четвртак, 26. октобар 2017.

Leicester City in Belgrade 1937 / Lester Siti u Beogradu 1937.

Leicester City in Belgrade 1937

Before the World War II, tour of English clubs across Europe was very popular. The host cities were eagerly waiting for the arrival of professionals from the "football cradle". Football players from England earned good money on these tournaments, while the hosts had a solid income from ticket sales. On a summer tour in 1937, Lester City's players started quite accidentally, because the English association of England banned Wolverhampton from participating in a tour in Central Europe, in the last minute. Instead of a club from the Birmingham suburb, the secretary of the federation, Mr. Rose, recommended returnees to the elite rank of Lester City, which the clubs accepted.

Lester City team led 17 players on a tour and by an good old football habit, the entire administration. However, the management of the club consisted of only 8 people, unlike the Yugoslav clubs of that time, whose administration had 40 members. The recorder is S.K. Jugoslavija with over 50 members in the management of the club. Perhaps Lester's officials deserved to travel in full composition having in mind the huge revenues they provide to their team. The income from one of their matches is equal to the monthly income of Belgrade clubs BSK and S.K. Jugoslavija, although the town of Lester in 1937 had the same population as Belgrade.

The tour departed from Holland, where the Amsterdam team was defeated with the result 1: 0. Then the Lester family through Vienna and Pest headed the Bucharest road. In the capital of the Kingdom of Romania, the English have played two games. They were defeated by Timisoara Ripensia 2: 1 and by the champions of Bucharest Venus 2: 0. The matches in Bucharest were played at the Venus Stadium, on the clay... to the great disappointment of the guests. According to coach Edwards, "the Romanians played very rough, made a lot of fouls and used their hands in the duel." (Politika, 1937) "My team played very well, they did not disappoint, but the poor result was provoked by Romanian judges who were on the side of their compatriots." (Politika, 1937)

Common photo of Leicester City and Venus football players taken in May 1937/
Zajednička fotografija fudbalera Lestera i Venusa u Bukureštu Maja 1937. godine  (foto: Politika)

Guest reception at the stadium in Bucharest/
Doček na stadionu Venusa (foto: Pravda 1937.)

Coach Edwards was disappointed with the information he received about the opponents, as it was wrongly reported during the preparation of the match that Ripensia players is a mediocre club from Romania and he admitted that he had been resting several players before the match with Venus. Hosting in Romania may not have been able to get better due to the political situation in the country, where the extreme right and propaganda grew stronger and it was necessary to prove Romanian dominance over the English at all costs.

After the game in Bucharest, Lester City's expedition headed towards Pest, where on May 16 was defeated by Hungary (today's MTK Budapest) with 4: 3, in front of 10,000 spectators. Het trick on that match was scored by Lester Bowers' best scorer. Coach Edwards was thrilled with the game of the Hungarians.

Leicester City expedition at the railroad station in Budapest/
Ekspedicija Lestera na železničkoj stanici u Pešti (foto: Pravda 1937)

A day later, on Monday morning, Lester City's team was already in Belgrade, where they were supposed to play the match in the evening. Even before noon players of the new English first-runner were drinking beer in the "Kod Milanovića" buffet, the afternoon was scheduled for rest, which was not respected by all players, and evening for the match against the BSK. Reading the press from that period, this match was expected with great impatience. The Lester team was presented as a strong team, which expects high ranking in the pre-season and will surely make a long way in the Cup competition (Politika, 1937). A big crowd was announced at the box office, so the fans were asked to provide tickets on time. Tickets were numbered for the first time, and stadium stands were therefore marked for easier orientation. It was only the second hosting of the club from England in Belgrade, a year earlier Liverpool was also visiting the BKS stadium. The game is scheduled for 21:15. However, the atmosphere among the fans also flared up on the day of the match as the reports from the guest appearances of the Englishman in Bucharest and Pest arrived. It was obvious that the stadium on the top of the hill will not be filled to the last place.

In Lester City played: McLoren, Jones, Frame, Smith (captain), Sharman, Grosvenor, Carroll, Maw, Bowers, Liddle and Stubbs. BSK performed in the following composition: Mrkušić, Radovanović, Matošić, Knežević, Stevović, Lehner, Glišović, Šurdeka, Marjanović, Vujadinović and Podhradski. The citizens of Belgrade were enhanced by Matošić from Split, who was serving the military service in Belgrade.

Common photo of Leicester City and BSK football players
Zajednička fotografija fudbalera Lestera i beogradskog BSK-a (foto: Politika)

The first half ended with a score of 1: 0 for BSK goal of Moša Marjanović. That morning drunken Englishman in Belgrade could maybe be understood, but in the locker room, during the break, the English drank whiskey and chewed "American gum", which disappointed almost all the players of the Belgrade team, who considered the gesture of football professionals from England as underestimation. In the second part of the game, Lester did not make an honest effort to reach at least one goal. The audience was visibly disappointed. Another goal of Marjanovic and Podhradski's ended the match with a 3: 0 result for the home team. It seems that after the heavy championship, the Englishmen seem to care only about spending their time in various countries, perhaps they needed to be understood because they were actually on the excursion. Consideration should also be given to the tiredness, because they played a rough game in Pest the previous day. BSK unfortunately became the first victim of Lester's tour, because after this game, cashier Mita could only record another loss to the club's trophy.

