I had been to the Stadion Miejski im. Kazimierza Deyny a few times in life before this recent Klub Piłkarski Starogard (Gdański) league match, which was my debut in the Polish fourth tier. Firstly, this is a quirky place! The stadium itself is on an island, in the charming town of Starogard Gdański in Poland’s Kociewie region of the Pomorskie Province. The stadium is home of local football club Klub Piłkarski Starogard (Gdański) and named after the famous Kazimierz Deyna, who helped Poland finish third in the 1974 World Cup (where they beat Italy, Sweden, Yugoslavia, Argentina, Brazil and Haiti and still didn’t win it!!) and win the 1972 Olympics. My first visit here to this town and the stadium was actually in July 2016 when I was visiting a travel friend.
If you need a recap on my travel and football stories related to Starogard Gdański, here they are:
Staying in a Hotel inside a football stadium, on an island!
Backpacking sights in Starogard Gdański
Best bars in Starogard Gdański
On the Kazik Deyna Heritage Trail in Starogard Gdański and Warszawa
Historic 70th Birthday match for Kazik Deyna in Starogard Gdański
Best cafes in Starogard Gdanski
Today is another cool day out in the Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce series.
Getting to Klub Piłkarski Starogard Gdański
I have covered this before on a few blog posts, not just on this site but on others. To get to Starogard, you can go by train or by bus, it’s connected to many nearby towns and cities, including Tczew and Gdańsk. On this trip, the train station was being renovated (as of September 2017) and so we went by bus. We got a number 401 bus from Gdańsk Głowny, which costs 12 złotych each now (an increase). I love the bus journeys through Polish countryside. Sadly this time, the journey was slightly obscured and delayed by roadworks, but as ever a nice adventure to the town of Starogard Gdański.
On the way in to Starogard Gdański we pass through some tranquil villages, some of which have these cool hay people in them, the photo below photographed from the bus while passing Kokoszkowy. I had previously seen these in the Kaszuby region when I attended a wedding in Pomlewo.
Once we arrive in the town, it’s a short walk from the bus stop we got off at (Urzad Miasta), down through the park and across the river to the stadium. The coolest thing about this stadium is that it is on an island in the town. The same island also includes a hotel, a museum to Kazimierz Deyna, a palace and a top flight Polish basketball team’s arena! I told you it was quirky and it’s not hard to understand why I enjoy places like this.
Pre Match Beer in Starogard Gdański
As the saying goes “nie ma futbolu bez alkoholu” (there is no football without alcohol) and so we head to the central Browar Stary Rynek (also called Restauracja Browar). When I first visited Starogard Gdański, this was one of the bars I visited and enjoyed, including it in my best bars in the town. Rafał and I catch up with Mateusz in this bar, there are three of us going to the match today, three of the five who were also at the recent Kartofliska Cup match. Mateusz is also an integral part of Krolestwo Dreamlandu and attended the match in the Speedway stadium with me. The match today is a 16.00 kick off so we have time for just one beer before making the short 1 minute walk to the stadium!
Arrival at the Stadium in Starogard Gdański
You might know that I am also a freak collector. I collect match tickets, match programmes, leaflets, scarves and football shirts. Here are a few examples from my back catalogue.
Klub Piłkarski Starogard (Gdański) are my team of choice in Poland and as such I own a scarf of not just the club now but the hero of the town, Kazimierz Deyna who also inspired me to start this series on Polish football and watch Legia Warszawa. Today, I got a leaflet and a match ticket. There was no match programme.
I want to buy a Klub Piłkarski Starogard (Gdański) shirt some time, basically it is the same colour as the Northern Ireland shirt and this also influenced my decision to support the team.
Anyway, today entrance is 5 złotych for normal entry (£1) or 10złotych (£2) for VIP. Oddly, I pay 5złotych and am given a VIP ticket (perhaps an accident or perhaps a “foreigner privilege” or because they saw my story online?) No idea but glad to have a green and white ticket as opposed to a black and white one. I also get access to the VIP section today. Rafał and Mateusz have normal tickets. It’s also a sign of change and progression of this team and stadium. On my first visit, I slept here in the stadium at the Noclegi Rekord and it was free entry. In fact, you could probably have sneaked in for free today by swimming across the river. Or even better by booking into that hotel which overlooks the ground. Indeed you could have a beer from your balcony and watch the game! If not, please stay at the nearby Hotel Ren, which also houses the impressive Browar Kociewski.
