After 131 days in charge Tam Courts spell as manager of Budapest Honved has come to an end following a mutual parting of the ways.
The decision to end the Scot’s association with the Kispest based outfit was first rumoured last Tuesday when speculation that the club had approached Croatian coach Dean Klafuric to take over at the Bozsik Arena surfaced in the Nemzeti Sport.
At the time the rumours broke, Courts and his team were travelling to Szombathely in advance of a double header of away games in quick succession; Haladas in the Magyar Kupa on Wednesday and Zalaegerszeg on league duty on Saturday.
Despite emerging victorious in both games, with a depleted squad, Honved made good on the rumours and, following a meeting on Sunday, the decision to part ways was agreed, with the announcement delayed until Monday afternoon.
Courts was manager of Honved for 14 games – 12 league and 2 cup ties – during which he secured 5 wins along with 4 draws and 5 defeats.
He leaves the club in 8th place in the table, two places higher than they finished last season, and in the last 16 of the Magyar Kupa.
The Short Lived Age of Tam
While short, Courts tenure at Honved was not without incident or ‘what might have been’ moments.
The decision by the club’s hierarchy to sell several key players from last season including Bence Batik and Patrik Hidi led to unrest among the support before a ball had been kicked in anger in the 2022/23 season. Thrown into the lion’s den, Courts was already holding crisis meetings with supporters’ groups to alleviate their concerns about the season ahead.
Recruitment of new players was slow and underwhelming with Courts having to go into the season with a patchwork squad consisting of last season’s misfits, a handful of new signings, and a crop of promising, yet inexperienced youngsters.
The season began with two defeats, however, had a harshly disallowed Jonsson goal on the opening day not been ruled out VAR, things could have been different. Similarly, had Paks not been awarded, and scored, a 96th minute penalty in matchday 3 then Honved could have walked away with 3 points instead of 1.
The litany of what if’s has continued throughout the season with the latest coming on matchday 10 as two individual errors from Lazar Cirkovic cost another two points at home to Mezokovesd, the game ending in a 2-2 tie thanks to his errors gifting the visitors two goals.
But ultimately, football is a results driven business these days, and the results after the latest International break were a cause for concern.
A horrible first hour against Debrecen saw Honved trail 4-0 before three goals in 15 minutes had Honved within touching distance of a remarkable comeback.
Mezokovesd and Cirkovic followed before defeat at Puskas Akademia, sealed by a goal from former fans favourite Bence Batik, hammered the final nail into Courts coffin.
The men who had sold Batik & Co and failed to provide their manager with adequate replacements had decided to act and replace the manager instead perhaps, of looking a little deeper at their own failings.
Emerging Talents & The New Man in Town…for now
Victories at Haladas and Zalaegerszeg allow Courts to leave with his head held high.
As do the emergence of the Hungarian U-21 trio of Alex Szabo, Bertalan Bocskay, and Dominik Kocsis as first-team regulars, who all flourished during Courts period in charge.
Within minutes of Courts departure being announced Dean Klafuric, a former colleague of Honved’s ‘professional advisor’ Ivan Kepcija, was confirmed as the new Head Coach.
Klafuric has coached in Croatia, Cyprus, and Poland lasting more than four months in a job on only one occasion.
With the average lifespan of a Honved’s recent managerial appointments coming in at less than 6 months, perhaps Klafuric shouldn’t get too cosy in his new surroundings just yet.
As for Tam, we wish him the best of luck wherever his next adventure takes him.