Posted: 8/12/2010


        It was 1953 and I was in a physics class and we were listening on a plastic transister radio to England v Hungary at Wembley, with a 3.00pm kick off because there were no floodlights.

        The 'Magic Magyars' won 6-3 that day led by the 'galloping major' Ferenc Puskas, and English football was changed forever. I still have the official programme from that match. Out with heavy boots, heavy uniforms and heavy pre-match meals. Did it work? Well, the following year Hungary beat England 7-1 at the Nepstadion in Budapest, but after being two goals up in the 1954 World Cup Final in Switzerland, West Germany came back to win 3-2 in 'The Miracle of Berne'.

        Hungarian football is not what it was, and they were not expected to put up much of a fight last night at the new Wembley, only being 72nd in the world rankings, while the Three Lions were expecting a hostile reception after their abysmal display against the Germans in Bloemfontein 6 weeks ago. 72,000 fans showed up, with tickets reduced considerably and a family of 4 getting in for 60. Fabio Capello, who is rapidly losing the confidence of 'the street' with some bizarre interviews, had a few new faces to try out.

       The fans were actually quite supportive despite a goal less first half. Hungary went ahead when yet another 'none goal' was given by the French referee crew. Phil Jagielka deflected a cross from Vladimir  Koman. The ball did not go all the way over the line.  Steven Gerrard played Captain Marvelous with two wonderful goals that immediately got the crowd on their feet as he used his hands to encourage them. The first after 69 minutes was a rocket from outside the box and the second a scintilating close quarters dance and a flick to make it 2-1 four minutes later.

        Strange happenings in The Black Country,(because of the acrid smoke in the Industrial Revolution), as the area around Birmingham is called. Aston Villa, the biggest club, just parted company with manager Martin O'Neill, 5 days before the first EPL match. He had been there 4 years and after miracles at Leicester City and Celtic he had taken the old club to 6th place in the last three seasons. However he had spent far too much money on expensive and VERY average fringe players and the American owner Randy Lerner wanted some fiscal controls.

      The last straw as far as O'Neill was concerned was that he wanted ALL the transfer funds expected shortly from the sale of James Milner to Manchester City be given to him for another spending spree.

       At Manchester City they have far too much money and little sense. Craig Bellamy, no stranger to contoversy, but arguably the Sky Blues most productive player has not been included in the 25 man squad for their Europa League campaign and wants away. He was brilliant again last night in Llanelli in South Wales, captaining Wales to a 5-1 romp over Luxembourg and making three and scoring the last goal. Stephen Ireland, brilliant a year ago but not so productive this last season, is also omitted.

         They still have the very expensive and under productive Robinho in Brazil and don't know what to do with him. NOBODY wants to pay the asking price and Roberto Mancini might be the first EPL manager to leave once the season is underway.  BUT WHO CARES??