Monday, February 3, 2014

Switzerland – once upon a time having quite a strong football, but since mid-1960s outpaced by many European countries. After 1975 there were strong signs of recovery, yet, without real success on the level of national teams. Clubs did better and the progress continued. This was not to be truly great generation, but, may be because of the new format of the league, improvement continued. Although a championship without big and dominant clubs, Swiss football depended on the steady performance of Basel, FC Zurich, and Servette in the 1970s. One more club joined the group in 1977-78 - a familiar name, but staying in the shadow of the trio so far. Grasshopper (Zurich) reached the Cup final – not a big surprise, but rather a sigh of new ambition. Back then the club was better known as 'Grasshoppers' – the final 's', making the word plural in English, was old mistake, eventually corrected many years later. Anyhow, they went all the way to the Cup final, where Servette (Geneva) opposed them. As a footnote, the final was traditionally played in Bern – between 1936 and 2001 no other city hosted the Cup final. The final ended in 2-2 draw and had to be replayed. Servette clinched minimal victory by 1-0 in the second match. Small, big, victory is a victory. Servette won the Cup in 1971, lost the final in 1976, and now won it one more time: their 4th altogether.

Losers...crouching, from left: Lauper, Piccand, Herbert Hermann, Bauer, Heinz Hermann, Bouli.

Middle row: Brunner – masseur, Montanden, Hagenbuch (?), Berbig, Inderbitzin, Nafzger, Sulser, Johannsen – coach.

Top row: Bachmann (?), Traber (?), Ponte, Wehrli, Egli, Hey, Niggl, Meyer.

Hopes and ambitions crashed... Grasshopper badly wanted a cup – the last time they won it was foggy past: 1952. In 1963 they played at the final for the last time. Finally, they had a chance and missed it, a very disappointing moment, but there was joy at the end of the season, compensating for the lost final.

Servette (Geneva) were equally ambitious and much happier too – it was more than winning a trophy. So far, they were strong, consistent, but stayed second-best. Basel and FC Zurich won; Servette did not. They badly needed trophies as a recognition of their good years – and so far had only won the Cup in 1971. Already distant success...

Top row: Monnier (Betreuer), Marc Schnyder, Jean-Christophe Thouvenel, "Joko" Pfister, "Didi" Andrey, Jean-Luc Martin
Middle row: Martin Chivers, Hanspeter Weber, M. Locca, Roger Cohannier (President), Peter Pazmandy (Coach), Serge Trinchero, Lucio Bizzini
Sitting: Karl Engel, Gilbert Guyot, Franz Peterhans, Claude Sarrasin, Franco Marchi, Umberto Barberis, Aldo Brignolo

Success at last. A good squad, Servette – Engel, Guyot, Pfister, the young defender Thouvenel, who was to become French national team player, the Swiss footballer of the year in 1974-75 and long time regular of the national team Umberto Barberis, and perhaps the most important one at the time Martim Chivers. The former star of the great Tottenham Hotspur of 1968-73, regular English national team player, strong and dangerous centre-forward, scoring plenty. Chivers was one of the biggest foreign stars moving to Swiss clubs in the second half of the 1970s – to finish their careers in well-paying, but not very demanding league. Chivers did not win many trophies in England, so it was great that he ended his foreign spell with a cup. He was also voted the best foreign players of the season – admittedly, the competition was not exceptional, but still he was above everybody else at 33 years of age. Chivers also finished as the second best scorer in the championship with 17 goals.