Third in the EKSTRAKLASAreview Season Review comes via Krystian Ruciński, who runs the rule over the season of relegated Widzew Łódź.
It is finally all over! Before the season began everybody was talking about Widzew’s impending relegation to the Pierwsza Liga. Now that the 2013/14 season is completed, we know that the talk has become reality – this season was the last for Widzew in the Ekstraklasa for some time.
Despite losing heavily to Legia, wins against Zawisza and Korona meant that Widzew actually got off to a good start. Some people even thought that Radosław Mroczkowski had assembled a team which was good enough to compete with sides much bigger. However the good start was soon forgotten as form began to fade, before eventually Mroczkowski was shown the door.
The next man at the helm, Rafał Pawlak, proved to be no better at getting Widzew to progress. More draws and losses came and, with just a 4-1 win against Lechia to shout about, the board decided that another new coach in winter was the only option.
Former Pogoń Szczecin boss Artur Skowronek was that option. On his arrival in Łódź, he argued that his Widzew would play much better in spring than they did in autumn, and that they would be able to stay in the Ekstraklasa.
The fans’ support never wavered. They went to training, cheered even louder at the games; showed the players that they would always be behind Widzew… But still the players played badly.
Starting with a loss against Podbeskidzie, Widzew’s spring was just as dour as before the winter break. Just one win before the split – a 2-1 victory over a disappointing Wisła side – made sure that they entered the final seven games rooted to the bottom of the league. But with the points being halved – now only five points from safety – they were handed a lifeline.
In the first of the added games, Widzew drew with Korona Kielce when they really should have won; before picking up that illusive victory against Cracovia a week later. Hope was once again prevalent in Łódź, however the next weekend it was snatched away after a loss in Wrocław left them on the brink of the drop.
Skowronek remained insistent that his side had played very well but were lacking in luck, and that they would continue to fight until the end. However with a 3-0 hammering to Podbeskidzie on the 22nd of May they finally bowed out of the T-Mobile Ekstraklasa.
Disappointment was understandably rife in the red half of Łódź – one of the most popular football clubs in Poland had dropped out of the top flight after four years. However it was extremely predictable – conceding 62 goals and scoring only 36; losing 20 matches and winning only 7.
As well as the relegation, the club is also in deep financial trouble with many debts to pay. How will this affect the club’s future? Only one man knows the answer – Widzew owner Sylwester Cacek. If he is ready to help, Widzew will be fine. However if he has no intention of funding the club, there are potentially many hard times ahead. As of today we know only one thing – Widzew Łódź will play Pierwsza Liga football next season.