21 kwi 2012

Wojciechowski is done. At last.

It took only 117 games in the Ekstraklasa - stressful ones, often a painful experience of witnessing some awful performances from Polonia Warsaw. Józef Wojciechowski invested his money in the club in 2006 but only since buying out the place of Groclin Grodzisk in the top division, his antics began to be noticeable and often ridiculed by fans, experts and media. Now, as he said himself, he is done with football. Forever.

Again, it took another mediocre performance from his team this season - the one that should end with a championship title in Wojeciechowski's hands. Instead, he had to sack Jacek Zieliński four weeks ago to shake things up inside the squad and improve the results as much as possible with seven games to go. Czesław Michniewicz was brought as fast as he only could drive to Warsaw, but his impact was average - just two wins from four games from which three were played at home... That says it all.

Józef Wojciechowski by many was described a mad man and surely he deserved his title in every bit. It took him six years to sign and sack seventeen managers - Jacek Zieliński was there twice - more than Celtic had in its history and equaling the number Liverpool had since 1892. That is something.

He criticized players openly, sacked managers over the phone, wanted to buy Leicester City, has frozen players' wages, cut contracts, relegated few of them to the Coconut Club, accused referees, created a transfer committee... He was a colorful persona in the greyness of Polish football, a man that was not afraid to step out of the shadow - even if that meant disgracing himself by talking... well, bollocks. 

Once he sacked manager who has not lost a single game - though Bogusław Kaczmarek's tenure lasted only four games. Wanted to move his club to Zabrze, fought with fans to just make up few months later with new flush of money into the club. Oh, money. He spent a lot of it - on average, unknown, unproven and unhealthy footballers, and gave them the biggest contract in the league as well. 

The example of Grzegorz Bonin is the perfect one - he was signed from Górnik Zabrze, given huge contract in the summer of 2011, only to end up out of the squad midway through the first round and then out of the club. Few millions spent, he did not care much. Others would come, as he used to say, and Wojciechowski did not hesitate to break new records - though he knew how to sell as well. Adrian Mierzejewski going to Trabzonspor for few millions Euro is another example of how good business man he is.

Many would think that he was the first to say that football is results business. And he was not afraid to make own decisions about the team - if to believe myths surrounding the Konwiktorska street, he influenced managers during the games, forcing tactical and personal changes, making them know how he feels about certain players - making players know how he feels towards them. I bet Ebi Smolarek would have a story or two to tell us more about Wojciechowski.

He wanted good football but had no idea how to make his club play that way. He surrounded himself with people that mostly wanted his money, influences, positions, and not something better for Polonia. It should be said that he doesn't know himself about the sport that much - though he liked to travel on his privet jet to the games like Barcelona v Real - his decisions prove it.

It is hard to say what was so "special" in this Polonia performance that he organized briefing for the media and said he quits football. He was hinting at the possibility of such move, yet no one really believed that this may be true. Often it looked like he is enjoying himself in the role he created, making a name for himself, showing off inside the corridors he owned, inviting VIPs for yet another football show, that he enjoyed so much. Or rather as he did not enjoy at all.

TV-cameras often showed his face, somewhere between famous and rich who came on his invitation to Konwiktorska - with lack of results and performances on the level he demanded, he expressed disappointment and anger over the fact that pumping the money is not enough to win as weak league as Ekstraklasa is.

He has had enough. He is done. Józef Wojciechowski is quiting Polish football. His players did not care in the match of last chance to make their own stance in the championship race, so why should he? In the briefing, Wojciechowski claimed that his ideals were torn but as far as facts are concerned, he never showed any of them that could give hope that Polonia Warsaw can win another title.

After all, it is not money that scores you goals in dying seconds, it is not banknotes that make players fight for every inch, being faster and stronger. Wojciechowski thought this could be decisive factor but was only used as a cash-machine by those who were for much longer in the game than him. Not sure how long ago he became aware of the fact but it is not something he, the man of the success, could live with. Hence the decision.

Wojciechowski should have been wiser, more careful. Do it the safer way, steadier, from basics, not by buying out everything that moved or could kick the ball more less in the right direction. What is the saddest in the whole situation, is the fact that for years his involvement in football cost him few millions - yet now it will be the fans who find themselves in uncertainty over the future of their beloved football club.

Fairly enough, they can understand him in a bit - after all, when Polonia squad went to thank them after their 0-1 loss to Ruch Chorzow, supporters accused them of lacking ambition. Is this the one thing money can't buy you in football?

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