Matches South Poland Stadiums

Tarnovia Tarnow v Okocimska Brzeska

Date: 21 September 2019 / League: Polish fifth tier

Final Score: 2-0 / Attendance: approx. 300

Background Bits

Founded in 1909, Tarnovia are one of the elder statesmen of Polish football. But despite their history and age, success has consistently eluded them, a point underscored by their highest ever finish – eleventh in the top flight back in 1948 (and if that sounds good, then it definitely ain’t – they got relegated). Despite their perennial lower league status, that hasn’t deterred their passionate fan base from acquiring a solid reputation across the country.

This game in particular looked a hottie – when these two sides met six months previous, the fixture was abandoned after water cannon trucks had to enter the pitch to keep the two mobs from killing each other. Alone, that explains why away fans were banned for this match.

The Stadium

Arguably, there’s no easier stadium to find in the whole of the country – possibly the world. Exiting the station (which, incidentally, looks more like some Habsburg era palace) you turn right and you’re there in three minutes.

And woah, what a  beauty. Wonderfully ramshackle, there’s no shortage of charm here with one wooden main stand, a heavily fortified animal pen for away supporters, and a pair of skinny cathedral spires rising from the treetops.

The Match

The absence of away fans did nothing to impact the atmosphere. Featuring a first half flag drop to celebrate Tarnovia’s alliance with Cracovia Krakow, this was a feisty experience rounded out by a cracking pyro show that blanketed the home stand in a thick fug of fiery smoke.

Come half time and I got talking to a couple of their lads who live in England but fly back for the bigger games – as a result, I was invited to stand alongside them in their ‘end’. And a privilege it was to be in the thick of them, even if there were a couple of moments when paranoia got the better of me. “Not many have been allowed to stand with us and get away after!” I was told.

Conscious as I was of their lunatic tendencies, never was I afforded anything but respect and hospitality. Brilliant fans, brilliant day – comfortably in my Top Ten.

And Tarnow?

It wasn’t just Tarnovia I loved, but Tarnow as well. Just sixty minutes away from Krakow by train, I was only there for the day but I wish it had been longer.

An immensely walkable town, it’s filled with both patriotic sites and points of Jewish interest. For me, mind you, I just enjoyed wondering aimlessly and appreciating its vibe. Offering an intriguing patchwork of clashing architectural styles, here moody wooden churches vie for attention against Renaissance merchant’s houses, elegant Secessionist tenements, shadowy courtyards and defensive walls.

And just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, out pops the Koci Zamek on Batorego. Dating from 1893, and adorned with turrets and ghastly gargoyles, the redbrick Castle of Cats was inspired by the work of “the Polish Gaudi”, Teodor Talewski. It leaves you much to ponder when you settle in for a pint of something local in the shaded back garden of the brewery on the main square – promising the best gargle in town, don’t miss a visit to Browar Tarnowski.

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