“They can come true yeah, they can come true” – Gabrielle.
Wow, just wow! Is all I can really say. But I was really there, at the special match to celebrate the 70th birthday of Kazimierz Deyna. If you followed my journeys around the world for 10+ years, you will be aware of my huge passion for football. It was normally watching my three teams – Northern Ireland, AFC Bournemouth and Glentoran FC. But I also visited over 100 different stadiums on the journey, dots on my globe, back of the net dozens of times, in countries I never heard of.
In 2016 when I settled in Poland, one of my last tours was to Starogard Gdański where I had the pleasure of staying in the hotel at the Kazimierz Deyna Hotel inside the stadium, the Noclegi Rekord. At the time, I was only really touring the sights of Starogard Gdański, enjoying the cafes and bars and going to meet my travel friend. I didn’t expect to feature in the local newspaper – I was front page of the Gazeta Kociewska!!, nor to return to the town less than a year later for this brilliant day out, but this is what life dealt me!
“Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you” – Alanis Mozarella.
Who is Kazik Deyna?
Oh come on?! You must have heard of Kazimierz Deyna by now! I have already written about him on the crazy pilgrimage tour I did. But if not, a quick recap!
Kazimierz Deyna: This boy’s a hero. Hailing from Poland’s underestimated and less ventured town of Starogard Gdański, he set the world on fire. In the same way that Belfast Child George Best did. The similarities are uncanny. Perhaps I had been searching for this kind of story and then it just came like that, ready for my latest series on here, Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce, football stories related to Poland. Deyna won two Olympic Gold medals and led Poland to third in the World Cup!
Kazimierz Deyna/ Kazik
From: Starogard Gdański, POLAND
23 October 1947 – 1 September 1989
Died: Age 41
Attacking midfielder with flair
Recognised as probably the most gifted Polish footballer ever
Played for: Manchester City, Legia Warszawa, ŁKS Łódź, Włókniarz Starogard Gdański, San Diego Sockers
Top Scorer in the Olympics in 1972
World Player of the Year Bronze 1974
Twice Olympic Gold Medal Winner
World Cup Third Place in 1974
Played in United States before he retired
Suffered from alcoholism
Has a mural in his hometown dedicated to him
Has a football stadium named after him
Excellent Website on Deyna: http://legendadeyny.pl/
Getting to Starogard Gdanski
I have actually covered the route to Starogard Gdanski before on here, basically unless you are driving or hitch-hiking, the best two options are by train or by bus. To get to Starogard Gdański most people will head from the city of Gdańsk. I spent six months in Gdańsk and I decided to get the bus, though train is also an option, but the bus seemed easier to me as it goes closer to the town centre of Starogard Gdański and the train seemed less frequent.
There are two bus options as far as I can tell. Both buses have a lot of stops on the way and generally it takes just over an hour from Gdańsk Główny (main station). I hoped my travel friend in the area would have helped me source the bus route but she didn’t want to help sadly, crazy she wouldn’t help a professional travel writer and tourist, but some people will always be mean and cruel. I then worked out these are the two bus routes:
- Arrivia Linia NR 51
- PKS Linia 400
Either you get the Arriva Linia Nr 51 bus or you get the PKS Linia 400. To mix things up, I got the Linia 400 on the way into Starogard Gdański, but coming back I got the Linia 51. The oddest thing was the Linia 51 is more like a coach – it’s the most comfortable of the two options, but it was the cheapest too! The Linia 51 cost me 6.90 złotys and the Linia 400 cost me 8 złotys. I was a bit travel weary when I arrived in Starogard for the first time in July 2016.
Where to Stay in Starogard Gdański
In Starogard Gdański, there are actually not too many backpackers around but there is an excellent hostel and a few options for hotels.
1.Hostel Famil, 2. Noclegi Rekord, 3. Hotel Ren
I checked into the Noclegi Rekord on my first visit and later to the excellent Hostel Famil (which opened in 2018) swankaday Hotel Ren. All these hotels come recommended. The Noclegi Rekord is kind of an odd hotel, as it’s connected to the sports stadium and club – I ended up becoming a fan of the local team, Klub Pilkarski Starogard as they play in green! The same colours as Northern Ireland.
