In response to the sad death of a true football legend, some poems in his honour :
They talk of his strike rate
It seems impossible to me.
And as I never saw him play
The facts and figures are all I have.
They talk of Wembley in 1953
And how he and Kocsis and Hidegkuti
Taught England a lesson
They didn’t think they needed.
They talk of the European Cup Final
With that famous 7-3.
One of the Whites under the lights
Of Hampden Park.
They talk of the World Cup in 1954.
In the Fritz Walter Weather
And just not fully fit
The biggest prize eludes him.
If they remember you when you’ve lost the World Cup
Then that must mean something…
Maybe winning wasn’t all that important
If still they talk.
© Number Ten
The Galloping Major.
Do grainy films do justice
To a brylcreemed hero true
Did Hungary led by Puskas, put us back ten years?
I’ll leave that up to you
Did a Galloping Major run us riot
As he danced through our defence
Why was it always Wemberly?
Where such artistry commenced
To show us that it’s not the cups
And championships you win
But mere men like Ferenc Puskas,
Truly blessed, that pull us in
Tis true we talk of those who walk
On the cud, as God’s on earth
But for those of us, who never saw him grace the field of play
Then such talk, for us, has worth
When you can blitz the crowd, at the Bernabeau
At the age of thirty one
That tells me that Ferenc Puskas, aka The Galloping Major
Will go on in Hungarian history and at the Honved club
As…. a football fans icon.
© kjp raymond
“I was with (Bobby) Charlton, (Denis) Law and Puskas, we were coaching in a football academy in Australia. The youngsters we were coaching did not respect him including making fun of his weight and age…We decided to let the guys challenge a coach to hit the crossbar 10 times in a row, obviously they picked the old fat one. Law asked the kids how many they thought the old fat coach would get out of ten. Most said less than five. Best said ten. The old fat coach stepped up and hit nine in a row. For the tenth shot he scooped the ball in the air, bounced it off both shoulders and his head, then flicked it over with his heel and cannoned the ball off the crossbar on the volley. They all stood in silence then one kid asked who he was, I replied, To you, his name is Mr.Puskas.”– George Best.
And a selection of poems celebrating his talent, written before he died.
England – 3: Hungary – 6
Nineteen fifty-three: at Wembley
a devastation of those slow heavy dancers
shown-up by poetry and ballet heralding a dawn of glory
remember their names:
Ference Puskas: Zoltan Czibor: Hidegkuti:
poets of Hungarian Soccer Genius.
I never forgot one goal –
as the ball swings over from the wing
Puskas takes it on his insteap
swivels round, the ball still on his toe
flicks it onto his other foot shoots!
a unique goal in the entire history
of this universal teamgame: Football!
A Puskas goal at Wembley in nineteen fifty-three.
© Dennis Gould
Ragged heels and studded dreams
Genius found a home
In the burning boots
Of a football refugee
Blazed a path of such glory
That the number 10 shirt
Of Honved Budapest retired
To its well earned peace
To be worn by no other
The memories stored
Not in suitcases
But hearts wedded to the terrace
Where the immaculate passion
Of life finds its truth
Upon a football pitch.
© ParryMaguire (2004)
THE GALLOPING MAJOR (a football refugee)
“Look at the little fat chap,”
we’re bound to thrash this lot,”
is a quote from an England player,
who’d never seen the wee mans shot.
Ninety minutes later,
the score was six to three,
but not for mighty England,
but to the Magyers of Hungary.
born in Budapest — 1927
and along with Best and Pele,
he’d make any world eleven.
A major in the army,
whose team it was Honved,
the greatest team the world had seen,
until Real Madrid.
He didn’t have a right foot
and couldn’t head the ball,
was two stone overweight
and wasn’t very tall.
“You’ll land on your arse,
if you kick with both feet,”
was his answer for cynics
when he heard their critique.
But his left foot it was magic,
to goalies it brougt fear,
and he averaged almost a goal a game,
in an illustrious career.
Hot favourites in 1954,
to lift the prized World Cup,
the Magyers lost to West Germany,
despite being two nil up.
Then in the year of 56,
Honved were playing in Spain,
when they were told that back in Budapest,
things had gone insane.
An uprising had taken place,
beside the Danube banks,
and now the city of Budapest,
was full of Soviet tanks.
Puskas was told in no uncertain terms,
he had better not return,
so he had to become a refugee,
while his beloved city burned.
He played in Austria for a year,
then tried Italy,
but they refused him a work permit,
questioning his ability.
Then at the age of thirty one,
he brought his great talent off to Spain,
when he joined the great Real Madrid,
and commenced an eight year reign.
A signing on fee of ten thousand pounds,
meant he could put money in El Banco,
and he soon became a favourite,
of the Spanish leader Franco.
His scoring feats continued,
his left foot it was hot,
and he was Real’s top scorer,
four years on the trot.
Di Stefano, Gento, Puskas,
the great line from La Liga,
forget about Raul,
Ronaldo, Zidane, Figo.
Then in 1960
he got Hampden Park to roar,
as Real hammered Eintract Frankfurt,
and Puskas he scored four.
To his eighty four caps for Hungary,
he added four for Spain,
the pudgy little number ten,
with the super football brain.
He said adios to Madrid,
as his fortieth approached,
and he wandered all five continents,
where he managed —- trained and coached.
San Francisco, Chile, Africa,
and Panathinakos Greece,
but he yearned to return to Hungary,
so he could die in peace.
Then one night in Germany,
the Berlin Wall came down,
and instead of sending tanks in,
the Russians made no sound.
The people took the inch,
grabbed a foot —- and then a yard,
and when free elections came along,
took the Independence card.
So Hungary was free once more,
the ‘chubby maestros’ dream,
and he returned to Budapest again,
and coached the national team.
But the ‘ little fat chaps’ gypsy blood,
still had the wanderlust,
and he travelled obscure corners,
to coach and earn a crust.
He was last heard of in Australia,
I don’t know if he’s alive or dead,
but here’s to the ‘GALLOPING MAJOR’
the refugee captain from Honved.
© John J O’Connor June 5th 03
The Magnificent Magyars
The great Stanley Mathews summed it up like a beautiful day’s weather
“They are the best team I ever played against. They were the best ever.”
Known as Aranycsapatin in Hungary, they played football with the lyre
The golden team to you and me, musicians amidst the pyre
Led by Ferenc Puskas, marauding Real Madrid hero, the galloping Major
Record goalscorer of all time, never will he be a stranger
Hidegkuti probing, making space in the hole
The first exponent of the deep lying centre forward role
© Emdad Rahman
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