Known for their violence and right-wing politics, Legia Warsaw’s Teddy Boys 95 are one of the most notorious ultras groups in Eastern Europe.
Teddy Boys 95
The story of Teddy Boys 95 starts back in the mid-eighties. Supporters not only attended matches together but they also travelled to away matches as a unit.
Before this, there was a group – Gitowcow – that was not welcoming to the youth subcultures. Therefore, Teddy Boys gained more momentum among the younger Legia Warsaw fans.
The Teddy Boys 95 embody passion on and off the pitch. Inside the stadium, Legia Warsaw’s leading ultras group creates a cauldron of intensity.
Legia Warsaw Fans
Fans have been fighting for generations. Therefore, it’s no surprise hooliganism is a regular feature during matches involving the Legia Warsaw ultras. And the physical confrontations are not just reduced to the stadium vicinities.
Many of the Polish Ultras regularly meet up and engage in pre-arranged battles known as “Ustawka.”
Whilst fighting is what makes Teddy Boys a respected group in Poland, the most important fact that makes them stand out from the crowd is their undeniable passion for Legia Warsaw.
Teddy Boys vs. Owners
For long periods, Teddy Boys were at war with the club’s owners. This conflict threatened to tear apart a great club.
In 2002, debts amounting to many millions severely put the club at crossroads and with a bleak future. The president then, Leszek Miklas, was fired from his job. However, media powerhouse ITI finally bought the team and restored sanity two years later.
The joy was short-lived. The rise in ticket prices infuriated Legia Warsaw’s supporters. Mass protests soon ensued.
This anger boiled over and during the 2004 Polish Cup final it got nasty. The ultras invaded the field and beat up members of Lech Poznan as well as stealing their winner’s medal. This was after they had been mocked.
The denunciation from the owners did not sit well with the supporters. The connection hit an indefensible position.
Continued Push and Pull
The next few seasons were shaky. The fans and the owners did not see eye to eye. Teddy Boys 95 continued their demonstrations. They even stopped attending matches but only showed outside the stadium to support the team. The fans only returned in the stands at the end of 2005 after attainment of a consensus.
Wojskowi won the championship in that campaign with the help of their ardent supporters. However, the relationship took a turn again when Miklas returned to Legia. The ultras made their voices heard in the Intertoto Cup when they started a full-scale uprising forcing abandonment.
Miklas banned the use of tifos and choreography and promised to clamp down on the Teddy Boys 95. They were banned from attending home and away games.
However, the entire Polish football scene stood up with them and offered allocations in their home areas in their away matches.
A New Dawn: The Waiter and a Fresh Start
An infamous Legia Warsaw fan known as the ‘waiter’ interrupted a board meeting and threw cream cake at the face of Miklas.
Not too long thereafter, the club’s owners sacked Miklas and brought in a new president who immediately started building bridges. After lengthy meetings, the ultras and the owners came to an understanding. Bans were overturned and the Teddy Boys 95 got their spot at the back of the goalkeeper’s post.
Things started improving on and off the pitch. The nomination of an affluent businessman and a Legia faithful Boguslaw Lesnodorki as president brought a new lease of life for the club.
The stands were filled with stunning displays which included tifos and choreographies. These scenes represent the tough times the Teddy Boys 95 went through and still came out victorious.
Fight Against UEFA
Legia Warsaw’s ultras were at the centre of the fight against greed in football when the team participated in the Champions League in the 2014-2015 campaign. Even though their campaign was short, they left a mark.
Teddy Boys 95 unveiled a huge tifo showing UEFA officials as pigs. This was followed by the slogan ‘6-1. Because football doesn’t matter, money does!’. This was because UEFA had kicked the club out even after they thrashed Celtics over the two qualification legs.
Even though the club was fined €80,000, the images from this event will remain for years to come. Subsequently, Celtics went ahead and got beaten by Slovenian side NK Maribor.
Weeks later Teddy Boys were at it again in the Europa League. They were punished by UEFA because the fans reacted to anti-Polish chanting when they faced Metalist Kharkiv. Run-ins with authorities are not something new to Legia Warsaw’s supporters.
Lega Warsaw Fan Rivalries
Teddy Boys 95 are fierce rivals with supporters of Polonia Warsaw, Gwardia Warsaw, and KS Warszawianka. All these derbies are hotly contested in Poland.
Teddy Boys 95 maintain friendly relations with ultras from Radomiak Radom, Zeglebie Sosnowiec, and Olimpia Elblag. Across Europe, they maintain friendly relations with ultras from ADO Den Haag and Juventus, mainly based on shared political views.