On This Day In 1989: Former Manchester City Hero Kazimierz Deyna Died In A Car Accident

On This Day In 1989: Former Manchester City Hero Kazimierz Deyna Died In A Car Accident
08:00, 01 Sep 2017

Today, fresh flowers will be strewn all over the base of a statue in the Polish capital Warsaw.

Some 28 years ago today football lost one of its greatest exponents who is still held in as much reverie in the blue half of Manchester as he is in the hearts of a whole nation.

Kazimierz Deyna’s three years at Manchester City were blighted by injury but for those lucky enough to watch him play the respect for him is still as prominent as ever.

Denya was the pinup boy of Polish football and even started alongside Pele, Sly Stallone & Bobby Moore in Escape to Victory, playing the part of Paul Wolchek.

Kazi – as he was known to his team mates and City fans – signed for City in 1978, becoming one of the first foreign players to sign for an English top flight club.

Despite making only 43 appearances for City he chalked up 13 goals, including seven goals in the last eight games of the 1978/79 season which effectively kept City in the top flight.

His team mate at City and now part of Guardiola’s back room staff, Brian Kidd said:

“He was sublime. So elegant. Such an excellent manipulator of the ball. He had so much guile and sophistication. People talk about the technique of the influx of foreign players these days. Kazi was way up there.”

Denya played 97 times for Poland, scoring 41 goals and was part of the famous side that humbled England at Wembley in 1973.

He made over 300 appearances for Legia Warsaw, winning two league titles. He won Olympic Gold with Poland in 1972 and finished third in the voting for the 1974 Ballon d'Or.

After leaving City, Denya went to the USA where he played out his career with the San Diego Sockers before retiring and settling down.

He was killed in a car accident near his home in San Diego on 1 September 1989. He was 41 years old.

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 buried in Warsaw's Powązki Military Cemetery.

English football did not see enough of Kazi, but those who saw even a little of his talents, loved him a lot.

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