Pál Várhidi, the ten-times capped Hungary international who was part of the national-team squad which travelled to England for the Match of the Century at Wembley in 1953, has passed away at the age of 84.
Várhidi was born on 6th November 1931 in the Újpest district of Budapest and began his football career with Törekvés in 1942 before moving to the Wolfner Bőrgyár in 1945 and then in 1949 to his boyhood favourites Újpesti TE, soon to be renamed Budapesti Dózsa then Újpest Dózsa.
He made his top-flight debut in autumn 1950 on the left side of defence and eventually impressed enough to be called up to the all-conquering Hungary squad led by the legendary Ferenc Puskás and nicknamed the ‘Magical Magyars’. Várhidi was a part of the travelling squad which famously beat England 6-3 at wembley in November 1953 and the squad which finished FIFA World Cup runners-up, although he did not actually make his international debut until autumn 1954 as a substitute in the 5-1 defeat of Romania. He then appeared a further nine times until his final appearance in the 4-1 defeat of Bulgaria on 23rd June 1957.
As a player, 1960 was Várhidi’s most successful year; he won the Hungarian league championship with Újpest Dózsa and was captain of the Hungary Olympic football squad which won the bronze medal in Rome that year, although had he not missed a penalty in the semi-final against Denmark, the colour of the medal could even have been silver or gold. In 1961/62 Várhidi played in three of Újpest’s eight matches as they reached the semi-final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup before he played his final league match for Újpest Dózsa on his 34th birthday in 1965.
A successful coaching career followed at home and abroad, in particular with Újpest Dózsa, the club at which he spent most of his playing career, where between 1974 and 1980 he won four league titles, one Hungarian Cup and reached the European Cup semi-final shortly after taking charge. In 1998 he became part of the only father and son duo to have each won the Hungarian league title as coaches when his son Péter led the same team – by then called Újpesti TE – to NBI championship glory.
MLSZ offers its sincere condolences to his family.
Source: Hungarian Football Federation