Josef Bican

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Josef Bican
Josef Bican 1940.jpg
Personal information
Full name Josef Bican
Date of birth (1913-09-25)25 September 1913
Place of birth Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Date of death 12 December 2001(2001-12-12) (aged 88)
Place of death Prague, Czech Republic
Position(s) Striker
Youth career
1928–1930 Schustek
1930–1931 Farbenlutz
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1931–1935 Rapid Vienna 64 (81)
1935–1937 Admira 26 (17)
1937–1948 Slavia Prague 211 (403)
1948–1951 FC Vítkovice 69 (93)
1951–1952 FC Hradec Králové[a] 26 (53)
1952–1955 Dynamo Prague 31 (22)
Total 416+ (651+)
National team
1933–1936 Austria 19 (14)
1938–1949 Czechoslovakia 14 (12)
1939 Bohemia and Moravia 1 (3)
Teams managed
1954–1956 Slavia Prague
1956–1959 TJ Slovan Liberec
1957–1958 Spartak Brno ZJŠ
1959–1960 TJ Spartak ZJS Brno
1963–1964 TJ Baník Příbram
1964 FC Hradec Králové
1967–1969 SONP Kladno
1969–1972 KSK Tongeren
1977 Benešov
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Josef "Pepi" Bican (25 September 1913 – 12 December 2001) was an Austrian-Czech professional footballer who played as a striker. He is the second-most prolific goalscorer in official matches in recorded history according to Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF), with over 948 goals scored in 621 matches.[1] FIFA recognises a lower total of 805 goals.[2][3]

According to http://www.rsssf.com/players/prolific.html, Bican scored over 1812 total goals in over 1089 total matches, making him the second greatest goalscorer of all time, behind Lajos Tichy with over 1912 total goals scored in over 1301 total matches.

Bican began his professional career at Rapid Vienna in 1931. After four years at Rapid, he moved to local rivals Admira Wien. Bican won four league titles during his time in Austria,[4] then moved to Slavia Praha in 1937, where he stayed until 1948, and became the club's all-time top goalscorer.[5] He later played for FC Vitkovice, FC Hradec Králové, and Dynamo Praha, retiring in 1955 as the all-time top goalscorer in the Czechoslovak First League with 447 goals.[6]

Bican was a member of the Austrian Wunderteam of the 1930s and represented the nation at the 1934 FIFA World Cup, where they reached the semi-finals. He later switched allegiance to the Czechoslovakia national football team, but a clerical error related to his transfer of national team precluded him from playing in the 1938 FIFA World Cup. Bican was a tall player,[7] with the technical ability to play with both feet,[8] and had considerable pace. During his athletic prime, he was reportedly capable of running 100 metres in 10.8 seconds, which was not far off the leading sprinters of his time.[2]

After his retirement from playing, Bican became a manager, and coached various teams from the 1950s until the 1970s. In 1998, Bican was given a "Medal of Honour" by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) for being among the world's most successful top division goalscorers of all time.[9] In 2000, the IFFHS awarded Bican the "Golden Ball" in recognition of his status as the greatest goalscorer of the 20th century. The award was based on how many times a player had been top scorer in his domestic league, a feat which Bican achieved 12 times.[4][10]

Early life[edit]

Bican was born in Vienna to František and Ludmila Bican. He was the second of three children.[11] František was from Sedlice in Southern Bohemia, and Ludmila was Viennese Czech. Josef's father František was a footballer who played for Hertha Vienna. He fought in World War I and returned uninjured. However, František was to die at the age of just 30 during 1921 because he refused an operation to treat a kidney injury sustained in a football match. His mother worked in a restaurant kitchen.

The family's poverty meant that Bican initially had to play football without shoes, which helped him improve his ball control skills. Bican attended the Jan Amos Komenský school, a Czech school in Vienna. In 1925, four years after his father's death, twelve-year-old Bican started to play for the Hertha Vienna junior team, Hertha Vienna II. When he was 18, Bican was spotted by Rapid Vienna, who were a big club in the city at the time.

