Look at that fat bloke, Stan (4)

Please don’t look at these blog posts and just think “I don’t like football” and then go on your merry way. All of these blog posts are about much more than football. In particular they concern the eternal battle between sporting genius and cream cakes.

Last time, I wrote about the “Match of the Century” played at Wembley between England and Hungary in 1953, a game which resulted in England’s first ever defeat at home by a foreign team.

The programme, of course, did not just contain details about the English players. There was a section of equal size, of course, for the Hungarian players:

And there is the clue as to why the programme cost me more than might be expected. It has autographs in it. The one above, I presume, is Jeno Buzansky, although it looks as if he writes it as “BuzanskyJeno”. This is because he is not English, I expect, and has a different way of going about things. Here are the second lot of players:

No autographs here, although the players are quite famous in the world of football, especially Jozsef Bozsik, who was a Member of Parliament, and Sandor Kocsis who was very naughty because he was one of the rascally Hungarian forwards who would not stay in position so that the England players could mark him. On to No 3:

This section bears the great man’s autograph, written as PuskásFerenc. Notice that the English writer, John Graydon, is well aware of his nickname of “The Galloping Major” which had been a popular song in 1906, the same year as Puskás’ grandfather had been born. The man at the top, Nandor Hidegkuti, was, I believe, the key to England’s disastrous performance. He was the Hungarian centre forward but stubbornly refused to play where a centre forward was supposed to play. That in turn meant that the England defence did not know what to do. They did not know who to mark. When they asked the coach if they should change their own formation, he replied that he didn’t know what to do either and he told them to carry on, it would all come out OK eventually, so don’t worry lads, fingers crossed.  Here’s the last of the pen pictures:

That meant that the teams lined up as, for England:

And for the Hungarians:

And yes, three more autographs. PuskásFerenc and BuzanskyJeno and a new one, the goalkeeper, Gyula Grosics, or GrosicsGyula as he liked to sign himself.

The attendance was 105,000 spectators . This was one of the biggest accurately counted crowds ever recorded in England.  Any number of managers of First Division clubs always claimed to have been there but of course, there is no way of checking now. The game started badly for England and got worse after that. The scores went, from England’s point of view, 0-1, 1-1 (hurrah!), 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 2-4 (hurrah!), half time, 2-5, 2-6, 3-6. The game was filmed, and as I have already mentioned, it is available on DVD, although, shop around…ebay can be very expensive.

Here are some photographs from the match:

Some editions of the film of the game have only eight of the nine goals in the main match, If you are lucky, the makers of your DVD will have contacted Pathé News to make use their film of the missing goal as an ‘extra’.

Here’s one film about the game from gr8footy:

And here’s the full match version. The commentary is in Hungarian but the picture is better than most (Yes, really!):

And the programme still manages to be helpful. Here’s how you can get home by train:





Filed under Football, History, Personal

19 responses to “Look at that fat bloke, Stan (4)

  1. My dad kept a football scrap book but it was a few years earlier than 1953. He got married that year and the scrap book was closed. No pictures of this match then!
    I like the team pages – ‘Plan of the Field of Play’ Ha Ha!

  2. That’s some programme. Great photos of the match

  3. It’s funny over here, it seems every child at some point has been on a soccer team, we even call suburban mothers “soccer-moms”. By high school they get into football – so now the adult/pro version of soccer is only just coming into popularity.

    • I think that gradually soccer is making inroads in the USA. Its two main advantages are that the equipment is within everybody’s budget (a ball) and injuries are very few and far between. I ran our school soccer teams for 20 or so years and we had only one broken knee as far as I remember. That’s certainly not the case with rugby, for example!

  4. Hello! I have been out of circulation lately. Your posts always make me think and open up the world a bit more. Thank you! Football (the real game, not american football) is my favourite organised sport. Fun information.

  5. Football was such a gentleman’s game then. A quick hug and a handshake to celebrate, even the ref got involved! (Although he was probably moving them along!). Commentators too were much more reserved and ‘BBC’ like. Can we not go back to that?

    • If only we could! I think that there is so much money in football nowadays that all of the greedy people who run it will want to keep it exactly as it is, without any changes. Perhaps football today though just echoes society. Everything is dramatic and astonishing and nothing like it has ever been seen before. That may be the reason that all those footballers and commentators are so quick to over react to every relatively trivial event.

  6. turtomagoo

    Hello John

    Many thanks for the continuously excellent blog pieces.

    I wonder, could I lift one of your older pieces about the High School for inclusion in the Old Nottinghamians Society Spring magazine? One of the ‘High School Hells Angels’ pieces would be good. We’d credit you and the blog fully and hopefully direct more people towards it.

    I hope you’re recovering well from your recent surgery.

    Best wishes

    Phil Turton
    Old Nottinghamians Society President 2018

  7. It’s difficult to appreciate what it felt like to be defeated by dastardly foreigners. I’ve grown up expecting the national team to lose. 🙂

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