March 31, 2023


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UEFA Champions League Qualifiers: After Leitch's Defeat: Why the Poorest Do

UEFA Champions League Qualifiers: After Leitch’s Defeat: Why the Poorest Do

It’s the same every year: the Polish champion is eliminated from qualifying for the Champions League. This time it was Lech Poznan who lost to Karabagh Agdam of Azerbaijan on aggregate. Once again the question arises: why? A few years ago, after another unsuccessful attempt by Legia to the Champions League, I called the owner of Viktoria Pilzno, then the best Czech club, who had already climbed into the group LM twice. “How do you do that?” asked Tomasz Bucklick.

You’d better tell me what you’re doing and failing. You have it all: new stadiums, media attention, money from TV rights – Bucklick didn’t understand our failures. After all, the budget of his club did not exceed 40 million zlotys per year, and the players could not count on a base salary higher than several thousand euros (another thing is that they could earn twice the bonus for success in the cup), and the coach publicly demanded to regularly update the training base.

Because it is not something financially that can help but does not guarantee success. Because strategy is more important than money, as discussed in the interview with “Przegląd Sportowy” said the then director of Slavia Braga, Jan Nezmar. The Czech club has already been promoted to the group stage of the Champions League and earlier reached the 1/4 final of the European League. Some people shrugged their shoulders at his words, remembering that the owner of Slavia was a wealthy Chinese (and the law is that they didn’t pump that kind of money into the club as they were talking). “Money is important, but the strategy and vision for team building are the most important,” Nezmar replied. Let me not be unfounded: I worked for five years as sporting director at Slovan Liberec. Our annual budget for the entire club, including the academy, was 3-3.5 million euros. However, we have advanced to the group stage of the Europa League three times, so it was no coincidence. This allows me to say that there are more modest possibilities than in Slavia, but that by working with an idea you can play good football and achieve success beyond the capabilities of the club.

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So maybe Raków Częstochowa’s owner, Michał Świerczewski, is right, who wrote on Twitter: Are we too weak? This appears to be true. Are we running out of money? no. Do we lack fans? no. Do we miss the stadiums? No, maybe except for Shestochova. What are we missing? People. competent people.

And this is probably a good answer for the former owner of Victoria Pelzno.