Nazwa klubu (English)

Z Historia Wisły

alt=In Polish

Wisła Kraków (pron. viswa krakuf)

There is no doubt about the fact, that our club took its name from Wisła River – „the queen of Polish rivers”. The club was called Wisła and the players Wiślacy ever since the beginning in 1906 – it is also known. It would seem that therefore everything is clear and obvious in this topic – however there are still some issues and curiosities worth describing.

Wisla Krakow was founded at the initiative of prof. Tadeusz Lopuszanski, in the spring of 1906. We learn from the memoirs of one of founders, Roman Wilczyński, that the newly established team has chosen its name already at the very first meeting. Wilczyński wrote: “we agreed to everything, we agreed that the club will be called Wisła, and again with applause we shouted <Poles and Wisła – that is Poland>".

We do not know who proposed this name – some claim it was Józef Szkolnikowski, one of the players, but it is not for sure. What is sure is that the idea behind the name was of patriotic character. River Wisła passes through the most of the Polish territory and in this way unites Poles – back in 1906 it was very meaningful, because Poland was not independent and its territory was under the rule of tree different coutries.

The club’s name originated from the longest Polish river. A ribbon crossing the ball made reference to this, and became the first emblem of the club, wore on the shirts. It is worth mentioning, that at the beginning the shirts were blue – probably (but this is not certain) this color also referred to the river.

Some claim, that Wisła was not the very first name and that in fact it was selected later. According to such opinions, other appellations were used. For example Józef Lustgarten, in the memoirs concerning a tournament played in the autumn, writes: “the last team, that dr Konczyński gave equipment to, was composed of students from the Second Practical School, named after their captain the Szkolnikowski team”. Szkolnikowski was in fact Wisła captain in the first years, but Roman Wilczyński categorically disagrees with the suggestion that “Szkolnikowski team” was club’s name. He writes: “the information on Wisła gathered by Lustgarten deviates slightly from the truth, because first of all it was not Konczyński who dressed Wisła – shirts were sewed by the mother of one of our colleagues and we bought them on our own. The colors were not chosen by Józef Szkolnikowski, but by our founder, professor Łopuszański, who also proposed the emblem (…). Wisła club was no Szkolnikowski team, for all it was Wisła, and we were Wiślacy.

Wilczyński was

- Participant of the founding meeting

- Wisła player from the beginning

- Participant of the above mentioned tournament

He is therefore credible and trustworthy on the issues concerning the first weeks and months of Wisła.

It is also false, that “Niebiescy” (the blues) was club’s name. This suggestion is given by a number of football historians, but is based merely on the assumption that the color of the shirts was used as the designation of the club. This is not confirmed by any historical source, moreover, it conflicts with Roman Wilczyński’s memoirs and press notes from 1906. One of Krakow’s newspapers mentions Wisła and a different team called Niebiescy, so it is obvious that this name was not associated with Wisła.

The quoted note from “New Reform” journal from October 20 1906 is the oldest source containing the name Wisła.

Chronology of names

May 1906 - February 7, 1910: Klub Sportowy Wisła - Wisla Sports Club - the name adopted at the founding meeting

1906-1907 Czerwoni, drużyna Jenknera – The Reds, Jenkner team – name of the club that merged with Wisła in 1907

February 7, 1910 – 1914: Towarzystwo Sportowe Wisła Kraków – Sports Society Wisła Krakow– the name approved by club’s first statute

1914-1918: Wisla suspends operation during the First World War.

1918: Sparta Krakow – after reactivation of the club, players – not confident about their skills - were afraid of compromising the club brand. They played under the name "Sparta" in a few matches. These games proved to be successful, so the team returned to the name Wisła

1918 - February 6, 1949: Towarzystwo Sportowe Wisła Kraków - Sports Society Wisła Krakow

1944 – Dzielnicowy Zespół Piłkarski Wisła: during the Nazi occupation Polish sports club were outlawed. To avoid persecutions Wisła plays in the championships of Krakow as District Football Team Wisła.

February 6, 1949 - 1950: Gwardia-Wisla Krakow - double name of the club, adopted at the General Meeting of the TS Wisla, when the club was forced to join Zrzeszenie Sportowe Gwardia (Militia Sports Association) under the patronage of Ministry of Internal Affairs. This was part of the Soviet-model reforms of Polish sport.

1950 - September 1955: Gwardia Kraków – one year after the reform the initial agreement guaranteeing the preservation of club’s traditions is broken. The name Wisła is erased.

September 1955 – 1967 Towarzystwo Sportowe Wisła Kraków – Sports Society Wisła Kraków - after Stalin's death a political thaw took place. Clubs were allowed to return to the historical names

1967 – September 11, 1990 Gwardyjskie Towarzystwo Sportowe Wisła Kraków – the adjective Gwardyjskie referred to Militia Sports Association, that Wisła had to be part of till the end of communist period.

Since September 11, 1990: Towarzystwo Sportowe Wisła Kraków – traditional name of the club, since 1998 concerns other than football sections

Since 1998: Wisła Kraków SSA and Wisła Kraków SA – the name of football team, which became a limited company in 1998 (SSA stand for Sportowa Spółka Akcyjna – sports limited company, and SA for Spółka Akcyjna – limited company)


Czerwoni - The Reds – used mainly in the first 50 years of Wisła, nowadays abandoned. It referred to the color of Wisła shirts

Biała Gwiazda – White Star – the most common and popular nickname, almost a synonym for Wisła Kraków. White Star with five arms is the club symbol since 1911.

In other languages

Although Vistula is the official name of the river Wisła in English, the club is usually simply called Wisla (with “l” instead of polish diacritical sign “ł”). In the Romance languages the name Wisla Cracovia is often used, which causes some confusion and amusement among Wisła fans, as Cracovia is not only the Romance version of Krakow, but also the name of local derby rival of Wisła.

The proper pronunciation of the name is “viswa krakuf”.