It does seem as though Warsaw’s two clubs get much more coverage on the pages of EKSTRAKLASAreview and #Ekstraklasa Magazine than any others. But with the on-the-pitch successes, and off-the-field drama on both sides of the capital, it’s not surprising that both Legia and Polonia are plastered all over the news. The latest developments at the Konwiktorska-based side are no different.
Following the exit of both Marcin Baszczyński and Tomasz Brzyski earlier in the winter, the further six players waiting to receive salaries from the club are one step closer to their departures. With promise after promise broken by owner Ireneusz Król, it’s surprising that they lasted this long; but after the latest missed payment, Thursday saw Vladimir Dvalishvili, Dorde Čotra, Adam Kokoszka and Łukasz Piątek leave Polonia’s winter training camp in Turkey to head back to Warsaw.s
Along with goalkeeper Sebastian Przyrowski, who has already been told to look for a new club, and on-international duty defender Alekaander Todorovski, the four are surely only days away from contract terminations – allowing then free reign to head anywhere they wish in search of new employment.
The severity of the problem is confirmed in the actions of 27 year-old Piątek. In his ninth season in Northern Warsaw, Piątek is the perfect example of loyalty at Polonia. Working his way from the youth team to becoming not only first-team regular, but also captain, The midfielder bleeds black-and-white. For him to have reached the point where he no longer wishes to remain at the club, things must have reached rock bottom.
Now, a Polonia side which should be celebrating a third-placed finish in Autumn, and challenging to snatch the title from their rivals, instead lies decimated almost beyond recognition – with eight first team regulars unlikely to be at the club by the time the season restarts.
But whilst Polonia do look to be in serious trouble ahead of the second half of the season, it could have been so much worse. Had Lech Poznań decided to push through the transfer of Łukasz Teodorczyk (who will move in the summer anyway), or had Paweł Wszołek’s move to Hannover been completed, it would be difficult to see what the club would do.
With Ireneusz Król unable to pay his highest earners for half-a-year now, you have to wonder the struggles that lie ahead for Polonia. The poor publicity which the club has faced so far will no doubt have an effect on the players which they can attract. Nigerian striker Michael Chidi Alozie was supposed to join the Czarne Koszule for trials, but upon hearing of their financial plight he turned around to head back where he came from.
One newspaper is also reporting that the club could be handed a complete ban on transfers, whilst also claiming that being given a license for the Ekstraklasa is not exactly a foregone conclusion.
With Teodorczyk definitely off in the Summer, whilst Wszołek and more could also be on their way, the Polonia side which starts next season could be completely different from that which started this one. For now, Piotr Stokowiec has the unenviable task of raising the morale of the club whilst preparing them to try to maintain their league form.
Meanwhile, Polonia supporters will be wondering how the club – made a laughing stock under Józef Wojciechowski – has become even more of a mess with Król at the helm.
Whilst we wouldn’t have ever heard it six months ago, many Polonia fans will now be wishing that Wojciechowski had never left.