Newsgroups: rec.sport.soccer
From: archer@hsi.com (Garry Archer)
Subject: Re: Puskas
Summary: (* LONG *)
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 1994 17:15:02 GMT

We've discussed Puskas Ferenc (Puskas is pronounced "Push Kosh") in
rec.sport.soccer many times before, but the ending to his story is a little
confusing sometimes!  Anyway, here is what I have from my archives which
includes his activities up until April 1994:

From a discussion in July 1990 regarding the great Ferenc Puskas (or
Puskas Ferenc if you're Hungarian).  Sources and credits:

archer@hsi.com (Garry Archer), cavedon@yarra-glen.aaii.oz.au (Lawrence Cavedon)
dimitri@neon.stanford.edu (Dimitri Andivahis), sergei@jerusalem.mt.cs.cmu.edu 
(Sergei Nirenburg), lms@think.com (Luis Miguel Silveira), 
findlow@wembley.trl.oz.au (Greg Findlow) 

As far as I know, Ferenc Puskas, born in 1926, is still alive.

Indeed, Puskas was a GREAT player.  He defied the commonly accepted traits
of great football players too.   He was short, squat and paunchy.  He was
*very* one footed.  He seldom used his right foot or his head, but he did
have a CRACKING hard left-foot shot.  Some say the most powerful ever seen.
Puskas also had a great "football brain", and was extremely knowledgable
about the game.

He began his playing career in 1943 for Kispest, a suburb of Budapest in
Hungary.  At the age of 18, in 1945, he made his debut for Hungary against
Austria in his country's first postwar international match.

In 1948, his club was incorporated into the new army club, Honved.

He was Hungary's leading goalscorer in 1948 (50 goals), 1949-50 (31),
1950 (25) and 1953 (27).

As a major in the Hungarian army, he was appointed to captain of the
national team that became a legend in its own time.  They became known
as the Magic Magyars.  Led by Puskas's scoring prowess, Hungary was
undefeated from 1950-54, won the Olympic gold medal in 1952 and advanced
to the final of the 1954 World Cup where Puskas scored in a 3-2 loss
to West Germany in Berne, Switzerland.  Hungary, led by Puskas, was the
first ever non-British team to beat England at Wembley in a 6-3 rout on
25th November 1963 (Hungary also beat England 7-1 in Budapest several
months later, just to prove that there was no fluke!).

Regarding the 1954 World Cup Final:

>>Some say that Puska's bears part of the responsibility for the outcome
>>of the 1954 final, playing despite an injury (remember, no substitutions
>>back then).  Comments, anybody?
>Didn't he score both goals insipte of being injured?

"The Hungarians began by scoring 17 goals in their first two games. Ultimately
more significant was the fact that in the second, against West Germany, they
lost Puskas, kicked by the big, blond German centre-half, Werner Liebrich.
In retrospect, it was the kick that won the World Cup.  Puskas would later
wow it was deliberate.  Observers felt that the tackle was at least harsh."
(Brian Glanville, The History of the World Cup, London, Boston: Faber and
Faber, 1984, p. 68.)

"The great question before the final was whether Puskas would play... Puskas
DID play; and it would prove a manifest mistake, a testimony to the captain's
own powers of persuasion rather than the good sense of Sebes [the team's
"chief"] and Mandy [the manager]" (op. cit., p. 79).

Puskas scored one of the two Hugary goals, the other was scored by the outside
right Czibor.  Puskas was not quite mobile and couldn't finish as well as he
usually did.

While in South America on tour with Honved in 1956, the Hungarian Uprising
took place.  Puskas decided not to return home.  Shortly after, the
European press reported his death, but in fact he had fled to Italy.

After a year and a half playing in various friendlies, he was signed by
Real Madrid and his career was reborn.  He returned to his old inside-left
position alongside another all-time great, Alfredo Di Stefano at
centre-forward.  The flying winger, outside-left Francisco Gento added to
one of the greatest forward lines in history.

With Puskas, Real won a fifth consecutive European Cup in a memorable final
in 1960 when Real Madrid defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in front of
127,621 fans at Hampden Park, Scotland.  It was one of Puskas's best scoring
feats.  While Di Stefano scored three, Puskas scored four.  He helped Real
to go on to three more European Cup Finals.  Losing to Benfica 5-3 in 1962
where he scored all Real's three goals, losing 3-1 to Inter Milan in 1964 and
beating Partizan Belgrade (the team the USA recently defeated 1-0 in the Yale
Bowl in New Haven) 2-1 in 1966.

