“If you go down to the Łódź (woods) today, you’re in for a big surprise” – The Teddy Bears’ Picnic.
I recently completed a random groundhopping hat-trick in Poland, and it was certainly full of surprises. The hat-trick was transport related and spanned 3 years in 3 different Polish cities. A perfect story for my ongoing wacaday Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce series – football adventures in Poland. It was textbook.
Here’s the hat-trick I nailed…
1.Airport Derby, Gdańsk
In 2019, in Gdańsk, I attended the “Airport Derby”, basically a derby match between two teams based either side of Gdańsk Airport. That was a wacaday match in a stadium surrounded by freight containers. Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce: Jaguar II Gdańsk 9-0 UKS Klukowo, Watching The Airport Derby in Gdańsk
Final score – Jaguar II Gdańsk 9-0 UKS Klukowo
2.Trainline Derby, Warszawa
In 2020, in Warszawa, I attended the “Train line Derby”, it was a match between Józefóvia and Radosc. That was my first groundhopping adventure since the COVID 19 pandemic began. Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce: Attending the “Otwock Train Line Derby”, Józefovia Seconds 1-3 PKS Radość
Final score – Józefovia Seconds 1-3 PKS Radość
3.Boat Derby, Łódź
Here, in August 2021, I was heading to Łódź for the self titled “Boat Derby”. I called it this because it was two teams from the city of Łódź, the name of that city means “Boat”. Those two teams were Kolejarz Łódź and Saints Łódź. I was off to nab the hat-trick.
So I had suddenly completed a hat-trick on the same day that Robert Lewandowski scored a hattrick for Bayern Munich against Hertha Berlin. It was an aeroplane, train and boat derbies hat-trick.
Getting to the Kolejarz Łódź stadium
I love a good random groundhopping adventure, as does my football geek partner in crime, Mr. Rafał Kowalczyk. Getting to the Kolejarz Łódź stadium was not actually as easy as it looked on the map.
We had a weekend in Łódź, an epic city alone especially for its silver Hall of mirrors, countless murals and longest shopping street in Europe, Ulica Piotrkowska.
As well as the mural tour (Łódź is an artistic city with well over 100 murals), we grabbed pizza and a beer on “Pete”. (Pete is Ulica Piotrkowska).
The match between Kolejarz Łódź and Saints Łódź was at 16.00 on Saturday 28th August 2021. It was a regular league match. We grabbed some Perła beers from a Żabka and we left central Łódź on foot to the west of the city for this encounter.
Although it took a while to walk there, the journey was basically just alone one street, which changed its name. It started as Ogrodowa Street which became Srebrzyńska Street. Basically Garden Street became Silver Street. We passed the palace and Manufaktura centre on the way.
The walk involved walking past the quirky shopping and dining complex Manufaktura. We also had to go over a railway line on a bridge. We were meeting our local mate Hubert here.
The website, and Google Maps had told us that the Kolejarz Łódź stadium was at number 95 Srebrzyńska Street, postcode is 94-304 Łódź. After a half hour walk or so, we looked on the right hand side and the building was number 95. Surely this was it, but it was just a residential block.
Beyond that residential block, it looked like there was a gate here at the street so we went there, only to find that the gate was closed. It was a sports club, and some kids were playing football here. But even though we had the exact correct address, we were in the wrong place. This was not the stadium of Kolejarz Łódź. How could we be at the right address but the stadium wasn’t here?
It turned out that the stadium is actually in the middle of a forest, and on the complete opposite side of the road from us. Even then, it was hard to find. We left number 95 behind and crossed the road. We entered a forest, met some local dog walkers and were informed that the stadium is on the right somewhere.
When we arrive, we are next to the biggest seated stand, however again the gate is locked. It is clear that this is the correct stadium but in true groundhopping spirit, we have to climb over the fence to get in. Had we gone to the other side, it would have been open and easy to get in.
The stadium at Kolejarz Łódź
The stadium has around 400 seats. The stand we were in had 360 seats alone. Of course, thousands could watch a match here if they were standing. The setting is fine, with the ground being in the middle of the forest with trees all around.
The attendance is probably around 120.
The match – the “boat derby”!
It’s a fierce competitive derby. Both teams are up for this one. Challenges are flying in. At half time, it is still 0-0.
As the second half progresses, the away team, Saints Łódź start to take control. A near post header breaks the deadlock before a scrambled 4 yard finish gives them a 2-0 cushion.
Kolejarz Łódź grab a goal back and they rally at the end, but its not enough to grab an equaliser.
We had a couple of beers each and a look around the area before heading to my friend Hubert’s flat by local bike.
Final score – Kolejarz Łódź 1-2 Saints Łódź.
Here is a video that I took at the match: