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Polonia Warszawa ( ) is a Polishmarker sports club with football and basketball teams. It was founded in 1911, and is the oldest such club in Warsawmarker, where it is based.

History

Polonia Warszawa was formed in the autumn of 1911 as a union of two school teams. The founder of the club was captain Wacław Denhoff-Czarnocki, who also came up with the name of the club. Polonia is Latin for "Poland" and is often used by Polish ex-patriates in reference to their communities in other countries. The choice of such a name was a brave decision at that time, since Poland was not an independent country, and Warsaw was a part of Russian partition.

Initially the players played in black-and-white striped shirts, but in the spring of 1912, they switched to their now traditional design of all black shirts. The legendary patriotic explanation for this color scheme was that it was a sign of mourning for the occupied and divided motherland. However the true story was that a man who was responsible for buying the strips (Janusz Muck) could only get them in black. Only during the Stalinist regime did the team play in different outfits. This lasting devotion to tradition resulted in the club's popular name: The Black Shirts. The uniform's white shorts and red socks come from the colors of the Polish flag.

The club's first match on 19 November 1911 was against Korona (a very strong local rival), and ended 3–4 in favor of Korona. Two years later, in February 1913, The Black Shirts defeated Korona 4–0.

Prewar period

The first match between Polonia and Legia Warszawa was played on 29 April 1917, ending in a 1:1 draw. This was the first historic "Great Derby of Warsaw" - the clash of these two rival teams. Hatred divided their supporters early in the clubs' history and continues to this day, driving strong emotions during the matches and sometimes even greater emotions between matches. Legia was a football team of front-line soldiers of World War I, formed in Volhynia which came to Warsaw to play against local teams, but eventually settled in the city. A month later, there was a second match between the teams, ending with the same score.

In 1921, the Black Shirts came second in the first ever season of the Polish football championship. In 1926 they also finished the season as joint-champions. Polonia was Warsaw's favorite club - a great majority of the city's inhabitants were devoted Black Shirt supporters. In late 1930s, Polonia became one of powerhouses of Polish football, with several players, such as Jerzy Bulanow, Wladyslaw Szczepaniak, Erwin Nyc and Henryk Jaznicki capping for the national team. The friendship between Polonia and Cracovia Kraków - the prewar Polish football legend and the first ever champions of Poland (1921) - dates back to those days.

The first Polish Championship (1946), the first Polish Cup (1952) and relegation

In 1946 Polonia finally won the Polish Championship title. It was symbolic among the ruins of the bombed and burned capital. The final match was played on "Wojska Polskiego"(the Polish Army's - Legia's - ground) Stadium on Lazienkowska Street, because Polonia's stadium on 6 Konwiktorska Street (which lay close by the Jewish ghetto area) had been ruined during the war. The Black Shirts defeated AKS Chorzów in the final.

In the Stalinist period Polonia's name and colors were changed - Warsaw's oldest club was renamed Kolejarz (which means "Railroad worker") as the team was now tied to the Polishmarker National Railroad company. The black shirts where banned. The communist government was trying to erase everything which was associated with Warsaw from before the war. Every Polish football club got a 'sponsor' such as the army, militia or mining industry. Unfortunately, at the time, the railroad was the poorest sponsor. Also, the club's management struggled to face the problems that the club came across. This contributed to Polonia's eventual relegation to the second division.

Fifteen years later, there were still thousands of fans on Konwiktorska Street. However, Legia (which played in the first division and became one of Poland's strongest teams) began to take over supporters' loyalties, especially among those who moved to the barren capital after the war and had no emotional bond to Polonia.

The 1952 Cup Final was actually played between Kolejarz Warszawa and CWKS Warszawa, not Polonia and Legia.

Later on Polonia was relegated to the 2nd division. Unfortunately, at the time, the railroad was the poorest of sponsors. Also, the club's management was incompetent and could not face the problems with which the club had to cope.

An improving club

In the 1992/93 season Polonia Warsaw was promoted to the first division. Unfortunately, the organization of the club was insufficient to compete with the powerhouses of Polish football - there was no money and no training base. One year later, the team was relegated yet again, but only for one season. In the 1995/96 season Polonia Warszawa was once again promoted to first division. In 1996 Janusz Romanowski took over as the head of Polonia, having just backed out from sponsoring Legia despite achieving great success there, even reaching the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. In 1998 "The Black Shirts" became joint-champions of the first Division and in 1999 reached the semi-finals of the Intertoto Cup.

