Sándor Szűcs

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Sándor Szűcs
Personal information
Date of birth (1921-11-23)23 November 1921
Place of birth Szolnok, Hungary
Date of death 4 June 1951(1951-06-04) (aged 29)
Place of death Budapest, Hungary
Playing position Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1939–1944 Szolnoki MÁV
1944–1951 Újpest FC
National team
1941–1948 Hungary 19 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Sándor Szűcs (23 November 1921 - 4 June 1951) was a Hungarian football player. He started to play for Szolnoki MÁV, but he spent his best years playing for Újpest FC as a defender and helped the club win the Hungarian League in three consecutive years from 1945 to 1947.

Between 1941 and 1948 Szűcs played 19 times for Hungary, being one of the best defenders of Europe during the 1940s. He played together with such great players as Ferenc Szusza and Gyula Zsengellér for Újpest and Ferenc Puskás, József Bozsik, Ferenc Deák, György Sárosi or Nándor Hidegkuti for Hungary.


After the communist take-over of Hungary, an era of conceptual, pre-arranged trials was started by the regime, with many victims. Also, the communist party tried to get involved in every part of everyday life, and renaming the club Újpest to Budapesti Dózsa and putting them under police control was just one step of the process.

In 1951, as a result of a pre-conceived plan, Szűcs, who was still an active player of Újpest, was tricked and blackmailed into defecting by the ÁVÓ. However, as the organizer of the events, the state police captured him not far from the border. After months spent in prison, he was sentenced to death for High treason during a secret, pre-arranged trial and later executed. The law referred in the sentence had never been used and was never used again.

The real reason behind the events was to warn off Puskás, Bozsik and other members of the Hungarian Golden Team from defection. The exercise was "successful", since no other Hungarian football players tried to leave the country until 1956.


All the newspapers and books issued in Hungary withheld every piece of information, and officially nobody knew about the execution until the political changes in the country in 1989. Additionally, the place of his grave was strictly confidential. After the communist regime's fall, Szűcs's story was widely published. In 1989 the death sentence was revoked and named a violation of the law. In 1991, he was posthumously awarded a police lieutenant-colonel title (Újpest was the police club from 1950 and thus he had to become a policeman). Since 1993, an elementary school was named after him in Újpest, while a football tournament for youth players of the district is held every year. The stand of Újpest FC's Ferenc Szusza Stadium where home team supporters sit has been named after him. A documentary movie was filmed on his story in 2005.

Today, the once forgotten Sándor Szűcs is regarded as a martyr, who was a victim of the Stalinist regime's rampage, and the only Hungarian football player to be executed.

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