The end of the match for the English meant only the start of the Belgrade tavern tour. The first and final destination of the evening was a café "Tri lista duvana" where the waiter managed only with the help of a gendarme to throw out two shortcut Englishmen from the tavern, in the early morning hours. The tavern "Tri lista duvana" was located at the corner of the streets of King Aleksandar and Prince Miloš. Daily newspapers were full of criticism for Lester's game. Almost everyone reported the news that "Lester City was disappointing". The daily "Danas" transmitted the statement of Moša Marjanović in which he says "If you ask me, I would not bring foreign clubs anymore, they just come for joke for big money, they lose the matches, and we lose money." (Politika 1937)

After Belgrade, Lester City players continued their trip to Vienna where they played two more matches against the combined team of Rapid and Austria, and they played their last game in a summer tour in Bratislava, where they were also defeated.

Maybe Leicester City in 1937 was not a worthy representative of English football. They finished the season of 1937/38 on 16th place. Perhaps this tour is only pompously announced in the Serbian press to attract as many spectators as the fee paid to the manager of Lester for hosting in Belgrade was not low at all. Nevertheless, Lester's team got the nickname "foxes" only 10 years later. Our press has certainly used this moment, when a professional club from England was defeated, to say that Yugoslav football is "progressing fast".

Parallel to this match, Chelsea hosting from London in Belgrade was expected and I will write more about this duel in the next post... 

translation/ prevod: Tea Besu

Lester Siti u Beogradu 1937.

Pre Drugog svetskog rata, turneje klubova iz Engleske po Evropi bile su veoma popularne. Gradovi domaćini su sa nestrpljenjem isčekivali dolazak profesionalaca iz ,,kolevke fudbala“. Engleski fudbaleri su na tim turnejama ostvarili dobru zaradu, dok su domaćini imali solidan prihod od prodaje ulaznica.

Na letnju turneju 1937. godine fudbaleri Lester Sitija krenuli su sasvim slučajno, jer je fudbalska asocijacija Engleske u poslednji čas zabranila Vulverhemptonu ucesče na turneji po srednjoj Evropi. Umesto kluba iz predgradja Birmingema, sekretar saveza, gospodin Rouz, preporučio je povratnika u elitni rang Lester Siti, što su klubovi i prihvatili.

Na turneju, ekipa Lester Sitija je povela 17 igrača i po dobrom starom fudbalskom običaju, celu upravu. Doduše, upravu kluba činilo je svega 8 ljudi, za razliku od jugoslovenskih klubova tog doba čija je uprava imala 40-ak članova. Rekorder je S.K. Jugoslavija sa preko 50 članova u upravi kluba. Možda su funkcioneri Lestera i zaslužili da putuju u punom sastavu s obzirom na velike prihode koje obezbeđuju svom timu. Prihod od jedne njihove utakmice jednak je mesečnim prihodima beogradskih klubova BSK i S.K. Jugoslavija, iako je grad Lester te 1937. imao isti broj stanovnika kao Beograd.

Turneja je krenula iz Holandije, gde je pobeđena reprezentacija Amsterdama sa 1:0. Zatim je družina iz Lestera  preko Beča i Pešte krenula put Bukurešta. U glavnom gradu Kraljevine Rumunije Englezi su odigrali dve utakmice. Poraženi su od temišvarske Ripensije 2:1 i od šampiona, Venusa iz Bukurešta 2:0. Utakmice u Bukureštu su odigrane na stadionu Venusa, na šljaci... na veliko razočarenje gostiju. Prema rečima trenera Edvardsa ,,Rumuni su igrali veoma grubo, napravili su puno faulova i koristili su ruke u duelima“ (Politika, 1937.). ,,Moja ekipa je igrala veoma dobro, nisu razočarali, ali su lošem rezultatu kumovale i rumunske sudije koje su bile na strani svojih sunarodnika“ (Politika 1937.). Trener Edvards je bio razočaran i informacijama koje je dobio o protivnicama, jer je prilikom pripreme utakmice obavešten pogrešno, da je Ripensija osrednji klub iz Rumunije i priznaje da je zbog toga odmarao nekoliko igrača pred duel sa Venusom. Gostovanje u Rumuniji možda i nije moglo proći bolje s obzirom na političku situaciju u toj zemlji, gde su krajnja desnica i propaganda sve više jačali i trebalo je dokazati dominaciju Rumuna nad Englezima po svaku cenu.

Nakon utakmica u Bukureštu ekspedicija Lester Sitija se uputila ka Pešti, gde je 16. Maja  poražena od Hungarije (danasnji MTK Budimpešta) sa 4:3, pred 10000 gledalaca. Het trik na tom meču postigao je najbolji strelac Lestera Bovers. Trener Edvards je bio oduševljen igrom Mađara.

