Statues of Budapest – The Boys of Csepel

Some of you may know that I also run @statuesofbudapest over on Instagram. It’s been a richly rewarding project for me, and occasionally I’d like to share a post or two with you all. Here’s the first.

An Interview With Botond Birtalan

Since I’ve been watching Vasas I’ve been astonished by the club’s openness and support. I got to go on a stadium tour, have been welcomed by the supporters clubs and last week I was able to interview Vasas’s free-scoring attacking midfielder Botond Birtalan at the club’s home in District XIII.

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…with a whimper (Vasas FC vs. Zalaegerszegi)

It’s a beautiful day in Ujpest for the final game of the 2018/19 campaign, and it’s also time to say a not-so-fond farewell to the Szusza Ferenc – the ground that Vasas have been borrowing this year – as the team prepares to move back to Angyalföld and the newly-rebuilt Illovszky Rudolf Stadium.

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Comeback Kings (Vasas FC vs. Balmazujvaros Sport)

I got to see the inside of a Hungarian public hospital last week; a hernia surgery meaning I missed the last few Vasas matches. Whilst the aesthetic was a wee bit Cold War and the welcome not as warm as the dear old NHS, I am now the proud owner of three small scars and a fixed stomach – thanks to the staff at Péterfy Kórház for that. And so I managed to get myself up and about in time to see Vasas play Balmazujvaras, a team determined to take top spot from Nyiregyhaza in the “teams whose names I can’t pronounce” stakes.

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Fish in a Barrel (Vasas FC vs. ETO FC Győr)

Photo from http://www.vasasfc.hu

It’s hard to motivate yourself to write after watching such a complete capitulation. Let’s get the score out of the way early. Vasas lost 4-0 today and – without exaggeration – it should have been at least seven. Győr were incisive, playing dangerous balls through the Vasas backline with alarming and repeated ease. I was surprised by how well the away team played given their league position; their direct, first-touch, purposeful work too much for a Vasas team that seem to have frittered away their pre-Christmas confidence. Tóth and Kelemen in the Vasas defence were bypassed by slide-rule passes to Győri strikers at will, and the pacy forwards gave them a torrid time all game.

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18 year old Dániel Zsóri just scored a spectacular match-winning overhead kick against the league leaders 7 minutes into his debut.

Debrecen’s 18-year-old debutant Dániel Zsóri officially has nowhere to go now but down.

After scoring 39 goals this season for the Debrecen reserves, Zsóri was brought on in the 86th minute against current league leaders Ferencváros. Debrecen sit in third.

The score was 1-1. It was his debut. He did this…

That, my friends, is a hit and a half.

Hiding in Plain Sight (Vasas FC vs. Siófok)

Workrate can be deceiving in football. A player can bustle around for 90 minutes with plenty of the ball and yet hold back his team through lack of intent. When players start to think that running around, making sideways passes and looking busy are the same as having purpose, teams get into trouble. Yes, the manager can’t fault the workrate, but matches aren’t won with directionless effort.

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Shirt Story #2: Vasas FC (1991 Home)

I’ve seen a few of these knocking around online and managed to pick one up fairly cheaply. The design is the classic Adidas template which was used for Colombia’s Italia 90 strip, leading me to believe this is from the 90/91 season,

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A Tour of the New Vasas Stadium (Illovszky Rudolf Stadium)

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The nearly-completed Illovszky Rudolf Stadion – future home of Vasas FC.

Due to an improbable series of events, I ended up being interviewed on Hungarian national media for creating an Instagram account about statues (@statuesofbudapest – should you be curious). The topic of the interview turned to football and I mentioned how I’d come to support Vasas since arriving in Budapest (namely – I like underdogs and the shared ironworking history of Vasas and Middlesbrough).

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