Damian Gołąb: Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie reaps the fruits of several years of work. The first PlusLiga medal, qualification for the Champions League – is this perhaps the best moment in the club’s history?
Kryspin Baran, president of Aluron CMC Warty Zawiercie: We feel that by improving in many areas, we have reached a level when we have a balance. And in the composition, and in sports quality, and in the work of the training and medical staff. We feel much stronger and more balanced than in previous years.
The goal for the next few months is a step up or do you have to stay in the lead for now?
– We strategically want to stay in the top six. For 16 teams in such a strong league it is very high. However, since we won the bronze medal, of course we would like to keep it, and maybe have higher ambitions. But we do not jump back, we do not turn our heads. We want to appear in the top six: this means that the club is among the best. Sometimes a bit of luck or bad luck causes the position to change by two or three. There is no fixation on targets in numbers.
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Kryspin Baran: I would not change into a team and staff with any other president
Do you expect it to be more difficult or easier than last season?
– I am pleased with how we built the team and staff. I wouldn’t trade with any other president. However, specific places are a bit of a competition for quality. Whether we’ll be strong enough to win more often than lose depends on the quality that needs to be developed.
If you would not change into a coaching staff with anyone, please tell me, was it difficult to persuade Michał Winiarski to move to Zawiercie? This is probably the hottest name among Polish coaches.
– Our ambitions and idea found fertile ground. Michał had aspirations to build a club that was complete in terms of sports and organization, when he went to Gdańsk. This journey has not progressed as high as expected. And our proposal was to join a concept that might have been a step further in this puzzle. Michał Winiarski is a very ambitious coach. The conversation was very specific. Both sides understood what they were offering and who they needed. The coach knew that, he knew the club. We got along quite well.
Was it more difficult to persuade some players to transfer? Bartosz Kwolek has been one of the most sought-after volleyball players on the Polish market in recent years.
– “Kwola” I struggled for three years, waiting for the right moment. I think that few players would show so much patience with the organizational problems of the club. Every season he had offers from many places, but he was not willing to leave when there were problems. He did not leave every year. It lasted, we had to wait quietly. We waited and I am glad that he joined us. He is a player we have been watching since SMS, still in the first league. Strong character, technical volleyball player, will bring a lot to our team.
Since Kwolek is such a “loyal” player to the clubs – he spent six years in Projekt Warszawa – can we hope to build a long-term project around him, not a one-season squad?
– We are definitely united by the idea for the next two years and common aspirations. We will see if the club will continue to develop at the same pace as the player’s career. You cannot be a slave. Let’s look at the example of Kamil Semeniuk. He achieved everything in the Polish field, he won the Champions League twice in a row. Recognizing that at such a moment it is worth trying a different league, with slightly higher expectations, is a very good decision. I would like to have a problem for Bartek Kwolek in our club to achieve everything and feel the need to go out into wider, international waters. It would mean that we won everything in Poland.
Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie has become a big club? “We are falling victim to our hall”
Before the previous season, in the case of many PlusLiga clubs, the first transfer rumors appeared in December and January. And in the summer they were largely confirmed. Before this season, you also had the line-up “finished” in winter?
– No, absolutely. Our talks lasted quite a long time. The question of the coach was settled sometime in late December or early January. Inquiries, conversations start quite early, but don’t get concrete that quick. We had the last names in the lineup “buttoned up” probably in May.
Over the years, Zawiercie was perceived as a smaller club than ZAKS, Jastrzębski Węgiel, Asseco Resovia, and PGE Skra. Has it changed yet? After the medal, do you no longer feel like a small club, but a big one?
– Generally, we fall victim to our hall. I see it with pain in the eyes of visiting players, coaches or international agents. I run a large company that has products at the highest European level, we are not ashamed of anything. However, I see the surprise when people come to our company, because we have a patch of the image of the school sports hall. Therefore, when I say that we are a big club, everyone will think of a small hall. And this will be a counter-argument: how can a big club play in a small hall?
However, I think that organizationally we are already a very good club. We caught what I really wanted – the “completeness” of the medical staff, very high analytical competences thanks to the addition of Oskar Kaczmarczyk. Now Michał Winiarski and Roberto Rotari have joined, they complement each other very well. We have everything in order, we are reliable and solvent. We feel big in our hearts. but the hall makes us pack a small provincial club It is painful but we are trying to work on it.
– A concept is created, the competition for the design has been resolved. Funding will be obtained only on the basis of the project. Therefore, I would not expect any effects in the short term. But it is important that we moved on. In the last few years we have discussed the need for a new hall, but it had no face, no visualization that could be presented in the ministry or other centers. The fact that we will have a hall project brings us closer to the possibility of financing and implementation. So it is closer than further.
16 teams in PlusLiga. “I see marketing advantages, but I do not like the enlargement itself”
PlusLiga is starting this season with an extended squad. The Lord was not a supporter of this idea. How do you see it now as decisions are taking shape?
– I see marketing values and I was an advocate of expanding the marketing space to other countries, but definitely not at the expense of expanding the league. I don’t like the widening by itself. We will probably see the fruits of this soon: a tight schedule, even playing every day of the week, falling viewership. We will experience it this season. I hear the voices of clubs voting for enlargement that they have gone astray and have been confused by marketing and patriotic arguments. My guess is a year or two and we’ll be back in the narrow league. The confusion was unnecessary. I cheer for concepts to expand the marketing and fan space, but I am a supporter of the prestigious league, consisting of 12, maximum 14 teams.
Volleyball players pay attention mainly to a larger number of matches.
– It’s hard to find any reasonable arguments for a 16-team league. I argued, asking whether the only way to allow the team from Lviv to play must be to expand the league? Are we not able to find a different solution, through the participation of this club in the first league or another formula that would lead to a sports settlement? Not so long ago, we narrowed the league down from 16 to 14 teams, some suffered from it, such as BBTS Bielsko-Biała. And when, after a few years, with the application of a foreign club, we extend this league, it cannot look serious from the fans’ point of view. And it is not received positively. But I think we will return to a narrower formula, because there are more arguments for this than against.
Interviewed by Damian Gołąb
Kryspin Baran. president of Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie/ Tomasz Kudala / PressFocus / NEWSPIX.PL/Newspix