When Vasas Were the Best Team in the World

In 1968, Hungary’s communist poster boys thought playing Argentina’s world champions in their rabidly anti-communist backyard was a good idea. It was.

Nips out: Vasas in possibly the most transparent football shirts in the world. (1968, Argentina)
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Last Match in Budapest (Vasas vs. Soroksár)

So it looks like this is my last football match in Budapest. I’m making the move back to my adopted home of Bahrain next month; the second lockdown in Hungary is upon us; and all games are going back behind closed doors. There was an inevitability about this announcement, despite Vasas taking all the precautions they could to stop the spread of Covid at their matches it was never going to be enough with the spike in numbers here.

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Groundhopping: BKV Előre vs. Veszprém

Continuing our adventures around the grounds of Budapest, Kevin (Fitba & Foci), Mike, and I recently took a long overdue trip to the Sport Utcai Stadion, home to NBIII (Keleti) side BKV Előre SC.  After several weeks of writing individual reviews, Kevin and I have decided to co-author on this one.

There’s an absurd truism over here that every Hungarian team gets a brand spanking new stadium paid for by Viktor Orban’s football obsession and its resultant funnelling of Hungarian funds. The fact that Orban’s hometown of Felcsút (population 1688) has a beautiful, wooden football cathedral with a 3800 capacity tells you everything you need to know about the endemic corruption in the Hungarian football system, but also throws the “have-nots” into sharper relief.

BKV Előre’s Sport Utcai Stadium on the left, in sharp relief with MTK Budapest’s Hidegkuti Nándor Stadium on the right.
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Corona Ends Vasas Promotion Hopes

On the long list of important things affected by Covid-19, a late promotion push by Hungarian second division team Vasas FC is probably not foremost in your brainspace, nor was it in mine. Football is not just secondary right now, it’s so low down the list of priorities as to be near-irrelevant given the loss and disruption inflicted by Coronavirus. Still, I started this season so I’ll finish it with a quick update.

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Don’t Call It A Comeback (Yet): Vasas’s Benedek Murka Talks Corona, Injury and The Future

photo courtesy of http://www.vasasfc.hu

Vasas midfielder Benedek Murka hasn’t had a great few years. A promising start to his young career (he’s still only 22) saw him play for the Hungarian National Under-21 team and cement a place in the Vasas starting lineup. Sadly, this early success was brought to a halt last year when a knee injury landed him in the one place no player wants to be – ACL surgery.

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Budapest’s Coronavirus Shutdown

As expected, the government here in Hungary have introduced swingeing new measures to halt the spread of coronavirus, the biggest ones being a ban on entering the country from Italy, Iran, China and South Korea, and restrictions at the Austrian and Slovenian borders. Universities will hold remote classes, whilst making false statements about viral infection could result in prosecution. Employees have been asked to work from home where possible.

For life within Budapest though, it’s the ban on public events of 100 people (indoor) and 500 people (outdoor) that will have the biggest day-to-day effect for us sociable go-getter types, especially those without family here.

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Especially the Icy Bear… (Vasas vs. Nyíregyháza Spartacus)

Yesterday was a huge day for Vasas. Nine points off the promotion places but with the top two to play this month, it was vital that they kept up their glorious 4-game winning streak to keep pace with the leaders. First and second placed MTK and Budafoki both had tricky away games, while Vasas faced an eminently beatable Nyíregyháza. And what a day it proved.

Mike and I perfecting the anarok look.
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