Groundhopping began in earnest again as I clocked up my 6th and 7th football stadiums in Warszawa on the same day, pumping my Polish stadium visits to over 20, 15 of which I’ve now watched a match in. Just for fun, just for groundhopping and often another entry for this series, Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce.
I headed with my friend Rafał to another match, this time in We headed on a bus with a chilled carryout of cider to the Warszawa neighbourhood of Białołęka. It was my first time in this neighbourhood and we headed to a local Żabka (Polish fróg branded corner store franchises) to stock up on beers and snacks ahead of the big match. This was in the local Warszawa leagues, Serie B. Nationally something like the 6th or 7th level I believe.
The Stadium at Białołęka
The stadium here is compact and tight. There is one stand to watch from. The pitch is smaller than most, and therefore below UEFA standard were Sparta Marki ever to defy the odds and qualify for Europe.
The pitch is plastic, well AstroTurf. It’s something I’m normally against but it seemed apt for this occasion. It’s very modern and facilities include a sports centre with changing rooms, indoor football, basketball and a gym.
There is also a water spray cooler outside the stadium. It’s the final Saturday of August and it’s a scorcher.
The teams come out. Victoria Warszawa (not Wiktoria Warszawa) are in sky blue. It’s rather like Uruguay or Manchester City. They line up and the match gets underway.
The first half
For the first five minutes, Sparta Marki seemed genuinely on top. Having lost 20-0 in a recent match, we were surprised by their dedication and commitment. But the tables were soon to turn in favour of Victoria.
The Sparta Marki goalkeeper was then called into action. A few times in fact, he held the Victorians at bay. Until finally a break through came.
1-0 became 2-0, became 7-0. The first half was a clear goal rout as favourites Victoria Warszawa took control over Sparta Marki.
Entrance was free, a lively crowd of between 20 and 30 turned up, including Radek from Kartofliska. Radek, a famous groundhopper who I once met in Marymont, filmed the match. Rafał and I brought in some crisps, cold Krolewskie beer and cider. Half-time was 0-7 to Victoria, it seemed it was a one sided game and could only get worse for Sparta Marki in the second half. Surely?
The second half
Rafał and I often to random bets with each other for a beer. We do these predictions before kick off. I went for 1-12. Rafał went for 0-15. At half time, with Victoria well in front, it really looked like a 0-15 score could be on the cards!! However, quite the opposite happened! Sparta Marki were tight and compact after the break. They kept a clean sheet second half and won 1-0. We kicked football with a local kid for part of the second half.
It was a true game of two halves.
To put things in context:
First half – Sparta Marki 0-7 Victoria Warszawa
Second half – Sparta Marki 1-0 Victoria Warszawa
Final score – Sparta Marki 1-7 Victoria
At the game however, Rafal and I counted that the score was actually 8-1. This was also true as we later learned of a scandal where the result was wrongly reported as 7-1. Of course, 1 goal doesn’t affect the result but a goal is a goal .
Overall though, another great Groundhopping adventure and we watched a second match on the same day.
Here are some videos I made at the Sparta Marki v. Victoria Warszawa Match: