The Story of Bela Guttmann
The Greatest Comeback
From Genocide to Footbnall Glory
Written by David Bolchover
Published by Biteback Publishing. London, 2017
Some times you come accross something that just changes your views and knowledge that you have held for sometime and this happened to me having opened this book.
You are confronted by the fact that Bela Guttmann was the most successfull manager of his era, his ultimate achievement of many, was to lead Benfica of Portugal to two European Cup Final victories at a time when Real Madrid were most dominant. I had never heard of the man but he paved the way for the management styles of Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and many more. He perhaps invented total football before the Netherlands and his influence spread to new line up formations used today. He also managed and played throughout Europe and in North and South America, his playing career stradling both sides of the Second World War.
But this says nothing of the man himself, born a Jew in pre-war Hungary, persecuted for his beliefs and luckilly spared the Hollacust death camps through the kindness of others and his own guille and resourcefullness. Bela Guttmann was not a saint and the book covers his flaws as well.
There is more though, that increased my knowledge in that the book explains the persecution of Jews through time but what hit me was the array of countries where persecution took place both before and after the war and the devastation that all of this had along with the horrors of Nazi fascism. David Bolchovers research and writting style are trully magnificent.
I try not to say too much about a book so as not to spoil it for future readers but I must say that if you want to open your mind, be beguilled by a human story and learn about the evolvement of football then this is the book for you.