2 paź 2012

Probierz resigns from Wisła leaving questions over his decision

"Wisła Kraków is a certain obligation" - said Michał Probierz after his side suffered from third defeat this season, this time to Piast Gliwice. Sergei Pareiko's mistake and then collective disorganisation and chaos were only the highlights of their latest sufferings that left the manager in disbelief over his chances to turn things around. "You have to act like a man" - he added before handing his resignation to Wisła's board.

Michał Probierz, however, is wrong. This is not an act of desperation and Piast's match should not be the final straw for him, the always-ambitious manager, one of the brightest coaching talents this league has seen in last decade. If he has shown something at his previous stages of managerial career, was that he fought hardly and against everything that was wrong with each and every club. Probierz may have been more short term coach rather than a long term one, given that the longest stint was a three-seasons long at Białystok, but even now, the 40-year-old should not resign like that.

On the other hand, he must be aware of the fact that, despite acting like a man, he puts a serious barrier for own future. After eventually settling at Jagiellonia, creating an attacking team that was learned how to win, he successfully fought the fire at ŁKS on short term basis, before travelling all over to Greece to clear the chaos Aris was in. Nothing has prepared him for what he was about to find out at Wisła Kraków though and the scale of lack of professionalism that hurt the strongest team of last decade.

"I'm the manager who wants to win. Wisła has lost three times [out of six games so far]" - was his excuse. Hardly a reasonable one, likely to be hiding the real problems over interaction with the team and parts of the board - the differences with players over his methods and tactics, while director Jacek Bednarz hardly supported his wishes and only stripped the team of assets, creating problems with lack of decisions when there were offers on the table. Kew Jaliens could leave Wisła on their terms, while Maor Melikson remains unhappy after Celtic's offer was turned down.

This has left him with the team that was unable to match their ambitions with moves on the transfer market, counting on the mix of unproven, untrusted youth and disregarded senior parts of the team, with several players (Garguła, Jaliens, Chavez, Melikson, Genkov) being especially unhappy over treatment received by the club. Wisła had other problems as well - cash stripped to the point players were made to wait for their wages for several months, something unprecedented at the club that for years lead the financial table of the Ekstraklasa.

The reason is simple - club overspent during the Dutch year, when Stan Valckx and Robert Maaskant signed on their own terms their own players and the wage bill rose to the point where both had to go and Wisła was left with long deals and disinterested personalities unwilling to leave the club before the end of contracts.

The gates of heaven remained closed for Wisła - as the Champions League group stages were not reached and the league form slipped, Maaskant and Valckx had to leave. Club legend, Kazimierz Moskal couldn't save them and on 1st March Michał Probierz stepped in. Assured only that the problems will leave his options narrowed - the best example is of signing Daniel Sikorski, a striker who played lately only in the youth league at Polonia Warszawa, where he went for big money despite short term high form at Górnik Zabrze. The only positive for his early stages at Wisła that Michał Probierz could find and tell anybody who would listen was that Sikorski worked hard on the pitch. He may have had, but he is two or three classes below the ones that were leading the attacks in recent years - Maciej Żurawski, Tomasz Frankowski and Paweł Brożek to name just a few.

The problem is that he hardly made any progress with his side - even left with the names that he would rather see out of Reymonta stadium, Probierz should already had the plan that could include and invite those left to give their all for Wisła. But his team is not only waving the white flag at the first sight of problems on the pitch, they are lacking basics to succeed - at Piast, Wisła was all over the place tactically, gaps between formations were scandalous, while the rate work at the lowest level.

Perhaps this was the right time for Probierz to resign - unable to inspire his side, pick the right side, convince them to his plans, work it out with the board. Even play against the lot of them, picking the youngest side possible, blooding in talents of which Czekaj, Chrapek and Szewczyk are only just a few. Probierz should show the character he was known for in his managerial career so far - fighting no matter what, against something.

Arguably, he would struggle with support and results in the opening stages, maybe even forced to leave - but would remain the manager who looked at all options before being rushed out of his position, something that would only show the scale of chaos at Wisła, not his coaching limitations. Michał Probierz is right in saying that maybe the "White Star" needs some sort of shock treatment to move upwards out of eleventh position they are currently in. But even with the feeling that this was the Wisła of the shortest options from the time Bogusław Cupiał is the club owner - some fifteen years now - there is a space to discuss whether Probierz used them all in his six months at the club. 

Resignation looks like the shortcut, yet to what exactly nobody knows - especially Probierz himself, disillusioned at the time of stating his decision, not only because of his failure at Wisła but also at unexpected curve on his career. He must know that it will require more hard work at the less glamorous places of the Ekstraklasa's reality - at least maybe he will find people who will share his willingness to put all they have in for the cause, something he searched for but could not find in Krakow.

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