The side from Szombathely in western Hungary have long been synonymous in their native country for promotions and relegations – since their foundation in 1919 they have been relegated from the top division 12 times, and six times since 1990 alone. "As a six-year-old I started to attend Haladás matches with my dad and I got used to the idea that we always struggle in the NB I, even though we had quite good teams," Rajos said.
However, this season looks to have provided a break in the club's not-so-grand tradition. Having cruised to promotion last season, 'Hali' drew 1-1 with Arsenal FC in a pre-season friendly and Aurél Csertői's have gone on to win all of their home games in the league so far, and are third in the table as they prepare for an away game against table-topping Debreceni VSC on Friday.
Rajos has epitomised their good progress this season. The 24-year-old has already scored four goals in six games, and is one of seven locally-born youngsters who are playing in the first team. "As a player I never think about the club's past but about our aims," he said. "It is much better here than in the first division as most teams played with a ten-man defence against us. Here, teams actually play football."
The Szombathely region has a reputation for producing fine players. Former Hungary international Béla Illés went on to play for Budapest Honvéd FC and MTK Budapest before returning home and setting up an academy in Szombathely. His graduates are now doing him proud, with fans of the club even dreaming of a first significant achievement since they reached the Hungarian Cup final in 2002, losing to Újpest FC.
Triumphs and tragedies
That latter achievement coincided with another relegation from the NB I, and that knowledge of the club's tendency to combine triumphs with tragedies might have coloured Rajos's ambitions for the season. "Although we had a great start we are still only talking about one target, staying in the league, but with some luck it is possible that Haladás may finish in mid-table," he concluded.
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