Edward Shires: typewriter vendor who helped make Hungary a soccer large | Soccer

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When Hungary received 6-3 at Wembley in 1953 and so dispelled the lingering fantasy of English footballing superiority, their visitor of honour was Jimmy Hogan, a former Burnley participant who practically grew to become a priest however as a substitute grew to become probably the most influential coach within the historical past of the sport. “We performed soccer as Jimmy Hogan taught us,” mentioned Gusztav Sebes, the coach of that nice Hungary aspect. “When our soccer historical past is instructed, his title must be written in golden letters.”

However a significant a part of that historical past is how Hogan acquired to Hungary within the first place, and the important thing determine in that story is one other Englishman, Edward Shires, a typewriter salesman from Bollington close to Macclesfield whose household story reads like an epic of Twentieth-century historical past.

As Hogan struggled with a knee damage and his enjoying profession dwindled, he contemplated a transfer into teaching. There was little place for his inquisitiveness in English soccer, he knew, so he sought alternatives overseas. In 1914, he was supplied a task making ready Austria for the 1916 Olympics. He had been in Vienna a few months when Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo. A month later, Britain was at battle with Austro-Hungary.

Early one morning, police known as at his Vienna residence and arrested him as an enemy alien. Hogan was held for a number of weeks within the Elisabeth Promenade jail earlier than being launched into home arrest, working as an odd-job man on the property belonging to a pair of British brothers who owned a division retailer, Eddie and Ernest Blyth. He taught their youngsters tennis and reported as soon as per week to the police station.

His spouse was allowed to return to Burnley in March 1915 however Hogan stayed on, turning into more and more bored till, mysteriously, late in 1916 he was permitted to journey to Budapest. There, he was appointed coach of MTK, and ignited a soccer tradition that may take Hungary to 2 World Cup finals and, by means of the diaspora of the Twenties and 30s, have a profound influence on how the sport was performed in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, France, Yugoslavia and South America. Trendy soccer is basically Hungarian in origin.

Hungary concede a goal against West Germany during their defeat in the 1954 World Cup final in Bern, Switzerland.
Hungary concede a objective in opposition to West Germany throughout their defeat within the 1954 World Cup closing in Bern, Switzerland. {Photograph}: Keystone/Getty Photos

However how Hogan had acquired from Vienna to Budapest had remained unclear till I chanced upon an interview given to the newspaper Nemzeti Sport in 1933 by Edward Shires who, it turned out, had completed a lot to create the circumstances by which Hogan thrived.

Shires was 17 and dealing as a clerk in a typewriter manufacturing unit in Manchester when he determined to observe his father to Vienna, the place he moved having been suggested the damp of the north-west was dangerous for his lungs. A brother, Frank, left for Canada, signed up for the military on the outbreak of the battle and was killed at Passchendaele. Edward’s two sisters went with him, travelling by way of Paris, the place he met Ada, whom he quickly married. His marriage ceremony picture reveals him as a slim, clean-shaven man with a exact parting and an intense air.

In Vienna, Shires offered typewriters and commenced to import sporting items; he’s broadly credited with having launched table-tennis to Austro-Hungary. He additionally performed cricket and tennis and have become good mates with Harold Gandon, a supervisor on the gasworks, who in 1894 received the Austrian Open tennis championship in Prague (Bohemia then being a part of the Austrian empire). He returned with a problem from a neighborhood rowing membership, Regatta, for a soccer match. Shires leapt to the duty and organised a aspect that received 2-1 after which merged with the First Vienna Cricket Membership. A workforce {photograph} from 1894 reveals Shires is in the midst of the again row, a place that maybe signifies his significance, whereas Gandon, a broad man with a luxuriant moustache, is denoted because the captain and, sitting on the reverse finish of the second row is an “E Blyth”, though whether or not Eddie or Ernest is unclear.

Edward Shires pictured in the Rakosfalva neighbourhood of Budapest with family members in about 1930.
Edward Shires pictured within the Rakosfalva neighbourhood of Budapest with relations in about 1930. {Photograph}: No credit score

Soccer boomed in Austro-Hungary and Shires was on the coronary heart of it, captaining Austria on at the very least one event. In 1904, he moved to Budapest as a result of “my firm wanted somebody to do enterprise within the tough Hungarian market”. There he joined MTK, one of many two main golf equipment, however well being considerations curtailed his enjoying profession and he grew to become a referee and administrator. Annoyed by MTK’s incapacity to interrupt the dominance of Ferencvaros, in 1911 he took radical motion and persuaded John Tait Robertson, a hard-drinking Scot who had been player-manager of Chelsea, to take over as coach. Robertson started to hone MTK’s passing sport earlier than leaving abruptly in 1913. “It’s a pity that he wasn’t teetotal,” Shires mentioned. The foundations, although, had been laid.

And, crucially, Shires had sufficient of a fame for Hogan, pissed off beneath home arrest, to write down to him for assist. Shires noticed a possibility and persuaded the vice-president of MTK, the Cambridge-educated Baron Dirsztay, to attraction to the Austrian authorities. Late in 1916, Hogan arrived in Budapest to turn out to be coach of MTK.

Though Austria and Hungary had been at battle with Britain, the perspective to international nationals was very totally different. A letter from the US ambassador in Vienna to his counterpart in London means that, by Might 1915, 75 of an estimated 1,286 British topics had been interned in Austria, and solely three of an estimated 512 in Hungary. Later, Shires was a signatory to a letter from the British neighborhood to the Hungarian authorities thanking them for his or her continued hospitality by means of the battle, whereas Shires’s great-grandson Laszlo Mathe, now a Hungarian diplomat working in Slovenia, recollects a household story a few cockney lady who ran a pub in Budapest and continued to fly the union flag all through.

For 2 years Hogan evangelised his imaginative and prescient of soccer, creating the technically adept, clever model that made MTK in all probability the perfect membership workforce on this planet on the time. After the armistice, although, amid the communist takeover and the Crimson Terror, he and Shires fled to the UK. After the collapse of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, each quickly returned. Hogan pursued a peripatetic teaching profession, however Shires remained by means of all of the upheavals of the next decade.

Jimmy Hogan, then Aston Villa’s manager, addresses his squad in August 1936.
Jimmy Hogan, then Aston Villa’s supervisor, addresses his squad in August 1936. {Photograph}: A Hudson/Getty Photos

By the late 20s, his enterprise was failing. Mathe has plenty of letters from English golf equipment rejecting his makes an attempt to rearrange excursions. Shires contracted tuberculosis and commenced playing closely and, by the point he died in 1937, survived by Ada and 4 youngsters, cash was clearly tight. One son, Jack, labored on the British embassy and helped organise the evacuation of British residents after Hungary allied with Nazi Germany. Fleeing south by means of Yugoslavia, he declined passage again to England, preferring to stay and combat with Montenegrin partisans. A daughter, Ethel, ended up on the final practice out of Budapest, which headed east. She wound up in Tehran, the place she married a British banker, Derrick Inexperienced. His job took him to Damascus, the place he was killed in a bomb assault in 1947. Ethel returned instantly to London with their five-year-old daughter Rosemary, who now lives in Bognor Regis.

One other daughter, Frances, stayed, together with Churchill’s niece one in all a tiny handful of British residents who remained in Hungary by means of the battle. From her are descended the 15 direct Hungarian descendants of Edward, whereas there are an extra six within the UK. Their household historical past is extraordinary, pushed by a attribute late Victorian spirit of journey and entrepreneurship – and alongside the way in which, they performed a significant function in creating Hungarian soccer, and thus the sport as it’s performed at the moment.



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