Saturday, August 16, 2014

Poland had competitive, yet, strange season. Something like mild decline was noticeable – Polish clubs were never very strong, but now they seemed a bit weaker than usual. Change of generations may have been the reason – the old heroes stepping down, or rather going abroad, and the new ones not yet fully blooming. Since they were dispersed in many clubs, the absence of one or two key players often spelled out disaster. But in the same time there was international recognition of the quality of the Polish players, thanks to the great generation of 1972-74. And the biggest recognition came with the transfer of Kazimierz Deyna – Manchester City took him and he became one of the first wave of foreigners going to try their luck in England. Perhaps the biggest transfer of Polish player in history – so far, Polish stars went largely to smaller French and Belgian clubs. Now a 31-years old and no longer a national team player went to mighty England. Not bad? Depends... struggling with injuries, Deyna never really shined and played rarely, but still Manchester City kept him for three years. On the other hand, he was one of the many Polish stars who may have been more needed at home... hard to tell. Season proceeded anyway.
Deep down in lower levels it was business as usual – various clubs were either down on their luck or not.

Huthik (Krakow), for instance, won promotion to yet again reorganized Second Division. They were one of somewhat known clubs, who plummeted to the bottom at one point and eventually were pulling themselves up – a frequent change of fate.
The Second Division, divided somewhat geographically into 2 groups, was also divided by performance. The Eastern group had a club with great past now a hopeless outsider – Polonia (Warszawa) ended last, with 5 points less than the nearest and also relegated opponent. Third division was was their immediate future. The other big name in the league had entirely different destiny.
Gornik (Zabrze) were relegated the previous year, and the bad luck obviously spurred them to action. Not a club to really sink into sedimentary existence, they were determined to return to top flight. Gornik had no rivals this season, leaving the second placed Star (Starachowice) 13 points behind.
The Western group was another story. Some better known clubs were among the relegated – Warta (Poznan) and Zaglebie (Lubin) – but more important was the tight race for the first, promotional, place. Four clubs participated in that, none famous or really strong, but the battle was fierce nonetheless. Goal-difference decided the championship - Baltyk (Gdynia) had the tough luck, they were +11, but the opposition ended with +16.
Zawisza (Bydgoszcz) won promotion, thus climbing again to first division, where they played now and then without any success. May be this time? Unlikely, but at least they won a dramatic season. 
 The lower divisions may have been fun, but nothing like top flight.