||This article may be confusing or unclear to readers. (June 2013)|
||This article may be written from a fan's point of view, rather than a neutral point of view. (June 2013)|
|Full name||Wejherowski Klub Sportowy "Gryf Orlex"|
|Founded||1921TS Kaszubia, as|
|Ground||WKS Gryf Stadium
|League||Polish Third League (III liga)|
|Website||Club home page|
Gryf Wejherowo is a Polish semi-professional football club in Wejherowo, Poland.[a] The club plays in the Polish Third League (III liga). It was founded as TS Kaszubia in 1921, but after World War II the club was renamed Gryf Wejherowo.
Gryf Wejherowo is the oldest football club in Pomeranian Voivodeship, and for several years was the only club in the region playing in the Polish Third League (III liga). It is well known in Poland for reaching the 2011–12 Polish Cup quarterfinals after beating clubs from the Polish Premier League (Ekstraklasa) and the Polish First League (I liga).
Gryf Wejherowo is not a popular club in Poland, and its fans are not well organised. Previously there was an ultras group of supporters called Żółto-czarni – which prepared banners, flags, and chanted at all of the matches – but dissolved after supporters started to boycott Gryf Wejherowo because of a conflict with the club's management. Gryf's fans are friendly with Kaszubia Kościerzyna and Orkan Rumia supporters. The latter of the two is also one of Gryf Wejherowo's local rivals. Some of the Gryf fans are also Arka Gdynia fans.
Gryf Wejherowo does not just have one or two rivals, but has several clubs that clearly have feelings of animosity towards them. Some of the more notable rival clubs are Bałtyk Gdynia and Bytovia Bytów. Matches involving these two rivals often feed to a lot of anticipation and antagonistic promotion, and extra security. Gryf Wejherowo has local friendly rivalries. Orkan Rumia and Orlęta Reda are two local rivals located in Wejherowo County and compete against Gryf Wejherowo in the Kashubian Tricity local derby.
Gryf Wejherowo's first shirt sponsor was the town council of Wejherowo until 2004. The next sponsor was Northpol, which is Szlas' company. From 2007, the Gryf Wejherowo strategic sponsor was Orlex, which supported the club with 500,000zł every year, and starting in 2012 Orlex became Gryf Wejherowo's title sponsor. Some of the secondary sponsors are: Northpol, and PKS Wejherowo.
First-team appearances history from 1972
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
The football managers were:
- 1921unknown–1991 –
- 1991Wojciech Bork, longest-serving manager–2004 –
- 2004Dariusz German–2005 –
- 2005Ryszard Szewczyk (pl)–2006 –
- 2006unknown–2007 –
- 2007Tomasz Unton (pl)–2008 –
- 2008Wojciech Wasiek, former Gryf player–2011 –
- 2011Grzegorz Niciński, banned for participating in a 2004 match-fixing scandal, while he was a player–2012 –
- 2012Dariusz Mierzejewski–2013 –
- 2013Grzegorz Niciński–2014 –
- 2014Tomasz Kotwica, former Gryf player–present –
The home colours have always been yellow and black, the Kashubians national colors. The numbers have always been black.
The away colours were previously all-black with yellow accents, including the socks. But there were also several years in the 1990s, when the away jersey was pink and black. During the 2010–2012 seasons, the away jersey stripes were changed to their sponsor's colours: red, navy blue and white, however they were dropped. Currently the away jersey is a black shirt with a v-neck collar and three red bars on the shoulders, worn with black shorts and red socks with three black stripes.
In April 1921, a Sokół nest was the first gymnastics association organized in Wejherowo. Soon after that the predecessor of the current Wejherowo sports club, Kaszubia, was organized, along with Siła and some other smaller associations. Because of Sokół, the city became famous for top national boxers and long-distance runners, despite that they lacked modern training facilities, which were completed in 1927. Sokół nest had 700 members. Wejherowo's sports movement regularly organized various competitions and hosted nationally renowned tournaments including the "Błękitną Wstęgę Bałtyku", a tennis blue riband event in which players such as Ignacy Tłoczyński, Józef Hebda (pl), and Jadwiga Jędrzejowska competed. The development of this sports movement was stopped by World War II.
