Legends never die!

Each fan remembers the very great players that brought fame to his favorite club. When somebody talks about Rapid Bucharest may know some names that wrote history for this beloved team: Baratky, Ozon, Rică Răducanu, Niky Dumitriu, Coe, Ionescu, Pancu, Săpunaru, Iencsi, Liță Dumitru, Sandu Neagu, Nelu Motroc, Năsturescu, Culae Lupescu, Daniel Niculae, Țâră, Goanță or Manea. But these names refer mostly to some of the greatest footballers in Romania’s history, to players that helped Rapid win the first title in 1967 or to lads that played at our club in the last few decades. What about the other players that wrote history for Rapid? Those who won six Romanian cups in a row or those who brought a bit of light in the decades when the club struggled to survive in the top flight? Because is not fair to forget any of our legends, in this text I want to write a few words about some man that made proud many generation of fans.

Grigore Grigoriu – born in 1899 he was the main man behind Rapid’s birth. Between 1918 and 1922 he played at the prestigious team of those times, Venus Bucharest and in 1923 he became the first captain of Rapid. His wife hand-made the team’s first jerseys, choosing the crimson color because it was easier to wash. He only played for one year for Rapid, before leaving for a wealthier team, Bucharest, in 1924. Although he felt bad to leave the team he helped be created, he was allowed to leave for a more prestigious team of the time.

Ștefan ‘Rici’ Auer – he was born in 28th of May 1905 at Arad and he got first notable achievements with Colțea Brașov, a team that played that time two finals of the Romanian championship: in 1927 and in 1928, the first of them being won. In that time he also played two games for the national football team of our country, scoring three goals. But then he left for Hungary where he played until 1936 at Ujpest Budapest. Scoring 162 goals for this team in 150 first league appearances, he became a regular in the Hungary team. Avar, as he was known in this country, won 21 caps, including some at the 1934 World Cup and managed to score 24 goals! He also won with Ujpest the Mitropa Cup in 1929, when he was top scorer of the tournament, with 10 goals. He felt so good in Hungary that he preferred to remain there until he died, in 1977. Still, in this period he returned for only four years in Romania: to play at Rapid! He did so between 1936 and 1940, time in which he won four Romanian cups and became once top scorer of our first tier: in 1940, with 21 goals. His numbers at Rapid were also impressive as he scored 50 league goals in 69 games!

Ștefan Barbu – he was also born at Arad, on 2nd of March 1908, but he remained confident to his country. He only played at teams from his own town, but also for Rapid. He arived at our team in 1933, when he was 25, making his dreams come true. He spent five years in Bucharest, until 1938, period in which he won three Romanian cups. Barbu II played for Rapid in 68 league games and scored 42 goals, 23 of them in the 1935-1936 season, when he became the top national scorer. At Romania’s national team he only played between 1927 and 1930, seven games without scoring a single goal. Still he made it to the World Cup in 1930.

Ioachim Moldoveanu – despite being an attacker he did not manage to score many goals for Rapid: only 30 in more than 150 games in the first two Romanian tiers. Born in Ocna Mureș, in 1913, when it was a city that belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he came at Rapid at only 22 and stood at the team from Bucharest a very long time. Until 1948, to be more precise. He did succeed in taking part in all six Rapid’s consecutive Romanian Cup finals that the team won. In June 1937 he won his first cap for the national side, against Sweden and so he did play one game against Cuba, a year later, at the World Cup from France. Eventually he was selected 11 times for Romania, but Moldoveanu did not put in a single goal for his contry.

Vintilă Cossini – he was born on 21st of November 1913, at Constanța and played as a middfielder, first at the local team, Tricolor. In 1933 he made the jump to Rapid, where he played the rest of his career which ended in 1941, at only 28 years. He gathered 163 in the first division, scoring only seven goals and winning six Cups. He made 25 appearances for the national football team of Romania without scoring any goal, but taking part in the squad that qualified for the World Cup in 1938. After retiring he became an engineer, but between 1971 and 1976 he directed de Football Committee of the city of Bucharest.

Ion Costea – born in 1912, near Blaj he is the oldest former player of Rapid. He is now 99 years old and gave seven decades of his life to this club, where he was player, trainer and even ticket seller. His professional career started at CFR Cluj, in 1930, five years before he signed with Rapid Here, he played two cup finals and in both he was a winner. The events took place in 1939 and 1942, and despite not being called ever at the national team, Costea is one of Giulești’s legends. He started training in 1948 and until 1952 he was head coach of Locomotiva Filaret. With the beginning of this last year that I mentioned, Ion became trainer at Rapid’s junior teams. He stood here more than two decades promoting famous players such where Dumitriu, Dumitru, Manea or Sandu Neagu, before retiring in 1974. Now, at 99 years he found the power to exclaim when Rapid had its 88th birthday: ‘I love you Rapid! I’m proud that I served you seven decades!’

