Cracovia are the oldest active sports club in Poland.
People used to play football in Cracow since 1890s, at first in Jordan's Garden, and then in Błonia Park. However, the games were merely recreational in nature and the regulations could be interpreted freely. The arrival of teams from Lviv on the 4th of June 1906 was essential to establishing organized football clubs in Cracow.
It was back then that squads from the two towns faced one another in a series of matches. In the first game Czarni Lwów played against Przodownicy (Studenci) - a team of Cracovian high school students. In another match students from Lviv faced a line-up consisting of members from the public - Akademicy. This event acted as a catalyst to the growth of football in Cracow. On the 13th of June, after a classified in a newspaper "Nowa Reforma" had been posted to encourage people to join in, Akademicy had their first training session.
This is how the legendary club in Polish football was born - in September 1906 Akademicy took a new name, Akademicki Klub Footballowy Cracovia. In the same time Przodownicy, also called Studenci, I Drużyna Studencka, I Klub Studencki and I Klub Footballowy received an official name - White-reds - because of their shirts in the two colours.
The two teams stood out in the "autumn tournament" and in winter decided to join their forces. The new group took up Akademicy's name, while the club colours i.e. white and red striped shirts (hence the club's nickname Pasy - Polish for "stripes") were taken from Szeligowski's team. It was the final forming stage of the future Polish Champion, Cracovia.
Before the outbreak of the First World War Cracovia would play mainly against teams from Austrian Galicia, which became a cradle of Polish football. Some of our other rivals were from Austro-Hungarian Empire. Cracovia lost the first game of this kind to Troppauer Spotverein 4-2 (1908). Three years later White-reds faced the Austro-Hungarian team which was considered to be the best in Europe. Even though our team lost 6-3, the way Cracovia presented itself allowed it to gain an elite title of the first class team in Austrian Football Association. In 1913 Cracovia won the Championship of Austrian Galicia finishing ahead of a local rival Wisła and Pogoń Lwów.
The brightest period in more than a 100 year-long history of the club began after the end of World War I . We started off with winning the championship organized by the Cracow department of the Polish Football Association. In the next year Cracovia became the first Champion of Poland.
As many as seven players form our club represented Poland in its first international game against Hungary. In the inter-war period Cracovia won three more championships - in 1930, 1932 and 1937.
The years just after the War did not foreshadow the "dark period" that was about to come. In 1948 Cracovia completed the season by winning the league title for the fifth time after having defeated Wisła in a play-off. A year later sport clubs were reorganized the Soviet way and Cracovia became Związkowy Klub Sportowy Ogniwo Cracovia. In June 1949 the Latin name of the town was erased from the club's name and the authorities made us give up the white and red striped shirts. The club went under the name of Terenowe Koło Sportowe Sparta, until in 1955 it finally regained its proper name.
The sports reorganization was not only about interfering with clubs' traditional names. Sport clubs were placed under command of unions. Our club was at first subordinate to MPK (the Municipal Association of Public Transport), and then a consumer cooperative. The poor position of our patrons in the hierarchy of the time took a toll on the club's results. With every year the football team were sliding down the league table and in 1954 they had to accept the fact of being demoted to the second division. After three years they were promoted to the top division, only to end up getting demoted again after two seasons.
It became a pattern. From the first to the second division, from the second to the third one (for the first time after the season 1970-71), from the third division to the second one...
Given the circumstances a promotion to division one in the 1982-83 season was considered a great success. In the 1990s there were only three seasons during which Pasy did not play in division three. The club were grappling with serious financial problems.
In 1997 Cracovia were turned into a sport joint-stock company but insufficient funds were still the main issue. Nevertheless, Pasy were saved from imminent bankruptcy. The club owes it mainly to the fans who came to the rescue.
The famous demonstration in front of the Building of Cracow Voivodeship Office on Basztowa Street took place in 2001. The club's fall into decline was brought to a stop by dedicated fans associated in "The Group of 100" , who provided for the club. Soon Cracovia attracted a sponsor - Comarch. In the end of 2002-03 the club returned to the second division and a year later were promoted to the first division. After many years Pasy were back to where they belonged.
The first season in the top division was a success - Cracovia came fifth and were very close to qualifying to Intertotto games. What is more, we were proclaimed a team that played the most attractive football in the league. Financial stability resulted in new transfers and training facility expansion, and the level of football led to call-ups to the Poland National Team. Season 2005-06 ended in the first team's unfortunate ninth place and, on the bright side, the Under-19s winning the Championship of Poland. Cracovia organized a 100 Year Gala during which a several thousand fans and the whole town celebrated the club's 100 years of history. A year later Pasy came fourth in the league, ahead of the local rival Wisła, who finished in 8th position.
Under Orest Lenczyk Cracovia came in twelfth (season 2009-10). In May 2010 the team were took over by Rafał Ulatowski. Nevertheless, after team's bad performances in the first games of the 2010-11 season (four points in eleven matches), he was replaced with Jurij Szatałow. The new coach's début was on the 5th of November 2010 in the derby game against Wisła Kraków (we lost 1-0).
In the 2011-20 season Cracovia had a bad run of games, which in consequence meant having to say goodbye to Ekstraklasa (top division in Poland).
After a few years break Wojciech Stawowy was once again appointed the coach of Cracovia. He steered the club to a grand success which was returning to the top division in his first season.
Cracovia were hailed as sensation of the first part of the 2013-14 season. The team did so well that they came close to qualifying to the "champion" group. However, after the defeat with Korona Kielce 1-0, the team had to settle on finishing the season in the lower group. In the end, Cracovia came in fourteenth.
Pasy began the 2014-15 season under new head coach, Robert Podoliński. They didn't do well, especially in the away games. In April Jacek Zieliński was recruited as the new manager. The new broom completely changed the team's dynamics as if with the use of a magic wand - out of nine games under Zieliński seven ended in Cracovia victories and two in draws. As a result Pasy came in ninth at the end of the season.
The unbeaten league run extended three games into the 2015-16 campaign. Cracovia played exceptionally well and spent most of the season third in the league table, only once falling out of the top 5. The number of goals they scored was second highest in the Ekstraklasa and in the end they came in fourth, which ensured them a place in the Europa League qualifying round for the first time in the club's history.
Cracovia finished the 2016-17 season one place above the relegation zone and in June 2017 Michał Probierz was appointed new head coach, replacing Jacek Zieliński. Since then, Pasy are climbing up the table step by step. In the first season of Coach Probierz's work, Cracovia's finished as the best team of a lower part of the league table. On the 2018/19 games, we've returned to the Europa League. Nowadays, Pasy are yet again fighting for the highest goals in Polish football.