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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Manager Series: Géza Kertész

Updated: 7 days ago

Source Lazio Wiki

Géza Kertész was born on November 21, 1894, in Budapest. He was a good footballer and played as a midfielder for BTC Budapesti between 1911 and 1919 and Ferencvaros from 1920 to 1923. He even won one cap for Hungary playing in a friendly. He had a good vision of the game though he was a bit slow.

 

In 1925 he moved to Italy and was player manager for Spezia where he won the Second Division championship (third tier). This was the start of his long career as manager in Italy. He continued at Carrarese, where he coached from 1926 to 1928, winning another lower championship .After a year at Viareggio, he was head coach for Salernitana from 1929 to 1931. In Salerno in the 1930-31 season, he took the club to the final for promotion against Cagliari but they lost. He had actually left Salernitana in February 1931 but was forced to go back by the Italian Football Federation.

 

After Salerno he went further south and was in charge of Catanzarese and in two years took them to Serie B. He repeated the feat in 1933 with Catania, their first ever promotion to the second tier. In the next two years the Sicilians reached 3rd and 8th places. In 1936 he moved to Taranto and again in his first year took the club to Serie B, but was unable to keep them there in his second season.

 

In 1938-39 he coached Atalanta in Serie B. With one game to the end, they were second with a two-point lead over Venezia. The top two clubs would be promoted. Final game Atalanta-Venezia. Unfortunately, they lost and were not promoted due to goal difference.

 

In 1939 he became Lazio manager. It was an excellent season for the Biancocelesti who arrived fourth, just one point behind third placed Juventus. Lazio played well, beat Juventus, Milano and won the home derby. He started the 1940-41 season, but after six games, which included four draws and two defeats, he was sacked and replaced by Ferenc Molnar.

 

He then went back to Salerno but was sacked during the course of the season. His last three jobs as manager in Italy were disappointing. At Catania in the third tier, he could not take them to promotion and in 1942 he became head coach for RST Littorio, a Rome-based team. In December he was called to coach Roma in place of Alfred Schaffer, but it was a disappointing season.

 

In 1943 football stopped in Italy so he went back to Hungary and coached Upjest.

 

He was a very good manager. He was one of the first coaches to introduce pre-season retreats and gymnastic training in Italy. In the early years he concentrated on defence and counter attack, but in later years he became a follower of the WM system.

 

Back in Hungary, together with his former team mate István Tóth, he joined a resistance movement which saved many Jews and partisans from the Nazi concentration camps. He even held ties with the US secret service.

 

Kertész was arrested in December 1944 and was executed together with Tóth on February 6 1945 in Budapest, just a few days before the liberation of the city. He is considered a martyr of the nation and buried in Budapest’s cemetery of heroes.


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