Category Archives: Poland

Marek Citko: The confession of an idol

Marek Citko was 22 when he scored against England at Wembley and raised many eyebrows of football fans when playing for Widzew. He could have played for Milan, Inter or Liverpool, but lost everything due to a disastrous injury.

The story begins on an autumn evening in 1996. I was sitting in front of the TV with my whole family. The stadium in Lodz, just like a couch in our small living room, was packed out. Widzew were playing against Atletico Madrid.

When I heard the Champions League anthem, shivers went down my back.

I had been waiting so long for this evening. My favourite player played in the Widzew team, some colleagues admired Ronaldo, while others loved Shearer or Del Piero. My first great idol however was Marek Citko.

It was raining heavily in Lodz that night. Actually, the downpour was so large, that it seemed as though a giant had poured out the water from a huge basin.

It was a fierce battle on the pitch, however Atletico were the better team from the very beginning. The Spaniards scored twice within half an hour, but the key moment was yet to come.

Widzew goalkeeper Maciej Szczesny threw the ball to Marek Citko. With a single turn of balance Citko beat two Atletico players and started a charge toward Madrid’s goal. In the centre circle he raised his head and shot from 50 yards. The ball landed in the back of the net.

It is the most beautiful goal I have ever seen.

That evening, nothing mattered. Neither the fact that Widzew ultimately lost 1-4, nor the fact that the next morning it was a normal school day. For a long time I laid in bed remembering how great Marek shot was. In my mind I heard the voice of the overjoyed commentator: “It was a technical masterpiece!”

Before I closed my eyes, I told myself that one day I have to talk to my idol.

Sixteen years later the dream came true. We are talking. Both rich from an experience which changed us. In the past sixteen years I have managed to grow up. Marek though went through a path that he certainly didn’t expect. From a man who was once Polish football’s superstar, to a quiet former footballer with the “wasted talent” label.

You feel like an accomplished soccer player?

I think not. Although I still think that I have achieved a lot. Scoring goals in the Champions League or at Wembley Stadium was incredible. This is a memento for life

He is very humble and quiet. It is evident at first glance, you can simply hear it in his voice. It seems that he can’t find himself in the center of attention very well.

Talking to him, you don’t feel the barrier that some footballers create. Marek is very friendly and has no problem answering any question. Even if it’s very difficult.

I remember watching Widzew games in the Champions League when I was a ten-year-old boy. It was great to see you play and score so many nice goals. Few years later I could not accept that my idol couldn’t overcome the injury. How did you got through with it?

It was not easy, although at first I had no idea that the injury would shatter everything. I remember that I tore a tendon while falling to the pitch, I immediately thought, “That’s nothing, it happens. Fast recovery and I will be back in play”. I told it to myself every day, but when rehabilitation got longer and longer, I began to understand that it was much more serious. That my return to form was not simple.

Today I know that some cardinal errors were committed during the treatment. If we hadn’t realized that the doctor who took care of me was not the best, today I probably couldn’t even walk. But you know, at the time I didn’t think that way. I thought I will get fit quickly and everything will be just like before.

I know you’re a very religious person. Did religion help you through that difficult period?

Without faith, I would not make it through, that’s for sure. I read the Bible often, and my favorite book is The Book of Job. He took so many blows, lost everything he had, but even for a moment he didn’t stop to praise God. In difficult moments, I told myself that everything bad that happened to me during the career, is nothing from the perspective of eternity. I could not break down.

Several years ago, the magazine “Bravo Sport” was extremely popular among the kids – I don’t even know if it is still issued today. Anyway, the truth is that “Bravo Sport” was the first newspaper to introduce me to the world of football.
I read about the stars of the game, stars who always seemed very distant and totally inaccessible. I was convinced that the best players had kind of superhuman powers. It was clear, that the stars of the game ran faster, shot harder, and were generally unique.

“Bravo Sport” used to publish weekly rankings of the top athletes. There were people practicing various disciplines. Tennis players, boxers, basketball players … I didn’t even know who half of them were. In 1996, the first place, however, was reserved for a football player. Do you think for Ronaldo? Not at all! The most popular sports star among the Polish fans was Marek Citko.

Each and every person in Poland loved him at the time. It was often said that Citkomania prevailed. Every journalist wanted an interview with Marek, every kid dreamed of his autograph. Every girl wanted to get a kiss from him.

