In Krakow, arch rivals separated by a narrow field

Depending on what you read or who you listen to, the Krakow Derby between Wisla Krakow and Cracovia is a dangerous, perhaps deadly, clash plagued by two violent, racist hooligan sects. Or it’s a Must-Experience sporting and cultural event – an eternal rivalry that gets the better of some unruly fans who commit petty theft and vandalism (stealing and then burning scarves and banners is, apparently, very common), which tends to receive a lot of media attention. Either way, it seems best to disguise your fandom outside the stadiums on match day, says an American expat who writes a guide to Krakow for English-speakers:

The rivalry is so heated that you can’t really wear any football fan gear outside the stadium. If you’re on the tram to the game, your scarf is hidden. If you go out to the bar after the game, your scarf is hidden. If you’re walking on the street, your scarf is hidden. It’s no joke- if you forget to put your scarf away, people will tell you to hide it.

What sets this rivalry apart from many other European derbies is proximity: Only a few hundred meters across a quiet field separate Wisla Krakow and Cracovia’s pitches. It reminded me of the short distance between Yankee Stadium and where the Polo Grounds once stood. Imagine crazed NY Giants fans crossing the Macombs Dam Bridge and invading Yankee Stadium to burn ball caps and pennants.

Check out the map and the two stadiums in my tweet below:

 

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