Újpest FC

Founded in what used to be a separate city just north of Budapest, Újpest grew to become the biggest team not just in the Hungarian capital, but in the whole country in the thirties, and, mostly, in the seventies, when they won an incredible nine Championship titles in 11 years. They haven't been equally successful ever since, but they remain the third most decorated club in the country, with a spot in Hungary's football history elite secured for life.

Basic facts

Founded: 1885
Country: Hungary
City: Budapest

Home grounds

Szusza Ferenc Stadion (1922-)

Main Trophies

Hungarian Championship: 20
Hungarian Cup: 9

Prominent players

Ferenc Szusza, Gyula Zsengellér, Ferenc Bene, László Fazekas, Antal Dunai II, Avar István, János Göröcs, Lajos Várnai, Zoltán Kovács, Károly Fogl II, József Fogl III, György Szűcs, Antal Szalay, István Balogh I, Jenő Vincze, Béla Egresi, Sándor Balogh II, István Nyers, Mihály Nagymarosi, Mihály Tóth, Sándor Zámbó, András Törőcsik, László Fekete, György Véber, Zoltán Szlezák

Club records

Most games played: Ferenc Szusza (462)
Top goalscorer: Ferenc Szusza (392)

History

Officially, the club were founded in 1885, but that is when “Újpesti Torna Egylet” (Gymnastics Club of Újpest) were formed. The football section didn't come to life until several years later.

In 1901, UTE merged with Újpesti FC, a football club that had been founded two years earlier, and the newly-formed team joined Hungary's second division. Three years later, UTE won promotion to the first division, where they have been playing ever since, excluding one season, 1911-12.

The team started competing for titles in the twenties, finishing second on three occasions, and third on four more, but it was in the thirties that they really took centre stage in Hungary's football scene.

New name

Named Újpest FC since 1926 after the introduction of professionalism, the club went on to celebrate five Championship titles in a single decade just before World War II broke out, reaching the point of providing nine(!) players to Hungary's national team, in times when the Magyars were already well-respected at European and world level.

The end of World War II brought the end of professionalism in Hungary's football as well. Renamed Újpesti TE, the club had further successes right after the end of the war, but had to wait until the seventies to dominate the country's football scene again, and, even more spectacularly than in the thirties.

Named Újpesti Dózsa Sport Club (after György Dózsa, a 15th-16th century man-at-arms and/or nobleman, depending on someone's point of view), the club, chosen by the communist regime in the early fifties to be the official one of the police, won the Championship title in 1969. Ten years later, they had won all titles but two, creating one of the biggest dynasties in Hungarian football's history.

If one player had to be singled out from that generation, it would have to be Antal Dunai, scorer of 202 goals in 326 matches for Újpest, between 1965 and 1976.

That was the time they reached their peak at international level as well, making it to the semifinals of the European Cup, today's Champions League. It was in April 1974 when they faced Bayern Munich, drawing 1-1 in the first leg in Budapest, but losing 3-0 in Germany.

The fall of communism and the subsequent disengagement of the public sector from Hungary's football scene hit Újpest hard, and it feels as if they never really made a full recovery.

They have won two Cup titles and have finished second in the Championship on a few occasions, but their 20th league title won in 1998 (when they switched back to Újpest FC, with the re-introduction of professionalism in Hungary's football), remains the last one until these days.

Újpest have been playing at the same place since 1922, when their old Megyeri úti stadion opened. That's exactly where today's Szusza Ferenc stadion lies at, one of the first modern football specific stadiums Hungary saw in the early years of the 21st century.

The fact that the stadium is – since 2003 – named after Ferenc Szusza, is a clear indication of who is considered to be the most emblematic figure in the club's history.

Some of the club's greatest players and their records

Szusza, a formidable forward, spent his entire career at Újpest, playing in 462 matches and scoring 392 goals, starting in 1941, aged 18, and going on until 1960, when he hang his boots up. Being considered one of the best Hungarian players ever, one of the reasons why he is not as famous as other contemporaries of his is that he never left Hungary to play professionally abroad.

Even though he doesn't have his name given to the club's stadium, Gyula Zsengellér as well deserves special mention. An Újpest player from 1936 to 1947, he would have played more games and scored more goals than Szusza for the Budapest team if he had spent more years there, instead of immigrating to Italy and then Colombia.

With more than 300 games and almost as many goals as Szusza, Zsengellér shined at international level as well, impressing in the 1938 World Cup finals, being the competition's second highest scorer, behind one of Brazil's first greats, Leonidas.

By Dimitris Basias

Logo

Újpest logoÚjpest's logo obviously includes the modern name of the club, which is also the one they used from 1926 to 1945, but at the same time they are paying tribute to their 'mother' club, UTE, with the name and the founding year in the centre of the crest. The anchor is related to Újpest's location, along the Danube river. Should be noted that during communist times, when the club were called Újpesti Dózsa, a cursive “D”, very characteristic of eastern European clubs named “Dynamo” was at the very centre of the club's logo. The two stars on top, correspond to the 20 Championship titles the club have won.

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Újpest_FC
https://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Újpest_FC
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferenc_Szusza
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyula_Zsengellér
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Szusza_Ferenc_stadion
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/György_Dózsa