Dundee travel to Ibrox on Saturday to take on Rangers in the Ladbrokes Premiership and so we take a look at a player who has played for both clubs, Dariusz Adamczuk.
Adamczuk was a cult hero to the Dundee support during the Nineties when he arrived for a club record fee, left 11 games later for another club record fee, returned to Dens three years later to help Dundee win the First Division and then was part of the side which secured the Dark Blues’ highest ever Premier Division finish.
Born on October 20th 1969 in Szczecin, Poland, Dariusz started his football career with local club Pogon Szczecin in 1987 and in 1992 was part of the Polish Olympic Football squad which won the silver medal at the Barcelona Olympics.
Dariusz played five matches in the tournament and as a result earned himself a move to Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt but after failing to win a regular place in the starting line-up, was more than happy to move to the Scottish Premier Division and sign for Dundee after just a year in Germany.
Dundee manager Simon Stainrod had been building a cosmopolitan side after winning promotion in 1992 and Adamczuk was signed for a club record fee of £250,000 on the same day that fellow Polish internationalist Piotr Czachowski was also signed for the same money from Legia Warsaw.
Czachowski had played 45 internationals for Poland but as a non-EEC player he still required Home Office clearance and a Scottish League work permit before he could play but Adamczuk also held a German passport and was able to make his debut on August 21st 1993 in a 1-1 draw with Aberdeen at Dens.
The fair-haired Pole, who had not played for two months after a dispute with his club, looked fast and skilful and played with great commitment and as the weeks passed he regained his fitness and looked every inch the international player, particularly in the holding midfield role.
After just eight starts however the Dundee support were stunned when the hard tackling midfielder was transferred to Serie A club Udinese for a record transfer fee received of £500,000; double what Dundee had paid for him just two months before. His 11 appearances had yielded one goal in a 1-0 win over Kilmarnock in October and his departure came just days after he was red carded for a retaliatory tackle on Darren Jackson in a 3-2 win over second placed Hibs but there was no doubt that his sale was a blow.
It was not the end of the Dariusz Adamczuk / Dundee FC story however as his new club Udinese failed to pay his fee in full and he was loaned out to Portuguese side Belenenses. The Italians refused to complete the payments due to the Dark Blues and eventually FIFA deemed him still to be a Dundee player and insisted in turn that Dundee should complete the remainder of their debt to Eintracht Frankfurt while waiving the balance due by Udinese.
Initially Adamczuk stated that he did not want to resume his career with Dundee and played a handful of games again for his hometown team Pogon Szczecin but then completely out of the blue he turned up at the door of Dens Park and offered his services to Dundee manager Jim Duffy.
Duffy was only too happy to welcome him the player back and he returned to the side in January when he came off the bench to replace Paul Tosh in a 2-1 home defeat to St Mirren.
Dundee were by now in the Scottish First Division and Adamczuk would make 13 appearances before the end of the season but in 1997/98 he would become a key figure as Dundee attempted to return to the Premier Division at the fourth attempt.
Dariusz would be used at both full-back and in midfield and he would make 41 appearances as Dundee won promotion by mid-April and the League Flag by five points from Falkirk.
Dundee’s first season back in the top flight would be as part of the newly created Scottish Premier League and it would be a terrific season for the Pole as he scored six goals as Dundee finished fifth and above Dundee United for the first time in 25 years.
On the day in which Dundee were assured of finishing above United with a 2-0 win at Tannadice, Daruisz was named as the Dundee Supporters’ Player of the Year and accepted the Andrew De Vries Memorial Trophy himself after the match by coming straight from the victory ‘across the road’ to Dundee Social Club, much to the delight of the assembled Dees.
It was Dundee’s best ever finish in the Premier Division and in fact equalled Dundee’s highest league placing since winning the League Championship in 1962. Adamczuk had been an integral part of the success and Dundee supporters will remember the remarkable goal he scored against St Johnstone in Perth in December when he picked the ball up in his own box and ran almost the length of the pitch to slip the ball under Alan Main and send the Dundee fans behind the goal wild.
Dariusz had also scored a terrific goal against Rangers at Ibrox and by the end of the season was being courted by both halves of the Old Firm. Initially Dundee agreed to let Adamczuk join Celtic for £40,000 in April but the Parkhead side backed out after they saw the Pole’s wage demands but Rangers weren’t put off and he moved to Govan at the end of the season.
While at Dens Dariusz was capped four times by Poland and just after joining Dundee he was part of the famous Poland v England World Cup qualifier in Chorzow (as was Czachowski) when the Channel 4 documentary team captured England boss Graham Taylor shouting, “Do I not like”, for which he became synonymous.
Taylor’s bizarre exclamation came when Adamczuk put Poland ahead by lobbing Chris Woods in the England goal and pubs all across Dundee let out a huge cheer when the caption came up on the television screen, “Dariusz Adamczuk (Dundee FC)” to acknowledge the scorer.
Adamczuk was extremely popular in his two spells at Dens and it was sad to see him fail to break into the Rangers side. He played just 14 times for the Light Blues and four times on loan at Wigan during his three years stay in Govan and retired from the game aged 33 when he left Ibrox in 2002 after being diagnosed with depression. Unfortunately, it echoed his time in Germany and Italy making his spells at Dundee his most successful and enjoyable for player and fans alike.
Honours at Dundee:
Scottish League First Division winners: 1997/98
Dundee FC player of the Year: 1998/99
Poland international caps: 4
Dundee FC Appearances, Goals:
League: 102 + 10 subs, 9 goals
Scottish Cup: 8 + 1 sub
League Cup: 8
SFL Challenge Cup: 3
Totals: 132, 9 goals