GORNIK ZABRZE 2 CITY 0
European Cup Winners Cup Quarter Final 1st Leg
10th March 1971
Scorers Lubanski(35), Wilczek(40)
Ref R Vamvakopoulos
City Corrigan, Book, Towers, Doyle, Booth, Oakes, Summerbee, Bell, Lee, Young, Jeffries – subs Healey(unused), Donachie(unused), Bowyer(unused), Connor(unused), Carrodus(unused)
Gornik Kostka, Oslizlo, Latotcha, Gorgon, Wrazy, Wilczek, Skowrenek, Szoltysik, Willim, Lubanski, Banas
Spring was approaching at the end of a mild English winter as the City party departed for Poland with suitcases crammed full of the warmest clothing the travellers could lay hands on. For winter’s icy grip still held ﬁrm and City ﬂew in on a carpet of snow at the tiny airport of Kracow, some 70 miles from the grey, drab town of Katowice in the heart of industrial Upper Silesia where the match was to be played in a vast open-air stadium which seats 110,000 fanatical Polish fans who are as crazy about their soccer as any rabid Merseyside supporter.
A Monday departure was needed in view of the vast amount of travelling involved and to combat any upset tummies on such a lengthy stay, City even took the precaution of carrying their own food which included steaks, butter and good old English tea. However, despite the snow that constantly covered the streets surrounding the Western-style Katowice Hotel, the pitch at the Silesian Stadium had been cleared by a vast army of 800 work-men who had maintained a round-the-clock vigil. Yet it was as hard as rock at kick-off time which was brought forward to 5.30 p.m. because two hours later, the normal starting time for our own matches, it would have been too cold for both players and spectators.
Pressmen, particularly, are creatures who intensely dislike cold. Have you ever tried holding a pencil or attempting to type in sub-zero temperatures? So my colleagues and I wore as many clothes as we possibly could. Even to the extent of having pyjama trousers underneath our normal clothes. Two or three sweaters, overcoats and scarves and we were set to face the worst the Polish weather could offer on those vast open-air terraces. Or so we thought.
For on arrival at the ground Ronald Crowther (Daily Mail), Paul Wilcox (Guardian), Bob Russell (Daily Mirror), Derek Hodgson (Daily Telegraph), Peter Fitton (Sun), and Ian Frame (Radio Manchester) and myself were all able to secure admission to the huge glass tower which soars above the terracing below. In plush surroundings in two Press rooms in which telephones were installed at our elbows we settled down to enjoy an unusual aerial view of a soccer match. Then the heat was turned on! As the sweat started to pour, each in turn was forced to peel off all the protective clothing we had brought into use. Except the pyjamas, of course.
But one Pressman not so lucky was Derek Potter (Daily Express). He failed to gain admission” to that particular Press‘ enclosure and was forced to sit out the match in the midst of the screaming Poles . an experience he will not wish to re-live as he stressed in an article for his paper the next day.
It was pretty hot in another way for City players on the pitch. The intense cold was quickly forgotten as they attempted to get into their stride against a side which, Francis Lee was to tell me later, came out wearing sweaters under their normal soccer shirts and ladies tights under their shorts for extra warmth. ‘I knew they had been on a sunshine tour to Spain’, joked Lee, ‘but I thought their legs could not be as brown as that until it dawned on me that they were wearing tights’.
City players, too, later revealed that Gornik had been wearing boots on which aluminium studs had been sharpened almost to the verge of being spikes, enabling them to attain a better grip on the frozen surface. Perhaps it was because of this that Gornik were able to provide such a stunning performance as they skated to a 2-0 victory that might have been doubled had not luck smiled on the overrun City ranks. And one player in particular who gave them a harassing time was Lubanski, Gornik’s brilliant Polish international forward and one of the most devastating strikers in the world game today.
Lubanski had been doubtful until right up to the kick-oﬂ“ with an ankle injury that was a legacy of one of the tune-up games the Poles had played in Spain. But it was Lubanski who scored one goal and made the other in the destruction of City before departing after 60 minutes with his damaged ankle injury again ﬂaring up. It had been an hour’s work well done, however and City were down . . . but not quite out.