Ferenc Puskas was also a goalscoring leader in Spain; in 1960 (26 goals),
1961 (27), 1963 (26) and 1964 (10 [huh?]).

He also eventually made four international appearances for Spain!!!

Puskas retired from Real in 1966 at age 39.  He had scored 324 goals in
372 games.

Since his retirement from playing, Puskas coached all over the world.  He
started in the United States with the San Francisco Gales.  Then he coached
the Vancouver Royals in 1968.  Eventually he was to lead Panathinaikos (Athens,
Greece) to the European Cup Final in 1971 where they subsequently lost 2-0
to Ajax (Amsterdam, Netherlands) at Wembley, England.  By 1975 he was trying
to mold a national team for Saudi Arabia and the following year he embarked
on a two-year stint with Colo Colo in Chile.  In 1978, Puskas returned to
Greece and took over AEK Athens.

Last I heard, Ferenc Puskas was still alive and coaching in Australia. He was
in charge of South Melbourne Hellas, a team in the Australian National Soccer
League during the 1989-1990 season.  He was also lobbying for Melbourne,
Australia as a host site for the 1996 Olympics.  Apparently, he now lives in
Australia, he may even be an Australian citizen.

Since the above piece was written in July 1990, the following is an update
to Puskas Ferenc's incredible career.  Sources and credits:

archer@hsi.com (Garry Archer),dimitri@neon.stanford.edu (Dimitri Andivahis)
(Greg Findlow), car@public.btr.com (Carlos Rimola-Sarti  car@btr.com)
laetta@uni-paderborn.de (Udo Koerber), maxwell@sfu.ca (John Maxwell),
mbabyak@falcon.cc.ukans.edu (Michael Babyak)

Puskas Ferenc's involvement with the bid of Melbourne for the 1996 Olympics
was as a "distinguished personality."  Whenever the Olympic Committee
convened to go through the various stages of  the designation process, each
candidate city sent a planeload of government figures and "celebrities" to
help with their bid and get good media coverage.  Puskas was part of the
Melbourne contingent.   Athens was a rival contender to host the Olympics
and the Greek newspapers had a headline, "Pancho against us?".  Pancho is
his Spanish nickname.  He was interviewed extensively in the article.

Puskas coached South Melbourne Hellas winning the Australian League in
1990-91.  He also coached them in 1991-92 whilst earning a six digit salary.

In 1992 he returned to Spain where he has a home.  Under considerable pleading
by South Melbourne officials he was nearly convinced to stay on as coach.

A memorable moment in Australia was when rival fans threw a flare onto his
coaching bench.  A camera had a close up of his face which showed absolutely
no expression. He just kept on chewing his gum while the flames burned next
to him.

In early April 1993, Puskas was hired as an acting "interim" coach to Hungary
while that team concluded their World Cup Qualifying matches.  Their previous
Romanian coach was fired for poor qualifying results.

Since Hungary failed to qualify, I must speculate that Puskas returned to
retirement, yet again!, at his home in Spain.  Since I have not heard of
any news of his death, Puskas would be about 67 or 68 years old today
								[April 1994].

On 24 April 1994, mbabyak@falcon.cc.ukans.edu (Michael Babyak) writes:
+ The recent thread on all time great players brings up something I've
+ been curious about for a long time.  I knew an elderly gentleman
+ who said that he used to play for the Hungarian national team when he
+ was young.  He always raved about Puskas, but his English was not good
+ enough to tell me much beyond the fact that he was great.  Can anyone tell
+ me a bit about Puskas (my friend pronounced it "Push Kosh"?), such as
+ when he played and what his particular gifts were?

Mike, we'd love to know your friend's name!

On 30 April 1994, John Maxwell 
+ I'm another fan who has met a former Hungarian footballer (who played for
+ Hungary in the early sixties and for Ferencvaros) and who claims to be a
+ friend of Puskas.  Unfortunately, I only know him as 'Joe'.  Anyway, he
+ says they coached together here in Vancouver, early '70's , I think.
+ One thing about Puskas he told me is that despite the historical importance
+ of being the first team from outside the British Isles to beat England at
+ Wembley, his personal favourite game apparently was when at about the same
+ time as the 6-3 game, Hungary beat Scotland 4-2 at Hampden.  Joe says Puskas 
+ keeps a flag (Scottish one I think) as a memento of that game. 

John, we'd love to know Joe's full name!

|                     Garry Archer Esq.     archer@hsi.com                    
=========| Gresley Rovers Football Club ("The Moatmen"), founded 1882