Soccer

Bela Gutman: The man behind Benfica's curse?

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Bela Gutman. Could he be the man behind Benfica's European cup bad luck? Courtesy Photo 

By Compiled by Nelson Bwire

Posted  Thursday, May 15   2014 at  12:22

In Summary

After the 1962 European Cup Final, Guttmann approached the Benfica board of directors and asked for a pay rise which was turned down. According to some sources, he cursed the club with the following words: "Not in a hundred years will Benfica win the European Champions Cup without me."

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Portuguese club Benfica will forever keep remembering the man behind both their misery and their happiness- Bela Guttman.

Benfica for the 8th time, last night failed to win a European final. Despite playing so well through out the game, they fell to Sevilla in penalties, making it 52 years and still going with out a European cup.

It looks like Benfica is still walking under a spell of a one Hungarian coach named Guttman who apparently cursed the club after he was denied a pay rise.

Gutman condemned the club to a whole 100 years in European cup drought. Benfica legend Eusebio even went to Guttman's grave to pray for the curse to be lifted.

Its now 52 years since he cast a spell on them. They have played eight finals and have lost all.

The eight finals
1963 European Cup - Benfica 1 - 2 AC Milan
1965 European Cup - Benfica 0 - 1 Inter Milan
1968 European Cup - Benfica 1 - 4 Manchester United (Extra time)
1983 UEFA Cup - Benfica 1 - 2 Anderlecht (On aggregate)
1988 European Cup - Benfica 0 - 0 PSV Eindhoven (5-6 Penalties)
1990 European Cup - Benfica 0 - 1 AC Milan
2013 Europa League - Benfica 1-2 Chelsea
2014 Europa League - Benfica 0-0 Sevilla (AET, 4-2 Penalties)

NB: five are champions league finals and three are Europa

Benfica players react to a missed goal opportunity in their match with Sevilla last night. Photo by AFP

WHO IS GUTTMAN?

Bela Gutman born on 27th January 1899 in Budapest (Austria-Hungary). He is remembered to have coached most of the worlds big clubs including AC Milan, Sao Paulo FC, FC Porto and its rival club Benfica.

He achieved great success at Benfica, guiding the club to two European cups in two successive years. Together with Márton Bukovi and Gusztáv Sebes, Guttmann formed a triumvirate of radical Hungarian coaches who pioneered the 4–2–4 formation.

Despite having a very "good time " in soccer as player and a coach later, Butman did not come to the limelight until he signed for Italian giants AC Milan in 1953. In his second season at AC Milan, he guided them to the top of the table with 19 games. However he fell out with the top command and was sacked.

Gutman later told a stunned press conference "I have been sacked even though I am neither a criminal nor a homosexual. Goodbye."

HOW THE CURSE CAME ABOUT
In 1958, Gutman again got lucky and was appointed manager of Portuguese club FC Porto, he then went on to help the club overhaul a five point lead by rivals Benfica to win the Portuguese' title before he was snatched by rival club Benfica.

On Joining Benfica, Gutman rubbed the entire club board and players the wrong way by sacking 20 senior players without ceremony and promoted "naive" youth players who interestingly won the league title twice.

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