Willy Meisl

Football, Athlete

1895 – 1968


Who was Willy Meisl?

Willy Meisl was an Austrian-jewish sports journalist in the 20th century; the brother of the Austrian national football manager, Hugo Meisl.

Willy Meisl's writings did much to transform the way football was perceived and played throughout continental Europe. In 1955 he coined the phrase 'The Whirl' to describe the play of his brother's Austrian 'Wunderteam' of the 1930s. He wrote: ‘We must free our soccer youth from the shackles of playing to order, along rails as it were. We must give them ideas and encourage them to develop their own.’

Meisl's early career showed an inclination toward sports and participation. He played amateur football asa goalkeeper in Vienna, was even selected for the national side by his brother; he played tennis, boxing, was a swimmer, played water polo and, later, coached the Swedish side Hammarby IF for two seasons from 1923. He completed legal studies in the early 1920s but his career was in print, working for a Berlin newspaper between 1924–1933 before establishing himself as an astute author and editor. He emigrated to the United Kingdom in January, 1934 following the Nazi's seizure of power in Germany and continued as a journalist. He assisted the British Olympic Committee in working in their press department in preparation for the 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin, joined the British Army, and was a staff member of the Foreign Office.

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Dec 26, 1895
  • Jewish people
  • Austria-Hungary
  • Austria
Lived in
  • Vienna
Jun 12, 1968

on July 23, 2013


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