What is Happening at Polonia Warszawa?By: Marcus | September 4th, 2010
If you, as a manager, were top of the table after four games, the last thing you would be thinking about is the sack…isn’t it? Well not so for José Mari Bakero, manager of Polonia Warszawa, as some pundits reckon the Spaniard could be the next man for the chop in the Ekstraklasa.
After success at the turn of the century, the team from the capital are now experiencing what has come to be known as the ‘J.W. Construction Era’. The ‘J.W.’ stands for Józef Wojciechowski who took over the club as chairman in March 2006. Ever since, Polonia fans have endured what can mildly be called a roller-coaster ride.
The initial takeover inspired hope and expectation in the fans as Polonia came to be recognised as one of the strongest clubs in the country with huge financial backing. One can only begin to imagine the disappointment then, at the end of the season when the team were relegated after finishing in last place. In 2006/07, they failed to get promoted and fared even worse in the following season; finishing 7th.
Then, in the 2008 off season, J.W. stepped in again as he merged the club with successful Ekstaklasa outfit, Dyskobolia Grodzisk Wielkopolski, who had finished third in Poland’s top flight that season. After effectively buying promotion and keeping most of Dyskobolia’s star players, Polonia were now an established Ekstraklasa side and finished the following season in 4th.
However, the club suffered from persistent managerial changes at the start of the 2009/10 season and at the half-way stage were in the relegation zone. This was when current manager, José Mari Bakero stepped in and turned hero after miraculously saving the club from relegation and beating local rivals, Legia, in the process (for the first time in ten years).
And so, here we are. Barcelona and now Polonia favourite, Bakero, is under threat from the demanding Józef Wojciechowski. In the interest of balance, Wojciechowski has spent a lot of money on transfers in the off-season as we now see the likes of Smolarek, Bruno and Sobiech in the black shirt of Polonia with news in the last few days that Maciej Sadlok has now signed a pre-contract with the black shirts. It is understandable then that the businessman turned football chairman wants results but the sort of perfection demanded of Bakero is just mad!
It seems though that there is a more personal side to the disagreement as the two men are always appearing to trade insults in the press. The worst of it coming when the chairman accused the Spaniard of being “disturbed in the head” recently; a far-cry from the adjectives “ambitious” and “committed” that were first used when Bakero arrived. It’s actually quite hard to discern what provoked this. Wojciechowski speaks of his disappointment with the defensive style of the team and has even named and shamed Bakero’s fellow Spaniard Andreu as a weak link in the side. Most see this though as a pretext for the owner’s ‘itchy feet’; 10 months is a long time with one manager for a man who is used to changing his head coach more than he change his underwear.
How Bakero puts up with this is beyond me. To be abused in private or within the club is one thing but to be humiliated in the media is another thing entirely. Now it has emerged that after every Polonia game all the players will be rated by a 12-man panel with the lowest rated player missing the next game. And guess who will miss Polonia’s Ekstraklasa clash next weekend according to the judges? You got it, Andreu. Since this news emerged, Bakero has been accused of being nothing more than a ‘puppet coach’ but surely the Spaniards patience is wearing thin?
It is my opinion that Wojciechowski is another example of a rich owner who, after investing heavily in a club, expects instant results. This though is almost impossible to achieve as it takes time to build a team. There is a simple solution to the current predicament. The chairman needs to apologise publicly, back down from interfering in the club and let Bakero, who is clearly a very talented manager, get on with his job. Of course this is not going to happen and it is only a matter of time before the Polonia job appears in the vacancies list. Who will answer the ad? Only someone who is “disturbed in the head.”