Club: MTK Hungária FC Budapest
Capacity: 12.700 (5.700 seats)
Opened: March 31 1912
Tram 1inthe Hungarian capitalcould easily be nicknamed the “Stadiumline”.When youtakethetram at Ferencváros stadium in the directionof the National Stadium,you’ll pass,within only a few kilometers,2adjacentantiquefootball arenas.Imagine my surprise whenI discovered that one of thewonderfulruinswhere I rode past wasthehome of the proudleader inthe HungarianLeague:MTKHungáriaFCBudapest.
Thefull nameof the club isa mouthful“MagyarTestgyakorlókKöreHungáriaFutballClubBudapest”.Which translates loosely to“Association ofHungarianpractitioners of physicalexercise”.The Association with the chosen clubcolours of blue and whitewas founded in1888.Theclubhas Jewishrootsand is todaymainlypopular with“intellectuals”.The first decades of the 20th centuryMTK dominated,along witharchrivalFerencváros,theHungarian Football.What’s more,between 1903 and1929allHungarianChampionshipswere distributed amongboth superpowers.Of their 23league titles(the last being in 2008)MTKwon7in the 1920s. Added to those theclubhas12 nationalcups and 2MitropaCups inthetrophy case(1955+1963).In1964theHungariansjust missed theUEFA Cup winners’ Cup.The final againstSportingCPatthe Heyselin Brusselsbecame aftera 3-3 tie and was2 days laterrepeatedattheBosuil inAntwerp.MTKlost thatreplay withthe smallest difference.
For almostits entireexistencethe club hashad to cope withanti-Semiticbehaviour.Afterpersistentharassmentduringthe 30’sof the last century the “Jewishteam“ceased operationsduring the second worldwar.After the war,MTK was againcreatedand this time adopted bythe Hungariansecret service.In the early 1950sthe clubnamechanged toVörösLobogóbutthatname changeonly lasted 4 years.After the lastLeague title in2008MTKended the season 2008–09 ona disappointing7th placeintheSoproniLiga. In 2011 the club even relegated but gained promotion from the second division immediately.In theextreme right-wingHungariansupporterslandscape the clubstill facesexpressions ofanti-Jewishhatred on a regular basis.
After a record building time of barely half a year,the stadium with athletics track and a capacity of 20,000 was inaugurated on 31 March 1912. Same as thearch-rivalsof FerencvárosMTKalsocontinued to expand the stadium during the following years. The capacity doubled during the 30’s to 40,000. Whenthe club folded duringthe war yearseverysplinter of wood was robbed from thestadium.So after the war a new concretemain stand was erected,the building quality however was of such poor quality that the clubfor a while had to play at the stadium of theirgreen-whiterivals.The currentstanddates back to1952 and wasmodernizedin recent years. Thanks to floodlights evening games at HidegkutiNándorarepossible since1987.
When I passedthe stadium for the first time onadrizzlySunday morningthe gates were firmly closed.The outside ofthe stadium couldusea lick of paintandis of little interest tothe averagefootball fan.For groundhoppers however observingthedilapidatedinfrastructure isa real pleasure.Long live thedesolationof past glory!
WhenIpassedStadiumagain2 days later, I saw thatthe gate close tothe streetwas openandI took the libertyto take a look within thestadiumwalls.Luckily the inside is lessruinousthanthe outsidesuggests. Still, the chairs on the openall seated standoppositethe main standhavelosttheirshine andcolorthrough years ofexposure tothe bright sunlight.The“terraces”behindboth goalsbreathepurenostalgia.Behindone of the goalsa statueof GyörgyOrth was unveiledon8May 1974. Thisin1962deceasedex–football player whoendedhis playing careeratMTK, mainly gained fame as a football manager.In addition to a careerin his own country, Orth worked in Italy,Chile, Nazi-Germany,Mexico,PeruandPortugal,where he diedat the age of 60.
Fussball Derbys: die 75 Fußball-verrücktesten Städte der Welt. GISLER Omar, uitg. Copress Sport
Sporting Spaces (in de reeks „ Our Budapest“). ZEIDLER Miklós, uitg. City Hall
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