To continue our series of the ‘Top 5 British Managers Abroad’. Here’s our number 4 entry.
Jimmy Hogan is a name not a widely known on home shores, you would in-fact have to go as far as Hungary or the Netherlands where the Lancashire born Englishman would be considered somewhat of a household name in football circles. It wouldn’t be until a fateful day in 1953 that English football would truly become familiar with the name as little known Hungary came to Wembley.
At the time the FA had no involvement (or interest) in the standardization of the game on a national level. Despite having no prior experience as a professional manager, that was left to national coach Walter Winterbottom . What England did have was a team of great individuals such as Sir Stanley Matthews, good old English spirit and seemingly even older the WM formation.
In a scenario that can only be compared to Apollo Creed’s bout with Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, it was presumed the English (Apollo) were the physically stronger and technically better side. Sadly it seems no one informed the English that their opponents were in-fact unbeaten in 3 years, had been crowned Olympic champions a year before and possessed in their side a certain ‘nobody’ by the name of Ferenc Puskas. That or the home sides ‘little England’ mentality got the better of them.
Like Creed, England were dealt a hiding of the most devastating nature. In a match that could be described at best as ‘a bad day at the office’ the English were savagely outplayed and soundly beaten 6-3.
We completely underestimated the advances that Hungary had made, and not only tactically, When we walked out at Wembley that afternoon, side by side with the visiting team, I looked down and noticed that the Hungarians had on these strange, lightweight boots, cut away like slippers under the ankle bone. I turned to big Stan Mortensen and said, ‘We should be alright here, Stan, they haven’t got the proper kit’
The England side and its FA were shell-shocked. And who did the president of the Hungarian Football Association, Sandor Barcs, thank after such a triumph on foreign soil? None other than Jimmy Hogan, who at 71 was watching from the sidelines.
Hogan had begun his management career in Europe, first for the Dutch national side, then Austrian club FK Austria Vienna before moving to Hungarian side MTK were he would settle for 7 of his management years. Despite actually being an avid admirer of the English approach to football, Hogan was heavily influenced by a more technically based, more tactically astute form of football seen on the continent. With his help this would began to resemble a form of ‘total football’ as seen years later by the Hungary side of the 50’s and perhaps more famously the Dutch side of the 70’s and 80s.
Hogan soon became a footballing icon throughout Eastern and Western Europe during the 1920’s. After 24 years teaching and learning his trade managing sides in Switzerland, Germany , Austria, France and Hungary, Hogan finally returned to his native England to begin a management post at Fulham. After a brief spell at Craven Cottage he went on to coach the Austrian side that in 1936 would go on to reach the Olympic finals.
Sadly, despite promotion success with Villa and a further management role with Celtic, this more ball control based European ‘Hogan’ influenced style of football was on the whole rejected in Britain for a more favoured old-fashioned physical-based approach.
His influence, however much questioned in his home country, still affected a few noticeable Englishman with Bobby Robson, Matt Busby, Don Revie, Tommy Docherty and Ron Atkinson becoming heavily influenced by him. World Cup winning manager Alf Ramsey certainly felt Hogan’s influence after playing his final game in an England shirt after that famous 6-3 defeat, we all know what happened to him just 13 years later.
We played football as Jimmy Hogan taught us. When our football history is told, his name should be written in gold letters
Gusztáv Sebes, Hungarian footballer and coach
Jimmy Hogan takes his place on our top 5 list not as a trophy-winning machine but as somewhat of a footballing revolutionary. A true great and the grand-daddy of total football, tiki taka or any other evolution of the modern game.
Netherlands, FK Austria Vienna, MTK, BSC Young Boys, Switzerland, Lausanne Sports, Dresdner SC, Hungária, FK Austria Vienna, RC Paris, Lausanne Sports, Fulham, Aston Villa, Celtic