Wisla is no longer a step up

There must be something very special happening at Wisla Krakow if the club’s owner, Boguslaw Cupial made the decision to speak to the press. With three managerial changes in 2012 and Tomasz Kulawik’s job being already on the line after massively disappointing goalless draw at GKS Belchatow, Cupial could not be clearer as of who he hopes to sign next at Reymonta.

Indeed, in the last few days before the kick off in 2013, Adam Nawalka was answering most of his questions not on Gornik Zabrze but Wisla Krakow. Then Cupial only added to the rumours that he already is set to join “Biala Gwiazda” in the summer, speaking highly of person he once sacked. “There is an obvious relation,” were the owner’s word, ones that Nawalka only confirmed, talking about his feelings towards Wisla.

But his stay at Gornik Zabrze, the longest run from managers in the Ekstraklasa, was not only marked by financially troubled but also steady and noticable progress, something that revived Nawalka’s career. In as weak or average league as Polish one it maybe should not be called as over achievement but surely he deserves credit for coping with club management that constantly sold his best players. Names of Pazdan, Milik come to every fan’s mind, with Nakoulma still looking at way out to Russian league.

Each six months changes were coming in large numbers but that does not change the fact that Nawalka has build his legacy at Roosvelta. For the first time in his career he proved his worth despite conditions and has developed brilliant squad, one definitely able to gain European spot. Nawalka may not share the same emotions with Gornik as he has with Wisla but it is worth a serious thought whether he even should consider switching Zabrze for Krakow.

It is understandable that Nawalka felt the anger at how Gornik’s winter went – the internal miscommunication cost him his face when he shared his conviction that Milik will stay, only to see his top talent sold to Leverkusen in less than 24 hours.

Nawalka was reportedly fuming at how club behaved and reinforcements have not overturned his mood. Tomasz Zahorski and Grzegorz Bonin are familiar faces at Gornik but after individual failures in recent seasons, establishing their form may take too long for Gornik to keep up with their league record so far.

Frustrations, however, should not overshadow his achievements. Gornik, despite relatively poor winter break, could be considered as one of few Polish clubs on the front foot. New stadium is almost finished and gathering crowds of 20,000 should not be as hard – Gornik could always hope for great turnout, even in the darkest moments of last decade, when relegation came. Now, with a team of such character and glimpses of attractive style, the support should be there.

Given all of that, Nawalka should seriously consider whether going to Wisla would be a step up in his career. This season’s performances, similar transfer policy with best players moved for the budget’s sake and factors stressed out by Marcus Haydon’s piece in the #Ekstraklasa Magazine Issue 3, show that the gap between Gornik and Wisla is only growing. And for the benefit of the former, not “Biala Gwiazda” who only in 2011 celebrated their last Polish title.

What is more, Gornik offers Nawalka less pressure, as long as they stay close to the top five in the league and deliver players who can be sold for admirable sums of money. Wisla, on the other hand, is shaking in its foundations with players not really caring at who the manager is and what he says. That was clearly seen in Belchatow, where even Kulawik admitted that he has no power over his team. As their former sport’s director, Stan Valckx said, the results at Wisla have to come the next day you step into the club. From January to December, Wisla is in constant turmoil, without even slightest of hope that something may change for the better. The owner does not see the point in creating background – for Cupial it is only about his first team.

The other difference is with whom Nawalka would work at Reymonta. Players of doubted talent, heroes of the past and those nearing the very end of their careers. Wisla is still a very international squad with serious character and ambitional problems, something that others struggled to cope with. Nawalka worked with some problematic material before but not of such mixed culture, where players may either struggle to understand what he says or not care about it at all.

It would be mad to predict a blow at this moment, before even talk of Nawalka joining Wisla has taken much more serious shape, but anybody’s success at Reymonta depends on changes from both, the club and the manager. As we have experienced over last years, it is extremely doubtful that with the current board and ownership it is possible. And, despite fire sell of Arkadiusz Milik and limited finances at Gornik, there is no doubt that Nawalka does not have to change at all. Zabrze is not only a better place to work right now, it also offers steady development of managerial qualities. The way Adam Nawalka handled himself there so far made quite a few think that he should be next manager not of Wisla, but Poland. Now that would be a step up…

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