The Noclegi Rekord was a perfect spot for me for 3 days, breakfast and WiFi included. It also has a kind of mini football museum, inspired not only by the team Klub Pilkarski but by the famous Kazimierz Deyna who hails from the town, making it another ridiculously up my street bed location from my endless journeys.
Buying a Ticket for the Kazimierz Deyna 70th Birthday Match
Souvenirs I picked up at the Kazimierz Deyna 70th Birthday Match
As a football freak and often confirmed “groundhopper”, I love picking up extra souvenirs at these type of events. As such, I picked up magazines, posters, cardboard pieces of paper, a few newspapers, postcards and leaflets as well as a map of Starogard Gdanski. Huge thanks to the tourist board in Starogard Gdanski for being so helpful. Check out all the souvenirs I have for the “Don’t Stop Living Museum” one day…
Kazimierz Deyna Scarf for Northern Irishman in Poland
Regrettably, I did NOT get a Kazimierz Deyna scarf on the day. I looked for them and couldn’t find one. However, I was later in life able to get both a KP Starogard scarf and a Kazik Deyna one!
Pre Match Beer at Browar Rynek
After buying my ticket, I had time for a pre match beer. Less than one minute walk from the stadium is the totally excellent Browar Stary Rynek. It is a bar I first visited in July 2016 and met Grzegorz the manager, who met up with me again for a chat as I ordered a Staro Gdanskie Ale ahead of the big match.
Pre Match at Stadion Miejski im. Kazimierza Deyny
Next up, I walk from Browar through to Stadion Miejski im. Kazimierza Deyny, also the home of Klub Pilkarski Starogard. I got into the stadium about half an hour before the kick off. The place was buzzing, the ground was packed but there were still plenty of seats, lots of activities going on (candy floss, hot dogs, beer stands). The guy checking my ticket on the door also checked my backpack and chuckled when I said “Jestem turistem”. I think they were surprised to find a whackpacking Ulsterman here!
Here is the information on the stadium from the official KP Starogard Website – http://kpstarogard.pl/klub/stadion/
Stadion Miejski im. Kazimierza Deyny w Starogardzie Gdańskim znajduje się przy ul. Olimpijczyków Starogardzkich 1. W sektorze B znajduje się rzeźba Kazimierza Deyny. Rzeźbę zaprojektował i wykonał starogardzianin, artysta rzeźbiarz Sławomir Kuśnierz. Pojemność stadionu to 3291 miejsc. Boisko z naturalną nawierzchnią ma wymiary 100m x 64m.
The stadium itself holds 3,291 seats and today for sure, there were over 3,000 here and many many more at the post match party in the town itself. If you do enjoy my tourist and football stories, you might be keen to read about these other football experiences:
With many more football stories to come in my pipeline including Euro 2016 and the 2005 match in Warsaw!
The Match Itself – Kazimierz Dream Team v Polish Television
Next to the main reason we are all here – the Match Itself – Kazimierz Dream Team v Polish Television, the teams below – Deyna Team v. TVP
I have taken some of these photos above from the various websites listed at the bottom of the article. Thanks to those at Miasto Starogard, Kociewiak, Osir and Klub Pilkarski for these images. As the teams come out, there is one clear person I am looking at today – Jan Tomaczewski!!! Polish goalkeeping hero most famous for stopping England in the 1970s and helping (along with Deyna of course) Poland win 2 Olympic Golds and 1 World Cup Bronze (Third Place in 1974, and again in 1982).
There were also cheerleaders with pom poms to add to the occasion, and in-match commentary over the public address system.
Plus an an extra bonus for the football freak like me, the match was refereed by the same man who was a linesman in charge (Michał Listkiewicz) of the famous Maradona v. Mattheus final in 1990, when West Germany beat Argentina 1-0 in Rome, Italy to win the World Cup.