Indeed, it was a crazy time. So much was happening in my life. The phone would break, because everyone wanted to do an interview with me, get an autograph or drag me to a party. I’ll tell you that I was not prepared for it and I think that I was not aware of the scale of it all. Today, only in retrospect, I realize how popular I was.

It was faith and everyday routine that kept me on the ground. Because every now and then there was some training, a game or a camp, I managed to cut off from all the hype. It was also a period of my first major decision. I decided to propose to my fiancee, who helped me somehow survive that crazy time.

I remember that when we once went to the cinema someone recognized us. We immediately hid around the corner. We had to wait until the movie started, the lights went out, so we could go unnoticed and not cause a sensation.

From the time when Citko was at his best, Poland hasn’t seen a more talented player. He was more gifted than all of the today’s stars. He was technically better than Lewandowski and Blaszczykowski, and was able to decide the fate of matches with one touch. He anticipated everything two steps ahead. There is no doubt he could have played in any of the biggest European clubs.

After a few great matches in the Champions League a big move seemed to be just a matter of time.

The most attractive offer that I got came from Blackburn Rovers. They offered a salary of over one million pounds per year. At that time this was an unimaginable amount of money. However, money never meant a lot to me. I thought I was not ready to play abroad and decided to stay in Poland for a few more months.

Which teams, apart from Blackburn, wanted to transfer you from Widzew?

In the newspapers you could read that all of the best in Europe, but of course this was an exaggeration. I knew for sure that there were offers from Liverpool, Arsenal, AC Milan and Inter. But Blackburn gave the most money for Widzew, so I only negotiated with them.

Then came the disastrous injury that eventually ruined your career. You had no claims to the fate that struck such a blow to you?

I have a personal motto: “Let the will of heaven write your destiny”. I think it may serve as an answer. 

– Many people can’t cope when they lose everything in one day. Have you tried to retreat somehow by for example hitting a bottle?

Oh no. It was not my style, you know. Since I was little, I was taught that in difficult times you don’t look to the glass but at the cross. Faith has helped me overcome various temptations in my life. And I can tell you there were a lot of those.

Are you an unfulfilled talent?

As a footballer – I think so. But luckily as a man I feel satisfied. And this is much more important. I have a nice family and that’s what really matters. Being a footballer lasts for a few years, but being a father, a husband – that is something that lasts for life.

Today Citko is a football manager. As he says, he wants to help young players make the right decisions. He often watches lower-league matches and tries to bring talented players to the Ekstraklasa.

At first glance, the modest and withdrawn Citko does not fit into the milieu of managers, who have a very negative reputation. Most people believe football agents are the incarnations of evil, bloodsuckers feeding on footballers and squeezing them to the bone. However, according to Marek such an opinion is unfair, because in any job there is a group of people whose bad practices affect the perception of the whole.

Look at the doctors or lawyers. There are some black sheep among them, which spoil the opinion of all. So it is with managers and players. Not everyone does his job properly, but I focus on my work. I try to do my best and, until today, nobody accused me of anything – he says.

Citko points out that providing the best medical aid for the players in case of injury is what’s most important to him.
Some time ago, one of his players – Lukasz Gikiewicz from Slask Wroclaw – broke an ankle. Citko rapidly launched his contacts and the player got fit in just a few weeks.

That’s what I see as my greatest achievement in the work of an agent. And so I understand my function. You have to be with your player no matter if he is up or down. It’s so easy to pat one’s back when everything goes well. But to support someone in a difficult moment is much more valuable – Marek says with conviction.

In a low voice he says that he regrets that no one gave him a helping hand, in the first months after he was injured. Maybe then everything would be different? Maybe there would be more nights like that one in September, when Europe wondered how a young boy from Widzew ridiculed the famous Jose Molina?

Sixteen years have passed since that September evening. Almost everything had changed. It turned out that the world is not so remarkable as that seen through the eyes of an eight-year-old boy. It turned out that even the greatest talent may lose his best years.

One thing hasn’t changed, however. I’ve never seen a goal more beautiful than the one scored by Marek Citko on that rainy autumn evening.

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The week in the East: Bets, Star Wars and the elements

Ukrainian PM wins a cheeky bet.

The head of Sweden’s Supporters Club, Ola Sjostedt, was forced to keep his end of a betting bargain with Ukrainian Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov after making an on air bet that the loser would buy the other a beer. What a lovely, light hearted story you would think. However the leader of Azarov’s political opposition Mykola Tomenko wants to see Azarov pay a £6.50 for drinking on political premises.

Ukrainian fans embrace the rain.

