A Predecessor to Bartosz Slusarski

Last updated : 28 November 2007 By Gerry Wolstenholme


Gerry Wolstenholme

Adam Wolanin was born in Lwow on 13 November 1919 and was an inside forward who joined Blackpool for a trial in September 1946. His fiancée was a local girl and she rang the club to ask if Wolanin, who was a warrant officer serving in the Polish Air Force in Bury St Edmunds, could be given a game. And Blackpool manager Joe Smith agreed to the request. Blackpool officials were aware of him for they had seen him play a game "full of tricks" for the Polish Air Force against the North West RAF at Bloomfield Road on 1 January 1944. His side, however, "lacked cohesion" and lost 8-0! He had a pedigree for he had previously played for Pogon Lwow and had appeared in Russia against the mighty Moscow Dynamo but on the outbreak of World War II he had moved to England.

Joe Smith commented on Wolanin's arrival at Bloomfield Road "He was so shy, so unassuming." But he gave him a game in the Blackpool 'A' team against Morecambe reserves at Highbury Road, St Annes on 7 September 1946. He scored five goals, had a brilliant game and the resultant publicity advised, "Watch this Pole, you may hear a lot about him."

He was subsequently given leave of absence by the Polish Air Force to play in the Blackpool Central League side against Huddersfield Town reserves on 14 September 1946. Blackpool won 3‑1 and he was said to have "certainly justified his chance of Central League football". His debut was regarded as "one of the highlights of the game" as he scored one of the goals which "he had been foraging for the whole time".

He played his second Central League game two days later when he appeared against Manchester City reserves on 16 September 1946. Blackpool lost 1-0 and watching manager Joe Smith commented, "There was little to encourage me. It was all too bad to be true." However, Blackpool did apply some pressure to the Manchester City goal but "all it produced was a shot by the Pole, Wolanin, a dapper, neat little forward who may yet go places, which hit a post".

Air Force duties prevented him playing for the club too often and he next appeared at inside left in the 'A' team fixture against Netherfield at St Annes on 5 October 1946. The game ended in a 4‑4 draw and "both sets of forwards played good constructive football". However, he did not appear in any further games for any Blackpool teams as his duties with the Polish Air Force prevented him being on the Fylde Coast. His senior career at Bloomfield Road encompassed just two Central League games, scoring one goal. He also played in two 'A' team games, scoring five goals.

He emigrated to the United States in 1947 and went to live in Chicago. There he played football for the Chicago Maroons and later the Chicago Eagles. While with the Eagles he was selected for the United States World Cup squad in 1950 when one of the originally selected players, Ben McLaughlin, could not get time off work to go to the tournament in Brazil. And he made his international debut in the World Cup tournament at outside right for his adopted country against Spain who defeated the United States 3‑1.

It was to be his only international but he is a player with Blackpool connections who has appeared in the World Cup Finals. After the World Cup he played for the Chicago Falcons and won a US Open [Football] Cup medal with the club in 1953. He died in Chicago [date unknown].