The match had lots of goals, some screamers and was entirely dominated by the Deyna Dream Team. Highlights including seeing Jan Tomaczewski save a penalty (for real!!) and Tomasz Klos score a few screamers! I remember watching Tomasz Klos a few times live before (against Northern Ireland) he also played in the 2002 World Cup. Here are my photos from the first half –
Half Time Score –
Deyna Team – Reprezentacja TVP 5:0
At half time I headed for a beer – just 6 zloty (£1.25) and from one of my favourite breweries too – the nearby Browar Kociewski which previously featured on my blog. I also posed for a photo beside the Deyna Cardboard cutout, where Oktavia Nowacka also famously posed beside.
I then decided to watch the second half from the other side of the stadium for a change, here are my second half photos, the Deyna team added three more goals and a consolation for the Polish TV team made the final score 8-1 –
Final Score –
Deyna Team – Reprezentacja TVP 8:1 (5:0)
The Aftermatch Party in the Park in Starogard Gdanski
As soon as the match ended, everyone flocked in their thousands plus many other joined the huge party in the park! This was a crazy time. I have never seen such a small town in Poland so buzzing in my life. So much so that it reminded me of the parties in the park in my hometown of Bangor in Northern Ireland. I have put a list of the aftermatch party acts below but as this post is hugely photo heavy, a strictly football post and already has over 3,000 words, I’ll finish things off by saying what a crazy day out in a lovely Polish town. I won’t ever forget it.
Northern Irishman in Poland in Photos Again
Yet again, while flying my Travelling Northern Ireland Flag, I was captured on camera by the local photographers. This flag has not only been on BBC and Sky Sports, but now at the Kazik Deyna 70 year match! Thanks to the budding local photographers who caught me wearing my green Northern Ireland shirt and flying my flag…thanks to Kociewiak.pl in Starogard.
The Programme of the Evening for Kazimierz Deyna’s 70th Party
godz. 15.45 – odsłonięcie pamiątkowej tablicy poświęconej Kazimierzowi Deynie przed Stadionem Miejskim im. Kazimierza Deyny
godz. 16.00 — towarzyski mecz piłki nożnej ” Deyna Team” vs. TVP
godz. 17.30 — Koncert zespołów disco polo
17.30 – Koncert Zespołu 2+2
18.30 – Koncert zespołu Akcent
19.30 – Koncert zespołu Mig
20.30 – Koncert zespołu Classic
21.30 – Koncert zespołu Power Play
Główni sponsorzy wydarzenia: Grupa LOTOS S.A., Grupa ENERGA.
One last surprising fact, something I uncovered myself and told Starogard residents about – the football stadium and hotel is actually on an ISLAND! I kid you not!!
Other Articles on Kazimierz Deyna’s 70th Party
Kociewiak on Deyna 70
Starogard Town Official Website on Deyna 70
Great Video on TV Polska on Deyna 70
Starogard Naszemiasto Articles on Deyna 70
My photo of my Travelling Northern Ireland flag appears on the Starogard News Site
Another photo of my flag on the Starogard News Site
Kiwi Portal on Deyna 70
Powiat Starogardzki on Deyna 70
Starogard 24 Hour Website on Deyna 70
Legia Warsaw Website tribute to Deyna 70
Telemagazyn Tribute to Deyna 70
Kazimierz Deyna Website Tribute for his 70th
Bogaty Starogard Article on Deyna 70
What else is there to do in Starogard Gdanski and the Kociewie Region?
Believe it or not, the Kociewie Region remains one of the biggest surprises from my entire travels! I loved the region and as such have visited a few times, gaining a wedding invite from a girl I met in nearby Tczew, and at various points history also links me to the town with two girls I dated. So when touring this area, I managed to visit all these places:
Touring the village of Kokoszkowy, Kociewie
One night in the village of Rywałd, Kociewie
My Hotel Stay in Holy Pelplin, Kociewie
Touring the town of Holy Pelplin, Kociewie
Touring the town of Tczew, Kociewie
Best bars, cafes and pubs in Tczew, Kociewie
My Hotel Stay in Tczew, Kociewie
Some excellent videos by others from the Deyna 70 Day and Party:
Here are my own videos from the crazy day out for the Deyna 70th Birthday Party: