Pogon Szczecin

MKS Pogon Szczecin (Polish pronunciation: [ˌɛmkaˈɛs ˌpɔɡɔj̃ ˈʂtʂɛtɕin]) is a Polish professional football club, based in Szczecin, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, which plays in the Ekstraklasa, the top tier of the national football league system.

History

The club was founded by Poles from Lwow (now Lviv, Ukraine), who had been transferred west after the Soviet annexation of Poland's eastern territories in 1945. The founders of Pogon Szczecin had previously been supporters of Pogon Lwow and the colors of their new club reflect their old club. Polonia Bytom and Odra Opole were likewise founded or revived by the former inhabitants of Lwow.

The most popular sports organization in Szczecin was founded on 21 April 1948 as Klub Sportowy Sztorm. Its first departments were football and boxing, and the football team began playing in the local C-Class championship. In March 1949, several sports clubs in Szczecin (KS Sztorm, KS Cukrownik, KS Drukarz, Pocztowy KS) were merged into a large organization called Klub Sportowy Zwiazkowiec. The team of Zwiazkowiec joined local A-Class league, replacing Pocztowy KS. In November 1950, Zwiazkowiec was dissolved, and a new organization, Klub Sportowy Kolejarz Szczecin was formed. Its football team, supported by the Port of Szczecin, in 1953 was promoted to the newly created Interregional League (Liga Miedzywojewodzka), which covered the provinces of Szczecin, Zielona Gora and Poznan.

In autumn 1955, Kolejarz was renamed into Pogon Szczecin. The name and the hues of the club are a continuation of Pogon Lwow. In 1957, Pogon was runner up of the Interregional League, qualifying to the second division playoffs. After beating Flota Gdynia, Kujawiak Wloclawek and Warta Gorzow, Pogon for the first time won promotion to the second level of Polish football system. In 1958, Pogon was the winner of Group North of the Second Division (37 points, goals 54–22, not a single game lost), winning promotion to the Ekstraklasa.

In its top level debut, Pogon lost at home to Gwardia Warszawa 0–1. In 1960, Pogon was relegated from the Ekstraklasa, to return there in 1962.

For most of the 1960s and 1970s, Pogon remained in the top Polish league, but remained an average team, without any successes. This changed in the early 1980s: in 1981, Pogon advanced to the final of the Cup of Poland, to lose 0–1 to Legia Warszawa. In 1982, Pogon again made it to the Cup final, to lose 0–1 to Lech Poznan.

In 1984 Pogon, managed by Eugeniusz Ksol, for the first time in history was among top three teams in the Ekstraklasa, which meant that the team qualified for the UEFA Cup. In its European debut, Pogon faced 1. FC Koln, with such stars as Harald Schumacher, Pierre Littbarski and Klaus Allofs. In the first leg (September 19, 1984 in Cologne, Pogon lost 1–2. In the second leg (October 3), Polish team lost 0–1, after its players failed to score on two penalty kicks.

In 1987, Pogon was Polish runner-up. Managed by Leszek Jezierski, the team played offensively, scoring plenty of goals. With such players as Mariusz Kuras, Marek Ostrowski and Marek Lesniak, Pogon was only behind Gornik Zabrze. In the first round of UEFA Cup, Pogon faced Hellas Verona, with Thomas Berthold and Preben Elkjar. In the first leg (September 16, 1987), Pogon tied at home 1–1. Two weeks later, Polish team lost in Italy 1–3.

Pogon in 2002 was on the brink of bankruptcy. As a result, fans created a new team on the basis of the reserves in the fourth division. However owner of Piotrcovia Piotrkow Trybunalski Antoni Ptak decided to move the team and renamed the club MKS Pogon Szczecin. The initial distrust was lost when the team performed well and used local players, however halfway through the 2005–06 season the team started underperforming and Ptak decided to replace almost the entire squad with only Brazilian nationals, making it the "most Brazilian team outside Brazil". Antoni Ptak also built a small training facility in Gutow Maly, meaning the home games were played almost 500 km (311 mi) away from Szczecin. The experiment failed and in 2007 Antoni Ptak moved away from football, leaving the club to be rebuilt on the basis of the 4th division counterpart set up originally by the fans, which acted as the reserve team in the meantime.

The club was promoted to the Zachodnia (Western) group of the new II Liga (formerly the Third League) for the 2007–08 season. The club earned promotion to the Polish First League after finishing 2nd in Western Group of Polish Second League in 2008–09 season. Finally Pogon returned to top division after finishing First League as runner-up in 2011–12 season.

This page also has a version in other languages:  Погонь (@@русский@@)

Pogon Szczecin