Club career[edit]

In 1931, when Bican first joined Rapid, he received 150 schillings, but, by the age of 20, Rapid wanted to keep him so much that they paid him 600 schillings.[citation needed]

During 1937, Bican left Vienna to join Czech club Slavia Prague.[11] He played for Slavia throughout World War II, while many of his football rivals were at war. During eight league seasons he would score 328 goals, including 57 in 26 matches one particular season. Three times in his career, Bican scored seven goals in a game.[12] In a 1939–40 league match against Zlín, Bican found the net seven times as Slavia ran out 10–1 winners.[12] During the 1940–41 season, Bican matched his feat of the previous season, again against Zlín, scoring seven times, as Slavia won by a 12–1 scoreline.[12] It was 1947–48 before Bican managed his third seven-goal match, as Slavia defeated České Budějovice in a game which finished 15–1.[12]

He was, in the leagues that he played, the top-scorer 12 times during his 27-year career and Europe's top scorer in five consecutive seasons, from 1939–40 to 1943–44 while the most of players and the physically fit young men were in the war.

Bican tried to improve his standing with the Communists[8] by joining steel works Železárny Vítkovice. During 1952, he joined FC Hradec Králové,[a] where he managed to score 53 goals in 26 matches.[13] On 1 May 1953, the Communist Party forced him to leave the city and, therefore, the club. After being forced to leave, he returned to Slavia Prague, or, as it was known then, Dynamo Prague. He finally retired from playing, still at Slavia, at the age of 42 during 1955. He was the oldest player in the league at that time.

Career statistics[edit]

Clubs[edit]

Club Div. Season League Cup Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
S.K Rapid Amateur Amt. 1931 2 3 2 3
S.K Rapid Reserve Res. 1931–32 13 24 13 24
Rapid Wien 1 1931–32 8 10 2 2 10 12
1932–33 16 11 2 6 18 17
1933–34 22 29 5 5 3 1 30 35
1934–35 3 4 3 4
Total Rapid 64 81 9 13 3 1 76 95
Admira Wien 1 1935–36 15 7 2 3 2 2 19 12
1936–37 11 10 11 10
Total Admira 26 17 2 3 2 2 30 22
SK Slavia Prague 1 1936–37 1 4 1 4
1937–38 19 26 8 10 1 4 28 40
1938–39 20 29 2 2 22 31
1 1939–40 22 50 3 5 1 1 26 56
1940–41 22 38 5 11 4 7 31 56
1941–42 22 45 5 10 3 8 30 63
1942–43 20 39 1 0 3 7 24 46
1943–44 26 57 1 3 5 16 32 76
1 1944–45 6 20 9 16 15 36
1945–46 16 31 1 1 17 32
1946–47 23 43 1 1 24 44
1947–48 13 20 13 20
1948–49 7 21 7 21
Total Slavia 211 403 31 61 28 61 270 525
Sokol Vítkovice Železárny 2 1949 17 44 17 44
1 1950 23 22 23 22
1951 18 8 18 8
Total Vítkovice 58 74 0 0 0 0 58 74
FC Hradec Králové[a] 2 1952 26 53 4 7 30 60
Total Hradec Králové 26 53 4 7 0 0 30 60
Dynamo Praha 1 1953 9 7 9 7
1954 14 11 14 11
1955 8 4 8 4
Total Dynamo 31 22 0 0 0 0 31 22
Career total 416 650 46 84 33 64 495 798
Sources: Rapid Wien - Slavia Praha - HistoricalLineups - IFFHS - Český a československý fotbal - R.S.S.S.F. - ARFTS - ARFTS2 - ARFTS3 - ARFSH - ARFSH2

International career[edit]

On 29 November 1933, aged 20 years and 64 days, Bican made his debut for Austria in a 2–2 draw against Scotland. He later played for them at the 1934 World Cup, when the Austrian Wunderteam reached the semifinals. His solitary goal in the tournament came in extra-time in the Austrians' 3–2 win over France.

