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Beast from the East – history of Polish hooligan movement! :
Throughout first ten years of prearranged fights, only Lech Poznan hooligans were absolutely invincible. Under the roof there are two LED display screens hanged up. In a nice pub, next to the stadium of Lech, representatives of some 70 teams met and agreed to fight with just a bare hands and feet! Besides, the identity of belonging to a group in Poland is much lower than in the west.
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VIP fans is seated in close proximity to the playing field, and is separated from the teams' zone only by a glass wall.
Depending on the type of boxes, their capacity varies form 13 to 26 people, also they can be combined. Single-level stands VIP seats is broken down into three sectors: Concession stands, first aid stations , police offices and rest rooms are located on the promenade.
Seats for fans with disabilities are located in stands equipped with wheelchair ramps , and disabled fans are able to sit next to their caretakers. There are such seats on the stadium plus another seats for caretakers. The stadium bars and restaurants are equipped with special-designated, lower countertops, make it easier for disabled people in wheelchairs to eating a meal.
There are also 50 places for people who have vision problems. For the hearing impaired people a professional collector headphones to listening a match commentary are prepared.
The new stadium is an arena without barriers. Identical facilities for both teams are equipped with locker rooms , massage rooms, showers, toilets, coach rooms and warm-up areas. The media zone is located in the upper section of the western stand.
Some seats have a foldable desktop. Seats for commentators have revolving chairs. South side of the roof has a more glassed area than the north one. Under the roof there are two LED display screens hanged up. Each has dimension of 12,8 x 7,68 m. They are produced by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation.
It is likely that the arena will get a commercial sponsor in the near future, which will be chosen by the operator of the stadium. A new motorway bypass A8 was built as part of the infrastructure for the stadium. While the Polish fans were busy hunting and fighting each other, the Germans at the same time ruled the city, forcing surprised Poles to flee or even beat them up.
One of the greatest rows at Poland games and one of the few failures of ALC occurred in autumn in Warsaw, before the match between Poland and Luxembourg. Lech and Cracovia came to the stadium separately, and both these firms were attacked and forced to flee Cracovia was chased for a few kilometers through the streets of the city! Poland and Bulgaria game in Warsaw , when , proper ALC gang decided not to arrive at the stadium and waited a few dozen kilometers away from the capital city for the Coalition, who were invited for a row by mobile phone eventually nothing happened.
The Coalition also failed to appear in a hot areas, as in in Bydgoszcz, where Poland was entertaining Scotland. Local hooligans of Zawisza and good firms from Lech and Arka were waiting for any visitors, yet among all the camp of the Coalition, only 40 strong group of Widzew fans were brave enough to arrive in Bydgoszcz. They were attacked at the gates of the stadium, and only a good defense tactic saved them from major losses. Both warring parties met only at the matches played at Silesia Stadium in Chorzow, considered to be neutral at that time it was the largest stadium in Poland.
This stadium was an arena of huge rows, for example before and after the games between Poland and Sweden in With the arrival of the twenty-first century, national team of Poland began to play a little better two promotions to the World Cup tournament and, for the first time in history, to the European Championship , which meant, that the crowd of ordinary fans rushed towards the stadiums. Hooligans began to be just a small minority and eventually lost interest in these matches only the lower-ranking firms still attend games of Poland.
As pressure finally subsided, hooligans were eventually able to communicate and in December in Poznan, during a leaders of greatest Polish firms meeting, a decision about fighting without tools was made. The meeting also ended the martial law at Poland matches, which — not counting minor incidents — is respected until now, and nothing indicates that this condition could change back!
Now we shall return to the most interesting events of the league competition. The year was a beginning of a series of famous rows at domestic stadiums. They were winning almost all prearranged fights, as well as random rows, both in forest clearings and on the terraces.
No other firm could match very well prepared Lech fighters! The audience left stadium in atmosphere of huge scandal, and the dense clouds of black smoke! In consequence of this row, Legia fans were banned from Polonia stadium in subsequent years. For dozen years of using these weapons by the police, a few people lost eye, several more suffered other health problems like a fractured skull or painful holes on the body.
Sometimes also ordinary people, who found themselves in the wrong place, got seriously hurt. Patrol crew attacked fans for crossing the street at a red light! In retaliation, the city was a scene of serious street riots, which lasted for a few days!
In those memorable days, a lot of police patrol cars and other equipment was demolished, and the whole Polish hooligan society joined in the fight against hated police according to the unwritten code of Polish hooliganism, the police is always an enemy No.
