria and Hungary. There was a hint of controversy about the MTK v Sparta tie. The first leg was drawn 2-2 in Budapest and after a 0-0 draw in Prague, the plan was to stage a third game. But Sparta complained that MTK’s Konrad Kalman, a veteran forward who had been playing in the US for Brooklyn Wanderers, was ineligible to play in the semi-final. Konrad, who was named as one of World Soccer’s 100 greatest players of all time in 1999 (he played 12 times for Hungary and later managed Bayern Munich, FC Zurich and Malmo, among others), had not received international clearance and as a result, MTK were disqualified, sending Sparta through to the final.

In the other semi-final, Slavia Prague and Rapid Vienna shared four goals in the first leg, largely due to a virtuoso performance from Slavia’s legendary goalkeeper Frantisek Planicka. He kept Rapid’s strike force at bay with a string of acrobatic saves. Planicka, ranked as his country’s finest-ever custodian, captained Czechoslavakia in the 1934 World Cup. He was nicknamed “the cat of Prague” and drew comparisons with the great Zamora of Spain, among others. But Planicka couldn’t stop Rapid from winning the second leg 2-1, with Ferdinand Wessely striking a spectacular free kick past the great keeper.

The final, then, was Czechoslavakia v Austria, Sparta v Rapid. It was the sort of decider that Meisl and his colleagues must have yearned for. The two countries had recently met in the Dr Gero Cup and rivalry was fierce between the old empire stable-mates.

The final

The first leg, on October 30, 1927, drew 25,000 people to the Letna Stadium (now the Generali and still home to Sparta Prague). The home side was captained by Karel Pesek-Kada, a Moravian who was something of a sporting hero in Czechoslavakia having won a bronze medal in the 1920 Olympic games at Ice Hockey. Pesek’s matinee idol looks made him a popular figure in Czech football between 1913 and 1933, a lengthy career that included more than 40 caps for Czechoslavakia.

Rapid had Hans Horvath in their forward line, one of the outstanding players of his generation. He had joined Rapid in the summer of 1927 from Simmeringer where he had earned a reputation as a highly technical player with extremely accurate passing ability. But Pesek got Sparta off to a perfect start with a goal in the first minute. Josef Sima made it 2-0 with 14 minutes gone, but Rapid hit back through Franz Weselik. Sparta restored their two-goal advantage on the half hour through Josef Silny. By half-time it was 3-2 to Sparta after Wesely had added another for Rapid. The second half saw Sparta surge forward and Silny and Adolf Patek (who enjoyed a successful managerial career after the second world war) added three goals to give them a 6-2 first leg lead. Sparta’s silky football had proved too much for Rapid.

The second leg was held at the Hohe Warte stadium, which until the construction of the Prater (now Ernst Happel) Stadium, hosted many big games in Vienna. It was primarily First Vienna’s home. Rapid’s coach, Edi Bauer – who named himself in the starting line-up –  adopted a physical approach to try and unsettle Sparta. The Austrian side kicked, punched and shoved their opponents, but referee Mr Eymers only sent off a Sparta player, Antonin Perner. Sparta were very much out-of-sorts, and Rapid led 2-0 after 55 minutes. But when Sparta scored through Silny with eight minutes to go, it was all over for the home side – 7-4 on aggregate.

The Viennese crowd, which numbered some 40,000, was not happy and at the presentation of the trophy, Sparta skipper Pesek was struck by a stone. The crowd invaded the pitch and to protect the victorious Sparta players, around 200 policeman formed a “ring of steel”. It was an unfortunate finale to an ambitious competition that had already captured the imagination of the public in old Europe!

The Mitropa Cup went from strength to strength, but its halcyon days were in the pre-WW2 days. It provided a blueprint for what was to follow in the 1950s. Mitropa Cup games were among the first to be broadcast live on the radio and organized away travel for supporters also emerged in the years ahead. After the World Cup, which didn’t come onto the scene until 1930, the Mitropa Cup was arguably the most significant competition in the inter-war period. It was the product of a vision of European unity and sporting nationalism – in effect, it was as romantic as a Strauss Waltz!

Mitropa Cup Finals – 1927-39
1927: Sparta Prague (Czech) beat Rapid Vienna (Austria) 7-4 on aggregate
1928: Ferencvaros (Hungary) beat Rapid Vienna (Austria) 10-6 on aggregate
1929: Ujpest (Hungary) beat Slavia Prague (Czech) 7-3 on aggregate
1930: Rapid Vienna (Austria) beat Slavia Prague (Czech) 4-3 on aggregate
1931: First Vienna (Austria) beat Wiener SC (Austria) 5-3 on aggregate
1932: Bologna (Italy) awarded cup after semi-finalists ejected from competition
1933: Austria Vienna (Austria) beat Ambrosiana Inter (Italy) 4-3 on aggregate
1934: Bologna (Italy) beat Admira Vienna (Austria) 7-4 on aggregate
1935: Sparta Prague (Czech) beat Ferencvaros 4-2 on aggregate
1936: Austria Vienna (Austria) beat Sparta Prague (Czech) 1-0 on aggregate
1937: Ferencvaros (Hungary) beat Lazio (Italy) 9-6 on aggregate
1938: Slavia Prague (Czech) beat Ferencvaros (Hungary) 4-2 on aggregate
1939: Ujpest (Hungary) beat Ferencvaros (Hungary) 6-3 on aggregate