Ukraine’s match against France may have been postponed for an hour or so thanks to absolutely torrential rains, however that didn’t stop some fans from having a ball.

Tymoschuk riles Ribery.

The beauty of the banter between two team mates.

Polish police summon the force.

The European Championships have suffered from their fair share of tricky situations which have required the reaction of local security forces, however Police police recently unveiled their secret weapon in conquering the issues that presently beset them. I, for one, would think twice about causing trouble on the streets of Poland with this fella knocking about flailing a lightsaber.

Nationalism on the streets of Warsaw

The very nature of the European Championships mean that it is likely that nations, who share a long, embittered history, will be forced to face off against one another in a heated contest that will make the blood of many fans boil. The complex nature of European history means that the present climate persists in being unstable, particularly when accompanied by the passion that football instils in people.

When it was announced, back in December 2011, that Russia were due to face off against Poland in the Euro 2012 group stage, on Polish territory, shockwaves were ushered across Europe in preparation of one of the tournament’s most intriguing fixtures. The tie itself holds countless historical, social and political connotations, some of which span hundreds of years into the past, and as such the fixture will no doubt have been blacklisted as a major fixture in which Polish security would need to be at their most vigilant.

Border issues between the Empire of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Muscovy, some 600 years ago, have consequently been followed by various Polish-Russian wars and mutual territorial occupations. These unsavoury occasions have served to help define the two nation’s present relationship within the 21st century. The scars of the Soviet control of Poland, in which the nation became known as the People’s Republic of Poland, still remain today and, like it or not, Joseph Stalin’s influence can still be seen, particularly in the form of the Palace of Culture and Science. Gomułka’s thaw may have melted away the immediate influence of Stalin’s legacy however shadows continue to be cast despite the transformations.

While Stalin’s actions continue to linger, history persists in being a precursor for the present day – as the skirmishes on the streets of Warsaw prior to, and after, Poland’s hard fought draw against a confident Russia attest to. The images that streamed through from the Polish capital were unquestionably disturbing; on the day that Russia was celebrating a national holiday in Russia Day – which is essentially the nation’s Independence Day. Blood was spilled on the streets of Warsaw while Russian fans marched towards the National Stadium in the late afternoon, as the build up to the much anticipated match reached fever pitch.

Such a public expression of national pride was always tempting fate thanks to the fact that the pre existing tensions between fans of both nations were always likely to spill over into potentially dangerous scenes with the aid of relatively little provocation. Social and political differences are also accompanied by the, now well known, fact that a percentage of Polish and Russian fans have a penchant for tribalistic footballing sentiments, which can often result in violent behaviour. It is likely that much of the aggression that was witnessed on the streets of Warsaw were in fact organised prior to the start of the tournament as a means of ‘getting one over’ each other.

The nationalist agendas that were on show for the world to see are such that they have come to fore as the key issue that continually dogs the progression of eastern European football. Poland and Russia are not alone in regularly bearing witness to such proceedings as many of the former Yugoslavian states, including the likes of Serbia and Bosnia, are also made to suffer for the actions of the fans who claim to be supporters of football. It’s quite preposterous that such a small minority of fans would be willing to jeopardise the development of their nation’s footballing hopes for the opportunity to beat the living daylights out of a handful of separate thugs who happen to wear differing colours, and speak in an alien tongue. For both Poland and Russia, the actions of their fans may well have a say in just how the next decade will shape up for their national sides.

Russia presently find themselves in a hugely difficult situation, thanks to the fact that UEFA have seen fit to hand them a suspended six point qualifying sentence, due to their fan’s actions during a previous fixture against Czech Republic. Should any further violence break out prior to Euro 2016 then Russia will likely be forced to sit out the tournament. The prospect of missing out on the tournament, in France, would be a travesty for the Russian game – as they look to usher in a new generation of talent who will capable of achieving success during the nation’s home World Cup in 2018. Should UEFA take further action following the recent developments in Warsaw then it is entirely feasible that Russia will be forced to accept that a place at the next European Championships is simply an impossibility.

The fate of both Poland and Russia lies in the hands of UEFA at present. Russia Today, a Russian news service, has been quick to place the blame for the incidents upon the shoulders of their Polish counterparts; however the Poles have been equally as quick to blame the Russian fans. The whole situation reeks of ‘he said, she said’ and UEFA will likely take the precedent set from their previous ruling against Russia into account when they come to pass judgement. As previously mentioned, this would be a significant blow to Russia however for a young Polish side, intent on making headway on the international stage, a potential point’s deduction during qualifying for Euro 2016 would represent a significant blow to their hopes of developing into a respected footballing power.

