added: 2010-09-09 10:00:00

Cracovia is about the people - Józef Lustgarten


Józef Lustgarten (1889-1973)

A Cracovia legend and a truly wonderful person. One of the founders of Cracovia, who came up with the club's name. He was awarded the title of honorary chairman. He was an all-round man – a lawyer by profession, knew several foreign languages, with football and Cracovia as his greatest passion.

Lustgarten played as a striker and a midfielder but made a name for himself as a goalkeeper. He was the first "flying keeper", the expression refering to the way he played in goal – he was famous for spectacular saves which reminded the fans of an English footballer Jack Robinson – until this day the name for tackling low shots with great skill by “flying” in the air is sometimes called a "robinsonade".

During World War I he became an activist and a coach, making it possible for Cracovia not to suspend their activities despite the difficult times.

After the war he helped with establishing the Polish Football Association – he was one of the authors of the organization's statute and one of the first members of the board. Then he was a chronicler and a secretary of the Polish Football Association. It was him who decided which players made the Poland National Team for the match against Hungary in 1921. In 1959 he was awarded the title of honorary member of the Polish Football Association.

Lustgarten is also known as one of the first Polish referees (passed an exam in Vienna in 1913). He was praised for his experience, knowledge of rules, impartiality and thoroughness both at home and abroad. He refereed 800 matches.

In 1939 he was arrested in Lviv by the NKVD and spent 17 years in Soviet forced labor camps. Despite all that he retained mental clarity and was in good shape till the end of his days. He died at the age of 84.