Having rushed headlong into this supporting Polonia lark without much real knowledge about the club I thought I’d take a step back and give you a bit of inside information about them. To do this I contacted their fan’s website dumastolicy.pl who very kindly agreed to answer some rather basic questions about Polonia for a clueless Englishman (i.e me). After hearing the responses of ‘Pilsner’ ‘Trickywoo’ and ‘Kwikster’ I feel a little more ‘in the know’, hopefully you guys will soon be too.
Rightbankwarsaw: Who is the club’s star player and why?
Trickywoo: Three main players: 1) the very-experienced defender Marcin Baszczyński who’s represented the national team many times, 2) The Georgian striker Vladimir Dvalishvilli and our brightest current talent the young winger Pawel Wszołek who has just got into the national squad.
Kwikster: Wszołek. He’s the most in-form, he plays for the national team and is the club’s most important player.
Rightbankwarsaw: Which players are most loved by the fans?
Pilsner: Wszołek, Teodorczyk, Piątek, Gołębiewski. They’ve shown their loyalty to the club!
Trickywoo: The players are all basically well liked. One of the favourites is definitely Łukasz Piątek, he’s Warsaw born and bred, captain of the team and he’s from the area of the city where the team play their matches. Wszołek’s also a favourite, as is the dynamic striker Łukasz Teodorczyk but Piątek and Wszołek are by far the most loved.
Kwikster: Wszołek, Teodorczyk, Gołębiewski and Piątek. The fans identify with them and they give more for the club than the other ‘mercenaries.’
Rightbankwarsaw: Which players are most disliked by the fans?
Pilsner: Çani because he’s treated the club very badly this season. People don’t like Pazio and Gliński as they’ve appeared in photos with Legia Warsaw symbols.
Trickywoo: Almost all the most disliked players have left. Albanian Edgar Çani, our top striker from last season, is not that well liked as he came back to the club late after the summer break. Also at the end of last season fans could tell he really wasn’t trying very hard. Fans don’t like players who have shown themselves in public with Legia symbols. This is especially true of the young and talented midfielder Mateusz Gliński. Photos showing his Legia sympathies made their way onto facebook.
Kwikster: Çani. The confusion around his return to the squad did not have a positive effect on the team. His attitude in the second half of last season didn’t help either!
Rightbankwarsaw: What do you think about your manager Piotr Stokowiec?
Pilsner: He’s got a new approach to the game. He wants to play the game with flair and seeks to play on the front foot.
Trickywoo: We all really love the manager. He’s a former player and he’s been with the club for years. In the summer we found ourselves in a very difficult position, he was given the chance to be the manager and he’s done an excellent job ever since. He’s young (some of the players even remember playing with him) but he’s very well liked by the players. He’s been one of the main reasons for our success this season, which has been way beyond our expectations. He’s brought an attacking, combative style to the team as well as getting the team to play for each other.
Kwikster: I’ve had a chance to talk to him a couple of times. He’s an intelligent person. He wants to develop. He’s a fast learner. He plays attacking football. His football is free-flowing and he’s definitely one of the best managers in the league this season!
Rightbankwarsaw: What’s Polonia’s relationship like with the other Warsaw club Legia?
Pilsner: Well we’ve been pretty successful in games against them recently. We have less supporters but we’re more fanatical.
Trickywoo: It’s war! Sometimes even literally. Polonia fans have a reputation for being the most peaceful and cultured fans in the whole country, it’s even a kind of snobbery. Matches with Legia however are often characterised by a very aggressive atmosphere with offensive chants appearing (this happens around the country when it comes to Legia as they’re not very well liked). There haven’t been many big fan clashes over the last couple of years however. Legia normally finish above us in the table but recently we’ve done very well against them in derbies.
The rivalry between the two teams goes way back. Polonia is seen as a proper urban, Warsaw club. Their fans were traditionally drawn from the Warsaw bourgeoisie, artisans, traders and the intelligentsia. The club has a great patriotic tradition and people linked to it fought bravely during the Nazi occupation. Polonia was not very well liked by the Communist authorities, which meant they were forced into the lower leagues by the regime despite the fact they won the first post-war Polish championship. The club survived, even though the Communists gave ample support to Legia instead.
Before the Second World War Legia was the army team which went out of business several years before the start of hostilities. After the war Communist authorities reactivated the club and supported it as an army side. Legia became successful by calling up talented players into the army and then consequently playing them in the team. This is one of the reasons many Polish football supporters really don’t like them. Legia fans often come from outside Warsaw, from people who moved to the city after the war or in recent years, or are from the city’s suburbs.
So we basically have many reasons not to like each other! They make fun of our small stadium and we consider them louts and thugs…
Kwikster: We’ve been pretty successful against them since 2008. There have been lots of wins and draws and very few defeats….on the pitch that is! They have more fans but we can also get quite a few together. We try to fill the away end at their place and they – well they don’t come to our ground Konwiktorska.
Rightbankwarsaw: Well that’s enough for now. Hope you enjoyed it and stay tuned for the next and last instalment of my spotlight on Polonia Warsaw next week!
Thanks a lot to Pilsner, Trickywoo and Kwikster from dumastolicy.pl for answering the questions!