Adios Akos – 25 July 2012

The text to my sister was short and simple – “Akos has left. Sad day” it read, nothing more needed to be said. There was nothing that she could have written in return to soften the blow. There was no point in trying. The announcement had been made on the official club website, there was no going back. Best to leave me with the memories.

It was on the cards. Whispers had been circulating on the rumour mill. The contract offer had been made, but for one year only. He wanted more, perhaps feeling he had deserved better after over 4 and a half years plying his trade for the R’s in over 125 games, but it was not to be and he becomes a victim of the new regime. New owner, new manager, new ambition and new players. Not everyone can be accommodated.

Yet Akos Buzsaky was unique. The first Hungarian to play for Queens Park Rangers, he has played through a turbulent and ultimately successful period in the club’s history. Dubbed the Magical Magyar by the club’s scribes, he has become something of a legendary figure. He earned his spurs early on with a series of wonder goals and he was soon bestowed the legendary no 10 shirt, and at QPR the no 10 shirt is special. It has history. It has meaning. It needs to be earned. Rodney Marsh and Stanley Bowles, to name but two, had the honour of wearing the famous shirt in the 60s and 70s and they epitomised what it stood for – charisma, flair and precocious talent. They could perform at a level and produce extraordinary moments of skill that other players could only dream of. In the era in which he played, Buzsaky was the only contender.

And he played with pride in the shirt. Whilst he was quite badly affected by injuries, which has unfortunately limited his appearances in the past 2 seasons, he has always cared and given his all. He is naturally gifted, is comfortable with both feet, rarely gives the ball away and plays with thought and style. At times he could be magnificent as he has the ability to do something extra special, the ‘x’ factor and that’s what made him stand out. And that’s what made him so special to the R’s supporters. He became something of a cult figure to such an extent that he was given his very own song, ‘The White Pele’, arguably the best to come out of ‘The Loft’ since Kevin Gallen’s ‘Captains Hat’.

But his critics will point out that his successes were only against the Championship or lesser teams and that in the heat of the Premiership, he became lost and wasn’t able to impose himself. Maybe there is some truth in that. In the past season, he played 21 times and scored 2 goals, both magical and both contenders for goal of the season. He does nothing by halves. Against Wigan he stood up to take a free kick from way out and struck a beauty into the far corner of the net. It was a strike of great technical ability and skill. He wheeled away in delight and the Loftus Road faithful recognised the enormity of the moment for both Akos and the team, as this led to Mark Hughes’ first home win as the new manager.

Similarly, at home to Swansea, under the lights, in a massive match in the club’s fight against relegation, with the game in the balance, he picked the ball up 25 yards out and hit an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net. The goalkeeper had no chance. Game over. It was a moment of beauty. Loftus Road erupted. He sunk to his knees as he rushed towards his adoring supporters in R block and his song was sung louder than ever around the famous old ground. The moment will live long in the memory.

But that really was that. A couple of nougats, brief cameos in a season largely of underachievement. If only he could have done just that little bit more in the bigger matches against the bigger teams. Life is often about ‘if onlys’.

And maybe he is right, maybe it is time to leave, to say goodbye and to seek a fresh challenge in pastures new. He is too good a player to be warming the bench, he needs to feel wanted and to play and showcase his talents.

Farewell Akos, you will be remembered fondly. Hopefully one day you will return to Loftus Road and receive the send off that you so richly deserve. And the words will be the same that they have always been:

“I saw my mate, the other day
He said to me, he saw the white Pele
I said to him, what’s his name?
He said to me, his name is Buzsaky
Buzsaky Buzsaky, said to me his name is Buzsaky”

(repeat to fade……)

25 July 2012

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