Before Pep Guardiola and before Jose Mourinho, there was Bela Guttmann: the first superstar football coach, and the man who paved the way for the celebrated coaches of the modern age. Hewas also a Holocaust survivor. In 1944, much of Europe had wanted Guttmanndead. He hid for months in an attic near Budapest as thousands of fellow Jewsin the neighbourhood were dragged off to be murdered.
Later, he escaped from aslave labour camp before a planned deportation and almost certain death.
Hisfather, sister and wider family were murdered. Butby 1961, as coach of Benfica, he had lifted Europe's greatest sporting prize,the European Cup, a feat he repeated the following year. Thisbiography spans two contrasting visions of Europe: one of barbarism andgenocide, and one of beauty, wonder and romance, of balmy evenings inmagnificent cities, where great players would stretch every sinew in a bid towin football's holy grail.
With dark forces rising once again in thatcontinent, the story of Bela Guttmann's life asks the question: which visionwill triumph in our times?