Gheorghe Rășinaru – born on 10th of February 1913 in Sebeș, a town that was then inside the borders of Austro-Hungarian Empire. The first professional club at which the midfielder played, was CFR. But only until 1935, because since then he moved to Rapid and stayed there until 1944. In the top division he entered on the field for 106 times and scored once, in his first season on Giulești. More than that, Rășinaru was one of those footballers which won six Cups in a row. Most of them against great rivals from Bucharest, Venus. Alongside Costea, Cossini and Moldoveanu he was a member of 1942’s team that won the only double in the history of Rapid, but which is not yet recognized, because the title from that year is considered unofficial. Rășinaru played for the national team with seven occasions, between 1937 and 1941, games which included those with Cuba from the World Cup in which he captained the Romanian team. He left Rapid only to play from another CFR team, the one from Sibiu. Here he stayed one year and after that played another one in the same city, but at Șoimii before retiring in 1948.

Iosif Lengheriu – at 22 years he arrived at Rapid, after playing a year for each Ceramica Bistrița and Crișul Oradea. Born like Bazil Marian in Ulioara, but eight years earlier, on 24th of May 1914, Lengheriu scored 14 goals for Rapid in 82 games which he played in the first tier for this club. The midfielder also won that fantastic six-in-a-row Cups and was a member of the golden team that played in 1940 the Mitropa Cup final and which in 1942 won the first unrecognized title. In two years (1939-1941) he gathered seven matches for Romania, but didn’t make a great impression.

Vilmos Sipos – he was one of the first foreign players which had a impact in our football. Born on 24th of January 1914 in Wilhelmsbourg, a little town from Austira, he first played for Gradanski Zagreb, Young Boys and Sete (France), before joining Rapid in 1939. He stayed on Giulești three years, winning three cups, but most important he was the only top scorer from a Romanian team in the Mitropa Cup. He put in three goals in the 1940 edition in which Rapid joined the final, but a match that would never play against Ferencvaors. The official cause was the Second World War, but some rumours say that the Magyars where so frighten to play against Rapid, that they would only accepted a single game at Budapest. After he left Rapid, Sipos signed with Ferencvaros and after a few years with a couple of Italian teams like Bologna and Messina. He played for two national teams, but never for Romania. First he represented Yugoslavia in 13 games and after the war he apeared two times for Hungary.

Ionică Bogdan – born in Bucharest on 6th of March 1915, he learned football at Unirea Tricolor. There, he started his career and played until 1936, when he moved to Rapid. The winger had already 43 games and 23 goals in the top division. After one season in which he scored 11 goals for Rapid, Bogdan tried to go and play at Red Star Paris. He failed, so he turned back in Giulești where he remained until he reached 32. After playing more than 100 games for Rapid, winning six Cups and becoming once top-scorer of the Romanian football league (1941, with 21 goals), he decided to play for MTK Budapest. Because this wasn’t a great experience he ended his career at Bari, for which he played four games in 1948, in Serie A and managing to put it in once. The man who said ‘I rather see a beautiful miss than an ugly goal’, tried to make it through also as a trainer. The only notable teams that he prepared where from Lebanon: Racing Beirut and Al – Shabiba Mazraa. Between 1937 and 1942 he was capped 12 times for the national team, including against Cuba at the World Cup. In total, Bogdan scored three times.

Ștefan Filote – was another legendary striker for Rapid. Born in Brăila, on 19th of September 1922 he died young, in 1969, at only 47 years. Even so, in his short life he had the time to write his name with gold letters in the history of Rapid. Arriving at Rapid in 1942 he managed to win a Cup. The Second World War begun, but his career lasted until 1958. During all these years he wore the shirt of Rapid nearly 200 times and did put in 85 goals. Those achievements brought him the right to play for Romania. He did not won many caps: only 13 in 10 years (1942-1956)!, and he didn’t used to score goals for this team. Filotti scored only one in fact, in 1949, against Albania. He also finished second in the league two times and in one of those seasons, 1948-1949, Ștefan scored the most goals in one year, in his entire career: 16. He did not foul, but one single time in his entire career, when he colaided accidentaly with an opposite goalkeeper.

