What is much worse than Polish clubs losing on the European stage year after year are the consequences felt across Poland. Polish football fans are instantly thrown into a maelstrom of feverish responses: mistakes are pointed out by those who know better and announcements are made that the team will be purged. After Wisła Kraków was humiliated in Estonia, there are some claiming to have the perfect solution to the problem. The club should sell all its players apart from the younger ones upon which the new team should be built. It should also fire Wisła’s manager Maciej Skorża because he does not have what it takes to play in Europe. The club’s owner Bogusław Cupiał should take a long look at himself. If he wants his team to qualify for the CL he should provide a budget at least as hefty as the funds behind the top Ukrainian and Romanian teams. Wisła has lost on the European stage and the pundits have lost their minds. Franciszek Smuda, possibly Skorża’s replacement at Wisła, is openly calling the defeat the ‘Tallin debacle’ although it was Smuda himself who failed to overcome the Moldavian amateurs FC Sheriff Tiraspol two years ago. It is plain to see the level of football the Polish champion is playing at but, unfortunately, there was no other team in last year’s Polish league that could play better. Skorża, now knocked and battered, seemed like the perfect man to replace Leo Beenhakker, Poland’s manager, not so long ago.
The Wisła chairman, Cupiał, is the man who pumped PLN 100 million of his own money into Wisła. Now, Poland longs for its own Roman Abramovich but unfortunately he is nowhere to be found. There are no oil or gas moguls because, thank goodness, Poland’s economy is nothing like Russia’s or Ukraine’s and as a result there is no easy money to be made. No sheikhs from the Persian Gulf will visit Poland because in football they seek splendour and splendour Polish football does not have. What it does have, however, is a poor quality league, pompous players and high expectations. Of course, when there is no mogul then good marketing, high-quality scouting and large stadia become a necessity. But in Poland even the top teams have difficulty in finding a sponsor, scouting is still in its infancy, and stadia are under construction. Only when they are finished will Polish football have the right to demand teams in the CL. Polish people are deluded. Otherwise they might find themselves in a situation similar to one in which the Polish Film Institute would take it upon itself to make one Oscar-winning movie per year and the Jagiellonian University to annually educate a Noble Prize winner. Sure, it is always worth aiming high but why invite ridicule?
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