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The club’s history dates back to 1906, when Dr Taduesz Konczyński organised a tournament in which two teams that later contributed to founding Wisła Kraków participated: “the Blues”, led by their captain and goalkeeper Józef Szkolnikowski, who later invented the name of the Club, and “the Reds” founded by Władysław Jenkner. The official union of these two teams took place in 1907 and the newly founded team started to use its present name “Wisła Kraków” and the players began to wear red shirts with two blue stars. In 1910, these two stars were replaced by one white star, that for years has been a symbol of the club and has been associated with patriotism and beautiful victories, but also upsetting defeats.

One of the first photos of the team (photo by historiawisly.pl)

The outbreak of World War I caused the Club’s activity to stop for five years. Wisła Kraków gave their grounds to the military unit “Legiony” that was forming under Józef Piłsudski, great leader of the fight for independence, and people related with Wisła were eagerly joining it. In that pioneer time, Wisła won 66, drew 15 and lost 43 out of 123 friendly games in total.

After independence, football competitions were divided by designated regions and one out of the regional winners became the national champion. In 1926, Wisła Kraków won the only interwar edition of the national cup. In December of that year, the Polish Football League was established by twelve clubs and the first historic season ended with Wisła getting the trophy. The same situation took place one year later and in both seasons, the legendary Henryk Reyman became the top scorer. 

Henryk Reyman was not only a remarkable footballer but also a role model for all the generations of players. From his early years, he felt attached to the Club and couldn’t imagine his life without it and his contribution to the creation of the powerful football club is invaluable. Also, he is the author of the famous quote that players can read in the  changing room before every home game: 

“No one requires you to win everything. You might lose at times. But everyone has the right to require you to fight unrelentingly and ambitiously. Do not let people consider you unworthy of … shaking your hand.”

During the World War II, the White Star players successfully participated in the Cracow championship organised under the occupation. On January 28th, 1945, the bugle call from St Mary’s Church tower announced the kick-off of the local derby between Wisła and Cracovia organised in the liberated city and it became the symbol of the new era not only for football in the capital of the region, but also for the whole country. In 1949 and 1950, Wisła again won the national competition and one year later, it didn’t happen only because of the modification of the rules (Polish champion title was achieved by the winner of the national cup and not the national league). The Polish Cup title was decided between Wisła Kraków and Ruch Chorzów, and the latter turned out to be better.
Next Wisła’s success came in 1967 when the team won the Polish Cup and this way, the White Star footballers could play for the first time in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. However, they had to wait till 1978 for the next trophy - Polish champion title with Orest Lenczyk as a coach. It was a ticket to the Europa Cup, a competition where Wisła got to the quarter finals, having beaten such clubs as Club Brugge or Zbrojovka Brno. But then, Malmoe FF stood in their way and it turned out the White Star weren’t strong enough to beat the rival. The ‘80s weren’t a success story for Wisła. In 1985, the team got relegated from the top professional league and spent four seasons in the lower division. However, their comeback to the first division didn’t mean being back among the best in the country and once again, in 1994, the White Star got relegated. It took them two years to come back but that episode and the acquisition of the club’s shares by Bogusław Cupiał, the owner of the Tele-Fonika company, in 1997 launched a new period for Wisła.   
In the period 1999-2011, the White Star won eight Polish championships, two national cups and one national Supercup. Also, Wisła successfully took part in European competitions, facing such teams as Real Zaragoza, Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen or AC Parma. The main goal of that team was promotion to the Champions League but in their way stood, among others, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and FC Barcelona, that, nevertheless, lost 0-1 to Wisła in Cracow. Years after the “Tele-Fonika era”, the White Star returned to the former owner Wisła Sports Association, that is responsible for the club till the day of today. 


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