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CCF Rebooted 32: Peter Kurucz
CCF Rebooted 32: Peter Kurucz
Thursday, 30th Jun 2022 10:29 by AtThePeake

Goalkeeper Peter Kurucz's loan spell at Dale was a microcosm of his full career - full of promise and ability but cruelly cut short by injury.

Position: Goalkeeper

Arrived from: West Ham (loan)

Left for: West Ham (end of loan)

Played : 2012

Appearances : 11

Goals : 0

A goalkeeper with clear ability and maturity beyond his tender years, Kurucz helped to fleetingly sure up a leaky Dale defence although his spell with the club was cut short by injury following an horrendous challenge from Notts County forward Lee Hughes.

Born in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, Kurucz came through the youth ranks at local club Ujpest, but never made a first-team appearance for Lilak, but clearly did enough during a short loan spell with lower league club Tatabanya to alert a West Ham United scout to his talents.

In reality, it was more likely the 11 games that Kurucz played for Hungary's U21 outfit that showcased his talents, but after just 9 games with Tatabanya, Kurucz found himself on loan with the Hammers in February 2009 and sufficiently impressed while playing for their reserve side in Premier League 2, earning himself a four year contract with the London club for an undisclosed fee.

Kurucz made his one and only first-team appearance for the Hammers as a late substitute for Robert Green in a defeat to Manchester United in the 2009/2010 season, but suffered a anterior cruciate injury in a friendly at Burton Albion in the summer of 2010 and missed the entire campaign as a result.

Needing match fitness and experience the following year he was sent out on an initial one-month loan to Spotland in January 2011, becoming one of Chris Beech's first signings alongside Daniel Bogdanovic to take over from the soon-departing Jake Kean between the sticks.

After a fine display on debut in a 1-1 draw with Preston North End, Kurucz put in further excellent performances against the likes of Tranmere and Bury and after a clean sheet in the derby victory over the Shakers, new boss John Coleman moved to extend the youngsters loan deal until the end of the campaign.

He would concede just three more times in his next five appearances for the club, but his loan spell was cruelly ended by injury caused by already unpopular striker Lee Hughes.

In the final minutes of 0-1 victory at Spotland for the Magpies, Hughes lunged in needlessly on Kurucz after the Hungarian stopper had already reteived the ball. Hughes was immediately sent for a (slightly) early bath and with no substitute keeper on the bench, the 23 year old loanee hobbled through the final seconds of the game but later returned to Upton Park with his season ended by the reckless challenge from Hughes.

That summer, West Ham would terminate his contract with immediate effect and Kurucz returned home to Hungary to join top-tier outfit Siofok. He played 25 times that season, doing enough to earn himself a move to his country's most decorated club, Ferencvaros.

However, the injury problems could not be fully shifted by Kurucz and in three years with the Green Eagles he failed to make a single competitive appearance, even failing to get on the pitch during a short loan spell with Soroksar.

With the injury situation perhaps finally getting the better of him, Kurucz ended his playing career in 2016, aged just 28.

Photo: Action Images

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