It was extremely cold and snowbound.

Despite midday approaching barely a bit of daylight had been seen in Krakow such was the darkness of the skies.

Clouds will top heavy with a fresh batch of snow ready to dump itself on the humans below.

Walking the streets was a near on impossible task. Up to 3ft of snow had fallen the previous night and it had turned to slush on the pavements. Your trousers became heavy with the wet and within minutes outside everything got cold – fingers, teeth, ears and obviously your toes.

Surely a football match couldn’t be played in this?

People have played football in Krakow since 1890s, and one of the first places was in The Park of Games and Plays in Kraków, which is now commonly called Henryk Jordan’s Garden Park. Another location was Błonia Park which adjoins the former.

Both are a huge green expanses now bordered by walking & cycling paths and English-style gardens.

Today the parks make up a space than separates two enemies – Wisła Kraków and Cracovia both founded in 1906. The ground of each sits on either side of the green space.

Derby matches between the two have been played since 1908 and are today regarded as “Holy War”.

Flags and scarves are set ablaze in what is possibly Poland’s biggest derby match.

Football back in the 1890’s of course was merely recreational in nature and played by students. But it was in effect the recreational tournament challenge match football that occurred in these places that gave birth to MKS Cracovia.

Soon club colors emerged i.e. white and red striped shirts – hence the club’s nickname Pasy.

In 2024 Wisła Kraków are unfortunately no longer a Ekstraklasa team.

Relegation at the end of the 2022-2023 season saw the club drop a division meaning no more Holy War albeit surely Wisla will be back in time but only once the snow clears from Henryk Jordan Park.

Surprisingly by noon word was getting around Krakow that the football match between Cracovia and Ruch was able to go ahead.

Fans and club employers had been at the stadium since 5am that morning clearing the pitch of snow and making it playable.

Hopefully they informed Ruch Chorzów early as well given the 82km that separates the two cities.

By kick off almost 6,000 were inside the Stadium and it was a stadium with a long name. The Stadion Cracovii im. Józefa Piłsudskiego is a unique construct with a design and construction that has been frequently awarded top marks in many architectural contests.

Snow 3ft high is piled up around the pitch perimeter.

Named after a famous Polish statesman outside it could easily be mistaken for something other than a football venue. The stadium is located within the square of a number of streets: Kraszewskiego, Focha, Kałuży and Zwierzyniec.

In the west stand a large mural displays memories of club hero both old and more recent.

At the East stand the most hardcore of hardcore Cracovia fans stand and watch as the teams emerge -many sing the club song with scarves aloft . It is the smallest stand of the stadium but the loudest.

After the sing concludes the scarves go back wrapped around the neck such is the biting cold.

The East Stand is the place where the most fanatic Cracovia fans supports their team during the matches – rockets go off, as do smoke bombs.

Then a huge flag appears – ‘Cracovia Pany’.

From underneath the hardcore ultras appear and numerous pyrotechnic displays occur all carefully choreographed and timed to coincide with the start of the second half.

Nobody cares that lines of riot police watch on.

In the 116-year traditions of Cracovia – the oldest Polish sport club – the club is inextricably connected with the history of Poland. That tradition is expressed through white and red club colors, which remind fans of patriotism, respect for Polish history and a struggle across many lean years.

White and red are colloquial terms.

According to some the red of the flag should actually be crimson, and the white is the silver color of the heraldic bird but generally these days the colors are universally accepted to be red and white.

Still at the close of football affairs it was dark overhead in Krakow. Not so much white skies or even red more dark grey. Still, this is a beautiful city and most certainly one of the most delightful in the east of Europe.

The weather forecast for the approaching night was another deluge of snow and indeed by 3pm the sky looked full once again.

Not enough however to spoil sport and football in this part of Poland.