“As the day was dawning, my plane flew away” – Noel Gallagher.
As a groundhopping football geek, I am always up for a new and exciting match, the crazier and more random the better. On Sunday morning, at 11 a.m. on 25th August 2019, it was time for another cool football experience in Poland, in my ever growing list of visited stadiums, matches watched and this series, Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce. This happened to be my 600th live football match. It was in the B-klasa Gdańsk II, the 8th level of Poland basically.
With Polish groundhopper Mateusz, I had already watched a Kartofliska match in Warszawa, a 5th division match in Starogard Gdański and a match inside a Speedway stadium in Gdańsk. Next up, in August 2019 was an “airport derby”!! Again in Gdańsk. One of my favourite cities.
What is the Gdańsk airport derby?
Well it’s not 11 pilots v 11 air stewards that’s for sure! Nor is it a match on Gdańsk’s Lech Wałęsa airport runway. What it is is a match between two teams whose home stadiums (or pitches) are within close proximity of Gdańsk airport. It’s also not frequently known as the “airport Derby”, this is just what we called it, in Polish it would be “Derby Lotniska”. It just sounded cool to watch two teams playing each other with an airport in between. Here’s how close the two teams are, The Gdańsk Airport Derby! Derby Lotniska! Jaguar Gdańsk II v. UKS Klukowo!
Getting to the Jaguar Gdańsk Stadium
Without your own transport, getting here to the Jaguar Gdańsk Stadium is not easy. Without walking or using taxis the options are to take a train to Gdańsk Matarnia train station (they leave from Gdynia Główna or Gdańsk Wrzeszcz) or one of two buses. We took the 157 bus from Gdańsk Wrzeszcz. You can also take bus 126.
The bus journey cost 3.60 złotych and took about 25 minutes. Once we got off the bus, we headed back about 50 metres to the roundabout then left. We took the next left, in through the car park via a gate and the stadium of Jaguar Gdańsk is in behind.
We are watching Jaguar II Gdańsk but the first team also play here. The away team are UKS Klukowo but they actually play their games only a few miles away! There is one main pitch with a row of seats.
Beside it is a second pitch, currently being relaid with new grass. In front of that, is an area to play football on AstroTurf.
Match ticket, match ticket, club shop.
No. None of that. Entrance is free. There is no match ticket. There is no club shop. We didn’t count the supporters for some reason but I guess there were 24 there.
Background of Shipping Containers
As football pitch backdrops go, this was an unusual one for me. Behind us will be large shipping containers!! Gdańsk is a large seaport and has a huge history for its shipyard ( where Lech Wałęsa’s Solidarność dream all began).
The background is fitting. An airport derby with a seaport backdrop? This is wacaday and right up my street!
The Shipping Container Stand
We head to the Shipping Container stand. There is an entrance gate but no fee. We open the gate and head to the middle of row one. There is only one row!
I actually have a VIP seat!! I’m in Seat 105. Seats are light blue and have clearly been taken from an old swimming pool or somewhere of that ilk. It’s brilliant.
I snuck two ice cold ciders past security. One for each half. Mateusz wasn’t on the sauce today. My beers are Dziki Sad. Carryout is a Northern Irish word for takeaway alcohol, sometimes we call it “a wee CO”.
The Match Itself – Jaguar II Gdańsk v. UKS Klukowo
We missed the first few minutes (maybe 11) and already Jaguar II Gdańsk have stormed into a 2-0 lead. They are favourites and are of course at home. We found out the score by asking a lady in the small crowd. Possibly her son, friend, boyfriend or husband is on the pitch. Jaguar II Gdańsk play in all white and are clearly the stronger team.
UKS Klukowo play in blue shirts and black shorts. Despite dominating play, Jaguar add just one more goal before half time, a header. It’s 3-0 at half time on a sunny day on Poland’s Baltic Coast.
The second half becomes a rout. Jaguar add six more and waste a few further chances. Both teams have chances all through the 90 minutes and it’s an exciting match.
As it’s an Airport Derby we of course see planes landing and taking off in the background. We see 5 aeroplanes and 1 helicopter during the 100 minutes or so that we spend here. That surprised me as I have only ever used Gdańsk airport twice believe it or not. The first time was my flight in from Warszawa In July 2016. The second time was Gdańsk to Belfast Aldergrove In December 2018.
So I was surprised at how busy it was. One was a Wizzair Plane, one was a Ryanair Plane, one was a private jet and the others I don’t remember.
Fake Nets Loyal
Beside the real goal nets to our left is another fake goal net. At one point, a Jaguar striker scores into the wrong net, not deliberately of course!
The match ends 9-0 and we get another slow bus back to Gdańsk City centre.
Some more photos from the brilliant Gdańsk Airport Derby!!
Entry – free (bus was 3.60 zlotych each way)
Carryout (takeaway alcohol) – snuck in
Match ticket – no
VIP set – YES
Aeroplane sightings – 5
Helicopter sightings – 1
Goals – 9
Supporters – 24
Here is a video from the Gdańsk Airport derby: