Kazimierz Deyna

Kazimierz Deyna (Polish pronunciation: [kaˈʑimjɛʐ ˈdɛjna] (listen);[lower-alpha 1] 23 October 1947 – 1 September 1989)[1] was a Polish footballer, who played as an offensive midfielder in the playmaker role and was one of the most highly regarded players of his generation, due to his excellent vision.[2]

Kazimierz Deyna
Deyna in 1970
Personal information
Full name Kazimierz Deyna
Date of birth (1947-10-23)23 October 1947
Place of birth Starogard Gdański, Poland
Date of death 1 September 1989(1989-09-01) (aged 41)
Place of death San Diego, California, United States
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Position(s) Attacking midfielder
Youth career
1958–1966 Włókniarz Starogard Gdański
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1966 ŁKS Łódź 1 (0)
1966–1978 Legia Warsaw 304 (93)
1978–1981 Manchester City 38 (12)
1981–1984 San Diego Sockers 90 (44)
1981–1987 San Diego Sockers (indoor) 169 (118)
Total 602 (267)
National team
1968–1978 Poland 97 (41)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Early life

Deyna was born in Starogard Gdański to Franciszek (1911–1976) – a dairy worker, and Jadwiga (1917–1981)[3] – a housewife. He had six sisters and two brothers – Henryk and Franciszek, who also were footballers; Henryk played for Włókniarz Starogard Gdański, while Franciszek was a Starogardzki KS player.[4]


Exhibition dedicated to Kazimierz Deyna at Legia Warsaw Museum

Legia Warsaw

Kazimierz Deyna monument in Łazienkowska street

Deyna began playing youth football in 1958 at his local club Włókniarz Starogard Gdański. In 1966 he made one appearance for ŁKS Łódź (on 8 October in a 0–0 draw against Górnik Zabrze).[5] But he was quickly snapped up by Legia Warsaw. In communist Poland each team had its own "sponsor". The Warsaw club was much more powerful as it was the military club. Moreover, it was the favourite club of the authorities. Deyna was called up into the army and in this way he had to play for Legia Warsaw. He made a name for himself during his first season, becoming one of Legia's most important players. In 1969 and 1970 his team won the Polish Championship.[6] After his performances at the 1974 World Cup, European top-teams like AS Saint-Étienne, A.C. Milan, Inter Milan, AS Monaco, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich tried to acquire his services but he was unable to join, since the communist regime in Poland prevented him from moving to Western Europe. Real Madrid was so determined to acquire Deyna that they sent a shirt to Warsaw with his name and number "14".


On 24 April 1968, he made his debut for the national team of Poland in a match against Turkey in Chorzów. He won the gold medal in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich,[7] and the bronze in Football World Cup 1974, after a match against Brazil.[8] In 1972, he was also the Top Goalscorer of the Olympic Games, with a total of nine goals.[9] In 1976 Summer Olympics his team yet again reached the finals and won the silver medal.[7] Additionally, he was ranked third in the European Footballer of the Year for 1974, behind Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer.

Deyna played for Poland on 97 (84 after the deduction of Olympic Football Tournament competition games[10]) occasions, scoring 41 goals, and often captained the side. He had the ability to score from unusual positions, for example directly from a corner. Because of his achievements and talents, he was chosen Football Player of the Year several times by Polish fans. In 1978, he captained Poland at the Football World Cup in Argentina, where the team reached the second phase.

Manchester City

Soon afterwards Deyna was transferred to English club Manchester City, making his debut in November 1978,[11] and being one of the first wave of overseas players to play in the English league.[12] His time in England was marred by a series of injuries, and he left in January 1981, shortly after Manchester City made a managerial change, having made only 43 appearances in all competitions. However, he was regarded as an exceptionally gifted playmaker and became a cult figure with City fans.[12] Deyna scored thirteen goals in his time with the club. Furthermore, his seven goals in the last eight games of the 1978-79 season were crucial for Manchester City in their relegation battle.

San Diego Sockers

The jersey that Deyna wore during his run on San Diego Sockers.

He appeared in the 1981 film Escape to Victory as Paul Wolcheck.[1] In the same year, he emigrated to the United States, where he signed with the San Diego Sockers of the North American Soccer League in January 1981. During the next seven years, he played four NASL outdoor seasons, one NASL indoor season and five Major Indoor Soccer League seasons with the Sockers, winning five championships. The Sockers released him in June 1987.[13] He was a 1983 NASL Second Team All Star.[14]


Kazimierz Deyna tomb in Powązki Military Cemetery

He died in a car accident in San Diego, California, aged 41. In 1994, he was chosen by the Polish Football Association (PZPN) and the readers of all Polish sports-related newspapers as the Polish Football Player of All Time. His number 10 is retired by Legia Warsaw and the Sockers. In June 2012 Kazimierz Deyna's remains were exhumed and reburied in Warsaw's Powązki Military Cemetery.

Career statistics


Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental Total
ŁKS Łódź1966–67Ekstraklasa10
Legia Warsaw1966–67Ekstraklasa12611-00137
Total 30493
Manchester City1978–79First Division136201011177
Total 3812
San Diego Sockers1981North American Soccer League3915
Total 10649
Career total 449159539203

International goals

Scores and results table. Poland's goal tally first.[17]

120 April 1969Kraków, Poland Luxembourg8–0FIFA World Cup 1970 qualifying
215 June 1969Sofia, Bulgaria Bulgaria1–4FIFA World Cup 1970 qualifying
327 August 1969Łódź, Poland Norway6–1Friendly
412 October 1969Luxembourg, Luxembourg Luxembourg5–1FIFA World Cup 1970 qualifying
512 October 1969Luxembourg, Luxembourg Luxembourg5–1FIFA World Cup 1970 qualifying
69 November 1969Warsaw, Poland Bulgaria3–0FIFA World Cup 1970 qualifying
716 May 1970Kraków, Poland East Germany1–1Friendly
82 September 1970Warsaw, Poland Denmark5–0Friendly
95 May 1971Lausanne, Switzerland  Switzerland4–2Friendly
1030 August 1972Regensburg, West Germany Ghana4–01972 Summer Olympics
113 September 1972Regensburg, West Germany Denmark1–11972 Summer Olympics
125 September 1972Augsburg, West Germany Soviet Union2–11972 Summer Olympics
138 September 1972Nürnberg, West Germany Morocco5–01972 Summer Olympics
148 September 1972Nürnberg, West Germany Morocco5–01972 Summer Olympics
1510 September 1972Munich, West Germany Hungary2–11972 Summer Olympics
1610 September 1972Munich, West Germany Hungary2–11972 Summer Olympics
1715 October 1972Bydgoszcz, Poland Czechoslovakia3–0Friendly
1815 October 1972Bydgoszcz, Poland Czechoslovakia3–0Friendly
1910 October 1973Rotterdam, Netherlands Netherlands1–1Friendly
2017 April 1974Liège, Belgium Belgium1–1Friendly
2119 June 1974Munich, West Germany Haiti7–01974 FIFA World Cup
2223 June 1974Stuttgart, West Germany Italy2–11974 FIFA World Cup
2330 June 1974Frankfurt, West Germany Yugoslavia2–11974 FIFA World Cup
2426 March 1975Poznań, Poland United States7–0Friendly
2526 March 1975Poznań, Poland United States7–0Friendly
2626 March 1975Poznań, Poland United States7–0Friendly
276 July 1975Montreal, Canada Canada8–1Friendly
286 July 1975Montreal, Canada Canada8–1Friendly
299 July 1975Toronto, Canada Canada4–1Friendly
3022 July 1976Montreal, Canada Iran3–21976 Summer Olympics
3131 October 1976Warsaw, Poland Cyprus8–0FIFA World Cup 1978 qualifying
3231 October 1976Warsaw, Poland Cyprus8–0FIFA World Cup 1978 qualifying
3310 July 1977Lima, Peru Peru3–1Friendly
3421 September 1977Chorzów, Poland Denmark4–1FIFA World Cup 1978 qualifying
3529 October 1977Chorzów, Poland Portugal1–1FIFA World Cup 1978 qualifying
3612 November 1977Wrocław, Poland Sweden2–1Friendly
375 April 1978Poznań, Poland Greece5–2Friendly
385 April 1978Poznań, Poland Greece5–2Friendly
3912 April 1978Łódź, Poland Republic of Ireland3–0Friendly
4010 June 1978Rosario, Argentina Mexico3–11978 FIFA World Cup



Legia Warsaw[18]





  1. In isolation, Kazimierz is pronounced [kaˈʑimjɛʂ].


  1. "Kazimierz Deyna". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 25 February 2009.
  2. "Polonia 1972 – 1974: generazione di fenomeni" (in Italian). Storie di Calcio. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  3. "Kazimierz Deyna" (in Polish). 20 June 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  4. "Kazimierz Deyna – Legenda, która trwa" (in Polish). kazimierdzeyna.pl. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  5. "Kariera" (in Polish). deyna.info. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  6. "Legia Warszawa". polishsoccer.net. Archived from the original on 24 January 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2009.
  7. "Kazimierz Deyna". DatabaseOlympics. Archived from the original on 24 May 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2009.
  8. "1974 FIFA World Cup Germany". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2009.
  9. "Munich, 1972". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2009.
  10. "France '98 and USA '99 influence the Century Clubs". FIFA.com. Retrieved 25 February 2009.
  11. "Kazimierz Deyna". sporting-heroes.net. Retrieved 25 February 2009.
  12. Ric Turner (25 February 2009). "The 50 greatest Manchester City players". The Times. Retrieved 25 February 2009.
  13. Sockers set free Deyna, 4 others The San Diego Union (CA) – Friday, 12 June 1987
  14. NASL All Star Teams Archived 11 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  15. "Kazimierz DEYNA".
  16. "Historia Legii Warszawa - Legia.Net".
  17. "Kazimierz Deyna - Goals in International Matches".
  18. "Warsaw remembers Poland legend Deyna". UEFA.com. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  19. "European Footballer of the Year ("Ballon d'Or") 1974". RSSSF. Retrieved 31 October 2016.