The city has been demolished barricades with garbage cans, benches, road signs, etc. Within a month, during a futsal tournament in Katowice, there was a giant brawl between all the firms that were in the hall! And there were very proper gangs indeed! First of all, three main, warring groups from Upper Silesia: About a month later, spring round of competition began — it started from a huge row in Katowice again.
That was a great day for Ruch hooligans who have humbled their local rivals, running and ruling on the pitch, and capturing six fence flags of GKS Ruch also lost one, but before the game. The match was interrupted and never finished! Trouble broke out not only at the first league stadiums, but also in the lower leagues. A very characteristic example is the Rzeszow derby, Stal vs Resovia in Because of brawls, this game lasted only 4 minutes!
There was so many troublous games, that there is no enough space in this magazine to describe them all. Literally at every matchday, in several Polish cities there were stadium fights.
Those were really rough times! Soon, it was much harder to put up a fight inside the stadium, because the away ends were lined by police or security, and enclosed with solid fences.
So the firms were trying to attack rivals on the their way home, as the police escort has usually ended on the outskirts of the city, where the match took place most fans began to travel on buses or minibuses. This type of hooligan activity was and still is done by all Polish firms, although today it is much more difficult, because police escort away fans through entire route. Many of the famous flags were captured as a trophy after such actions.
Along the beginning of twenty-first century, Polish hooligan movement underwent major changes. People from elite firms rejected alcohol and silly drunken excesses. The desire of victory at any price sent these specialized groups to the gym and martial arts trainings, they tended to use steroids and other chemicals that increase the strength and weight. Firms were also penetrated by people not interested in football — night club bouncers, etc.
Soon, hooligans got linked with organized crime. And as at the same time about , popularity of south European ultra culture choreography, melodious singing, etc. A side effect was rare presence of hooligans at less attractive matches. Despite the division, fans of particular club still are more or less united, because they have common goals, views and leadership. There are no conflicts between groups of fans of the same team it is common thing in some western countries.
The unity is kept by a strong center of power usually it is the hard hand of the leader of hooligan firm. Besides, the identity of belonging to a group in Poland is much lower than in the west. Much more important is to belong to general crowd of fanatics of the club, than to particular group.
Serious internal dispute, that influenced existence of whole local society of fans, took place only once — in Bialystok. Urban war lasted several months, and people hitherto standing on the same terraces, fought each other with knives and axes! Even in the cities with two or more strong local firms, there was no such fierce rivalry! It was an idea, that some main firms brought to Poland from western Europe. This struggle has not brought a clear decision, so it ended up with a… draw.
In the first period of this kind of fights, no one could match Arka Gdynia hooligans, who easily destroyed Legia Warszawa and after heavy, 7-minute war, beat LKS Lodz.
Throughout first ten years of prearranged fights, only Lech Poznan hooligans were absolutely invincible. Lech hooligans defeated also Dynamo Berlin fans, considered to be the best firm in Germany.
Such clashes are very popular in Poland, but due to lack of mutual trust, local rivals rarely fight each other this way. In Lodz, only at the very beginning, in , LKS and Widzew fans decided to stand honorably and fight in one of the city parks!
That clash was won by the LKS, but since then, countless brawls took place in Lodz including a few huge incidents. However, they were spontaneous or unexpected attacks. Both sides had numerous victories and defeats, so it is really difficult to identify who rules the city of Lodz. This tragedy took place in the forest, several kilometers from Lodz.
Generally, Lodz is a city where hooligans fight without tools. There are, however, a few cities in Poland, where sharp tools are used by hooligans. The worst reputation, reaching far beyond the Polish borders, belongs to fans from Krakow. The former Polish capital, a city of culture and countless monuments, is also a place of chilling and brutal murder scenes with a hooligan-gangster background both professions are strongly linked there.
Originally, the core of this gang were skinheads. Cracovia as a first Polish firm, officially and on a large scale began to use knives and axes, later also machetes. Hooligans of Wisla, in order to stop further expansion of local enemy, accepted this sharp style of fighting and all hell broke loose in Krakow.
Later, the situation has leveled, and currently it is hard to identify who is better, as no arranged fight between both groups is possible.
Rarely, there are some random clashes between larger groups, and more unlucky participants of them end up with serious puncture wounds or cut, in extreme cases, with their hand cut off! Clashes between these two groups are usually ambushes or attacks on smaller groups, sometimes even hunting for a single person. Every year people are stabbed to death in Krakow! At first, fatalities were recorded only among supporters of Wisla, and the killers were Cracovia fans.
In the last few years, the Wisla hooligans began to do the same. He was caught in a classic trap, arranged near his residence, and in broad daylight stabbed on the street! Wisla hooligans killed also supporter of Korona Kielce. Generally, Wisla has a lot more fans in the city, but the hooligan potential of both groups is similar.
