Poznan

Fulham pre-season tour - July 2017

11 Jul 2017


The ground is a walkable distance from the train station and you could take a short detour into the town if you get the earlier train. That said there is an on-site hotel, restaurant and bar at the stadium which would appear to make the most sense pre and post-match.



While the Groclin Stadium is now used for training purposes, it did have a rather short-lived history as the home of a top league Polish side and has even played host to Manchester City in European competition. The story of the ground and the club that used to call it home make for a good story which symbolizes the chaotic world of Polish football in the years following the collapse of Communism.

Dyskobolia Grodzisk Wielkopolski was founded by athletes in 1922 - Dyskobolia refers to the art of discus throwing and the club’s symbol was that of a discus thrower. The club had a pretty uneventful history due to the town’s small population (today it is estimated at 15,000) and the presence of nearby Lech Poznan, a club supported by the majority of the football fans in the Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) region. That all changed in 1993 though when local man made good, Zbigniew Drzymala, bought the club and renamed it to reflect the name of the car head-rest manufacturing business that had made him rich – Groclin. This name incidentally is reportedly a combination of Grodzisk (Drzymala’s home town) and Clinton, New Jersey, the town to which he had traced a distant relative who helped him circumvent business rules during the communist era in order to start up his business.

Drzymala invested in new but ageing players and the club, now known as Groclin Dyskobolia Grodzisk Wielkopolski, began a climb up the leagues arriving in the top league in 1997. Relegated in 1998, the club came straight back up again but were staring another relegation in the face following the winter break in 1999/2000 when they went on a quite remarkable run. Suspicion is still voiced today at their incredible run of 8 straight wins which saw them stay up comfortably.

The club then entered its most successful period first finishing runners-up in the league in the 2002/3 season which led to a run in the UEFA Cup in 2003/4. Having beaten Atlantas Kalipeda and Hertha Berlin, the club went on to knock out Manchester City in the second round. Their goal at what was then the City of Manchester Stadium was scored by one of the young stars of that team – Sebastian Mila – and the team also featured Polish international Andrzej Niedzielan and two players that would go onto have fairly successful careers in England – Grzegorz Rasiak (Derby, Tottenham, Southampton and Reading) and Radek Majewski (Nottingham Forest). A further league runners-up spot in 2004/5 was achieved as well as Polish FA Cup victories in 2005 and 2007.

The glory years were short-lived however and in 2008 Drzymala, faced with the need to move his company to Ukraine to cut costs, sold the club and its top-league license to Jozef Wojciechowski owner of Polonia Warsaw. This was just the latest example of a Polish club climbing the league by means of buying out another club and its top-league license.

With that Dyskobolia Grodzisk Wielkopolski effectively disappeared, although supporters did found a ‘phoenix’ club in the local regional leagues. That though is reported to have gone out of business a couple of seasons ago with the club languishing just above the relegation spots in a minor district league.

Associated Venues

KontenerART

 ul. Ewangelicka (on the Warta between Chrobrego and Rocha bridges)
EDITOR'S PICK

Groclin Stadium

 ul. Powstańców Chocieszyńskich 52, Grodzisk Wielkopolski
Multi-use stadium in Grodzisk Wielkopolski, 50 km from Poznań.

Hotel Remes Sport & Spa

 ul. Parkowa 48, Opalenica

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