Sunday, April 10, 2011

Were the Romanians better? Not really – the 1970s were not their years either, but 1975 to a point was a year of change from decline to beginning of improvement. It was hardly detectable at the time, only tiny signs were noticeable, nothing convincing yet. If the decline could be marked by the slump of Steaua (Bucharest), the recovery may be seen in shift to Dinamo (Bucharest). At the down of the decade Steaua looked very promising, yet never achieved anything internationally and after the departure of their coach Stefan Kovacz to Ajax (Amsterdam) the team gradually faded away. A whole generation of fairly known players aged and Romania was unable to qualify for the 1974 World Cup. At that time it was a land of practically unknown clubs and players, so it was not surprising that the first signs of ‘life’ were missed. Besides, Dinamo (Bucharest) were hardly newcomer, but one of the usual contenders for Romanian titles. Now, with bland national team and decaying Steaua, how good the Police team could be? The truth is, transitional teams are never really good and most often are not even detected. Dinamo won already two championships in the 70s – 1970-71 and 1972-73. Apart from their fans, they impressed nobody and thus it was assumed that their 8th title in 1974-75 was just another run of the mill performance. And the assumption was largely justified by Dinamo’s record: they won the championship, but 10 out of 34 matches! Hardly convincing… But their fabulous striker Dudu Georgescu won the Golden Shoe, scoring the most goals in Europe – 33 (He was to better this number soon by scoring 47 goals in a single season, but this is another story related to Romanian corruption, eventually leading to the end of this award in 1991.)

The old club’s logo, when Dinamo was not yet nicknamed ‘Red Dogs’ – or if they were, the nickname was hardly a compliment for a club belonging to Securitate – the Romanian Secret Political Police.

Good, bad, cops or not, winners are winners… Dinamo was coached by former well known player from the 1960s – Ion Nunweiller (actually, assistant coach), one of the great Nunweiller dynasty – the third of 7 brothers, all remarkable players. Radu Nunweiller (often listed in the old fashion way as Nunweiller VI) was still playing. The future great, in terms of international success, coach – Mircea Lucescu – was part of this team and still a member of the Romanian national team. Also Cornel Dinu and Alexandru Satmareanu (or Satmareanu II), who was of the ‘next’ generation of exported Romanian players (joined VfB Stuttgart in 1980 and Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 1982) – an ethic Hungarian, he is sometimes listed under his original name nowadays: Alexander Szatmari. More or less, those were players established in the 1960s, but the wind of change came from the young Dudu Georgescu, scoring goals in stupefying numbers. As often is the case, ‘winds of change’ are just ‘winds’… Georgescu somehow never reached the fame and the recognition of the Romanian players of the 1980s and 1990s – he was pretty much lone bird, playing in transitional decade. Since Ronmanian national team was not very strong yet, Georgescu was not much noticed abroad. He wasn’t scoring that much for Romania either, which eventually tainted his goalscoring reputation – were his goals for Dinamo fairly scored or were they ‘doctored’? Later Romanian goalscorers were proved ‘helped’, to say the least, in order of winning the Golden Shoe, so why not Georgescu’s too? But suspicion was casted years later – in 1975 he was just a faint sign of better days coming. Still ‘may be’ coming… and big ‘may be’ it was.