Bazil Marian – the forward first saw the day light on 7th of October 1922 at Ulioara, near Ocna Mureș and arrived at Rapid when he was already 25 years old, in 1947. The former six years he played for Carmen Bucharest, but in that year 1947, the club was dissolved so Marian decided to move to Rapid. On Giulești he spent all his career, that ended in 1954. He totalized 156 matches and 81 goals in the first division, from whom 97 and 54 respectively where for Rapid. In the 1947-1948 season he manage to put in 32 goals for Rapid in 24 games but his bad luck had a name: Ladislau Bonyhádi. The player from UTA scored then 49 goals, a record that wasn’t defeated since, and became Romania’s top goal scorer. Even though Bazil finished second, his performance could have brought him the top scorer title in any of other 70 seasons in which this prize was given! Only Dudu Georgescu (twice), Cămătaru and Mateuț scored more goals in one competition year. Known as the player of his generation with the most powerful shot, Marian earned 18 caps for Romania, but he did not score more than two goals. Other players from his generation did not choose to become trainers, or if they did so, they couldn’t manage to get on top. Bazil made it also as a coach and won two Romanian Cups. One with Rapid, in 1972 but the first was obtained in 1969 when he led Dinamo to the victory, one of the biggest rivals in the history of Rapid. At the beginning, between 1954 and 1960 he was co-trainer at the club where he achieved his biggest performances as a player. More than that, Marian did train the national team, mostly at junior level. First between 1963-1967 and finally between 1979-1989, after which he retired from football. Among these squads he trained for a short term Jiul Petroșani, FC Argeș, Farul Constanța and even the Algerian team Tizi Ouzou, in 1974-1975, time when the Africans where double national champions in exercise.

Valentin Stănescu – not the man who won the championship in 1967 as a coach, but the person that stood between Rapid’s posts from 1947 until 1952. In fact, the same man, born on 20th of November 1922, in Bucharest. Tinel was a goalkeeper that first played at Sportul and Sparta, before he moved at Carmen. Here he stayed only a season (1946-1947), because after that year, the team was dissolved. Still, he won here his first Romanian vice-champion title, same performance like he managed at Rapid in the following years. On Giulești he played only 39 games in the first flight and he spent his last seasom helping Rapid to return from the second tier, but that seemed enough to save the man with enormous palms winning five caps in the first national team. And all of them in the second half of 1947. As a manager he had a brilliant career, but we shall talk about it some other time. For now, it is sufficient to tell you that Rapid’s pitch is named after Stănescu, because this way you might understand better the importance of this man for our football team.

Dumitru Macri – born in Bucharest on 28th of April 1931 he played his entire career at Rapid, between 1950 and 1965, covering a role of defender. In the first league he won 221 caps and did score one goal, but unfortunately couldn’t manage to win any trophy. Macri became Romanian vice-champion with Rapid in three occasions but he also left a black spot in the history of the team when he became Rapid’s coach in 1973. The team relegated, but what is more important, he did not want to welcome back a symbol: Dan Coe. The former captain of Rapid played a year in Belgium and he wanted to return at his beloved team, but he was refused under Macri’s accuse that he is too old! He was only 32. Dumitru also played ten times for Romania, between 1958 and 1962.

Nicolae Georgescu – he only played only six games in the 1966-1967 season, that when Rapid won his first official title. But we can’t forget this attacking midfielder born on 1st January 1936 at Câmpina, because he played for Rapid from the age of 20. He gathered 211 matches in the first league in which he scored 46 goals. Eventually, the 1966-1967, was his last at Rapid, because in those times, players that had more than 30 years were considered old. Georgescu won that title, but in his eleven years at Rapid he also became vice-champion in the Romania first league. He did it three times in a row, between 1963 and 1966. The fact that Nicolae was a great player was certified by his 18 selections in Romania’s national team for which he scored nine times. He played until 34 at his home town team, Poiana Câmpina, after he decided to retire in 1970. Unfortunately the former player passed away in 1983, at only 47 years of life.

Teofil Codreanu – one of the key players that helped Rapid won the title in 1967, he was born on 1st February 1941 in Bucharest. At the age of 20 he joined Rapid, where he spent all his playing career. He retired on 22 June 1973, after achieving to win the title in 1967 and the Romanian Cup in 1972. ‘Parpală’ was a winger and besides his performances that also brought him three caps in the national football team, he remained in the hearts of Rapid’s supporters for one game. But what game was on 29th of September 1968 against Dinamo! The player hypnotized the leader’s defense, he break through all the players and with his short ripped off he gave them two goals! The third was from the spot. Buzdum, the referee, pointed penalty even though the ‘policeman’ from the opposite team tear off his badge. Teo scored and the game ended with 3-2 for Rapid.

Some of these information wouldn’t have been posible without the help of http://www.fzr.ro

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