THE half-time guest for Tuesday’s Carabao Cup second-round clash with Sky Bet Championship side Reading will be none other than Akos Buzsaky.
The original Hungarian import, later to be joined at Home Park by fellow fan favourites Peter Halmosi and Krisztian Timar, Buzsaky joined the Pilgrims on an initial loan from Portuguese side Porto, where he was signed by Jose Mourinho.
A creative central midfielder with an eye for goal, Akos quickly became a cult hero within the ranks of the Green Army, and, on his final home appearance of the 2004-05 Championship campaign, a 0-0 draw at home Leicester, his every touch of the ball was met with chants from all four corners of Home Park urging the club to ‘sign him on.’
They did, for an undisclosed fee, and the rest, as they say, is history. Buzsaky became a regular under first Tony Pulis, for whom he scored the winning goal against the Welshman’s former club, Stoke, and then Ian Holloway.
Under Holloway, the Greens mounted a charge for the play-offs and promotion the Premier League, and it was under the Bristolian where Buzsaky’s technical attributes really stood out. As the Greens flirted with the Championship play-offs, the Hungarian international produced a number of magnificent performances to set green hearts dreaming of the promised land.
None more so than his performance in a 3-1 away win against Norwich City at Carrow Road in January 2007. Following a Barry Hayles equaliser against the Canaries, Buzsaky netted two sensational free-kicks to secure all three points for the long journey home from Norfolk to Devon.
That brace of stunning goals came as no surprise to manager Ian Holloway, who had been on the receiving end of the Hungarian’s striking power when the Pilgrims met his QPR side in a Championship encounter a couple of seasons earlier. It was not lost on the R’s, either, who made a move to prise Akos away from Home Park as he failed to agree terms on a new deal in 2007.
Originally joining the Loftus Road club on loan, Buzsaky made his move permanent shortly after, ending a three-year association with Argyle. Despite joining part-way through the season, Buzsaky made an instant impact in London, ending the season as the club’s top scorer, winning the club’s Goal of the Season award in the process.
The 2008-09 season, Akos’ first full campaign at Loftus Road, was blighted by a cruciate ligament injury sustained in a League Cup match against Manchester United. Upon his recovery, he became a regular once again in the QPR set-up and played a part in the R’s promotion to the Premier League in the 2010-11 season.
He made 15 Premier League appearances, scoring twice, before moving on to League One Portsmouth, via a short-term loan at Barnsley, in the 2012-13 campaign. Persistent knee troubles took their toll on the twilight of Akos’ illustrious career, though, and he decided to end his playing days in his native Hungary, playing for Ferencvaros – the club that supplied Argyle with another Hungarian Great, and a good friend of Akos’, Timar.
In our recent ‘Greatest Pilgrims’ poll, run in association with the Big Green Lottery, Buzsaky was voted in as the third-best midfielder in the club’s history.
Welcome back to Home Park, Akos.