Under Meisl soccer became almost an exhibition, a sort of competitive ballet, in which scoring goals was no more than the excuse for the weaving of a hundred intricate patterns.
Hugo Meisl was the most influential figure in European football during the first half of the 20th century. As a player he had represented Cricketer and also served as a referee. he was head of the Austrian Football Federation from 1912 to 1937, and managed the national team in two periods, in 1912-14 and from 1919 -1937.As manager of Austria the cosmopolitan Meisl envisioned a fluid and beautiful way of playing football, based on the principles of movement.
The style of play was described by Willy Meisl, Hugo's brother, as The Whirl. This involved a perpetual interchanging and fluidity between all 10 outfield players, in which there would be no such thing as a purely defensive or a purely attacking player.
with assistance of an English coach, Jimmy Hogan.
In 1912, Austria drew 1-1 against Hungary. The game was refereed by Englishman James Howcroft. Ever keen to develop, Meisl asked Mr Howcroft for some advice on how to improve his team. Mr Howcroft's opinion was that they needed a professional coach to work with them on basic technique. As it happened Mr Howcroft knew just the man they needed. He recommended Jimmy Hogan, the former Bolton Wanderers player who had been coaching in the Netherlands.
Meisl promptly appointed Hogan to work with leading Austrian clubs, but mainly to prepare the Austria national squad for the Stockholm Olympics.
There is a strong case for arguing that Hogan, a journeyman professional who had also played for Rochdale, Burnley, Nelson , Fulham , Swindon Town during an 11 year career was to become one of the most influential coaches in the history of football. The origins of the great Hungarian post war style, Netherlands Total Football and even the development of tactical awareness in Brazilian football (via Dori Kruschner*) can be traced back to the work that Hogan did in Central Europe.
Hogan helped Meisl to put his vision into action. Hogan promoted a style that emphasized greater ball-control, attacking freedom, creativity, quick passing, and better physical preparation Football was to be played on the ground, not in the air, and it was a game for brains as well as muscles.
Essentially the 2-3-5 pyramid remained untouched (in fact Willy Meisl remained an advocate of thew pyramid formation until well into the 1950s). The forward line was complemented by wide half-backs and an attacking centre-half.
We played football as Jimmy Hogan taught us. When our football history is told, his name should be written in gold letters
Gusztáv Sebes- coach of the 1950s Hungarian Golden Team.
*Izidor "Dori" Kürschner was known as Dori Kruschner in Brazil