It’s a catastrophe that such an incredible tournament, so far, has been overshadowed by the actions of a small minority. Both Poland and Russia have, on the field, been two of the significant revelations during the early stages of the tournament however the unsavoury images that have now haunted both nations will taint the fabulous football that has been on show thus far. It will ultimately be the football that has the last laugh, however, as the issues of violence and racism will make way in the history books for the glorious spectacles that we are fortunate enough to witness on the field itself.

Eastern violence sparks further social debate at Euro 2012

Collective disobedience by eastern European fans against the local authorities in both Poland and Ukraine will serve to permanently tarnish the tournament as a whole. There remains a distinct disregard for the well being of those who hope to ensure that the European Championships are not tainted by the actions of those in the stands. This is, however, a truly complex situation which suffers from the inherent conflict which exists between eastern European fans and security forces in football grounds.

Russia, for example, regularly finds itself immersed within violence and tension between fans and policing authorities. A sense of injustice exists in the mindset of many fans who feel as though they are dealt with in a particularly heavy handed manner. This, in turn, helps to provoke a reaction of a rather extreme magnitude. One look at the severity of fines that Russian clubs receive on a weekly basis during the course of a season, as a consequence of their fan’s actions, and the struggle that presently exists begins to become ever clearer

The balancing act that needs to exist, in order to ensure the safety of each individual within a stadium at any given time, is one that sits all too precariously – and more often than not falls on the side of chaos. The tribalism that is rife across the east is one that remains deeply entrenched in the fabric of each football club. Each team represents a political and social ideology and to separate the sporting institution from its fan base is a painfully difficult process. Generations of fans have been brought up to believe in the just cause of their side, and as such have developed the desire to spit bile and hatred to those whom they perceive as being the enemy.

The manner in which Russian fans reacted to the stewards, in the wake of their nation’s match against the Czech Republic, is quite simply unsurprising. It has since come to light that the mass brawl that ensued came as a result of the ‘heavy handed’ measures taken by the stewards in dealing with rowdy Russian fans. This led to the abandonment of civility and the introduction of fists. In the build up to the tournament much of the continent’s eyes were on the supporters of the co-hosts who, as has been widely reported, suffer from a certain degree of hooliganism. However it would appear as though the potential actions of visiting fans were forgotten in earnest.

Accompanied by allegations of racial abuse, towards the Dutch squad during an open training session, the European Championships have suffered from a particularly difficult start, with the tournament still rooted firmly in its infancy. With hundreds of thousands of fans still yet to fill the Polish and Ukrainian stands it would appear as though these early signs could well point toward a difficult few weeks for UEFA, in particular.

With the bidding for the Euro 2020 tournament beginning to take shape it will be interesting to see whether the governing body will wish to see the competition placed in the arms of a ‘safe’ pair of hands. This would point to the Celtic bid – made up of Wales, Scotland and Ireland – being placed in pole position, ahead of the more unstable environments of Turkey and Georgia and Azerbaijan. However as representation continues to remain a key facet of potential host nations, the Celtic bid could potentially suffer from the French tournament of 2016.

It is certain that crowd trouble is not merely an issue isolated solely to Eastern Europe however, and this is a point that does not appear to have been stressed enough. There can be no nation who can claim to have struck a perfect balance whereby conflicts between fans and security forces are nonexistent. As such the establishment of a successful ‘one size fits all’ model of policing football matches has yet to be formulated, and is unlikely to ever come to light. In such a situation one size certainly doesn’t fit all, and so the regional discrepancies of each individual issue must be taken into account in order for the eradication of violence at football grounds to become a reality.

Eastern Europe will likely bear the brunt of the western tabloid storm; however the tournament will hopefully provide more positives than negatives over the coming weeks. Much attention will now be placed upon how fans behave in and around the host cities, however hopefully they will not all be solely focussed upon both Poland and Ukraine alone.

The ‘Eastie Boys: Poland

Goalkeepers

Wojciech Szczesny (Arsenal) – Quickly establishing himself as one of Europe’s most promising keepers. This tournament will be a test of nerve – mature beyond his years.

Przemyslaw Tyton (PSV Eindhoven) – Major injury scare at start of season was less serious than expected. Second choice at PSV and will be during the Euros too.

