When it comes to cup qualifier, most of East Lancashire's Poles are backing their native team (From Blackburn Citizen)
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When it comes to cup qualifier, most of East Lancashire's Poles are backing their native team
POLISH workers and community leaders have picked their sides ahead of tonight’s crucial World Cup qualifier.
Loyalties have been left divided after some of the almost 5,000 East Lancashire-based Poles revealed whether they would support their home or adopted country in the Wembley match.
It will decide whether England automatically qualify for the contest or have to face the play-off round. Poland cannot qualify.
The fixture, which is expected to be attended by 90,000 fans, has caused some controversy after it was decided that double the number of tickets would be issued to away fans in view of England’s growing Polish community.
While many will be hoping that there is no repeat performance of the infamous 1973 meeting of the two teams, in which a stellar performance by goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski’s cost England a place in the cup, most Polish residents said they would stay true to their roots.
Marta Kiedrowicz, headteacher of the Polish Saturday School in Accrington, who teaches 150 pupils from Polish backgrounds the language and culture of the country said: “I’ll definitely be supporting Poland because it’s where I am from.
“Although I left the country in 2005 I’m still loyal to it and am going to be watching the match at home with my husband.”
Florko Wieslaw, secretary of Todmorden Polish Club, said: “I must support Poland as long as I still own a Polish passport.
And Blackburn’s Bank Top-based Al Ameera shopworker Karolina Lasnik, 22, said: “I’m not really bothered but I will hope that Poland beat England because you have to always root for your home country.”
However, Blackburn-based Our Lady Queen of Poland Chapel parish priest and Catholic community centre head Robert Pyter bucked the trend.
He said: “I’ll be cheering on England because they are such a strong team and I would prefer to support the place where I now live.”
Members of the local Catholic Polish community have been welcomed to watch the match at the centre in 44 Preston New Road for kick off at 8pm.
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