The director Król
It’s been quite a winter break for Polonia. In their last match, way back on December 10th, Polonia came away with a deserved 2-0 victory over Pogoń Szczecin. This put the czarne koszule within five points of Ekstraklasa leaders Legia Warsaw in a creditable 3rd place. On the field everything looked rosy but off it storm clouds were brewing. Polonia owner Ireneusz Król, who made an unsuccessful attempt to relocate the club to Katowice in summer 2012, had not paid the wages of an elite group of high-earning players. These players had been awarded high salaries by the previous big-spending owner Józef Wojciechowski and Król simply did not possess the resources to pay. Despite this Polonia manager Piotr Stokowiec in mid-December received assurances from Król that no top players would have to leave during the break in league action.
Król’s assurances have been proven to be practically worthless over the last couple of months. We have seen the departure of experienced centre-back Marcin Baszczyński to Ruch Chorzów and the full-back/winger Tomasz Brzyski to hated local rivals Legia. Indeed Brzyski left Polonia just days after another batch of promises from Król. Both players were kind enough to to waive money owed to them by Polonia.
Brzyski signs for Legia
Mid-January saw chaotic scenes at the club which gripped the national media. Polonia’s most exciting young talent, the mercurial winger Paweł Wszołek, was at the centre of a bizarre on-off transfer to Bundesliga-side Hannover 96. It seems a mixture of Król and Wszołek’s manager were desperate to push the transfer of the young winger through. In a tense last stand Wszołek was seen tussling with his manager outside of Polonia’s stadium. Luckily for Polonia, but not for Król’s bank balance, Paweł decided to remain with the club until the summer. In a missive against his manager and the way the deal was conducted Wszołek claimed he’d been treated like ‘a prostitute.’
Meanwhile striker Łukasz Teodorczyk, part of an impressive double act with Wszołek in the autumn, has shown a remarkable lack of loyalty to his employers. In the upheaval of the summer months Polonia somehow forgot to tie Teodorczyk to a deal that would last beyond July 2013. Sure enough, at the first sniff of an offer the striker took the opportunity to leave. He will however most likely be at the club until the summer when he makes his move to 2nd placed Lech Poznań.
Teodorczyk ready to up sticks and leave
The second half of January saw things settle down at Polonia due to another one of Król’s famous promises. This time he assured players owed money by the club that arrears would be paid by the end of the month. Polonia fans breathed a collective sigh of relief and we were all treated to chummy pictures of star Georgian striker Vladimir Dvalishvili as he turned up at the club’s training camp in the coastal resort of Cetniewo.
Lado arrives in Cetniewo
This unfortunately was not the end of the drama at Polonia. The end of January came and went and players reported that no money had entered their accounts. Król once more assured players and fans that the arrears would take ‘a day or two’ to be transferred. In the meantime Polonia flew off to their second training camp in Antalya, Turkey. With each day more and more rumours of disgruntled players made their way out of the camp until yesterday the dam broke. Four of the top earners, Dvalishvili, centre back Adam Kokoszka, full-back Đorđe Čotra and midfielder Łukasz Piątek left Antalya for Poland declaring enough was enough. In addition to this rebellion, Macedonian full-back Aleksandar Todorovski has refused to return to Turkey after representing his national team. In the last hour or so Polonia’s goalkeeper Sebastian Przyrowski has also left the camp to find another club.
So where does this leave Polonia? It’s difficult to say. Even after all the commotion Król is still making his promises. He has lashed out at those players who have left Turkey bemoaning the fact that it takes a long time to transfer large sums of money. Polonia’s owner has even urged Dvalishvili to ‘check in his account. The money is there.’
The most irritating part of the whole affair is the disruption it has caused to the club’s preparation for the spring round of games which kick-off in two weeks’ time. Polonia’s manager Stokowiec must be especially infuriated as he has literally no idea who he will have available for the match with Lechia Gdańsk on 22 February. I for one hope that Dvalishvili will play in that match, although at Król’s Polonia nothing unfortunately can be taken for granted.