Grzegorz Sandomierski (Jagiellonia Bialystok) – Struggled for game time after moving to Brugges in the summer, return to Poland saw him gain match time. Able deputy, but vastly inexperienced at top level.

Defenders

Lukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund) – One of Europe’s finest right backs at present. Progression over past couple of years immeasurable. A linchpin at the back, as well as going forward.

Marcin Wasilewski (Anderlecht) – Steady, yet unspectacular. Likely central defensive starter but it’s an area that’s a real weakness for the Poles.

Jakub Wawrzyniak (Legia Warsaw) – An ever present for Legia, and now a fixture at international level. Needs discipline to provide balance against attacking nature of right flank.

Marcin Kaminski (Lech Poznan) – One for the future who’s only recently been blooded on international scene. Cover at centre back, but will be a big test if called upon.

Grzegorz Wojtkowiak (Lech Poznan) – Unlikely to find himself in the right back berth unless an injury befalls Piszczek .

Sebastian Boenisch (Werder Bremen) – An expression of poor defensive depth. Cover for left back position but rarely gets a sniff of first team action in Bremen.

Damien Perquis (Sochaux) – A starter in the centre of defence, managed a decent season in a leaky Sochaux defence. Experienced despite lack of international caps.

Midfielders

Eugen Polanski (Mainz) – Dogged and determined defensive midfielder who will likely sit among a tightly knit midfield three.

Dariusz Dudka (Auxerre) – Also likely to sit in a deep defensive role in midfield. More prone to being viewed as the ‘sitter’ in front of the back four.

Adam Matuszczyk (Fortuna Düsseldorf) – His versatility will be a plus point for Poland. Capable of playing in central midfield or on the left. A decent option off the bench.

Adrian Mierzejewski (Trabzonspor) – A playmaker who can play centrally or from the flank. A player always on the edge and likely to see red, but a quality player on his day.

Jakub Blaszczykowski (Borussia Dortmund) – A class act and important part of Poland’s attacking plans. Pace and trickery on the flank will be key to Polish progression.

Ludovic Obraniak (Bordeaux) – A deft player who is capable of intricacy and finesse. His vision will likely be important if Poland are to unlock stubborn defences from central areas.

Maciej Rybus (Terek Grozny) – A quick and nimble player who doesn’t shirk defensive responsibility. He’ll provide width but also much needed protection.

Kamil Grosicki (Sivasspor) – Quick and technical winger who is capable of taking on a defender and providing balls to the forwards. A good option when opposition tire.

Rafal Murawski (Lech Poznan) – Experienced defensive midfielder who will likely vie for a starting berth. A solid choice who is clever on the ball and can provide the odd goal.

Rafal Wolski (Legia Warsaw) – A real wildcard. This tournament may have come too soon for him to impact upon but the experience will stand him in good stead.

Forwards

Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund) – Cemented his reputation as a true goalscorer this season. Confidence is sky high and his goals are key to Polish progression.

Artur Sobiech (Hannover) – Struggled for goals and games since moving to Germany. A typical number 9, could provide a last gasp goal physical goal threat.

Pawel Brozek (Trabzonspor/Celtic) – Disappointing loan spell at Celtic. Has a decent international record so will provide another option from the bench when the chips are down.

Euro 2012 Tactical Previews: Poland

As part of its build-up to the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, Slavic Football Union is running a series of tactical previews on the eastern European sides taking part in the tournament. In this addition, we take a look at co-hosts Poland…

A combination of being co-hosts and drawn in what appears the most open group – alongside Greece, Russia and the Czech Republic – has given Poland a level of optimism which is surprising given that they have struggled to find a settled formula under experienced coach Franciszek Smuda.

After a disastrous qualification campaign for World Cup 2010 that saw them finish above only San Marino in their six team group, Smuda was given the call to replace Leo Beenhakker. Whilst the lack of competitive football is always an issue that faces hosting nations, Poland have wrestled with a number of tactical systems and over a hundred players on their way to the tournament.

They appear to have found a something resembling stability in the last six months, with more settled selections, but many remain sceptical about the temperament and authority of the coach. National euphoria is bound to provide the team with much needed backing, but they will need more than that to exceed expectations on home soil.

Coach

Following the disaster of World Cup qualifying, the stable hands of Smuda appeared a logical choice given that the veteran coach had enjoyed two successful seasons domestically with Lech. It also offered the public a much desired Polish option after the Dutchman Beenhakker’s tenure turned sour.

