llovszky Rudolf Stadion was a multi-use stadium in the Budapest district of Angel Land (Angyalföld). Traditionally the team of the iron workers the club were once described as the ‘beating heart of the Hungarian working classes’.
However this is a club that has almost always played in the shadow of its biggest neighbours. Despite brief domestic success during the 1950’s, 1960’s and in 1977 this is a club more known for its success in the Mitropa Cup; a competition they win on six occasions.
This is another in the Magical Magyars series. The series is dedicated to the famous stadia once located in the Hungarian capital city of Budapest that are no longer with us.
For many years Hungarian domestic football was in a severe state of flux.
Aside from intermittant appearances in the Champions League Hungary’s qualifying clubs had struggled in UEFA competition football for many a year.
The traditional giants of Ferencvárosi Torna Club and Ujpest Dozsa were by 2001 mere shadows of the glorious names of the past. Hooliganism had ravaged the domestic game for many years with club owners banning several groups from the stadia in an effort to attract a wider fan base and new investment.
Football culture in the heart of the capital struggled to escape the great playing names of its past for a very long time. After a title win in 2004 it would be 2016 before Ferencvaros would again win the title with even the provincial Debrecen and Győr tasting success before the Budapest giants.
Internationally, it was hard to find anything positive to say about the Hungarian international side for almost decades. They produced very few world class players of note for decades. Until the national team (Magyar labdarúgó-válogatott) qualified for the 2016 UEFA European Championships in France the national team had virtually disappeared off the face of elite world football.
Fáy utcai Stadion
Residential District 13 is known as being home to the leafy Margaret Island; a huge public park on the Danube River with formal gardens.
Located in the same district is the Angyalföld area with which the Vasas stadium (also known as the Fay Utcai Stadion) sat. It hadn’t changed much since the 1970’s aside from a some licks of paint and minor renovations of the field. At least as far as the ground’s uncovered standards was concerned the stadia was just like that of Honved and MTK – open and dominated by concrete and wroght iron.
By the 1990’s the traditionally working-class neighbourhood of Angyalföld had started to go through a process of gentrification. But while urban infrastructure was developing the same could not be said for the Hungarian league which was struggling.
Like Honved and MTK the Vasas ground was characterised by U-shaped stands that were surrounded by four towering floodlights. The huge scoreboard meanwhile had seen better days unsurprising given that it had stood since the 1970-71 season.
Inaugurated on 12th February 1960 the ground was in dire need of upgrade by 2010. Vasas SC had been starved of success in recent decades and the Hungarian league has not been won since 1977.
The domestic cup (Magyar Kupa) meanwhile had not set foot in Vasas boardroom since 1986.
Incredibly Vasas have had more than eight different club names since the 1950’s. These include Budapesti Vasas, Vasas SC, Vasas SC-Smirnoff, Vasas Ilzer, Vasas Casino Vígadó, Vasas Danubius Hotels, Budapesti Vasas SC and Vasas–HÍD.
During February 2002 the Vasas stadium was named after club legend Rudolf Illovszky; a man whose statute now stands outside the new stadium in bronze.
Demolition work at the old Illovszky Rudolf Stadion began after the last game was played on 29 October 2016. The last match played at the stadium was against Videoton on Match Day 14 of the Nemzeto Bajnoksag.
On 1st November 2016, it was revealed that the new playing field would be rotated minimally meaning the stadium once completed would sit at a different angle to the Fáy utca; the street after which the stadium was often known.
A statue to László Kubala who also played for Vasas (but is better known for his time at Barcelona) sits nearby the new ground..
Fáy utcai Stadion – Rudolf Illovszky
Location: Angyafold, Budapest
Owner: Vasas SC