At the time Bican was playing for Slavia Prague, he applied for Czechoslovak citizenship. However, when he eventually became a Czechoslovak citizen, he discovered that a clerical error meant he couldn't play at the World Cup during 1938. In total, he scored 29 goals in 34 international matches for 3 teams (Austria, Czechoslovakia and Bohemia & Moravia). His final national team appearance was for Czechoslovakia in a 3–1 defeat against Bulgaria on 4 September 1949.[14]

However, his success did have a disadvantage. Other members of the team became jealous of the tall, handsome Bican's success, and he was sometimes called abusive names, such as "Austrian bastard".[15]

In addition to representing Austria, Czechoslovakia and the region of Bohemia & Moravia. Bican also played a number of fixtures playing for teams consisting of the best players from a league or town between 1939 and 1949. For the Cesko-Moravska league team in 1939 he played 6 games scoring 9 goals, for the Cesko league team in 1940–1944 he played 8 games scoring 11 goals, for Praha from 1938 to 1948 he played 6 games scoring one goal and Ostrava in 1949 he played one game scoring one goal, bringing Bican's total number of official goals outside of club football to 48 goals in 54 games.[5]

International goals[edit]

Austria
Year Apps Goals
1933 2 1
1934 6 5
1935 5 3
1936 6 5
Total 19 14
Czechoslovakia
Year Apps Goals
1938 6 8
1947 4 4
1948 2 0
1949 2 0
Total 14 12
Bohemia and Moravia
Year Apps Goals
1939 1 3
Total 1 3
Total
Year Apps Goals
Total 34 29

Goals for Austria[edit]

Austria's goal tally[16]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 10 December 1933 Olympic Stadium, Amsterdam, Netherlands  Netherlands 1–0 1–0 Friendly
2. 11 February 1934 Charmilles Stadium, Geneva, Switzerland   Switzerland 1–0 3–2 1933–35 Dr. Gero Cup
3. 3–2
4. 15 April 1934 Hohe Warte Stadium, Vienna, Austria  Hungary 4–2 5–2 Friendly
5. 5–2
6. 27 May 1934 Stadio Benito Mussolini, Turin, Italy  France 3–1 3–2 1934 FIFA World Cup
7. 6 October 1935 Praterstadion, Vienna, Austria  Hungary 1–1 4–4 1933–1935 Dr.Gero Cup
8. 2–2
9. 3–4
10. 19 January 1936 Estadio Metropolitano de Madrid, Madrid, Spain  Spain 1–0 5–4 Friendly
11. 26 January 1936 Campo da Constituição, Porto, Portugal  Portugal 3–1 3–2 Friendly
12. 22 March 1936 Praterstadion, Vienna, Austria  Czechoslovakia 1–1 1–1 1936–37 Dr. Gero Cup
13. 5 April 1936 Praterstadion, Vienna, Austria  Hungary 1–1 3–5 Friendly
14. 2–3

Goals for Czechoslovakia[edit]

Czechoslovakia's goal tally [14][16]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 7 August 1938 Råsunda Stadium, Stockholm, Sweden  Sweden 2–0 6–2 Friendly
2. 3–0
3. 5–2
4. 28 August 1938 Stadion Concordije, Zagreb, Kingdom of Yugoslavia  Yugoslavia 2–0 3–1
5. 4 December 1938 AC Sparta Stadion, Praha, Czechoslovakia  Romania 1–2 6–2
6. 3–2
7. 4–2
8. 6–2
9. 11 May 1947  Yugoslavia 1–0 3–1
10. 3–1
11. 31 August 1947  Poland 1–0 6–3
12. 2–0

Goals for Bohemia and Moravia[edit]

Bohemia and Moravia's goal tally [14][16]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 12 November 1939 Hermann Göring Stadium, Wroclaw, Nazi Germany  Germany 1–0 4–4 Friendly
2. 3–0
3. 4–2

Life after retirement[edit]

Tombstone of Josef "Pepi" Bican at Prague's Vyšehrad cemetery
Josef Bican's grave, plus a headstone for his wife Jarmila, who died exactly ten years after him.

During the spring of 1968, Bican was told that he would be allowed to have a coaching job abroad. He impressed the Belgian team Tongeren and they hired him as a coach, where he had some success taking them from Division 4 to Division 2.