Whilst the lack of competitive action makes assertion of your position difficult, Smuda has been the architect of on and off the field problems in the build-up to the championships. On the field he has tinkered relentlessly with players and systems to the point where even justifying the changes for experimental purposes has lost credence.

Off the field, he’s scoured Europe for Polish blood to recruit, despite having previously criticised his predecessor for doing exactly the same thing. There’s also been the random complete jettisoning of players for not complying with his strict codes of behaviour. Whether his decisions have had justification or not, he’s seen as a weak link that has undermined his own position through capricious and hypocritical actions.

Tactics

Following endless iterations, Smuda finally seems to have settled on a 4-2-3-1 based around a solid defensive base and smart, eager attackers. He will be sincerely hoping that the ‘Dortmund axis’ of Łukasz Piszczek, Jakub Błaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski can carry their club form onto the international stage.

In goal, Wojciech Szczęsny has become guaranteed first choice almost since he stepped into the Arsenal first-team. That process has been slightly aided by the fact that the man he replaced at the Emirates is also his national team rival, Łukasz Fabiański. His form during Smuda’s experimental friendlies has been one of the few positive by-products of the coach’s tinkering.

At right back, Piszczek has developed immeasurably in the last three seasons and will be expected to contribute in both attack and defence. On the other side, the steady Jakub Wawrzyniak is likely to get the nod, despite being prone to standing off pacy attackers, with the more dynamic but injury ravaged Sebastian Boenisch available in reserve. Poland’s dearth of quality central defenders continues, with Smuda having recruited Damien Perquis (born in Troyes, France) to partner the experienced Marcin Wasilewski.

In front of the defence, it will be two from three as Dariusz Dudka, Rafał Murawski and Eugen Polanski scrap it out. All three are experienced and well-drilled in the roles and are key to the stability of the side.

At the front of the midfield, two of the three positions look certain: Błaszczykowski is a bright and willing schemer on the right, while Ludovic Obraniak has levels of finesse and perception not found anywhere else in the squad. He also offers a threat from range with his crisp strike. Adrian Mierzejewski, Obraniak’s backup, will be frustrated to play second fiddle to the French born midfielder. He was outstanding in the 2010-11 Ekstraklasa season with Polonia Warsaw, but struggled to retain a first team place after a big money move to Turkish side Trabzonspor.

On the left of the attack there are a few options for Smuda. Maciej Rybus would appear the favourite to take the spot, offering pace plus defensive diligence. Kamil Grosicki and Legia Warsaw’s exciting teenager Rafał Wolski offer alternatives. Whoever is selected in the wide areas will be expected to drop into the midfield line and shield the full-backs against better sides.

Up front, Lewandowski will be hoping to follow up an outstanding Bundesliga season with a starring role on home soil. Strong, athletic, smart and clinical, he has flourished since leaving Lech Poznan nearly two years ago. For a player who once questioned Smuda’s use of a single striker system, he plays the role with great efficacy.

The week in the East: Voronin and the worst defending ever

Blame the haircut.

Andriy Voronin will be known to most English fans as the Liverpool flop who couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo. Followers of the Bundesliga and the Russian Premier League will know him as a slightly more capable forward who could try his hand at being both scorer and provider. However Voronin’s recent miss during an international friendly for Ukraine, against Estonia, will bring back memories of his time on Anfield. Personally, I blame the fact that his semi-iconic ponytail has been hacked off.

Is this the worst defending ever witnessed?

Not much can be said about this, however the culprit’s name is Stojan Vranješ. Truly awful.


Panorama fail.

We at the Slavic Football Union are among the biggest purveyors of eastern European football. We don’t care for the slights of the smuggly glorified western media in their portrayals of the region, especially during the build up to one of the defining moments in the region’s sporting history. The BBC’s Panorama ‘investigation’ sensationalised the state of the eastern game to point where it became unrecognisable, and the eastern European press have taken too kindly to the beeb’s antics either.

The article culminates in saying ‘the BBC should really apologise’ – which says it all really.

http://www.fotbalnaplno.cz/content/euro-2012-stadiony-nenavisti-dokument-bbc

Can’t sing, won’t sing.

Adam Ljajic has courted controversy recently, after finding himself on the receiving end of his former Fiorentina coach’s fist. However once again the Serbian midfielder has found himself hitting the headlines for somewhat bizarre reasons as he has been banned from his national team for refusing to sing the national anthem during a friendly against Spain. He claims that his stance to not sing the Serbian anthem is a point of principle, however it would appear that he won’t feature again until that changes.