What a birthday surprise this was! On Thursday March 30th 2023, I headed by train from Warszawa to Szczecin by train for a three day trip. The plan was to visit the little town of Police! While Police in Northern Ireland means “peelers”, in Poland it is pronounced “Pollitzay” and is a small town not far from Szczecin. My reason for going was because I heard Northern Ireland were playing Poland here, at under 16 level.
Arrival in Police
The match was a 10.30 a.m. kick off and Police is about an hour away from my hostel in Szczecin. However, I had been out the night before and decided it was worth it to get an Uber driver to take me straight to the stadium, from my hostel in the north of Szczecin.
The Stadium in Police
I was dropped off right at the entrance to the stadium. First of all I had a look around. I was here earl in the end – around 9.45 a.m.
After that, I had time for a coffee and a visit to the small cafe and shop which also doubles up as a trophy room for the local club here – Chemik Police. The stadium is called Stadio OSiR and has a capacity of 2,795. The town of Police has a population of 41,745.
Police, Siedlecka 1 Street,
Reunion with Zuza
This trip also gave me a long awaited reunion with Zuza, Javier and Filip. I first met Zuza a whopping 19 years earlier!! She had worked in Bournemouth down by the seafront with me in 2004 and 2005! After 2005, I saw her and Javier twice – once in Istanbul in 2013 and again in Szczecin in November 2016. Zuza and Filip came to the stadium to meet me and watch the match!
Here’s a photo of Zuza and I, some 19 years earlier in Berlins Nightclub in Bournemouth – this was July 2004!
Sadly, I found out about these matches too late (as usual) and as a result, it meant I missed the first two matches, both of which we won –
South Africa 1-2 Northern Ireland https://www.irishfa.com/news/2023/march/northern-ireland-u16s-defeat-south-africa
Braiden Graham (8’), Cole Brannigan (18’)
Luxembourg 0-3 Northern Ireland https://www.irishfa.com/news/2023/march/u16s-turn-on-style-in-3-0-win-against-luxembourg
Blaine McClure, Sean Corry, Chris Atherton
This meant that the Poland match was a winner takes all – could Northern Ireland make it three wins out of three and beat Poland away?
The match itself – Poland 3-0 Northern Ireland
Poland scored very early in the match and I thought that was it – I was in for another long match and a hiding. However, for the next 70 minutes, Northern Ireland absolutely dominated the match and we should have been drawing 1-1 or 2-1 up. We battled really hard. I brought two flags with me and I was the ONLY Northern Ireland supporter there. That has become standard for me on a few trips including Belarus away in 2007 and Germany neutral in 2017.
At half-time, Zuza, Filip and I went to the club cafe again – this time a cup of tea.
At the start of the second half, we hit the bar and the post. It really should have been 1-1. With about 15 minutes to go, one of our midfielders went in for a tackle and was given a straight red card. It was such a harsh decision. Within minutes, Poland added number 2. Then in injury time, they were given a debatable penalty, which was scored and we had lost 3-0.
Backpacking in Police / Sightseeing in Police
I decided to have a look around the town of Police while I was here – it’s the sort of place I visit once in my life. There was a hostel, some murals, a main church and a train station.
Then it was time to head back to Szczecin where I would watch another match that day – Zuza and Javi’s son Filip was playing for his local team and in fact, I brought him luck as he scored a header! Zuza didn’t tell Javi that I was coming and so I surprised him. This time, I headed out of Police to Szczecin by bus.
I turned up at Tenisowa stadium to watch the second match of the day, home of Salos Szczecin. Here are some more photos from the day out.
Here are some videos I took of my trip to Police: