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, … Continue reading Crossing the Danube – the story of the inaugural Mitropa Cup

Bohemian Rhapsody: Josef Masopust and Dukla

Cold War Europe was a sinister place. Behind the Iron Curtain, popular opinion told us, it was a grey, totalitarian world where spies drank thick black coffee in cafes, children informed on their parents, smoke-chugging cars rolled off production lines and food queues, for inedible black bread, went on for miles The lingua franca was strictly Russian. As for football, teams were supposedly mysterious, functional, militaristic and tough. They were known as “Crack” Hungarians, Bulgarians and East Germans. But while these teams were hard to beat, it was the latin contingent in Europe that emerged as the dominant forces, notably … Continue reading Bohemian Rhapsody: Josef Masopust and Dukla