The European Cup originated from the idea of a Frenchman. The first championship belongs to a Spanish team. But few people know that it is the Honved Club of Hungary is the inspiration for the birth of the first tournament of the old continent.
Honved, the inspiration for the introduction of the European Cup
In the early 1950s, in the early days of European football and in the midst of the Cold War looming over the old continent, almost everyone considered themselves number 1. The British, real Despite the failures of the 1950 and 1954 World Cups, they still placed themselves in the upper echelon of their football homeland. But the No. 1 European football at the time, considering the strength of the national team, must be Hungary.
The Eastern European team once crushed England with a score of 6-3 in a match at Wembley in early 1953 and six months later, continued to humiliate the Three Lions to 7-1 in a “return” match in Budapest. That is why the foggy country counts the “vengeance” and the task assigned to Wolverhampton Wanderers, the British champion of 1953/54 season and also leading the rankings in the 1954/55 season. Wolves was then absolute power in England with the famous coach Stan Cullis, captain Billy Wright at the time being the captain of the national team, with formidable attacking trio Dennis Wilshaw, Johnny Hancocks and Roy Swinbourne.
Honved, the team won the Hungarian championship in 1954 with a team composed of national players who have participated in two great victories against the Three Lions and have just won the World Cup runner-up like Gyula Lorant, Laszlo Budai, Jozsef Bozsik, Zoltan Czibor, Ferenc Puskas and Sandor Kocsis. The friendly match which took place at Molineux Stadium on December 13, 1954 attracted the attention of the media of all Europe and was broadcast live on BBC television. As a result, despite being 2-2 down, Wolves excelled to come back from behind to win 3-2. Immediately, the whole land of fog burst.
The next morning, the Daily Mirror snatched the title “Wolves the Greatest” on the cover. Coach Stan Cullis proudly proclaims his team as “world champion”. Only journalist Gabriel Hanot, who was assigned by the newspaper L’Equipe (France) to report on the game, did not think so. Hanot, a former player who has 12 caps for the French team, said that Honved is not weaker than the opponent. Instead, the Hungarian team competed under the power just because their stars were exhausted after the long journey to the misty island nation.
However, the British swung about the “world champions team” made Hanot turn up the idea of a tournament for the champions of nations. That’s why through L’Equipe, he contacted representatives of 15 different teams in Europe to discuss. Real Madrid president Santiago Bernabeu immediately responded while Barcelona rejected the invitation because they did not realize the feasibility of the tournament. And the result of these discussions between these “great idiots” led to a historic meeting on April 2, 1955 at the Ambassador Hotel in Paris (France).
The venue became the place for the first draw of the European No. 1 tournament, with the presence of Hanot, Bernabeu and even Gusztav Sebes, the coach of the Hungarian team at the time. UEFA initially banned the tournament called “European Cup” but then accepted, after taking over the tournament on May 21, 1955. What happened later, all know, when Real Madrid excelled in winning the first European championship in history, opening a glorious era of the Spanish Royal team in the continental arena.
It all originated from the defeat in a friendly match of Honved, the team was very strong at that time because it was a small Hungarian team. But of course, one must also credit Hanot and the bragging of the British.
Inspiration … refused to attend the C1 Cup
Despite being the inspiration for the birth of the European Cup, Honved refused to participate in the first season of 1955/56. In lieu of the representative capacity for Hungary that belonged to Honved, L’Equipe chose Voros Lobogo. This team won against Anderlecht (Belgium) with a total score of 10-4 in the first round but lost with a total score of 6-8 in the quarterfinals before Reims. The French team then reached the final and lost to Real Madrid 3-4.
South America is ahead of Europe
Not Europe, but South America is the leader in organizing the tournament to gather the strongest teams. In 1948, the Chilean champion, Colo Colo hosted the tournament called Campeonato Sudamericano de Campeones (the championship of the South American championship teams) with the participation of the champions of Brazil (Vasco da Gama), Argentina (River). Plate), Uruguay (Nacional), Ecuador (Emelec), Peru (Deportivo Municipal) and Bolivia (Litoral). In the end, the champion Vasco da Gama and River Plate ranked 2nd in the tournament played in a round-robin format.
14. Honved is currently the fourth richest club in the Hungarian league with 14 championships, inferior to Ferencvaros (30), MTK Budapest (23) and Ujpest (20). The last time Honved won the domestic championship was the 2016/17 season.
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