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Born: Saturday 23 May 1896, Bačka Palanka, Austria-Hungary (now Serbia)
Died: Saturday 10 May 1980, Stockholm, Sweden (aged 83)
Hungarian winger Kálmán Konrád was one of the most successful players in the world in the 1910s and 1920s. Playing both at inside-right and on the right wing, he enjoyed a successful playing career in both Hungary and Austria, and also had a groundbreaking spell in the United States. He would also go on to have a near 30 year career in management, coaching several club in central Europe and in Sweden, where he would spend his retirement.
Konrád was born on 23 May 1896 in the small town of Bačka Palanka, in modern day Serbia but at the time still a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. At a relatively young age his family moved to Budapest, where he would spend his teenage years and begin his football career. In 1910, aged just 14, he joined one of Hungary's leading clubs, MTK, where he would play for several years alongside his brother Jenő Konrád. He would break into the first team three years later in 1913, the start of his career coinciding with what would prove to be one of the most successful periods in the club's history.
In Konrád's debut season in the first team, MTK claimed the Hungarian title with an impressive record of 15 wins and 3 draws from their 18 league games, and also won the Hungarian Cup. For the next couple of years, official league competitions were suspended because of the First World War, but when they resumed in 1916 MTK were even more dominant. In each of the first two seasons after the war they would win 21 out of 22 league games, and when they added another title in 1918-19 Konrád had been part of a title winning team in each of his first four 'official' seasons. His contribution to the hat-trick of post-war titles was 88 goals in 94 games, an incredible rate for someone who was not an out-and-out goalscorer.
The timing of Konrád's career meant that his opportunities for international football were somewhat limited. During his time with MTK he made 12 appearances for the national team, scoring two goals, only ever having the opportunity to play in friendly matches. Following MTK's title success in 1919, Konrád left Hungarian football and moved to Austria, where he signed for Wiener Amateure, the club which would go on to become Austria Vienna.
In his first season in Vienna, Amateure finished as runners-up in the league and reached the Austrian Cup final. There they would play Rapid, who had narrowly beaten them to the title after the two sides had finished level on points. Trailing 3-1 at half-time, Konrád gave his team hope with a goal just after the hour mark but two late strikes sealed the double for Rapid. Twelve months later, Amateure had again finished second to Rapid in the league, but another cup final appearance gave Konrád his first trophy in Austrian football as Sport-Club were beaten 2-1.
Amateure reached a third consecutive cup final in 1922, with Konrád giving them the lead against Wiener AF but ultimately the match was lost 2-1. 1923-24 brought the first league title of Konrád's time in Vienna, with Amateure taking the crownby four points. They also reached yet another cup final, and in an amazing match against Slovan Wien they levelled at 4-4 in the last minute of normal time and scored four goals to Slovan's two in extra-time, winning the match 8-6.
The cup was retained in 1925, with Konrád scoring the equaliser in a 3-1 final win over First Vienna. Another double followed in 1926 with another cup final goal for Konrád. When he left Amateure in 1926, he had played in six cup finals in his seven years at the club, winning four of them. That summer, he made a shock move to the USA, joining Brooklyn Wanderers of the American Soccer League. The club were involved in the establishment of a new competition, the International Soccer League, made up of American and Canadian teams. Konrád played all nine matches in that competition, scoring four goals as Wanderers finished as champions.
In 1927, Konrád returned home to Hungary to play once again for MTK, spending one more season with the club before retiring from playing in 1928 at the age of 32. He made a move into management, starting out in Germany with Bayern Munich where he spent two seasons. Through the 1930s he would manage in Switzerland, Czechoslovakia and Romania before making a move to Sweden in 1939, joining Örebro SK. Sweden would prove to be his adopted home for the remainder of his life.
Konrád spent three years with Örebro, before moving on to Åtvidabergs FF, who he managed for five years. 1947 brought a move to one of the biggest clubs in Sweden, Malmö FF, and it was there that Konrád would enjoy the greatest success of his managerial career. After finishing as runners-up in the league in his first season, Konrád led Malmö to the second league title in their history in 1949. The club went on to retain the crown the following year, although Konrád had left by the time the championship was assured.
After leaving Malmö, Konrád also managed Råå IF, BK Derby and Junsele IF before retiring from active involvement in football in 1956, aged 60. Staying in Sweden throughout his retirement, he died in Stockholm in 1980, at the age of 83.
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- Published on Saturday, 19 November 2011 14:15