On 14 September 1977 Widzew began writing an amazing history of its appearances in European Cups. In their debut, the Lodz team met a renowned multiple trophy winner Manchester City. On that day the first Great Widzew was born.
Widzew could participate in the European Cup competition as a Polish Premier League runner-up in 1976/1977 season. Having drawn Manchester City – a team full of members of national teams of England, Ireland and Scotland – they were doomed to lose. Tony Brook, manager of the opponent team, was also expecting an easy victory over an unknown team from Lodz. – Being three goals ahead of the rival team will give us a pressure buffer before the second leg. My boys can do it. We must as much as possible take advantage of the first leg that we will be playing at home – he said before the first match.
Until the 70th minute the game in Manchester unrolled as the home team expected. After goals scored by Barnes and Channon they led 2:0. At that moment the star of young Zbigniew Boniek shone for the first time on European pitches. He scored twice in five minutes. The atmosphere in the stands and on the pitch was explosive. City fans were booing and whistling at the players of Widzew and the home team players were attacking them fiercely. After one brutal attack on Boniek, the home player was shown the red card. Yet the Lodz players successfully withstood the pressure – they showed the nerve that was later called the “Widzew spirit.”
In the second leg game played on 28 September 1977 at the ŁKS (traditional Widzew local derby rival) stadium in the presence of 35K fans (who arrived in Lodz from all over the country to watch the game even though buying a ticket was next to impossible) perfectly organised defence of the Widzew team did not let the visitors score a single goal. And although they did not score a goal either, this scoreless draw was a historic result: for the first time ever a Polish football team eliminated an English team from European Cup competition.
14 September 1977
Manchester City - Widzew 2:2 (1:0)
Goals: Barnes (11.), Channon (51.) - Boniek (70., 75.)
Manchester: Corrigan - Clements, Watson, Booth, Donachie - Hartford, Owen, Keegan (78. Royle) - Channon, Kidd, Barnes.
Widzew: Burzyński - Kostrzewiński, Janas, Grębosz, Chodakowski, Możejko - Boniek, Rozborski, Tłokiński - Kowenicki, Gapiński (67. Krawczyk).
28 September 1977
Widzew Łódź - Manchester City 0:0
Widzew: Burzyński - Kostrzewiński, Janas, Grębosz, Zawadzki - Boniek, Chodakowski, Rozbroski, Tłokiński - Kowenicki (61. Krawczyk), Gapiński.
Manchester: Corrigan - Watson, Power, Booth, Owen - Hartford, Doyle (31. Clements), Tueart - Royle, Kidd, Barnes.