077. Jozsef Boszik
Although sometimes overshadowed by the great forward players around him, Hungarian half-back József Bozsik was a crucial member of the Honvéd and Hungarian teams that were recognised as the finest in the world in the early 1950s. Born in Kispest, he joined Kispest-Honved as a youngster and made his first team debut while still a teenager.
Having broken into the Honvéd team in 1943, Bozsik became an international for the first time four years later, making his debut in a 9-0 win over Bulgaria. Over the next decade, he was regarded by many as the finest attacking half-back in world football as Honved dominated domestically in Hungary. Between 1949 and 1955, he won five league championship medals. At international level, Bozsik won an Olympic Gold Medal in Helsinki in 1952 and was a part of the teams that beat England 6-3 at Wembley and 7-1 in Budapest. In 1954 he played in the team that suprisingly lost the World Cup final to West Germany.
In 1956 an uprising occurred in Budapest while Honvéd were away on a tour in Spain, and many of their top players did not return to Hungary. Bozsik, however, did go back and remained with Honvéd until the end of his playing career, appearing in a second World Cup in 1958. He retired from playing in 1962, having won a record 101 caps for Hungary, still the national record today.
Having ended his playing career, Bozsik took a job on the board of directors at Honvéd, before becoming team manager in 1966. He stayed in the job for little over a year before returning to the board. In 1974 he was made national manager, but poor health forced him to step down after just one match. He later became an supervisor to the national team.
After suffering several years of health problems, József Bozsik died of heart failure in 1978, aged just 53. He was posthumously made a freeman of Kispest in recognition of his loyalty to Kispest-Honvéd, and the club’s stadium was eventually renamed in his honour.