Stadion Miejski w Jastrzębiu-Zdroju (Stadion GKS-u Jastrzębie)
|8500 (GKS Jastrzebie - GKS Katowice, 26.05.2007)
|Harcerska 14b, Jastrzębie-Zdrój
Stadion GKS-u Jastrzębie – stadium description
The municipal stadium in Jastrzębie-Zdrój was built during local team's great period, with the goal of creating a worthy place for GKS to play top level football. It's also a unique case of urban planning that puts a major stadium almost immediately beside high-density residential estate. The nearest blocks of flats are literally 20-30 meters away.
Partly built into a sunken bowl, the stadium was created on the west-east axis with facilities for players delivered behind the west end. Due to difference in land height, you could barely see the stadium when approaching it from the north (of course, if not for floodlight masts and tall roof of its main stand), while in the south a large green mound dominates the landscape.
Though built as a multi-use stadium, it offers very decent conditions of watching football. The auditorium's rake is quite high and distance between the fans and athletes has been minimised to the necessary minimum.
Upon its opening in 1989, it was considered one of the best in Poland, delivered with partial cover, floodlight masts and expected size of up to 20,000 (should the green embankments be used). It's thus no wonder that it hosted the 1992 international between Poland and Czechoslovakia. Interestingly, it wasn't only the last international game to be held here, it was the very last game of Czechoslovakia as a country.
Ironically, GKS never really got the full benefit of relocation. Just before moving away from their small ground at Kościelna, the team were promoted to Poland's top flight for the first time. But instead of building upon the success at the new venue, GKS got relegated twice immediately and only managed to bounce back to 2nd tier in 2007. As a result, the largest crowds here are seen during concerts.
One more piece of irony: the stadium was built with piping for under-soil heating, a novelty at the time. However, the system was never used and is considered obsolete today. Time hasn't also been kind on the entire stadium. As it's too large, only partial renovations were carried out over the years to meet actual demand rather than renovate the entire asset.