Date: 26 February 2023 / League: Polish top flight
Final Score: 2-1 / Attendance: 13,922
With something approaching depressing familiarity, I always expect two things to happen on my visits to Slask – firstly, that the majority of seats will be left unoccupied, and secondly, that my requests for press accreditation will fall on deaf ears. Bob’s your uncle, that’s exactly how visit No. 7 played out on Sunday.
Previously, that’s given me the excuse to go VIP, but for whatever reason I opted against that this time around to instead sit with the normal paying public – or at least, the scattering of Wroclavians that had remembered there was a game. Much like their counterparts at Lechia Gdansk, this is a club that has completely failed to maximize on a Euro 2012 facility. Impressive as its size might be, the dimensions of this stadium serve to only accent the number of absentees from the stands.
However, whereas the ground in Gdansk tries to disguise this via its intelligent use of different-coloured seats, at Wroclaw’s Tarzczynski Arena one is left staring at vast banks of empty green sameness. Lacking Gdansk’s visual warmth – both inside and out – there’s an inherent coldness to this largely featureless bowl.
And cold it certainly was, though not quite nippy enough to prevent me from dozing off after the first few minutes. Drained from travel and my customary pre-match beers, I was woken with a jolt thirty minutes later when Slask opened the scoring. And yes, in fairness to them, their backing was decent despite – I later learned – what was largely a no-show from their hooligan element, a direct result of reputed discontent among their ranks following the loss of a flag the week previously at Widzew (for more on that, CLICK ME!).
But vocal as their backing was, it was the 2,000-strong visiting contingent that saved the day with a volcanic pyro display as the game ran its course. Letting loose a coordinated barrage of fireworks and flares, it was a display of such force as to temporarily transform their corner into a Vesuvian sight. I have no doubt that somewhere, in a distant galaxy, alien lifeforms paused to take it in.
Notable for some truly criminal finishing – especially from Poznan – the exhibition in the stands sparked the game to life with Lech’s late rally not quie enough to stop the hosts recording a much valued win.
With a quarter final appearance in the Europa League to look forward to, fourth place Lech won’t be too concerned about the result, whilst Slask – on the other hand – can take heart from a spirited performance that saw them move six points away from the relegation zone. All in all, a solid six or seven out of ten on the Webber scale of Polish football pleasures.
With so many gaps in the stands, tickets are easy to come by at Slask. You’ll need to first register online – a free and painless process – before picking out your seat (for tickets, CLICK ME!). Costing PLN 50 (just under GBP 10), my ticket afforded a grandstand view of the match and plenty of room to manoeuvre around in.
Set out of town, the Slask website carries all the required Getting There info (CLICK ME!), though I’d personally recommend cutting all the hassle of public transport by ordering an Uber for PLN 40.
Lastly, although this ground is among my least favourite in Poland, it can come alive on the right occasion. For what rates as my most memorable trip to Slask, CLICK ME!