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|Full name||Béla Guttmann|
|Date of birth||27 January 1899|
|Place of birth||Budapest, Austria-Hungary|
|Date of death||28 August 1981(aged 82)|
|Place of death||Vienna, Austria|
|1926–1929||New York Giants||83||(2)|
|1929–1930||New York Hakoah||21||(0)|
|1930||New York Soccer Club||22||(0)|
|1933–1935||SC Hakoah Wien|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Béla Guttmann (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈbeːlɒ ˈɡutmɒnː]; 27 January 1899 – 28 August 1981) was a Hungarian footballer and coach. He played as a midfielder for MTK Hungária FC, SC Hakoah Wien, Hungary and several clubs in the United States. However he is perhaps best remembered as a coach and manager of AC Milan, São Paulo FC, FC Porto, Benfica and C.A. Peñarol. His greatest success came with Benfica when he guided them to two successive European Cup wins in 1961 and in 1962.
Together with Márton Bukovi and Gusztáv Sebes, Guttmann formed a triumvirate of radical Hungarian coaches who pioneered the 4–2–4 formation and he is also credited with mentoring Eusébio. However throughout his career he was never far from controversy. Widely travelled, as both a player and coach, he rarely stayed at a club longer than two seasons, and was quoted as saying the third season is fatal. He was sacked at Milan while they were top of Serie A and he walked out on Benfica after they refused a request for a pay rise, purportedly leaving the club with a curse.
Guttmann was a prominent member of the MTK Hungária FC team of the early 1920s. Playing alongside Gyula Mándi, he helped MTK win Hungarian League titles in 1920 and 1921. In 1922 he moved to Vienna to escape the anti-semitism of the Admiral Horthy regime and joined the all-Jewish club SC Hakoah Wien. In 1925 he won another league title when Hakoah won the Austrian League. In April 1926 the SC Hakoah Wien squad sailed to New York to begin a ten-match tour of the United States and on 1 May a crowd of 46,000 watched them play an American Soccer League XI at the Polo Grounds. The ASL team won 3–0.
Following the tour Guttmann and several of his teammates decided to stay on in the US. After initially playing for Brooklyn Wanderers, he signed for the New York Giants of the American Soccer League, playing 83 games and scoring two goals over two seasons. In 1928, the Giants were suspended from the ASL as part of the "Soccer War", a dispute pitting the ASL and United States Soccer Federation. Guttman and the Giants joined the Eastern Soccer League, but he soon moved to New York Hakoah, a team made-up of former SC Hakoah Wien players, including Rudolph Nickolsburger. In 1929 he helped them win the U.S. Open Cup (then known as National Challenge Cup). After a merger with Brooklyn Hakoah, they became the Hakoah All-Stars in 1930. In the fall of 1930 Guttman rejoined the Giants, now known as the New York Soccer Club, but was back at the All-Stars in the spring of 1931 where he finished his career as a player. As well as playing football, while in New York, Guttmann also bought into a speakeasy and almost lost everything after the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
Between 1921 and 1924, Guttman also played six times for Hungary, scoring on his debut on 5 June 1921 in a 3–0 win against Germany. Later in the same month he also played against a Southern Germany XI. His remaining four appearances all came in May 1924 in games against Switzerland, Saarland, Poland and Egypt. The latter two were at the Olympic Games in Paris. During the preparations for the competition Guttmann objected to the fact that there were more officials than players in the Hungary squad. He also complained that the hotel was more suitable for socialising than match preparation and to demonstrate his disapproval he hung dead rats on the doors of the travelling officials.
Return to Europe
Guttmann returned to Europe in 1932 and in the years before the outbreak of the Second World War he coached teams in Austria, The Netherlands and Hungary. After spells with his former club SC Hakoah Wien and then SC Enschede, he had his first serious success with Újpest FC in the 1938–39 season, winning the Hungarian League and the Mitropa Cup. How Guttman spent the war years is unclear. Although his elder brother died in a concentration camp, Guttmann himself is said to have escaped to Switzerland where he was interned.
After the war Guttmann briefly took charge at Vasas SC, before joining Ciocanul in Romania. Due to food shortages, Guttman insisted his salary be paid in vegetables. He subsequently walked out on the Romanian club after a director attempted to intervene in team selection. He then rejoined Újpest FC then known as Újpesti TE, and won another Hungarian League title before succeeding Ferenc Puskás Sr. as coach at Kispest AC. However he fell out with Ferenc Puskás Jr., again over team selection, and once again Guttmann walked.
Like many other Hungarian footballers and coaches, Guttmann spent time in Italy. After spells with Calcio Padova and U.S. Triestina Calcio, he was appointed manager of AC Milan in 1953. With a team that included Gunnar Nordahl, Nils Liedholm and Juan Alberto Schiaffino, Guttmann had them top of Serie A nineteen games into his second season in charge when a string of disputes with the board led to his dismissal. He later told a stunned press conference "I have been sacked even though I am neither a criminal nor a homosexual. Goodbye." From then on he insisted on a clause in his contract that he could not be sacked if his team were top of the table. He subsequently managed a fourth Italian club Vicenza Calcio.
