Scarf Riders: Krakow's Football Hooligans 05/12/2009

An up close and personal look at the world of Krakow's football culture.

What place would you choose to spend a cosy weekend in Krakow? A café, pub or maybe… a football stadium? Well, there are at least a couple of reasons why I would say the latter is worth thinking over one more time.

If you haven’t been lucky enough to meet some of Krakow’s football fans until now, this is probably because both Wisła’s and Cracovia’s stadiums are being renovated and the teams’ games are currently taking place outside the city. But when both teams play against each other they attract a considerable part of the public’s attention. The Krakow Derby is considered the most famous in Poland. First of all, the clubs are the oldest two still in existence, and they have the reputation of being the largest and most ruthless local "firms" which stop at nothing to fight for the honour of their teams. Matches between these two rivals have been depicted in books, essays, and even poems, and probably no other derbies were mentioned in as many stories and anecdotes. The “Holy War” (“Święta Wojna”), as it is called, often seems as legendary and ancient as the Wawel Dragon.

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