Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Jimmy Hogan: A father of total tootball and pioneer of the modern game

The annual January crush is upon us. Work loads sore and deadlines loom for all students. Because of this I am struggling to find the time to write a new post today. Instead, for the team being, I thought I would put up a piece that I originally wrote for lesrosbifs.net (a fantastic website that focuses on the fate of English players and managers who apply their trade abroad). Normal blogging should hopefully be resumed soon.

This is an article about Jimmy Hogan for lesrosbif.net's Hall of Fame series which features all the former great Englishmen to have enjoyed success away from our shores, such as Bobby Robson, Ray Wilkins, David Platt and Steve McManaman. A piece was written about each of the 21 Hall of Fame finalists, each by a different guest writer, and was then judged by a panel of former players and current writers. After all that, Jimmy Hogan emerged victorious. Don't know who he is? Have a read about one of the fathers of total football and a true pioneer of the modern game...

Fifty-seven years ago the revolution of European football began. On the 25th November 1953 Hungary travelled to Wembley to take on an England team that had never lost an International football match on home soil. On that fateful day the East-European team taught the creators of football a lesson in how the game was going to be played in the modern era. The mastermind behind that historical performance, Jimmy Hogan.

Hungary tore England’s tried-and-tested WM formation apart at the seams that day, winning the match 6-3. The Hungarian team displayed superior technique and tactics making Walter Winterbottom’s England team look disturbingly out-dated. Hogan, who sat in the crowd with the Aston Villa youngsters he was coaching at the time, watched his career’s work of teaching a new brand of total football come to fruition on that Wembley pitch.

Hogan was born in Nelson, Lancashire in 1882.  He enjoyed a playing career as a skilful inside forward at various English clubs between 1902 and 1913, but it was for his work as a coach that he has gained such notoriety within the football world.

His desire to turn to coaching came in 1910 after Bolton’s summer tour to Holland, after which he vowed to return and “teach them how to play.” Indeed, while still playing the game, Hogan worked  on the continent serving as manager of Holland and Austria Vienna before he then retired in 1913 to pursue his passion of becoming a full-time manager.

He found himself in Austria when World War I began. As an ‘enemy’ to the Austrians he was thrown in jail before being allowed to go to Hungary where we worked MTK Budapest. Hogan bought new levels of professionalism to the game. He combined higher levels of fitness with technical coaching and tactical nous to advance any team he worked with on to higher levels. While the English game was static with complacency, Hogan was fathering a new approach to the game, an approach that later became known as ‘total football’.

His brand of football that he created with great success at MTK, leading them to consecutive titles in 1917 and 1918, married attractive, free-flowing football with superior technique and meticulous tactical training. It was the start of a journey that would lead Hungary to that victory at Wembley in 1953 which shook the football world.

Hogan enjoyed sustained success in Hungary in the 1920s, as well as leading the Swiss national side to the final of the 1924 Olympics, the countries greatest football success in their history. In the 1930s he worked with the famous coach Hugo Meisl with whom he led the Austrian national side, known as the ‘Wunderteam’, to unprecedented success. The team had a dominant and destructive fourteen game unbeaten streak between 1931 and 1932. They won the 1932 Central European International Cup and were semi-finalists in 1934 World Cup, which they were favourites to win.

He returned to Britain at the end of the 1930s to go on to work with Aston Villa, Fulham and Celtic. He tragically never managed England due to his rather non-Anglo philosophy and the view of the FA that he was a “traitor” for applying his trade in Europe during the war.

Nevertheless, his emphasis on greater ball-control, attacking freedom, quick passing, better conditioning and creative flair changed the way the game was played. Those fortunate to work with him or play under him had nothing but praise for the man they recognised at the time to be a true legend of the sport.

Hogan is a pioneer of modern football in every sense of the word. He is quite possibly England’s most successful managerial export. The work he did across Europe as a coach and manager transformed the sport of football into the beautiful game we have today.

Thoughts, comments and opinions please...

1 comment:

  1. It is impressive I didn't know we have to give some credit to this guy. Thanks for the interesting post.


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