Club happy with home to England’s superstars

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The England football team can expect reasonable treatment when they arrive in Poland next year - despite reports of a “ramshackle dump” of a base in Krakow.

This week, photos were published of rubble-strewn rooms and a waterlogged pitch at the Hutnik stadium - which will be used by Fabio Capello’s men as a training camp before Euro 2012.

Yet grassroots footballers from the world’s oldest club, Sheffield FC, were not unhappy with conditions at the same venue when they played there in the summer of 2009.

Club’s development manager Lee Walshaw accepted conditions were not perhaps what millionaire footballers were used to, here.

“When we were there, the ground itself was very basic but the facilities themselves weren’t too bad,” he said.

“The pitch wasn’t up to much of a high standard – it’s very similar to a lot of lower-league grounds here but they’ve got six months to get it done. That might be cutting it a bit fine, but I don’t see why it won’t happen on time.”

During their stay, Club faced Hutnik Krakow, losing 3-1 in front of over 1,000 fans and Walshaw described a party-style atmosphere.

“Most of the fans were inside the ground for about 11am,” he said. “They’d got in early to start drinking and during the game there were literally tables with barrels of beer all around us!

“But there wasn’t any violence or hostility towards us. We were their visitors and we were treated really well.

“It was a good trip; we were treated well throughout.”

Walshaw said Club remain in contact with their Polish counterparts, and that a representative from the Krakow recently made a visit to Dronfield, revealing that no football is being played on the ground, in anticipation of the upcoming revamp.

Ian Whitehorne, Sheffield’s general manager, said that the “lads were well looked after” during their stay.

Sheffield FC played there after an invitation to compete in an exhibition match, as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Nowa Huta district of Krakow.

Nowa Huta – which means “The New Steel Mill” – is one of the country’s biggest steel-producing regions, similar in some respects to Sheffield.

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