Dan kasnije, u ponedeljak ujutru, ekipa Lester Sitija je već bila u Beogradu, gde je trebalo da odigra utakmicu u večernjem terminu. Celo pre podne igrači novog engleskog prvoligaša su ispijali krigle piva u bifeu ,,Kod Milanovića“, popodne je bilo zakazano za odmor, kojeg se nisu pridržavali svi igrači, a veče za utakmicu protiv BSK-a. Listajući štampu iz tog perioda ovaj meč se čekao sa velikim nestrpljenjem. Tim iz Lestera je predstavljen kao snažan tim, koji očekuje visok plasman u predsojećoj sezoni i da će sigurno dogurati daleko i u takmicenju za Kup (Politika, 1937.). Najavljena je velika gužva na blagajni stadiona, pa su navijači zamoljeni da obezbede ulaznice na vreme. Ulaznice su, po prvi put bile numerisane, a tribine stadiona su iz tog razloga obeležene zbog lakše orijentacije. To je bilo tek drugo gostovanje kluba iz Engleske u Beogradu, godinu dana ranije gostovao je Liverpul takođe na stadionu BSK-a. Utakmica je zakazana za 21:15 časova. Međutim i atmosfera medju navijačima je splasla na sam dan utakmice kako su stizali izveštaji sa gostovanja Engleza u Bukureštu i Pešti. Bilo je očigledno da stadion na Topčiderskom brdu neće biti popunjen do poslednjeg mesta.

Pozivnica za utakmicu u dnevnom listu ,,Pravda" (foto: Pravda)

Lester Siti je nastupio u sastavu: Mekloren, Džons, Frame, Smit (kapiten), Šarman, Grosvenor, Kerol, Mav, Bovers, Lidl i Stabs. Sastav BSK su činili: Mrkušić, Radovanović, Matošić, Knežević, Stevović, Lehner, Glišović, Šurdeka, Marjanović, Vujadinović i Podhradski. Beograđani su bili pojačani igranjem Splićanina Matošića koji je bio na odsluženju vojnog roka u Beogradu.

Prvo poluvreme je završeno rezultatom 1:0 za BSK, golom Moše Marjanovića. A ona prepodnevna pijanka Engleza u Beogradu može još i da se razume, ali u svlačionici, za vreme pauze, Englezi su pili viski i zvakali ,,američku gumu“, što je razočaralo skoro sve fudbalere beogradskog tima, koji su taj gest fudbalskih profesionalaca iz Engleske smatrali potcenjivanjem. U drugom delu igre Lester se nije pošteno ni potrudio da dodje do gola. Publika je bila vidno razočarana. Još jednim golom Marjanovića i Podhradskog utakmica je završena rezultatom 3:0 za domaći tim. Izgleda da je Englezima posle teškog prvenstva stalo samo do provoda po raznim zemljama, mozda ih treba i razumeti jer su oni ustvari bili na ekskurziji. Treba uzeti u obzir i umor, jer su i prethodnog dana odigrali jaku utakmicu u Pešti. BSK je nažalost postao prva žrtva Lesterove turneje, jer posle ove utakmice blaganik Mita je mogao samo da upise još jedan gubitak u kasu kluba.

Reakcije dnevnih novina nakon utakmice (Politika 1937.)

Završetak utakmice za Engleze značio je samo početak obilazaka beogradskih kafana. Početna i krajnja destinacija te večeri bila je kafana ,,Tri lista duvana“ gde je konobar tek uz pomoć žandarma uspeo da istera iz kafane dva kratko ošišana Engleza u ranim jutarnjim časovima. Kafana ,,Tri lista duvana“ se nalazila na uglu ulica Bulevara Kralja Aleksandra i Kneza Miloša. Dnevne novine su bile pune kritika za igru Lestera. Gotovo svi su preneli vest da je ,,Lester Siti razočarao“. Dnevni list ,,Danas“ je preneo izjavu Moše Marjanovića u kojoj kaže ,,da se ja nešto pitam, više ne bih dovodio strane klubove, oni samo dolaze da se šegače za velike pare, oni gube utakmice, a mi novac.’’

Posle Beograda, fudbaleri Lester Sitija su nastavili svoje putovanje ka Beču gde su odigrali još dve utakmice protiv kombinovanog tima Rapida i Austrije, da bi svoju poslenju utakmici na letnjoj turneji odigrali u Bratislavi, gde su takođe poraženi.

Možda Lester Siti te 1937. i nije bio dostojan predstavnik engleskog fudbala. Sezonu 1937/38 su zavrsili tek na 16. mestu. Možda je ovo gostovanje samo pompezno najavljeno u srpskoj štampi da bi privuklo što više gledalaca jer honorar koji je isplaćen menadžeru Lestera za gostovanje u Beogradu nije bio nimalo mali. Ipak je tim iz Lestera dobio nadimak ,,lisice“ tek 10-ak godina kasnije. Naša štampa je svakako iskoristila ovaj trenutak, kada je već savladan profesionalni klub iz Engleske, da kaze kako jugoslovenski fudbal ,,munjevito napreduje“.

Paralelno sa ovom utakmicom, očekivalo se i gostovanje Čelzija iz Londona u Beogradu, a nešto više o tom duelu u narednom postu... 

Nikola Radulović

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