Last week Brentford FC, The Football Supporters Association and the Polish Community Centre in Hammersmith came together to share football and culture. To coincide with the FIFA World Cup qualification fixture between England and Poland in Warsaw last Tuesday, 7 September, the POSK Polish Community Centre in Hammersmith organised a community screening of this game. With close to 100 supporters in attendance, fans sat side by side for the crucial qualifier.
Supporters watched the match together, which ended 1-1. They also shared traditional Polish Pierogi (dumplings) at half time and Polish beverages at the bar. In attendance on the night were representatives from The Polish Embassy, The Polish FA, Brentford FC, The Football Supporters Association and The Posk Polish Community Centre itself. In commemoration of the event the Posk centre also adorned with walls with posters of recent Polish Brentford players Wojciech Szczęsny and Detzi Kruszyński.
As the crowd warmed up they were greeted with a guest panel session comprising of Jakub Krupa, Trustee of the Posk centre, Kevin Coleman, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Brentford FC and Emil Kot, Scouting Director for Polish first division outfit Wisla Plock and Balham FC. They shared their thoughts with the crowd on the importance of English and Polish communities mixing and learning from each other, the history of Polish football in London and the difference between Polish and English professional football.
Jakub Krupa said: “Tonight’s screening was a brilliant opportunity for English and Polish fans to come together and share culture and fandom through this iconic fixture whilst raising awareness of our community centre in Hammersmith.”
Kevin Coleman was equally enthused by this opportune fixture and added: “The timing of this game couldn’t be better. Ealing and Hounslow have more Polish speakers than anywhere else in England and bringing people together through football is such a natural way to create more educated and harmonious communities. The result didn’t matter to us as we were more interested in sharing our cultural and football histories but it was good that the teams could provide such a diplomatic result so no-one went home unhappy!”
The Football Supporters Associations’ Anwar Uddin co co-ordinated this event under their Fans For Diversity programme banner. He said: “The FSA believes that everyone is a fan, whether you are in the stadium or at home on the sofa. Events like this are a great way of bringing together communities through football that otherwise might not mix socially.”