Football: Polonia v Widzew Football: Polonia v Widzew

Polish 4th division: Polonia Warszawa v Widzew Lodz. Yesterday pitted two fallen powers against each other. Widzew, four times champions, even European Cup semi-finalists backs in the 80s; Polonia, Polish champions at the start of the millennium.

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Widzew, at least, are looking like they’ve turned the corner: a new stadium, crowds touching 18,000 (in a division where anything over a few hundred is decent), top of the league and the former national team manager as boss.

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The home side, on the other hand, are in financial meltdown and spinning into oblivion. Great turnout mind, with Polonia’s biggest crowd for a few years rallying round and putting their hands in the pockets to top-up the collection buckets going round before kick-off.

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For Polonia’s fans, the day also saw their legendary home end, the ‘Kamienna’, opened for the first time this season – a ploy that succeeded in jacking the atmosphere beyond normal sane levels.

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Widzew, meanwhile, were roared on by an away following of about 2,000.

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Rotten weather in Warsaw, with rain lashing down and high winds whistling in the ears… not that anyone seemed to care – the tone was set well before kick-off when the leader of Polonia’s ultras shouted through his megaphone: Don’t just stand around, this is f**king war! Indeed.

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Final score, 1-1 after a pretty dismal game of football – nonetheless, great entertainment in the stands, and the impression that Polonia aren’t going to die without their fans having their say so.

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(Words & Photos: AW)

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