Football development in Hungary

4 December 2012 at 12:35

Since 1892 football, then called ‘kickery’, was known in the country. The new game - that was not too expensive – was accessible for everyone and became popular soon. In 1896 Ray Ferenc, returning from Switzerland, showed a football ball to the members of BTC gymnastics department, established in 1885. Hajós Alfréd the first ever Hungarian Olympics Champion was also keen on the new game. On 9th May 1897 two teams of BTC played an exhibition match. In half a year Cricketer from Vienna made a visit as well to play against BTC. Football attracted spectators and even children played this game on the ‘grunds’. Their biggest desire was to play the game getting more and more popular in clubs.

dr. Springer Ferenc, founding president

Founding Ferencvárosi Torna Club
Certainly the youth of Ferencváros was also attracted by football. The guys from Mester Street, known as the ‘Gang of eleven’, went kicking the ball in bands and played other games in the site belonging to Sturza Works located in Tűzoltó Street. Of course there were amongst them the three Sturza boys, Békés brothers, Weisz istván, Malaky János. That time Gablovitz Kornél, who knew the British type club life working at Slavia, returned home from Prague. He looked for Weisz who was that time spare goal keeper at BTC, and convinced him to found. Weisz sought old friends but money was still missing. They had to find some sponsor. Wealthy citizens of Ferencváros then got together. At first baker Gráf József stood beside the concern and he immediately realised that not only the financial background was missing but the field, equipment as well are needed to establish a club. Gráf got to his side advocate dr. Springer Ferenc, member of the Capital Committee together with most of the members of Ferencváros Citizen Circle. Things got faster. On 15th April 1899 the youth keen on sport and the possible sponsors got together in Gutgessel Restaurant at the corner of Üllői Street and Viola Street. Founding a club was decided there and fast a commissioned board without a president was elected by the members who were Weisz István, Békés Gyula, Varsányi Gusztáv and Malaky János. The place and date of the constituent assembly were Bakáts Place (now Ferencváros Mayor’ Office) and the 3rd May 1899. For that date the rules and regulations of the new club were made out by Weisz István and Keönch Boldizsár; later accepted by the constituent assembly. In it the name of the club was content, namely Ferencvárosi Torna Club, together with its motto: Moral, power, accordance. The founders thought to choose colours for the club from the colours of the national flag. As red and white were used that time by the most popular club BTC they decided to use white and green as the colours of FTC (as times went on it changed to green-white, however, we do not anything about the reason). At the constituent assembly the presidium was elected: dr. Springer Ferenc became president, while the vice-presidents were Kurfürst Miksa and Vajda Károly. Besides members of the presidium were Weisz István, Schneider István és Kunzer Gyula. The new club initially wanted to deal with football, however, the word ‘torna’ (gymnastics) was present in its name to make starting other departments possible. The first task of the newly elected presidium was to get a site that was suitable to build a pitch there.

Dr. Springer Ferenc, alapító elnökünk
Dr. Springer Ferenc, alapító elnökünk

By the next assembly, 24th August 1899, the badge of the club was prepared and was on sale for one forint. At the assembly President dr Springer Ferenc proudly announced that in June at the assembly the capital let FTC use its empty site free in Soroksári Road, near the People’s School for six years to build a sport site there. Though the site was smaller than the standards but at least it was a field. Nevertheless during the construction works the team was wondering from field to field to train carrying the portable posts which were kept in Gebauer Café.

Building the pitch
The empty site in Soroksári Road was useless as it looked. Ground works were performed by the members themselves. Carpentry (fence, tribune, etc.) was made by Antony Tamás. Dressing room was built next to the school. There was possibility for having an open-air shower using a single rose made by plumber Lányi Emil. The capacity of the stadium in Soroksári Road was 1,500 people. The cost of building the pitch was 12,000 crowns but Antony did not claim most of it. Ten years later when FTC left this field, it gave it to its successor KAOE gorgeously for just tiny percent of the net price.
You can see the ‘grund’ in Soroksári Road still today, it is some minutes from Közvágóhíd. Nowadays there are tennis courts and some field covered with artificial grass.

Az Elevátorház és a közraktárak
Az Elevátorház és a közraktárak

The first friendly matches
At last the pitch was ready. The first public match of the team was on 25th March 1900 played on home ground in front of 1500 spectators against Óbudai TE. The line up of FTC was the following: Weisz István – Gabrovitz Emil, Gabrovitz Kornél – Taffel József, Békés Arthur, Békés Géza – Pápai Mihály, Horváth Ferenc, Malaky Mihály, Maros Ferenc, Malaky János. The team from Óbuda win by 1 to 0. A week later the first FTC was born as well against III. kerületi TVE with the score of 4-1. (Unfortunately no more information remained from our first win.)

Football department is established
In 1900 FTC played altogether 12 friendly matches reaching better and better results. Owing to that interest grew regarding the team. The young crew had the fans on its side due to fight with full strength, never given up until the last minutes.
In FTC there were that time swimmers, athletes, gymnasts and cyclists. For example on 23rd September there was a successful home competition organised for athletes, on which also cyclists made their debut. The management realised that separating the departments may help the development of the club so they decided to establish the football department as the first step. This happened on 3rd December 1900. The manager of football players became Kárpáti Béla, while their captain Horváth Ferenc.

Az első műtermi csapatkép
Az első műtermi csapatkép

The first studio team photo

That time FTC was already present in every associations, was appreciated so the suggestion to establish a football association and start a national championship earned success and this idea soon was followed by acts as well.


László Zsiga
(FTC Museum)