I’ve not written about Polonia for a long time. Back in the autumn when they were winning game after game it was a lot easier to put digital pen to digital paper. Polonia were playing great football, attacking menacingly down the wings and had two quality strikers in Łukasz Teodorczyk and Vladimir Dvalishvili to finish the chances.
The story during the winter break was unfortunately one of abject financial mismanagement under the inept club owner Ireneusz Król , forcing the sale of the players who had made Polonia a joy to watch. Teodorczyk left to Lech Poznań, Dvalishvili and Brzyski to Legia, Djorde Cotra to Zagłębie Lubin, Adam Kokoszka to Śląsk Wrocław and Marcin Baszczyński to Ruch Chorzów. Polonia had been decapitated on the field.
The team that emerged once the Ekstraklasa got under way was not able to play with the abandon that had characterised them in the autumn. The clearest problem has been the lack of a striker to hold the ball up and to finish the chances which players such as Paweł Wszołek and Jacek Kiełb have still been creating. Young attacker Miłosz Przybecki has at times set the pulses racing and Łukasz Piątek and Tomasz Hołota have held things together in midfield but it hasn’t been the same. Indeed after a great win in Poznań at the beginning of March, Polonia’s form has nosedived, going eight games without a victory before last Friday’s success against Podbeskidzkie Bielsko Biała. It hasn’t been terrible by any means but it has been difficult to watch at times.
However events on the pitch have unfortunately taken a back seat recently after news emerged that Polonia were unlikely to receive a licence to play in next season’s Ekstraklasa. Król has continued to not pay his players, with Polonia’s debts ballooning to two million zlotys (approximately £500k). Without a licence Polonia would tumble to at least the 5th Polish tier, a humbling fall for a club with a long and proud history.
After all the waiting Polonia were finally denied a licence yesterday. They have the right to appeal, meaning that if they find the money to repay their players by the end of May, an ignominious relegation will be avoided. Indeed the latest news is that Polonia may have found a new kit sponsor which may allow them to keep them in the Ekstraklasa. There have also been attempts by influential Polonia fans and a rather more shady company from Cameroon to buy the club from the bankrupt Król. So options are out there.
Polonia are a club with many friends in the capital and, should the money not be found, their drop to the 5th tier might not be the disaster it seems at first glance. The standard of football in the Polish lower leagues is not strong and the club would surely make its way back to the top tier relatively speedily. Their fall down the leagues would also give them the chance to get rid of Król, their debts and allow them to start afresh.
The next fortnight will no doubt be full of intrigue behind the scenes at Polonia. But the club will live on if they get a licence or not. Polonia nie zginie!