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Showing posts with the label Unsung Heroes

The Black Spider: Lev Yashin

Thane Macdonald examines the incredible story of a young lad who grew up in a war-torn Russia working in a factory as a 12 year old before becoming arguably the greatest goalkeeper to ever play the game. Yashin was voted as the #27  in our Top 250 countdown earlier this year - the highest goalkeeper on the list. Astoundingly he is a name which although respected and revered by his peers, is often forgotten by many modern writings and publications. So just who was the 'Black Spider' and what legacy has he left?  Lev Ivanovich Yashin was born in Moscow in October 1929. He was from a family of industrial workers and was only twelve when he was required to support the war effort by working in a munitions factory. Fortunately, this afforded Yashin the opportunity to play for the factory football team. Playing here, he was spotted by Dynamo Moscow and was invited to play for the youth team on the spot. It took Yashin until 1950 to break into the first team. He played poorly in

The Galloping Major: Ferenc Puskas

When The Football History Boys was established in February, our initial aim was to find the top 250 football players of all-time. One of such players is Ferenc Puskas, a Hungarian forward, war veteran and Mighty Magyar. Despite being dubbed as the "top scorer of the twentieth-century" Puskas is often forgotten by the modern day football fans. What makes Ferenc's career stand out from others and why is he is so forgotten in modern-day football conversation? Born in Budapest in 1927 as Ferenc Purczeld, his early life was dominated by inter-war struggles between European powers in the newly formed nation of Hungary following its independence from Austria after World War One. The Purczeld family however Magyarizing its name to Puskas in 1937 to remove itself from any German links in a time where Adolf Hitler's Nazi's were beginning their attempt for dominance on the continent. Puskas' early career as a teenager was centered around rising through the ranks of l

Bela Guttmann - A Story That Needs To Be Told

Bela Guttmann  22 different clubs, 13  different countries, 2 European Cups, a curse that still exists to this day and one of football’s greatest journeymen, it’s safe to call Bela Guttmann a trailblazer! Born in 19th century Austria-Hungary to a Jewish family, Guttmann is regarded by many as the original Brian Clough or Jose Mourinho . A controversial figure from the outset he never stayed at a club from more than 3 season because by his own admission “the third season is fatal” (similar to Pep Guardiola’s sentiments after 4 years at Barcelona). When playing he once hung dead rats on Hungarian officials hotel room door’s as a protest, so we can already see there’s more to this man than just statistics and self confidence...  Bela Guttmann’s management career began before the Second World War broke out in 1939 but throughout most of Europe football was put on hold till 1945. Guttmann’s Jewish background meant he had to escape Nazi persecution and while not much is known about

Life Below The Premiership? You Better Believe It!

A Good Year For Welsh football! This is the most exciting yet most painful time of the season for a football man, “squeaking bum time” as Sir Alex used to called it. Titles, promotion, cup finals and relegation will all be decided within the next few weeks making or breaking seasons for thousands of fans. For me, Cardiff City ’s promotion was my best experience as a football fan, winning the Championship and having a crazy party in the Cardiff Bay area to celebrate with 20,000+ others. This topped off an amazing year for Welsh football with Swansea winning the Capital One Cup , Newport winning Promotion to League 2 and Gareth Bale cleaning up with the individual player awards too. There is something that’s been getting to me though; the amount of people who couldn’t give a stuff about anything under the Premier League ! Cardiff City's Promotion Pitch Invasion  I’m a backer of “support your local club”, can’t say I always was but certainly the last 10 years I’ve be

Phil Neal - The Man They Called "Zico"

When someone mentions Liverpool in the 70s and 80s, you could be forgiven to think firstly of Dalglish, Hansen, Keegan and Rush. However, there is one player who is often forgotten despite being an ever present in the Liverpool XI and making a staggering 417 consecutive appearances from October 1976 to September 1983. A player up until 2003 was unmatched in European Cup triumphs. The man i'm writing about is Phil Neal.  In modern day football it seems almost inevitable that a player will pick up at least one injury every season, unless you are Michael Owen and seem to suffer one every five minutes. The likelihood of a player making 417 appearance in-a-row now is almost unthinkable. Former Liverpool man Brad Freidel 's run of 310 successive league appearances for a number of clubs was an impressive achievement, but Neals run was also laden with success and trophies. The Heysel Disaster had a big impact on Neal's life. Signed from Northampton Town for £66,000 in 197