Guttmann first went to South America on tour with the Hakoah All-Stars in the summer of 1930. In 1957, he returned as a coach with the Honvéd team which included Ferenc Puskás, Zoltán Czibor, Sándor Kocsis, József Bozsik, László Budai, Gyula Lóránt and Gyula Grosics. During a tour of Brazil, Honvéd played a series of five games against CR Flamengo, Botafogo and a Flamengo / Botafogo XI.
Guttmann then stayed on in Brazil and took charge of São Paulo FC and with a team that included Dino Sani, Mauro and Zizinho, won the São Paulo State Championship in 1957. It was while in Brazil that he helped popularise the 4–2–4 formation, which had been pioneered by fellow countrymen Márton Bukovi and Gusztáv Sebes, and was subsequently used by Brazil as they won the 1958 FIFA World Cup. Before finally retiring as coach, in 1962 Guttmann would return to South America to manage C.A. Peñarol, but was replaced in October by Peregrino Anselmo, who guided the side to the Uruguayan League title that very year.
In 1958, Guttmann arrived in Portugal and embarked on the most successful spell of his career. He took charge of FC Porto and helped them overhaul a five-point lead enjoyed by Benfica to win his first of three Portuguese League titles in 1959. The following season he jumped ship and joined Benfica. There he promptly sacked 20 senior players, promoted a host of youth players and won the league again in 1960 and 1961. Under Guttmann, Benfica, with a team that included Eusébio, José Águas, José Augusto, Costa Pereira, António Simões, Germano and Mário Coluna, also won the European Cup twice in a row. In 1961 they beat Barcelona 3–2 in the final and in 1962 they retained the title, coming from 2–0 and 3–2 down to beat Real Madrid 5–3.
Legend has it that Guttmann signed Eusébio after a chance meeting in a barber shop. Seated next to Guttman was José Carlos Bauer, one of his successors at São Paulo. The Brazilian team were on tour in Portugal and the coach mentioned an outstanding player he had seen while they toured Mozambique. Eusébio had also attracted the interest of Sporting CP. Guttman moved quickly and signed the then 19-year-old for Benfica.
To celebrate Benfica's 110th birthday, a statue of Béla Guttman holding his two European Cups was unveiled. The statue made by Hungarian sculptor László Szatmári Juhos was placed at door 18 of the Estádio da Luz.
The "curse" of Béla Guttmann
After the 1962 European Cup Final, Guttmann approached the Benfica board of directors and asked for a pay rise. However, despite the success he had brought the club, he was turned down. On leaving Benfica, Guttman allegedly cursed the club, declaring "Not in a hundred years from now will Benfica ever be European champion". Benfica have gone on to lose all eight of their subsequent European finals, including five European Cup finals (1963, 1965, 1968, 1988, and 1990), and three UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League finals (1983, 2013 and 2014). Before the 1990 final, which was played in Vienna, where Guttmann was buried, Eusébio even prayed at his grave and asked for the curse to be broken.
- MTK Hungária FC
- SC Hakoah Wien
- Austrian Champions: 1924–25
- New York Hakoah
- Újpest FC/Újpesti TE
- São Paulo
- Rota, Davide (9 January 2001). "Hungarian Players and Coaches in Italy". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
- "Chelsea be warned: a Guttman is hard to find". guardian.co.uk. 17 January 2007.
- See Gutmann's birth certificate.
- Jose, Colin (1998). American Soccer League, 1921–1931 (Hardback). The Scarecrow Press. (ISBN 0-8108-3429-4).
- Jose, Colin. "From Hakoah to Benfica". National Soccer Hall of Fame.
- All in a told, Guttmann sat on the bench of Benfica 162 times (113 W, 27 D, 22 L), making his debut with the lisbonian side on 20 September 1959 at Estádio da Luz (Benfica 4 – 1 Setúbal); his last match in charge took place on 1 May 1966 at Estádio do Restelo (Setúbal 1 – 4 Benfica). In the European Cups, Guttmann amassed 22 matches (14 W, 3 D, 5 L); his first game was Hearts 1 – 2 Benfica, played on 29 September 1960 in Edinburgh, while he had his last appearance on 9 March 1966 (Benfica 1 – 5 Manchester United, played at Estádio da Luz). Source: Almanaque do Benfica : Edição Centenário 1904–2004, Almanaxi Editora, 2003, p. 535. ISBN 972-99074-0-4
- "h2g2 – Eusebio – A Footballing Legend". BBC. 25 January 1942. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
- "Rui Gomes da Silva: "A nossa ideia foi trazer Béla Guttmann para o estádio"" (in Portuguese). Record. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
- Benfica and "the curse of Bela Guttmann"
- Béla Guttmann and the curse of Benfica
- "The 52-year curse of Bela Guttman continues for Benfica as Portuguese club fall short in eighth European final with Europa League defeat against Sevilla". Daily Mail. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- Gardner, Paul (15 May 2014). "Brazen goalkeeper cheating helps Sevilla win Europa League". SoccerAmerica. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- Wilson, Jonathan (2006). Behind The Curtain – Travels in Eastern European Football. Orion Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-7528-6907-0.
- Radnedge, Keir (2005). 50 Years of the European Cup and Champions League. Carlton Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-84442-529-7.
- Castro, Ruy (2005). Garrincha: The Triumph and Tragedy of Brazil's Forgotten Footballing Hero. Yellow Jersey Press. ISBN 978-0-224-06433-0.
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