When we travel to new places we like to try and get involved as much as we can and look for experiences which allow us to see something beyond just the sights. We are also massive football fans, Nic being an Arsenal fan and Shorty a Liverpool fan so getting to see a stadium or even better a game is always exciting!
Football (Soccer) games in Eastern Europe have a reputation for being loud and intense and Wisla Krakow have some notorious “Ultras” so we knew this would be a game to remember!!
I had done a bit of research before setting off and knew there was a game on the Saturday but couldn’t really find much information about how to book tickets online. When we arrived we asked the hostel receptionist if she knew and it turns out her cousin was a season ticket holder so she rang up and told us you have to buy a ticket from the stadium.
Turns out Wisla Krakow have a system where you have to be a member to buy tickets. It appears to be a bit of a hassle at first but it means your ticket can only be used by you meaning selling it or stealing it is pointless, which is actually a great idea! We decided to head over a couple of days before to make sure we had enough time to get it sorted.
The stadium, named “Stadion Miejski im. Henryka Reymana” is located not too far from Old town and can we walked from the main square in around 20 mins.
We took tram 20 (Green line) in the direction of “Cichy Kącik” and got off at the second to last stop “Reymana” which which takes about 10mins.
We headed to the “Fan Corner” and up to the second level to get our “Fan Cards”. The process is pretty simple, you just have to fill in a form and head over to the counters. You will need to bring some form of ID along with you, we used our Drivers Licences. This will cost you 10ZL which is only £1.89 ($2.96) so not expensive at all.
After that you can head back down the stairs and to the box office. They had many options available and some of the tickets were really cheap. We decided to go in one of the stands across the length of the pitch to avoid the “Ultras” behind the goal and also have a good view and atmosphere!
The night of the game came and we were really quite excited but also a little nervous having been warned of the notoriety of the Wisla games and fans! We used our ID cards to get in and eventually found our way to our seats for an awesome view of the stadium! We ended up in a great spot as it was quite full but the fans around us were a lot “calmer” than the rabid bunch behind the goal… although a guy behind me almost snapped a seat!
The whole crowd then rose for a rousing rendition of Wisla Krakow’s anthem: “Jak dlugo na Wawelu” (How Long The Castle) as the teams took to the pitch.
We found out that Slask Wroclaw, the team Wisla were playing, are actually friends with Wisla and as such the away end was empty and all the fans were together in one stand making the atmosphere pretty amazing and not as intimidating as we imagined!
The entire game the atmosphere was electric, the fans were singing for the whole 90+ minutes complete with drumming and bouncing up and down, It was really something amazing to see. What made it so powerful was that everyone was singing together and in time as though it was just one roaring voice. Once we got the hang of a few of the songs we even joined in a little ourselves!!
The game was a little slow to start and although Wisla were pushing forward more it was Slask who seemed to be getting the best chances to score when they did break. You could feel the crowd getting frustrated and we heard quite a few swear words being thrown around here and there! The final straw was when they gave a penalty away and Slask scored! Instead of the crowd dropping the intensity noticeably picked up and the stadium became like a cauldron.
The second half was a much better standard and Wisla dominated which again really whipped up the crowd. There were many missed chances which became a little frustrating but when Wisla finally scored we leaped into the air with the rest of the fans and enjoyed the amazing scenes of scarf waving, celebrations and singing!
It is a shame they couldn’t score again and win the game but it was an atmosphere unlike any we have experienced before in the many football matches we’ve attended over the years and it something we won’t forget in a hurry.
If you get the chance to see a Wisla game or any other in Eastern Europe you will not be let down, although research the game before and take care! It’s great to go somewhere and be surrounded by real, local going about their lives and see something different of the city!
If you would like to read about our amazing trip to Krakow you can find it here: