Lech Poznan: 6000 Hooligans Heading For Eastlands
The City of Manchester Stadium is going to be in for a rude awakening on Thursday night when 6000 Lech Poznan hooligans descend on the city.
Okay, the headline might be a tad dramatic (not over the top) but Lech Poznan is considered to have the strongest fan support in Poland and has the highest average attendance in Ekstraklasa (Poland's top division). The atmosphere, especially at the Stadion Miejski is best described as terrifying and their away support is second to none.
Lech Poznan Hooligans
Lech Poznan Ultras
Vital Manchester City regular, Bundo sent us the following.
Manager: Jacek Zieliński
He is a 22-year-old Latvian who looks like he could star in a film with Arnold Shwartzenegor where he would inevitably shout 'I AM YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE'. Three goals in three is a nice way to start the season and he is a bit of a fan favourite.
Our captaining opposition is a Poland international who has featured in the 2006 World Cup. He will boss the back, but as is already quite obvious, he is not near our standards and will be breached easily...hopefully.
A very good left back with a good bit of experience to his name. Decent attacking, decent back and has a couple of awards to his name to sit up and take notice of: the Ukrainian Premier League player of the year in season 2006/2007 and in 2007 he was voted the best left-back in Ukraine! I know, I know, its Ukraine not Madrid, but still a lovely accolade! He's not as young as he once was (seems to occur in all humans that for some reason) at 28, but is still a threat.
Formed: 19 March 1922
Stadium: Stadion Miejski
The stadium is absolutely wonderful! After being a small 18,000 or so stadium not so long ago, it was battered and rammed and was demolished and rebuilt with a new name! 45,830 people (or 45,828 people and a fat bloke that covers two chairs) can now sit in this spectacle of a stadium. It was being converted because it will hold some matches in the Euro 2012 which are held in Poland and Ukraine.
The stadium has a wonderful atmosphere inside and all is enclosed as the roof comes in a bit. At night time especially it has a wonderful look to it with all the lights on.
From the outside it looks completely different to any other stadiums I have seen as it has a look of bubble wrap to it. B-e-a-utiful. Stadium is almost brand new to Lech also and will be opened with a concert from none other than...sting.
League: Ekstraklasa (Polish top division)
The History of Lech
Their history stretches back over 100 years. They have had of course the managerial changes, stadium changes, player changes and name changes throughout this like all other teams and despite the odd high profile match (two being against Marseille and Barcelona - in the European Super Cup losing on penalties) they just steadied along.
After the World War, in 1947 the top league was created and they were put right into it straight away. From then on they pretty much stayed up there with the odd dip down (a long 9 year relegation being in the early 60s). They found themselves in Europe in the 70s where from then on, for a polish team, they appeared quite a bit - despite never getting quite far.
They were getting the titles, and if they weren't, they were roundabout up there, and the Polish FA Cup on many occasions things were fine and dandy (I love that expression)...until 1993 onwards!
Financial problems occurred, which lead to selling players to survive! In 2000 the nail was finally in the coffin when they were relegated after 28 years in the top division. From here things got worse as they just escaped being relegated down the leagues once more!
Although, they found there selves once more, got promoted and stayed comfortable there! It took a while but they finally got back to winning ways, which is where we find them now!
After winning the Polish Bundasliga last season, Lech was sent through to the qualifying rounds of the Champions League through July. They got past Inter Baku with a penalty shoot-out; however they were knocked out when they lost 2-0 on aggregate against Sparta Prague.
From here they were demoted to the UEFA Europa League, where to proceed they had to get past Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (surprisingly not a team of dinosaurs) over two legs (as City did against Timisoara). A 1-0 win on aggregate sent them through to the group stages. Which is where we find ourselves now, playing against them.
DID YOU KNOW
The club is named after Lech - the founder of Poland.
So that's the opposition, all we have to do is get past them now.
You'd have thought so.
Bundo, over and out.