The State of Polish Club Football
May 22, 2019
Most Championships: Gornik Zabrze and Ruch Chorzow, 14
Last 5 Winners: Piast (18/19), Legia (17/18, 16/17, 15/16), Lech (14/15)
UEFA Ranking: 23rd
Highest Ranked Club: Legia, 61st
Since the Europa League was rebranded, no Polish side has made the last 16. How have the last years been viewed by the Polish football in this regard?
Well, Polish football fans are very negative in general about the league but the last few years have put them into a negative spin-dive. Everything is being questioned here currently, from the way the league is run, to the way that the clubs are run. It’s a pretty depressing picture.
Polish clubs desperately need to do well in next season’s competitions but that’s probably pretty unlikely, but it’s football so you never know.
Legia have won 5 of the last 7 league titles. Does this make it tough for the other Polish sides to make an impact in Europe, and why haven’t Legia made a bigger impact?
I actually think Legia dominating the league (by titles, not in terms of the way they play, or their goal difference, they’ve been pretty average recently and still won the league, which says a lot about the league), is not that bad really. Because then you get them every season in the Euro competitions, which should theoretically bring the league more points in Europe. Recently that hasn’t happened though, but before the last two seasons, Legia’s relative success (regular Europa League group stages and one Champions League appearance) helped the league.
Why haven’t they made a bigger impact? That’s the subject for an essay! But the main reason is they change their coach too often, and the new coach brings in too many new players (often due to being linked with foreign agents). Because the system is changed too much, there’s no stability at the club, which means they’re able to win the league but not do much more.
What would be seen as a successful year in Europe for Polish fans?
Poland should be getting at least one side in the Europa League group stage every season, if they don’t it’s a failure. What they should be aiming at is two sides regularly in the competition group stages and every two years one of these sides making it out of the group.
Do most of the country get behind the Polish sides playing in Europe or is there a lot of tribalism still apparent?
There’s lots of tribalism but most people realise the situation is so bad that any success of Polish sides is good for the league, so it’s not as present as it might have been in the past.
How do you think the Europa League 2 will affect Polish EL performances and what has been the reaction to the formation of the competition in Poland?
Most people see it as a negative thing here as Polish clubs are being sidelined from not just the Champions League but also the Europa League. I also don’t like that element of it.
However if the new competition is run properly I think it’ll be worthwhile.
What would you like to see UEFA do to level the playing field more for small European sides?
I’d like to see them standing up to the bigger leagues more. Currently they let them bully the whole of European football. It’s obvious that the top leagues are dominant, due to their finances, but I’d like to see UEFA stop pandering to them. In the process they’re weakening the competitions, and if the big sides really want to form a breakaway league they’ll form one anyway.
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Author: Tom Mortimer
Tom is the editor at Betting Circle and has been creating online content for over 10 years. Tom mainly writes about sport and gambling, but every now and then also delves into fleshier subjects like politics and psychology. When he was 18 he created HungarianFootball.com and over the last few years he's written on a freelance basis for ESPN, WorldSoccer, Goal.com, among many others.