Widzew Lodz is one amongst the largest clubs in Poland. Four times Polish champion, European Champion Clubs’ Cup semi-finalist, and a UEFA Champions League participant.
Widzew was founded in 1910. Its successes started in the second half of the 1970’s when Ludwik Sobolewski (President of Widzew in the years 1978-1987) joined the club. The first Great Widzew owes a lot to him. Between 1977 and 1986 the club won two national championship titles, five times was the runner-up and two times ranked third in the Polish Premier Leaugue. In addition, it won the Polish Cup.
At international scene it achieved one of the greatest successes in the history of Polish football by reaching the semi-final of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup (1983). In European cups it outplayed, inter alia, Manchester City (1977), Manchester United (1980), Juventus Turin (1980), Rapid Vienna (1982), Liverpool FC (1983), and Borussia Mönchengladbach (1984).
The Second Great Widzew is the term used for the squad which in the period 1995-99 regained the top position in the Polish Premier League. The team managed by the manager Franciszek Smuda added two more championship and two runner-up titles. In the season 1996/97 after two games with Broendby Copenhagen, as one out of only two Polish clubs ever, Widzew stormed to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League where it competed on equal terms with Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund or Steaua Bucharest.
The following regular Polish national-team players played for Widzew: Zbigniew Boniek, Włodzimierz Smolarek, Marek Dziuba, Józef Młynarczyk, Mirosław Tłokiński, Roman Wójcicki, Władysław Żmuda, Andrzej Woźniak, Tomasz Łapiński, Marek Citko, Sławomir Majak, Radosław Michalski, Mirosław Szymkowiak, and Artur Wichniarek. The club was also represented by, inter alia, Andrzej Michalczuk, Mirosław Myśliński, Wiesław Wraga, Marek Koniarek, Daniel Bogusz, Zdzisław Rozborski, Andrzej Grębosz, Krzysztof Kamiński, Leszek Iwanicki, Ryszard Czerwiec, and Sławomir Chałaśkiewicz.
Some of them were World Cup medalists (Boniek, Żmuda, Młynarczyk, Smolarek – bronze medal in 1982) and Olympic Games medalists (Łapiński, Bajor – silver medal in 1992).
Widzew had also outstanding managers, such as, Jacek Machciński, Bronisław Waligóra, Władysław Żmuda, Leszek Jezierski, Paweł Janas, Stefan Majewski or Franciszek Smuda.
In 2015 the club was on the brink of bankruptcy. It was saved by the fans. Widzew began its reconstruction starting from the fourth division. With the help of its fans who break consecutive national records in the sales of season tickets every regular season the club is on its way back to the top.
The greatest successes
Champion of Poland: 1981, 1982, 1996, 1997
Premier League runner-up: 1977, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1995, 1999
Premier League third place: 1985, 1986, 1992
Polish Cup winner: 1985
Polish SuperCup winner: 1996
Champion of Polish Labor Clubs: 1932
European Champion Clubs’ Cup semi-final: 1983
Champions League (group stage): 1996
Intertoto Cup winner: 1976, 1982
Copa Del Sol runner-up: 2013