Around this time, Pelé was getting ready for his 1000th goal and many journalists were searching for another player who had scored a thousand goals. Former Austrian player Franz "Bimbo" Binder suggested Bican, who he claimed to have scored over 5000 goals in all competitions.[15] When reporters asked Bican why he had not sought more attention for his goalscoring feats, he simply said, "who'd have believed me if I said I'd scored five times as many goals as Pelé?" However, to score over 5000 goals he should have kept an average of 185 goals/year along all his 27 years of career, but only counting goals in official matches, Bican scored over 948 goals.[5] Bican's goal-scoring feats are often forgotten because he did not make a big fuss about it in the media. His record is often overshadowed by Pelé's 1301 goal record, including goals in unofficial matches. But shortly before his death in 2001, IFFHS based on RSSSF statistics declared Bican with 643 league goals, the most prolific scorer of the 20th century.[17][18] This was judged by the number of times a player had been top scorer in his domestic league. Bican managed this feat 12 times, more than any other player in football history.[4]

In the 1990s, Bican spoke to Czech TV about the difficulty of scoring during his era: “When I talk to young reporters, they always say, ‘Mr Bican, scoring was easier back in your day.’ But I ask them, ‘How come? Look, are there opportunities today?’ And they tell me, ‘Of course there are, many of them’. And I say, ‘There you go. If there weren’t opportunities, it would be difficult. But if there are, scoring is the same as it was a hundred years ago, and will be the same in a hundred years’ time, too. It will always be the same.” [18]

Josef "Pepi" Bican spent the last few months of his life in hospital with heart problems. He had hoped to be home for Christmas, but died less than 2 weeks before that, at the age of 88. In September 2013, which would have been Bican's 100th birthday, Slavia Prague commemorated him by wearing shirts that featured a replica of his signature on them.[7]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The club was known as Sokol Škoda by 1952.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Best Goalscorers All-Time (Official Matches)". www.rsssf.com.
  2. ^ a b FIFA.com. "Welcome to FIFA.com News - The master of marksmen - FIFA.com". www.fifa.com. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  3. ^ "The most remarkable world soccer records".
  4. ^ a b c "Josef Bican". Archived from the original on 16 May 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "Prolific Scorers Data - Josef Bican - Additional Data". www.rsssf.com.
  6. ^ Slavia Top Scorers of All Times Archived 4 July 2020 at the Wayback Machine SK Slavia Praha
  7. ^ a b UEFA.com (4 December 2014). "Meet Europe's most prolific scorer of all time | Inside UEFA". UEFA.com. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Josef Pepi Bican – The Lonely Man at the Top". Goalden Times. 6 June 2017. Archived from the original on 16 May 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  9. ^ Admin, IFFHS (12 November 2017). "TOP DIVISION GOAL SCORERS OF ALL TIME : FERENC PUSKAS LEADS THE RANKING". International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS). Archived from the original on 4 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  10. ^ "Josef Bican : world's greatest goalscorer". Archived from the original on 25 January 2020. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  11. ^ a b Nováček, Ondřej (25 September 2008). "Legendární fotbalový kanonýr Bican by se dožil pětadevadesáti let". Česká televize (in Czech). Archived from the original on 25 June 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  12. ^ a b c d Jeřábek, Luboš; Palička, Jan (7 October 2007). "Brazilcovo šílenství: sedm gólů za zápas". idnes.cz (in Czech). Archived from the original on 22 July 2018. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  13. ^ "Czech FA Claims Cristiano Ronaldo Has Not Broken Josef Bican's Goalscoring Record". 90min.com. 21 January 2021.
  14. ^ a b c Josef Bican at FAČR (in Czech)
  15. ^ a b Willoughby, Ian (23 January 2002). "Czechs in History: Josef "Pepi" Bican". Czech Radio. Archived from the original on 28 December 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  16. ^ a b c Josef Bican - International Goals Archived 20 May 2017 at the Wayback Machine. RSSSF
  17. ^ "Josef Bican". Archived from the original on 23 July 2020. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Legendary footballer Pepi Bican inducted in Czech FA's Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 23 July 2020. Retrieved 9 August 2020.