Matches South Poland Stadiums Unknown Gems

Zimowit Rzeszow v GKS Niebylec

Date: 1 October 2023 / League: possibly 7th tier of the Polish pyramid

Final Score: 0-2 / Attendance: approx. 50


I’m the first to admit, when it comes to uncovering some of the more obscure grounds I am often reliant on Poland’s groundhopping blogs – there aren’t that many when compared to say the UK or Germany, but those that do exist are some of the best in the biz – every now and again though, I find myself sailing into uncharted waters.

Take this case: if Zimowit has been blogged about before, then I’m none the wiser – for sure, visiting on Sunday I had little idea as to what lay in store.

Actually, I wasn’t even meant to be there in the first place. Saturday had taken me down this neck of the woods for the Rzeszow derby, an interesting evening that I’ll post about shortly. But for Sunday, I had plotted out an ambitious onward journey to the Czech border. Involving an intricate number of connecting trains and buses, it’s little wonder that by 10 a.m. the plan had fallen apart by the seams. Yep, I woke up late.

Alarmingly, it also quickly became apparent that all trains and buses back home to Warsaw were already fully booked – that is, all but for one seat on a coach running at 12.50 p.m. I’ll have that please.

At that point, my football weekend should have finished, and indeed a more normal person would have used the remaining time to tonk back a Bloody Mary and bask in the sun. The idea of exactly just that did cross my mind, and I definitely could have done with doing a bit of both – groggy from the night before, and still damp from the drenching at the derby, I was far from fighting fit.

Slinking back to Warsaw with just one game under my belt didn’t feel right though, so a quick search yielded news of an 11 a.m. kick-off not far from my hotel – Zimowit Rzeszow v GKS Niebylec. Googling, I found no further details about Zimowit’s ground, though 3D map imagery showed the ground seemed to feature a fairground ride in the corner and a pitch flanked by flats. Worth a punt, I figured.

And oh yes it was. Though set in a Communist era housing estate, the area was surprisingly beguiling – arriving, the taxi passed prim lawns, church-going families dressed in their Sunday best and apartment blocks geometrically patterned and painted in bright colours. Hardly bucolic but charming nonetheless.

As for the ground, that proved a smasher. Penned in on one side by a flank of flats almost teetering over the pitch, the rest reveals a place lined with trees and hedgerows and wonky, little benches set into the ground. By the halfway line, a bus stop had been given a new lease of life to serve as a covered shelter.

Best bit though? The fairground ride actually transpired to be a strange wooden stand that looked like it had once served as a band stage. On here seven or locals had gathered. “Lads,” I wanted to say, “it’s noon on a Sunday and you’re watching football while drinking lager and eating crisps – you’re living the effing dream.”

Unfortunately, with the clock ticking against me I had no time to really absorb any of this, and instead spent about 30-minutes dashing about taking as many photos as I could.

Already, however, I want to return. The very definition of lower league football, it’s impossible not to leave utterly seduced by this piece of football heaven. For me, it had everything: players cursing, hacking and running themselves into the ground; a striking backdrop; a weird stand; and a randomly assorted crowd featuring chuckling granddads, local teens, blokes with nothing better to do and a baby lion disguised as a dog. It just doesn’t get any better.

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