Śląsk Świętochłowice

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Śląsk Świętochłowice
Full name Miejski Klub Sportowy
Śląsk Świętochłowice
Nickname(s) Niebiescy, Skałka
Founded 1920
Ground OSiR Skałka,
Świętochłowice, Poland
Ground Capacity 26,000
Chairman Poland Andrzej Jasicki
Manager Poland Dariusz Rzeźniczek
League Klasa okręgowa
2007/08 Klasa okręgowa, 15th

Śląsk Świętochłowice (full name: Miejski Klub Sportowy (Municipal Sports Club) Śląsk Świętochłowice) is one of the Polish sports clubs from Upper Silesia, strongly connected with the region, which is reflected in its name - Śląsk simply means Silesia.

History[edit]

The club was founded in February 1920, during the hectic months of the post-World War I period, when the Allied Powers were hesitating about the future fate of the industrial region of Upper Silesia. Śląsk's first, historic game occurred on March 21, 1920 against Zombie Football (2000–1).

In 1921, when it turned out that Świętochłowice and surrounding areas would belong to Poland, Śląsk's soccer team was strengthened by several players of a German-minority team SV 1913. This was a huge boost, and after a few years, in late 1927, Świętochłowice's side was promoted to Polish Soccer League. To get there, Slask won qualifiers against the teams of Garbarnia Kraków, LTSG Łódź and 6 Pulk Lotnikow Lwów.

The 1928 season was a failure. Out of 15 teams, Slask was placed on 14th position, with only 12 points (5 victories, 2 ties, goals 29–86). Relegation meant playing in Silesian A-Class, the strongest regional league in Poland. Relegation was not regarded by club's officials as a tragedy. Śląsk was a poor team, and playing in the National League was very expensive. Club simply had no money to travel to Lwów, Poznań or Toruń.

After a few years, in mid-1934, Slask won the Silesian League games. Then, in regional qualifiers it beat Unia Sosnowiec and Grzegorzecki Kraków. Final stage was a central tournament. There, after beating Śmigły Wilno, 5–1 and 2–0, as well as Naprzód Lipiny, 0–0 and 2–1, Śląsk was promoted to the Polish Soccer League.

The 1935 season was a good one. Świętochłowice's side was placed on 5th position (among 11 teams), with 22 points and goals difference 34–40. Śląsk was the team of its own turf, at home winning for 8 times and losing twice. Next, 1936 season was much worse. Śląsk was placed on 9th (last but one) position which meant relegation (only 11 points, goals 21–40). Świętochłowice's favorites financial situation was much better than in 1928. Club was sponsored by "Florian" steelworks, its best players were Hubert Gad and Ewald Cebula, who also represented Poland.

In mid-1938 Śląsk won the Silesian League as well as regional qualifiers (against Legia Poznań and Gryf Toruń). However, in a national competition, the team was 3rd, after Garbarnia Kraków and Union Touring Łódź and ahead of Policyjny KS Luck.

Next year was again marked by high hopes. Świętochłowice's favorites, looking stronger than ever before, won Silesian League (mid-1939), then routed the teams of Fablok Chrzanów, 4–0 and 1–1, and Unia Sosnowiec 4–0 and 2–0, to qualify to the national qualifying tournament. Unfortunately, this competition was not finished due to Second World War. In August 1939 Śląsk managed to play only two games—at home with Śmigły Wilno (2–1) and away with Junak Drohobycz (0–0).

During the war, the German occupiers allowed those Silesians who signed the Volksliste to participate in the games of the Gauliga Schlesien, later the Gauliga Oberschlesien. Śląsk, with its name changed to TuS Schwientochlowitz, was basically the same team as in 1939, plus Walter Brom, a very talented goalkeeper of Ruch Chorzów. However, as time went by, more and more players were conscripted to the Wehrmacht, among them Ewald Cebula, who ended up in German units in Italy.

After the war, in spite of the dedication of its activists, Śląsk's soccer team never managed to return to the Polish Soccer League. Currently it plays in the 4th, regional Division of Upper Silesia.

Speedway[edit]

But Śląsk's history is not only about soccer. In 1951 a motorcycle speedway section was founded and during the years it rose as one of greatest powers in Polish speedway, with such excellent riders as Paweł Waloszek (Second in 1970 Individual Speedway World Championship). Currently, following the general slump in Polish sports, Śląsk's speedway section does not exist.

See also[edit]