" LE RED STAR, mémoire d'un club légendaire"
(Extracts, Part Nine)
ASTON AND SIMONYI
Fred Aston left, right André Simonyi at Stade Bauer in March 2000
"From the Red Star side of 1938 emerged a formidable partnership : Aston - Simonyi.
André Simonyi arrived at Red Star almost by chance. One day Lucien Gamblin went to Roubaix to obtain the services of an English footballer, but the deal came to nothing. Gamblin left the meeting disappointed. He was crossing a square in Lille when he saw Simonyi sitting outside a café.
- I thought you had gone to Sochaux ?
André expalined to him that at Sochaux, he was prevented from regular first-team football by the Swiss Abegglen and by Roger Courtois. He didn't want to play reserve team football so he had gone there to try and get back with his former club, Olympique Lillois.
- Don't do that, urged Gamblin. Come to Saint-Ouen !
An hour later, a telephone call to Sochaux and Gamblin, the champion of smooth talk returned to Red Star, not with an Englishman, but with a former Hungarian international who had played for Attila Budapest, André Simonyi.
Saint-Ouen didn't lose out in the deal. Simonyis technique was of an astounding purity, he struck the ball beautifully and he got on well with the winger Fred Aston.
Fred Aston, born with an English father and a French mother into a world of horse racing had been an apprentice jockey at Chantilly. In this world of tough treatment and hardship, he was prepared for the knocks he would take in football. He dribbles, dummys and unpredictable changes of direction earned him the nickname "Will O' the Wisp". With his pinpoint crosses, he became one of the best wingers in Europe. His duo with Simonyi propelled Red Star to the cup quarter finals, only to go down 1-0 to Le Havre AC.
Several weeks later the third World Cup got underway in France, but not a happy world. Austria had dropped out, due to the annexation by Hitlers' Germany. Spain was also absent, the fascists and the nazis tearing the country apart in a civil war, bombing the innocents of Guernica.
Germany had the audacity to include in its squad the best players from Austria, but still lost out to Switzerland, but the arrogant Italians of Mussolini won the competition, winning the World Cup for the second time.
In September 1938, the Munich accords ended any last hopes. The French pople knew that war was inevitable. They did not break, however, and continued to live as before.
The directors of Red Star Olympique continued, also. They let Aston move to the Racing Club de Paris, Aston whom, on the 26th October 1938, had the honour of being on the right wing of a Continent squad for a match at Highbury against England.
Another unfortunate idea: Red Star failed to hold on to Larbi ben Barek, the young Moroccan of Casablanca. By way of consolation, they signed Fruleux, Arras striker, goalkeeper Desfossé, the South American Tarrio, Gyarmati, Gnaoui, Scopelli and Ithurbide.
All this led to a second division championship thanks to 29 goals by Fruleux and 26 from Simonyi. In the cup, the adventure was halted in the last thirty-two stage against Mulhouse who won 2-1 after extra time.
For ten years, during some very dark times, the public at Saint-Ouen continued to watch their team, loyal, come rain or shine, at the Stade de Paris, despite the venue being a tad outdated and inferior compared to the more modern stadia such as Colombes or the Parc des Princes, extended for the World Cup.
Red Star 1938-1939, Champion de France de Division 2 with the following squad:
Goalkeepers : Defosse, Hatz
Defence : Lorentz, Schwartz, Chantrel
Midfield : Gnaoui, Meuris, Tarrio
Attack : Fruleux, Gyarmati, Iliano, Ithurbide, Moulet, Simonyi, Scopelli, Meneut
Subs : Le Leannec, Sanz, Boussard, Szabo, Aubert, Baudot
Coaches: Stabile, then Chantrel
(to be continued)
LE RED STAR,
mémoire d'un club légendaire
by Guillaume Hanoteau, with Gilles Cutulic
© Robert Laffont - Editions Seghers
Dépôt légal : 1983