Saturday 17 March 2012
Ernest Pohl Stadium, Zabrze.
I like Gornik Zabrze. Why? Because their club crest is an upside down triangle, with a half and half colour scheme thing going on. Yes it's confusing on the eye but if anyone can pull it off it's the 14 times Polish League champions. Also, more impressively, fans reacted to news of a potential ground share with rivals Piast Gliwice by turning up to protest armed with custard pies.
The Piast Gilwice Ultras are up early to give AiT a send off. Really chaps, there was no need. The firecrackers were a nice touch though.
Kenny, where did the team get their name from? Well, I'm glad you asked as it sets up this weak gag quite nicely. Gornik is Polish for "miner" and Zabrze was historically at the heart of the coal mining industry.
"And here are the full time results:
Boffin Oxford 1 Call Centre Newcastle United 2
Unemployed Liverpool 2 iPad toting, thick rimmed glasses wearing, tortured creative type Brighton and Hove Albion 4"
Their Ernest Pohl stadium is being redeveloped into a 32,000 capacity stadium, which means one solitary 3,000 capacity stand, so space is at a premium. Thankfully I've got a space in the press box. Yep, I've gone big time. About bloody time too!
On a serious note, I can do serious. Many thanks, and a doff of my new reporters fedora, to Ryan Hubbard of Ekstraklasareview.co.uk for sorting me out with a pass and for writing this article on Zabrze, where most of the facts in this article come from.
Token building site shot.
I'll admit the life of a hack wasn't as decadent as I'd hoped. The press room had all the glamour of an assembly hall at an inner city Infant's school that consistently fails it's Ofsted inspection. Just with a couple of plastic cups of Twiglets rather than knife wielding yoofs.
Amongst the 3,000 in the ground are the Torcida, the Zabrze Ultras group, who are big fans of 'The Simpsons'. There's T Shirts and flags with Bart on and even the club trophy cabinet displays a picture of Bart made from crepe paper, all of which suggests a club with an obsession and one that really hasn't won much recently. Even the bearded, axe wielding mascot has a yellow, bulging eye quality that Matt Groening's lawyers might recognise.
Ultras graffitti. Woof!
To my right unshaven, weary hacks plug dongles into their laptops and set out complex grids to record accurate stats of the game.
Shambling into the seat to my left a greasy haired old boy plonks down just before kick off. This guy is a pro. He doesn't need a laptop, he laughs at those requiring a notepad. A pen? Pah! This man's come armed only with his glasses case, which host the specs he uses to hold in front of his face to magnify the line up's.
"Holy smoke, these are filthy"
He needn't have bothered with his glasses. The game is absolutely horrendous. The Gornik manager spends most of his time in lane eight of the obligatory eastern European ground running track, urging his team to be a bit less shit. They don't listen. LKS Lodz are just as bad. Shots go out for throw in's, passes consistently hit touch, Gornik's Prejuce Nakoulma forgets to cross the ball and dribbles it straight out for a goal kick. Woeful. The hack to my right is doing minute by minute coverage and his having the easiest afternoon of his career AS NOTHING HAPPENS!!!
I decide to do my own minute by minute report. It'll be a good exercise for me in accurately recording the match if I want to be a proper journalist, or at least get a semi regular column in the Dorset Echo.
45. Buger, its started again.
49. Spot the only LKS fan in the stadium.
52. Can hear the individual shouts from the players, this is depressing.
54. Appallingly bad mishit shot sees an exasperated air of resignation gust through crowd. This is clearly going to finish 0-0 or I'm not a trained journalist.
56. A man with a mullet has just appeared in the crowd. Just when I thought I wouldn't see a mullet. BOOM! There it is. Highlight of the game so far. Award the guy nine in my player rating.
59. I estimate four hundred little light bulbs in that pathetic scoreboard.
64. The people watching from outside start a chant. These people are watching this dross, through a fence, across a 50 metre building site and can only see about half the game. Who's the mug here?
Token match shot.
65. Lodz keeper decides to alleviate the boredom with a photo save for the latest pitiful shot and almost misjudges it. Hope my cameraman colleague got a shot of that, will look good with my rep...Oh yeah.
71. Building site inventory:
Six diggers (various sizes)
Three cranes (note to self: Find out how are massive cranes built?)
One cement mixer.
Eight piles of unspecified rubble and/or mud.
No builder on site putting in "overtime". Feel slightly cheated by this.
75. Everyone in the ground laughs after a shot is pummelled out for a throw.
77. Hack ex Gornik start Robert Warzycha's voicemail for shits and giggles. Uncover some salacious gossip on Barry Horne and John Ebbrell.
79. Start to worry a late goal might mean I have to radically alter my article to meet my deadline for the paper.
80. A goal. Offside. Phew....that could have played havoc with my arti......Oh yeah. There is no deadline. Or paper. Or article. Not sure how I got Robert Warzycha's mobile number either.
Token crane shot.
85. Proper journalist colleague packs up. So, if you were watching on live update nothing happened in the last 8 minutes. If you watched it in the ground nothing happened in the last 8 minutes.
So that was that. Maybe on another day, in a four sided ground, with more fans and a few beers I could learn to like Zabrze again but right now I'm going to focus my energy on my impending appearance before the Leveson enquiry. Although, maybe, there is a reason for the home side performing so badly, after all who wants to be "Man of the match" and get a live chicken?
Previously, on AiT does Poland:
Polonia Warsaw v Korona Kielce
Widzew Lodz v Jagiellonia Bialystok
Yes, I know my title doesn't work if you use the correct pronounciation of Zabrze but hey, not many people do.