The second Polish Championship (2000), the second Polish Cup (2001)... and relegation

In the 1999/2000 season Polonia were not considered challengers for the title. At the end of the autumn round, the Black Shirts were, for the first time in club's history, leading the league. That team had two managers - Jerzy Engel (who later became the coach of Polish national team and qualified for the World Cup 2002) and Dariusz Wdowczyk (former Polish national). During the winter break, Polonia signed contracts with talented players such as Tomasz Wieszczycki and Tomasz Kielbowicz. In the spring round, the Black Shirts lost only two games and drew one.

Polonia became Polish 1st Division Champion after thrashing Legia at Wojska Polskiego Stadium 3:0. Before that, the team also won a League Cup beating Legia away 2:1. In July, they confirmed their class by winning the Super Cup in a match against Amica Wronki with a score 4:2.

In Champions League qualifiers, the Black Shirts won their first set against Dinamo Bucuresti (4:3, 3:1), but then lost at the hands of Panathinaikos (2:2,1:2)

Unfortunately, things weren't perfect on Konwiktorska Street. The team won the Polish league as "Hoop Polonia Warszawa". Hoop was the name of a sponsor; however, the name wasn't accepted by Polonia's fans. Eventually, Hoop backed out from sponsoring Polonia and took its trademark out of the club's name.

In 2000/2001 The Black Shirts lost their form, playing poorly in the 1st division, but they still managed to win The Polish Cup. During the next few years Polonia managed to stay in the top division, however finishing mainly in the bottom part of the table. During this time the club was owned and sponsored by a long time supporter, Jan Raniecki who also owned a car parts company. Unfortunately Raniecki died after a heart attack on 1 March 2006, and his family, who inherited the club didn't want to continue sponsoring it, and started searching for a new owner to sell it. This finally led to the relegation to 2nd league in 2005/2006 season, despite of the new and wealthy owner and sponsor.

J.W. Construction era

In March 2006 the club gained a new owner, J.W. Construction company, one of the biggest house development companies in Poland. The club budget has been strengthened, and at first it seemed, that Polonia can quickly become one of the strongest clubs in Poland. However, the club was relegated to the 2nd league after being the last team in the 1st league in 2005/2006. Since 2006/2007 Polonia struggled to get promoted to the 1st division again, coming close but ultimately failing to reach the spots that would ensure promotion. In the 2007/08 season it finished in seventh place.

Merger with "Groclin" Dyskobolia Grodzisk

In July 2008 Polonia Warsaw merged with Dyskobolia Grodzisk Wielkopolski (3rd in the Ekstraklasa in 2007/08) and took over its place in the Polish top division. Most of Dyskobolia's players moved to Warsawmarker to form the core of Polonia's new team. Several of Polonia's old team will also star in the upcoming season.

Achievements

Domestic



Europe



Players

As of July 22, 2009.


Current squad

 


Out on loan

Notable former players



Polonia in European Cups

Season Competition Round Club Score
1997 Intertoto Cup GR AaBmarker 0–2
Dinamo Minsk 1–4
Heerenveen 0–0
Duisburg 0–0
1998–99 UEFA Cup 1Q Tallinna Sadam 2–0, 3–1
2Q Dynamo Moscow 0–1, 0–1
1999 Intertoto Cup 1R Tiligul Tiraspol 4–0, 0–0
2R Copenhagen 2–2, 5–1
3R Vasas 2–0, 2–1
1/2F Metz 1–5, 1–1
2000–01 UEFA Champions League 2Q Dinamo Bucureşti 4–3, 3–1
3Q Panathinaikos 2–2, 1–2
UEFA Cup 1R Udinese 0–1, 0–2
2001–02 UEFA Cup Q The New Saints 4–0, 2–0
1R Twente 1–2, 0–2
2002–03 UEFA Cup Q Sliema Wanderers 3–1, 2–0
1R Porto 0–6, 2–0
2003 Intertoto Cup 1R Tobol Kostanay 0–3, 1–2
2009–10 UEFA Europa League 1Q Budućnost Podgorica 2–0, 0–1
2Q Juvenes/Dogana 1–0, 4–0
3Q NAC Breda 0–1, 1–3


See also



External links




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