Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Highly paid Poles invade the Isles

Just a few years ago the only recognizable Polish footballer, and the only Polish National Team member, playing in the British Premiership was Jerzy Dudek. After Poland's entry into the EU, all of that has changed. The winter transfer window has been uncommonly busy with Poles getting transferred or linked to the Isles left and right. No less then eight Polish National Team members currently play in leagues across the UK: Maciej Zurawski (Celtic), Artur Boruc (Celtic), Jerzy Dudek (Liverpool), Tomasz Frankowski (Wolves), Kamil Kosowski (Southampton Saints), Tomasz Hajto (Southampton Saints), Grzegorz Rasiak (Hotspur) and Emmanuel Olisadebe (Pompey). Other leading Polish NT players are being linked with possible moves, Jacek Krzynowek from Bayer Leverkusen to Pompey, Marcin Baszczynski from Wisla Krakow to West Ham United, and Radoslaw Sobolewski from Wisla Krakow to Southampton. It looks like the majority of Polands starters playing in the World Cup this summer will be from the leagues across the UK. With other up and coming Poles also being snatched up: Bartosz Tarachulski (Dunfermline Athletic), Ziggy Malkowski (Hibernian FC), Bartosz Bialkowski (Southampton Saints), and Tomasz Kuszczak (West Brom), it appears that unlike the Polish plumber, no one fears the Polish footballers. It is quite a stunning turnaround.

The reason behind this sudden influx is Poland’s accession into the EU, before joining the EU a Polish player would have to fulfill certain work permit criteria - that is he would have to play in 75 per cent of Poland’s internationals to play in the Premiership. Now, any up and coming Pole has a shot of being signed, even "The Sausage" Grzegorz Piechna was linked with a move to Birmingham this winter. Just as Polish masons and plumbers have benefited from being able to work freely in Britain; Polish footballers are finding the UK to their liking. Interestingly enough Poles haven't been snatched up in any greater numbers by French, Spanish, German (though Germany has always had a larger proportion of Polish players) or Italian teams.


At 1/26/2006 12:24:00 AM, Blogger Bialynia said...

Here is the complete list from Mistrzu from

Dudek (Liverpool)
Zurawski (Celtic)
Boruc (Celtic)
Tarachulski (Dunfermline)
Malkowski (Hibernian)
Frankowski (Wolverhampton)
Rasiak (Tottenham)
Kosowski (Southampton)
Hajto (Southampton)
Bialkowski (Southampton)
Olisadebe (Portsmouth)
Abbott (Huddersfield)
Kus (Queen's Park Rangers)
Kuszczak (West Brom)
Fojut (Bolton)
Nuckowski (Ross County)

Krzynowek (Portsmouth)
Zewlakow (Derby)
Adamski (Derby)
Basczynski (West Ham)
Sobolewski (Southampton)
Sosin (Sunderland)
Fogler (Crewe Alexandra)
Chmiest (Plymouth

At 1/26/2006 11:52:00 AM, Blogger beatroot said...


You know, it has taken years for foreign clubs in the big leagues such as the Premiership or the Spanish or Italian leagues to catch on that there are quite a few good players in Poland who could be picked up quite cheaply. They have been taking Czech players for ages...but very few Poles were in the Premiership. But things are changing for the better,thanks probably, to Jerzy Dudek and his 'speghetti legs!'

At 1/26/2006 12:50:00 PM, Blogger beatroot said...

Global Voices picked up this story too...they must really love footie there. During the world cup let's turn p3 into the Polish Soccer news portal!

I'm only half joking...

At 1/27/2006 12:15:00 AM, Anonymous Dezso said...

He, he,
Soccer used to be played in Hungary once upon a time!
I can even remember the NT beating Poland :) Back in the early eighties :(
And we only have a few notable players expatriated (eg. Zoltan Gera).

I might suspend my subscription for the WC time with you guys. The other half of the joking!


At 1/27/2006 02:56:00 PM, Blogger beatroot said...

Hungary used to have ...what was his name...Puskas? He played for real Madrid. My dad always went on about this. best player ever, apparently...


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