Vul. Sulymy, 1 – "Silmash" stadium
Located in the city’s former Bohdanivka industrial region. Two entrances: the main entrance from the side of Narodna and Sulyma Streets; another from Liubinska Street. In addition to its natural grass football field, it has dirt playfields, a cinder running track, and an administration building. There is a partial section of grandstand. The stadium was built between 1929 and 1934 for the Workers Sport Club (Robotniczy Klub Sportowy – RKS). Since the end of the 1940s it has belonged to the Silmash factory. In a state of disrepair, the stadium currently belongs to the Silhospmash Joint Venture Company.
Construction on the RKS sport facility was begun in 1929 after the club received permission from the magistrate (city government) to take possession of the unimproved lot where it hoped to build. (Górski, 1985, 10; Lwów i Wilno, 1997, 89). It was due to the efforts of the Drobut brothers – Tadeusz and Bronisław – that the land was ceded to the ‘worker-athletes’ and not to Lviv’s more affluent Lexia Club (LwówiWilno, 1997, 89). RKS first appeared in 1921, uniting the greater part of railroad workers and mechanics then residing in the Bohdanivka neighborhood (Krótkirys, 36). The club financed stadium construction entirely by soliciting donations as there were no State funds available. Building was completed in 1934, and the grandstand purchased in Lviv and installed following the Poland – Romania football match which had taken place in the city (Górski, 1985, 23). Already as early as 1935, RKS had won a Polish Workers’ Championship at the stadium (Lwów i Wilno, 1997, 89). It was in that same year that Kazimierz Górski was added to the RKS team roster; he would go on to become the most celebrated player in club history.
The RCS facility at the time consisted of a central soccer field and a training field (where local ‘pick up’ football teams could play), volleyball, basketball, and handball courts (Wacławski, 1992, 17). An inclined running track – utilized also by bicyclists – surrounded the main soccer field (Górski, 1985, 10). RKS Stadium also served other clubs including the Railroad Workers Union (Związek Zawodowy Kolejarzy – ZZK), and the Ukrainian artisan/mechanics club Zorya. JanPinecki proved to be an extraordinarily devoted superintendent of the facility (Piłkanożna, 1996, 105).
In the postwar period, the Silmash agricultural equipment factory provided for the stadium’s upkeep. Upon acquiring the property, the manufacturer expanded the stadium, bringing its seating capacity to 10,000. In the 1950s and 60s, the Silmash-sponsored football team (forerunners of Lviv’s current Karpaty club), played its matches here. In 1962, the club won the right to represent Lviv in the USSR’s “Class A” football league. The Silmash players would form the core of the Karpaty club (established 1963), which would go on to compete in the Soviet Union championships. Notable among the players of that era are Ihor Kulchytskyi – the Kaparty team captain, and Bohdan Keslo, who had played for the 1972 Soviet Union Champion Zorya squad from Luhansk. In 1976, Silmash Stadium hosted the football tournament of the XIV Pan-Soviet School Championships. Future Soviet football greats to appear in those matches included Valdis Jurkus and Ivars Intenbergs of Lithuania; Ashot Saakian and Ashot Khachatrian of Armenia; Vagiz Khidiyatulin and Valery Glushakov of Russia; and Viktor Kaplun, Valentyn Kriachko, Anatoly Saulevych, and Yaroslav Dumans’kyi, Ukraine. It was also here that the Lviv FC got its start at the beginning of the 1990s. Lviv excelled, reaching the highest levels of football excellence by the early 2000s.
The stadium has hosted a wide variety of sport in its history. At the close of the 1960s, the track was outfitted to host motocross championships, which had moved over from Lviv’s SKA Stadium; Serhiy Liatosynskyi distinguished himself at these competitions, taking home multiple awards. In the mid-90s, the Yevko Rugby School began working out here, going on to success in European competition. Lviv’s Sokil Club played a number of its Ukrainian League matches here as well.
Since the start of the new millennium, the stadium has fallen into disuse and is currently in a dilapidated condition. Only the football field sees any matches.
The sports complex is located in an industrial part of town. To the east lies Liubinska Street, with Narodna Street approaching from the west, leading to the park’s main entrance. There is also a service entrance on the Liubinska side. Sulyma Street borders it on the north, separated from the field by a metal fence. On its southern end, the complex sits adjacent to a residential area. A natural grass football pitch forms the heart of the area which has belonged alternately to the Workers Sport Club (1930s) and the current owners, Silmash.
In the 1990s the field was lengthened to 110 meters in order to accommodate rugby matches; its width – 52 meters – was left unchanged. A cinder running track circles the pitch, as once did – on its north, south, and west ends – a 10-row bleacher section with a seating capacity of 10,000. A remnant of the bleachers is still in place. Earthen volleyball, basketball, and handball courts occupied the western section of the complex. A dirt track and field training area was located behind the southern bleachers; the bleachers were divided there by a two-story brick and masonry administration and service building.
From the original RKS construction, only the football field, the cinder track, a section of the ball courts, a section of wall and bleachers remain. The two-story administrative structure has been torn down.
Bronisław Drobut and Tadeusz Drobut. RKS Administrators, responsible for the construction of Bohdanivka Sports Complex.
Jan Pinecki. The head of the RKS Football Division, and stadium superintendent.
Górski Kazimierz. An RKS footballer in the 1970s. Trainer of the Polish National Team, and 1972 Olympic Champion. 1974 World Championships bronze medalist.
Ihor Kulchytskyi. A Silmash footballer, and Captain of the Karpaty football club, winner of the 1969 USSR Cup.
Bohdan Keslo. A Silmash footballer, member of the 1972 USSR Champion, Zorya.
Serhiy Liatosynskyi. International motocross champion.
Górski, Kazimierz.Pół wieku z piłką. Warszawa: Sport i Turystyka, 1985.10, 23. Print.
Mykhaliuk, Yuriy, Roman Melekh, Yuri Nazarkevych. The History of Lviv Football. Lviv: Galician Publishing Union, 1999. S. 63. Print.
Myts, L. “They Don’t Shoot Anymore, Just Roll Around on the Grass: an Exclusive Interview with Kazimierz Górski, Poland’s All-Time Top Trainer.” Argument, July 18, 2004: 8. Print.
Wacławski, Mieczysław.Liberka.Opole, 1992. S. 17-18.
Krótki rys historyczny rozwoju piłkarstwa na terenie Okręgu Lwowskiego. Wydanie z okazji 15-lecia Lwowskiego Związku Piłki Nożnej. Lwów: 1935.S. 26. Print.
Lwów i Wilno w ekstraklasie. Dzieje polskiego futbołu kresowego. Katowice: GIA, 1997. S. 89. Print.
Piłka Nożna na Ziemi Lwowskiej, 1894-1939. Warszawa: SPAR, 1996.S. 105. Print.