Name: Gerard Wodarz
Club: Ruch Wielkie Hajduki
Date of Birth: 10 August, 1913 (
Height: 171 cm
Weight: 65 kg
Top Speed: 88
Dribble Accuracy: 84
Dribble Speed: 90
Short Pass Accuracy: 80
Short Pass Speed: 75
Long Pass Accuracy: 95
Long Pass Speed: 74
Shot Accuracy: 80
Shot Power: 86
Shot Technique: 84
Free Kick Accuracy: 82
Keeper Skills: 50
Injury Tolerance: B
Weak Foot Accuracy: 4
Weak Foot Frequency: 5
Growth Type: Early LastingCARDS:P
06 : Speed MerchantP
07 : Mazing RunP
09 : Early CrossP
11 : Cut Back PassS
02 : PasserSPECIAL ABILITIES:*
Attack/Defence Awareness: BalancedINFO:
During the mid-to-late 1930's Ruch featured what is considered to be possibly the best attack ever fielded in Poland, Teodor Peterek clinically headed the ball past keepers, Wilimowski worked his magic and both players vied to be the top scorers - yet both owe thanks to Wodarz, the club's left winger, who with clockwork precision dispensed the ball and made much of what happened in those years possible. It could be said that this 'royal trio' of the five-man attack were the ones most responsible for collecting 5 league titles for the club from 1934-1939, in the process they also alone netted over 200 goals domestically.
Wodarz was a composed, technically flawless player, who was lightning fast, energetic, and carried the ball at full throttle -- Almost inhuman in how spry he was, he had a good strong shot and was capable of hitting the improbable, and had a knack for combining with teammates. From the left he centered the ball softly with considerate precision - Much like in later years when Pele spread a handkerchief and landed the ball on it from any point on the pitch, Wodarz too had has routine, except he flighted the ball onto a chair instead, a form of practice by which he improved and maintained his accuracy.
Good friends with Teodore Peterek, they lived streets apart. Peterek owed his massive goal tally primarily to the winger, and joked that Wodarz in actuality did not like him - because of the distinct pain he felt in his head when meeting a ball that was whipped in by Wodarz. The two completed each other on the pitch, with their simple tactic, but also in temperament, Peterek was hotheaded (he once threw mud in a keepers face for saving his penalty), Wodarz on the other hand was calm and gentle and when he was fouled he would apologize at least 10 times to the transgressor - For as he seen it, the objective was not to clobber your rival off the ball, but rather as Wodarz opted, nip in and snatch it away leaving the opponent disoriented.
Suffice to say the impression his abilities made are lasting, as he is thought by some under purview of Ruch Chorzów to have been the best pre-war left winger, by some others still, the best left winger in the history of European Football! -- The latter statement is written upon his tombstone.
An artist away from the pitch as well, his home was often a clutter of music sheets and he played several instruments (violin, accordion, zither). Wodarz also liked to paint, even considered teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. He had a photographic memory, and could recall the slightest detail when he closed his eyes.
Participated in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, in where he scored a hattrick in 9 minutes against Great Britain. After the tournament an English manager proposed a move back to the Isle, with an unimaginable sum - contemporary newspapers wrote of 10,000 pound sterling - Gerard's wife mused, with that sort of money they could have bought an entire street in Chorzów! However Wodarz returned only with some souvenirs from the Olympics, along with the red blazer of the team - which he treated as if it were his finest church clothes - he tended to parade about his home in the blazer, years later it would no longer button around his chest, and today only the Olympic emblem remains, and the blazer is only preserved in photographs.
During the war his footballing exploits graced him to survive in a rather unique way - signed the Volksliste and continued to play at Ruch (which had been renamed to Bismarckhütter SV 99) till 1941 - but was soon conscripted into the German army, and was stationed in Antwerp under General von Raisenstein - his proficiency as an accountant (this was his main profession and source of income) was noticed and he was made the bookkeeper of the detachment. Yet as the German army disintegrated under allied pressure he found himself in a ditch alongside a country road in Normandy, with two other soldiers - a Serb and a German, during yet another night bombing. His habit of lining up on the left extended beyond football, to evening walks with his wife, and when marching in formation - doing so saved him from being gunned down as those who laid dead on the road. Wodarz tired, yet still in good humour (and no respect for the dead evidently) pulled out his harmonica to pass the time - eventually the fog lifted and through the mist he spotted a farm house no more than 200 meters off, the three ran towards it. The soldiers came to a barn and found several cans of milk in a corner, Wodarz who did not like milk - but rather loved
it, opened a can - smiling to himself - it was full, he drank greedily. It was then that a French partisan standing at the door way, shot and killed the German soldier - the closest to himself. Wodarz almost choking on the milk, managed to shout out, "Nie strzelać! Jestem Polakiem!" At gunpoint, with a trembling hand Wodarz reached into his uniform and ripped loose a treasure he had sewn there, his Olympic Ausweis
- a document confirming his identity, Wodarz was spared after its careful examination, the Serb lacking such proof was not as fortunate. By the end of the war Wodarz was serving with the British RAF, where due to his regimen of gymnastics he was called the 'Polish athlete' by his colleagues. At wars end his friends from the RAF, forgiving his fondness of waking them up daily for an early round of calisthenics, offered him the possibility to stay - but Gerard pining for his wife returned to Poland - being robbed of much of his belongings, and military pay on the return voyage. He would play one more season for Ruch Chorzów after the war.