After in April 1945, all sport clubs in Wejherowo merged. In 1952 the club name was changed to "Miejski Międzyzakładowy Klub Sportowy (MMKS) 'Gryf'." Kaszubia was considered the most important of them all. There were also single sport clubs, like Czytelnik and Wejherowianka, but they quickly fell into obscurity and dissolved.
The heritage of Interwar period sports clubs was mainly dominated by boxing. MMKS Gryf was also a club for boxers; past members who competed for the club include Olympic medal winners Hubert Skrzypczak and Henryk Dampc (pl). Despite these successes, the importance of the sports club decreased because it lacks the financial support of a large local employer for development so the sports club lost boxers to GKS Wybrzeże i Stoczniowca, footballers to various clubs, and handball players to Starty Gdańsk. On a side note, Gryf had also won the Polish women's team bowling cup during this period.
In the 1970s, the club's football team was promoted to the third tier of the Polish football league system but was demoted three years later. Football's popularity grew in Wejherowo and eventually dominated over the club's other sports. Football in Wejherowo even kept its popularity supreme over basketball, during the 1980s, when basketball was making some headway and accomplishing minor achievements.
The team again was promoted to the III liga in 1992, but was demoted five years later in a restructuring of the Polish football league system. By 1998, the team returned to the previous division as "WKS Gryf Wejherowo" and won a Regional Polish Cup. In 1995, some of the club's athletes left the team and founded a new club, KS Wejher Wejherowo.
During the years 1999–2004 were definitely the most difficult in the club's history. The club was in debt to the amount of 300,000 zł, which was equivalent to £43,336 as of 2004. For a time, until 2002, the club was not exclusively focused on football but also bowling and duplicate bridge. The team was the only club from the region which played in the pre-2008 III liga season. During that time, it included a few players, such as Dawid Pomorski and Wojciech Pięta, who are widely regarded today as legends. Both Pomorski and Pięta—despite the club's debt and difficulty paying it—are widely credited within the community of Wejherowo for competing at a level that raised the team to the III liga, and in turn won two regional cups in 2000 and 2003. But at the end of the 2003–2004 season, the team was relegated to the IV liga and the board resigned.
Rafał Szlas became the Gryf Wejherowo chairman in 2004. With Szlas's company he paid off all the club's debts and started to rebuild Gryf Wejherowo after suffering another relegation to the V liga. In 2006, the team reached the 4th tier, and gained a new club sponsor: The Orlex Company. From 2006–2009, the club reached higher divisions using local players, but when they reached the 4th tier, which was renamed the III liga, they decided to appoint a director of football; Wiesław Renusz. Renusz immediately started to trade for new young and talented players, like Grzegorz Gicewicz and Przemysław Kostuch, who are still playing for Gryf. In fact, Gicewicz and Kostuch are widely considered two of the best players in the club's history. In May 2011, former Ekstraklasa player Grzegorz Niciński (pl) was hired as the team manager. With Niciński's arrival, he has changed the club's winning average into one of the best in the Pomeranian Voivodeship, to boot, he led the club to win another Polish regional cup. In June 2011, the team reached the quarterfinals of the Central Polish Cup and got promoted to the II liga in June 2012. Unfortunately, Niciński was banned in 2012 for eight months by the Polish Football Association for participating in a 2004 match-fixing scandal, while he was a player. The team's new manager became Dariusz Mierzejewski who managed until July 2013.
In 2011, a book about the club's history was published: 9 Dekad Gryfa.[b]
- One Polish Women's Team Bowling Cup
- Four Polish Regional FA Cups: 1997–1998, 1999–2000, 2002–2003, 2010–2011
Gryf Wejherowo's crest is a black Kashubian griffin with a crown, turned to the left on a basic gold shield surrounded by a blue, white and gold circle where the club's name is accompanied by a six-pointed star.
