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The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory: The Story of Bela Guttman

David Bolchover

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From the publisher:

Before Pep Guardiola and before José Mourinho, there was Béla Guttmann: the first superstar football coach, and the man who paved the way for the celebrated coaches of the modern age.

More extraordinarily still, Guttmann was a Holocaust survivor. Having narrowly dodged death by hiding for months in an attic near Budapest as thousands of fellow Jews in the neighbourhood were dragged off to be murdered, Guttmann later escaped from a slave labour camp. He was one of the lucky ones. His father, sister and wider family perished at the hands of the Nazis.

But by 1961, as coach of Benfica, he had lifted one of football’s greatest prizes: the European Cup – a feat he repeated the following year. Rising from the death pits of Europe to become its champion in just over sixteen years, Guttmann performed the single greatest comeback in football history.

This remarkable story spans two visions of twentieth-century Europe: a continent ruptured by barbarism and genocide, yet lit up by exhilarating encounters in magnificent cities, where great players would strive to win football’s holy grail. With dark forces rising once again, the story of Béla Guttmann’s life asks the question: which vision of Europe will triumph in our times?

The author:

David Bolchover is an author and commentator. He has published three previous books, including the bestselling 90-Minute Manager, which explored the various management styles of the great football coaches. He has written for a number of leading newspapers, such as The Times, the Telegraph and the Financial Times, and has frequently appeared on the BBC, Sky and other broadcast outlets.

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Biteback
20 x 13 cm
Paperback
304 pages
January 2018
English
9781785903717