Matches South Poland Stadiums Unknown Gems

Gornik Pszow v Kuznia Raciborska

Date: 15 October 2023 / League: Polish seventh tier (possibly!)

Final Score: 5-2 / Attendance: approx. 100


I’ve got a couple of bangers that are queueing patiently to be posted, not least a wild derby shot the day before this match – but… I find myself in the trenches with work, and just don’t have the time to spend hours blurring the faces of psychopathic ultras. So instead, you get a less volatile trip, this being Pszow, a small town set 15 kilometres from the Silesian city of Rybnik.

As Poland’s football hotbed, Silesia has a wealth of diamonds that await discovery, but few can hold a handle to the magnificent Gornik Pszow. Entering, one is met by the sight of a long stand disguised as a never-ending corrugated green tube. Made from translucent material, when the sun peers from the clouds the light that seeps down casts this stand in a magical green glow – filled with cracked paving slabs, rusting girders and shattered seating, the effect isn’t unlike exploring a shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean.

With no shortage of dents, holes and missing panels, this curiously curved roof is a masterpiece of football architecture, and it’s a joy just to walk up and down the stand taking it all in. Doing so, you’ll meet a scattering of locals along the route: jolly lunchtime drunks bellowing at the players; veteran supporters with faithful dogs at their heel; families munching sunflower seeds; and teenage lads attired in the colours of Ruch Chorzow (the side that everyone in town supports as their primary club).

But the sights don’t end there. Exiting at the far end of the stand, next up is a slither of uneven terracing cut into the ground – here gather the hardcore, glugging back the lager while catching up with mates. Rising behind them, a grim-looking hotel-restaurant built just before the fall of Communism.

Embossed with sporting reliefs that hint at the club’s various sporting wings, from what I gather this gloomy facility today houses Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war. As glum as it looks, it makes for a striking backdrop looming as it does over the field of play.

Amazingly, the glories just keep stacking up. Plopped in corner behind a weeping willow is a rickety BBQ hut affording views of the pitch glimpsed through the cobwebs; beyond, a decrepit away cage fortified with rusting spikes and barbed wire; then, finally, a strange tower like structure adorned with motorbike parts and a sign announcing it as the official HQ of the Faithless motorcycle club. Ahead, a strip of terracing scattered with leaves and glass stretches beyond before terminating at the foot of some bushes.

Finishing 5-2, I can’t offer much about the match itself – I caught a missed penalty but all goals eluded me. I was too busy collecting my jaw from the floor as I walked this ground. Established in 1924, no other historical information is afforded by the club’s website (I have found, though, that the club reached the QF of the cup in 94, and finished 4th in the second tier a couple of years before), but I can’t say I need to know much more. I know enough. I know that I love this club. An absolute treasure of a ground, it’s here that you feel the romance of football.

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