WKS Gryf Wejherowo plays its home matches at WKS "Gryf" Stadium, which is located in the forest south of Wejherowo. The stadium was built between 1924 and 1927 and has two grass pitches: the main pitch is on the central part of the plot of land, and the smaller pitch is reserved for training, and is on an elevated part of the plot of land located to the south. Initially the area was designed for a military shooting range. The stadium's maximum capacity is 2,500, however there are only 1,050 seats.
The current club officials are:
- Chairman: Rafał Szlas
- Co-chairmen: Dariusz Mikołajczak, Tomasz Angel
- Commercial director: Dariusz Konkol
- Director of football: Wiesław Renusz
- Chief of Staff: Zbigniew Hallman
- Club secretary: Łukasz Nowaczyk
- The full name has changed several times:
- 1921Towarzystwo Sportowe "Kaszubia" Wejherowo – 
- 1945Klub Sportowy "Gryf" –
- 1952Miejski Międzyzakładowy Klub Sportowy "Gryf" –
- 1998Wejherowski Klub Sportowy "Gryf" –
- 2005Wejherowski Klub Sportowy "Gryf-Northpol" Wejherowo – 
- 2007Wejherowski Klub Sportowy "Gryf Orlex" Wejherowo –
- 2012Wejherowski Klub Sportowy "Gryf Orlex" – 
- 2014Wejherowski Klub Sportowy "Gryf" –
- Not found in WorldCat.
- "Historia". gryfwejherowo.com.pl (in Polish). Wejherowo: Gryf Orlex Wejherowo. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- Necel, Roman (23 February 2005). "Nowy Sponsor Gryfa". pomorskifutbol.pl (in Polish). Pomorski Futbol. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- "Po walnym zebraniu sprawozdawczym". gryfwejherowo.com.pl (in Polish). Wejherowo: Gryf Orlex Wejherowo. 10 February 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-08-21. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- "Gryf Wejherowo". pomorskifutbol.pl (in Polish). Pomorski Futbol. 2014. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- "Kadra". gryfwejherowo.com.pl (in Polish). Wejherowo: Gryf Orlex Wejherowo. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- "Wejherowski Klub Sportowy Gryf Wejherowo". 90minut.pl (in Polish). Archived from the original on 3 October 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- "Na wybrzerzu coraz gorzej. Koniec Gryfa?". trojmiasto.pl (in Polish). 13 June 2002. Archived from the original on 11 July 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- Nowaczyk, Łukasz (4 May 2011). "Grzegorz Niciński nowym szkoleniowcem Gryfa". arka.gdynia.pl (in Polish). Gdynia: Arka Gdynia Sportowa Spólka Akcyjna. Archived from the original on 17 December 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- "Gryf Wejherowo zwolnił Grzegorza Nicińskiego. Za korupcję". sport.pl (in Polish). Warszawa: Agora. 12 October 2012. Archived from the original on 17 December 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- Smuga, Tomasz (14 October 2012). "Mierzejewski za Nicińskiego w Gryfie". dziennikbaltycki.pl. Gdańsk: Polskapresse. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- Nowaczyk, Łukasz; Modzelewski, Tomasz (2011). 9 dekad Gryfa: 90 lat historii największego wejherowskiego klubu sportowego WKS Gryf Wejherowo (in Polish). Wejherowo: Wejherowski Klub Sportowy Gryf. ISBN 978-83-932843-0-6.
- "Na wzgórzu stoi...". trojmiasto.pl (in Polish). 29 July 2003. Archived from the original on 11 July 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- "Gryf Orlex z Pucharem Polski!". gryfwejherowo.com.pl (in Polish). Wejherowo: Gryf Orlex Wejherowo. 25 June 2011. Archived from the original on 21 August 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- "Stadion". gryfwejherowo.com.pl (in Polish). Wejherowo: Gryf Orlex Wejherowo. Archived from the original on 18 June 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Wejherowo: Nowa jakość na stadionie". nadmorski24.pl (in Polish). 7 April 2011. Archived from the original on 18 December 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- "Zarząd klubu". gryfwejherowo.com.pl (in Polish). Wejherowo: Gryf Orlex Wejherowo. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- (Polish) Polish football database