In the winter break I aimed to make my way through the Polish football pyramid in the Warsaw area. Whilst this hasn’t been entirely possible I did get the opportunity to have a look at a couple of small football grounds over the weekend before the Polish lower leagues get back into action in the next couple of weeks. I somehow persuaded a lady friend of mine to drive me round on a bitingly cold windy Sunday to take photos of knackered old pitches. Surprisingly she got excited by the little adventure after a while (or at least she did a good job of hiding her boredom).
From our base in the small Mazovian town of Urle, we first set off to find the ground of the A-Klasa side (7th level) Korona Jadów. Korona has been in the A-Klasa since 2008 but every year struggles to stay up. This season they have only won one, drawn one and lost 10 of their 12 games scoring 15 and letting in a whopping 46. Their ground turned out to be a not-very-inviting school pitch. When we got there a daunting black cloud hung over the playing area, so we got out of the car, took some quick pictures and were on our way.
The dark cloud didn’t entice us to lengthen our stay
Our next stop was the slightly more cultured environment of ŁKS Łochów‘s town stadium. ŁKS play in the Siedlce area’s Liga Okręgowa (LO – 6th level) and are a decently successful local club. They have played in the LO since 2004, twice almost making it to the IV liga in 2006 and 2010. Their stadium isn’t large, with only two hundred seats lining one side of the ground but the surface was a lot better than that which we had seen at Korona. We also noted a half-built complex on one side of the pitch. Wanting to know more we approached a man who was flattening the pitch’s numerous mole-hills with a spade. The man, who turned out also to be an ŁKS player, told us that the building was going to be a club-house for ŁKS with function rooms which would be funded by the local gmina (local council). Provincial Mazovia isn’t exactly teeming with communal facilities so it was nice to hear local authorities were prepared to finance something like this. We promised the man that we would be back for a game during the spring round.
The new club-house
Our last stop was the village of Ostrówek, 10 kms from Łochów. The village is the home of LKS Ostrówek who play in the same LO as ŁKS Łochów. The team from Ostrówek sit just below their near neighbours in comfortable mid-table. Their ground was actually more attractive than the one in Łochów. There was a fence around it though and, as we didn’t fancy being told off by angry locals, we took some photos from a distance and left.
So thus ended our little Odyssey into the world of small Polish provincial stadiums. The day still had much in store for us, including being coerced into buying postcards by a stern Polish nun but that story will have to be left for another occasion. Next time I’m back in the area I’ll try to catch a game. I’m looking forward to it, whether I can convince my friend is, however, another matter.