I spent a year as a student in England in the early 1990’s. On the last day, when I was flying back to Hungary from London Heathrow, I had some time left to kill at the airport. I went out for a walk and then I saw a homeless guy begging on the curb. I dumped all my British small change on him, maybe a few pounds. The man was very grateful and, as he was happily chatting to me, he asked where I was from. When he heard the answer, he started reciting “Puskás, Bozsik, Hidegkuti…” I think that was really all he knew about Hungary. I must admit I’ve never been a football fan but that made me think.
The Hungarian national team played in a significant international event 44 years ago last time. Still I, a non-fan of football, was cheering madly at the TV like practically everybody else in Hungary, in the Hungarian communities of the Carpathian Basin or elsewhere in the world.
Full-time: Hungary 3-3 Portugal
The best match of the tournament comes to a close.
the Guardian reported.
There are significant political implications to this Phoenix-revival of Hungarian football. Prime Minister Orbán is known to be a football maniac. He was a professional football player, too. His left-liberal political enemies have been raging about that loads of derelict football stadiums have been rebuilt in Hungary since 2010, to a large extent, from taxpayer’s money. Orbán’s home village now hosts the world’s Number One upscale stadium:
The construction of the Pancho Arena in Felcsut was surrounded in controversy. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban grew up in the village the stadium was built in and is known for his love of football so a lot of eyebrows were raised when Orban’s government passed a lot of legislation which helped the companies which built the stadium. Despite that and the fact that the stadium has a larger capacity than the village it is built in, the Pancho Arena is truly beautiful. Named after Hungarian and football legend Ferenc Puskas, the Pancho Arena was designed by Hungarian architect Imre Makovecz and opened in 2014. The wooden interior and lighting make for a truly beautiful place to play football.
The left-liberal press, politicians and supporters practically used to be rooting against the Hungarian national team. The most popular left-liberal newsportal (index.hu) wrote:
At the end of the day, each and every European Championship point (for the Hungarian national team) only vindicates Orbán’s elite. …
It’s a respectable position if somebody roots against the national team in 2016’s Hungary.
After the third fiesta like this,
now the “left-liberals” have to concede utter defeat. Today’s articles in the left-lib press go as if they were always very supportive of Hungarian football and our budding Golden Team. 😀
Though the Hungarian economy is doing quite well, now Mr. Orbán has even less to worry about the general elections in 2018.