The Match – Klub Piłkarski Starogard (Gdański) 2-0 Unia Solec Kujawski at the Deyna Stadium
And now to the match. We decide to sit just behind Kazimierz Deyna himself. The Poland, Manchester City, Legia Warszawa and Starogard Gdański legend has his own statue and seat inside the stadium. This is a real novelty. KP Starogard are in fine form today. The previous week they beat Pogo Szczecin (seconds) 3-0 here – no mean feat. This is the highest level of Polish football that is not quite yet national – it is still separated by region. So realistically it is the fifth tier. But having watched my own team AFC Bournemouth climb from the fourth tier to the Premier League, I know that anything is possible. Similarly in Poland, little Bruk-Bet Termalica Nieciecza are now in the Ekstraklasa (top tier) yet hail from a tiny village of just 750, yet their stadium houses almost 5,000!!! I have a positive vibe about KP Starogard today. I feel they will win. So do Rafal and Mateusz as we predict 2-0 (Rafal), 1-0 (Mateusz) and 2-1 (me) to the home team. Damian Zagórski opens the scoring in the 17th minute. It’s a superb free kick from 20 yards into the top corner following some good attacks and an obvious handball. Starogard are in control. We spend the entire first half sitting just behind the Kazimierz Deyna statue. At half time it is 1-0. Sadly for us, no beer at half time – a stewardess tells us there is no bar even in the VIP section. This is disappointing and I may contact the club to enquire if she was correct or not. I’d love to get in to see the trophy cabinet and possible club lounge and bar next time. Even the hotel which houses a bar isn’t selling drinks or food at half time.
For the second half we decide to watch from the other side of the stadium. There are surprisingly no away fans here from Unia Solec Kujawski, who play in orange today. Oddly though and sadly for me, Starogard are playing in white shirts and black shorts. I wanted to cheer them in green today, hence I again wore my Northern Ireland shirt. Next time, Klub Piłkarski Starogard (Gdański). Never the less the second half gets underway and Starogard continue to control. There are two serious penalty appeals turned down by the referee. I felt it should be 3-0 by now. Unia Solec Kujawski launch a few attacks and almost equalise. But then in the 69th minute, a neat finish from close range after a good move, puts the match beyond their reach. Krzysztof Rzepa the goalscorer. Towards the end there are a few sweats, but the points are coming home to Klub Piłkarski Starogard (Gdański) and we are all happy.
Post Match Beers in Starogard Gdański
While we had pre match beers in the Restauracja Browar, post match beers are in Małe Piwko, also a favourite bar of mine in town. I like how it has randomly Murphy’s Irish Stout in here, sometimes I need my fix of Irishness. So I grab one and a pizza as we are heading to the popular Browar Kociewski beer festival next, report to come.
Changing Times in Starogard Gdański?
Despite having one of the Prettiest Old Town Squares in Poland, today our quick touristic walk around the town comes with bulldozers. The main square is being developed as it the train station, which is being knocked down and rebuilt. With so many things to see and do here, it might not be long before this town, along with Tczew and Pelplin get the tourist level they deserve.
So a great result for KP Starogard, looking good in the league table, hope to be back again soon:
Here are some links:
Local News report of the match
KP Starogard on Facebook
Unia.Solec.Kujawski on Facebook
Thanks again to everyone in town for making us feel so welcome. See you all next time! Come follow my journeys on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:
Northern Irishman in Poland (Jonny Blair) on Facebook
Northern Irishman in Poland (Jonny Blair) on Twitter
Northern Irishman in Poland (Jonny Blair) on Instagram
Here is the address of Klub Piłkarski Starogard (Gdański)
Klub Piłkarski „Starogard”
Ul. Olimpijczyków Starogardzkich 1
83-200 Starogard Gdański
Here are some videos from the match including one of my own:
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