This is a firm that avoids using tools and tries not to interfere in the war of both stronger rivals. Generally, in Poland before , tools were in fairly common use, but usually they were wooden sticks, metal rods, belts, bottles, stones and other incidental items. In December , Lech Poznan fans invited firm leaders from across the Poland to talk about the problem of using tools.
In a nice pub, next to the stadium of Lech, representatives of some 70 teams met and agreed to fight with just a bare hands and feet! There were however exceptions: Today, although the pact is formally in force, there are places in Poland where it is broken, mostly in the wars of local rivals. In the derby cities, fights and hunting for rivals is carried on even in ordinary days of the week, not just on match days.
Some firms even create a database of their rivals, with photos, addresses and other information, that facilitate the identification and extermination of the enemy! Anyone wearing club colors scarf or shirt is exposed to being attacked and losing his club accessories!
Here is an overview of the most interesting derby games of cities and metropolitan regions, except already mentioned Krakow and Lodz: Between Legia and Polonia, a relentless war takes place, war without any rules and principles. Polonia fans managed to beat Legia hooligans, who arranged couple ambushes, they also captured several flags of their rivals.
As Polonia following their friends from Cracovia were increasingly using tools, Legia had no qualms to treat them entirely unprincipled. Thus, they tried to break in the literal sense Polonists in the forest, etc.
Polonia fans were severely beaten, even when 30 of them participated in a patriotic Independence March on Currently, Legia hooligans have the situation in the city under control, and Polonists are pushed out in deep underground from time to time, however, they do some minor offensive actions. This is a name of three neighboring coastal cities: Gdansk is inhabited by fans of Lechia, Gdynia — mainly by Arka supporters, but there are also fans of Baltyk Gdynia and some Lechia lads.
Among inhabitants of Sopot, there are both Lechia and Arka fans, but with a predominance of Lechia. At that time, Arka had a slight advantage in the Tri-City, but in hooligans from Gdynia were shattered by the police and now they are in not a good shape.
After a series of spectacular actions, Lechia demonstrated that currently they are much better than Arka. Twenty years ago, at the derby match with Arka, they were able to gather about 1 people Arka put up twice more fans , but then, in the best times of Arka, they were very much wiped out by a local enemy and currently there is just a handful of them.
Even ten years ago, they had quite a good reputation in Poland, and were admitted to the already described Coalition camp! Quantitatively and organizationally, it is difficult to identify who is better, but in a hooligan terms, situation tilts in favor of Ruch, who by far has the best firm in the whole region.
A similar war is being waged in some other surrounding towns, inhabited by fans of both teams eg Piekary Slaskie. The big problem in these places was using tools, fans of Gornik killed two Ruch supporters in and and a supporter of Odra Wodzislaw in Currently, both firms fight in a fair way, as they comply with the Poznan Pact.
The capital of Upper Silesian agglomeration, quantitatively, the city is dominated by fans of local GKS, but in the older districts there are many Ruch Chorzow supporters.
A large, Upper Silesian city, dominated by fans of Polonia Bytom. Another interesting town from Upper Silesia region. This one is divided into supporters of local Piast and Gornik Zabrze. Fans of Gornik, although they rule only three outlying settlements, both in quantity and strength of hooligans are only slightly worse than their rivals. Specific city, situated on the eastern outskirts of Upper Silesia region. Jaworzno is inhabited by fans of dozen various teams! Capital of Podkarpacie region, situated in south-eastern Poland.
In the city, there are two strong, hating each other groups: Ten years ago, hooligans of Stal were more active and had more successes, but soon their rivals built a proper firm, won a lot of brawls and currently Resovia firm is a bit better than hooligans of Stal. Each group dominates in other areas of the city nice Old Town, situated in the heart of the city, is ruled by Resovia. Quantitatively, Resovia, which is the oldest club in Poland formed in always had more fans, but Stal founded in reached slightly more sporting successes.
Peak numbers of both groups, noted on the derby game a few years ago were: Resovia about 2 ultras, and Stal: A small town in the Podkarpacie region, an arena of clashes between fans of local Wisloka and Igloopol. Derby game of Debica can attract around 1 ultras from Wisloka and about from Igloopol, despite the fact that both teams play just in 5-th division! Tarnovia fans get on well with Cracovia, and the Unia supporters have a good relationship with Wisla lads.
But then, a firm of Tarnovia, consisting mostly of local skinheads, was created and for several years they ruled the city.
Stadion Miejski (Wrocław)