History of Korona Kielce
On July 10,1973 two sports clubs in Kielce merged - SHL and Iskra. The result of this merger was the formation of the Korona Kielce Sports Association. The decision was made to establish four sections: football, handball, cycling and motorbike.
One of the key sections of Korona was football. Less than a month after the club was established, Korona footballers started to play for the championship of the Kielce district league, and Zbigniew Pawlak became the first coach. The inaugural meeting of Korona footballers took place on 5 August 1973 at the "Iskra" stadium in Kielce at Mielczarskiego Street. Sparta Kazimierza Wielka was Korona’s opponent. The Kielce team won the meeting 3:0 and Andrzej Jung scored the historic, first goal.
The first promotion to II league was won on July 13,1975, when Korona faced Lublinianka Lubin. At that time, 20 thousand fans came to the stadium at Ściegiennego Street to witness the 3:2 victory for coach Bogumił Gozdur's side.
Over the following years the team balanced between II and III league. However, at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, there was a major crisis related to the political transformation in Poland. The club's activities to date have been based on cooperations with enterprises and industrial plants, which had become the subject of privatisation. Factories started to look for savings and significant budget cuts, which affected sportsmen and coaches employed by these facilities. Subsidies for the club's activities, which have so far flowed from patronage facilities, including the rolling bearings factory "Iskra" and "Polmo-SHL", have decreased yearly. In 1991, the motor section ceased to exist and the handball section set up a new club - Iskra (now PGE Vive Kielce). In the second half of 1992, the cycling section of Korona was separated forming the Cyclo-Korona club. Football was the last section operating at MKS Korona.
In July 1996, Korona was sponsored by the thriving "Nida Gips" company from Gacki. After signing the relevant agreements, coach Włodzimierz Gąsior was appointed coach of the third league team, who before the start of the 1996/1997 season was given the task of promotion to the second league. A task which was fulfilled in impressive style.
Unfortunately, after two good II league seasons in which Korona were knocking on the door for promotion to the top league,"Nida Gips" withdrew from the club's sponsorship. This was a foretelling of huge problems. After the end of the 1999/2000 season, the Kielce team was relegated to the third league.
Even before the end of the second league season in 1999/2000, when the degradation of Korona was imminent, preliminary talks started regarding the merger with KKP, the Kielce Football Club (Kielecki Klub Piłkarski). The merger was supposed to continue the football activity of the Błękitni Kielce club, which was liquidated on 31 March 2000. In July 2000, after very turbulent discussions, a resolution on merging the Korona senior team with KKP was adopted. This led to the establishment of KKP Korona Kielce.
However, the club was still struggling with huge financial problems, which prevented it from being promoted to the second league. Everything changed in the summer of 2002, when Kolporter S. A. became a sponsor of Korona. On 1 July 2003 Kielce Football Club Kolporter - Korona was transformed into the first Sport Limited Company in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. Its sole shareholder was Krzysztof Klicki, President of Kolporter S. A.
It was then that the march of the Kielce club towards the elite started. In the season of 2003/2004 the club won promotion to II league and a year later, with coach Ryszard Wieczorek, Kolporter Korona Kielce was promoted to the top league. It happened exactly on May 31st 2005, when the Kielce side beat GKS Bełchatów 2:1 on away. The winning and historic goal was scored by Dariusz Kozubek, the club's alumnus.
Kolporter Korona spent the next three seasons in the Ekstraklasa. In each of them the team was active in the fight for the highest goals, finishing the seasons fifth and twice sixth, respectively. Meanwhile, the team has also moved to a new stadium built at Ściegiennego Street 8, in place of the former Blękitni Kielce stadium. The official inauguration of the most modern stadium in Poland took place on 1 April 2006.
When it seemed that football in Kielce was secure and the golden days were approaching for Korona, the club, the city and, above all, the fans were struck unexpectedly. In 2008, the so-called "corruption scandal" erupted. It turned out that in the season of 2003/2004, when the team played in the third league, Korona did not play fair, „fixing matches" to ensure the desired promotion to the highest class. As a result, Krzysztof Klicki withdrew from financing the club and the company Kolporter ceased to be the strategic sponsor of Korona. The team, which had successfully fought in the top league over the last three seasons, was punished by the Polish Football Association with financial fines and degradation to the II league. Many key players left the club. Black clouds gathered above Korona, and the fans worst nightmares about the disappearance of their beloved club from the Polish football map seemed very real.
The Kielce local government, headed by the president Wojciech Lubawski, came with aid. After several weeks of negotiations, president Lubawski came upon an agreement with Krzysztof Klicki, the owner of the club. An agreement was signed in which the president of Kolporter sold the club to the city of Kielce for a symbolic 1 zloty. Korona became a municipal company.
After the degradation, Vladimir Gąsior was reappointed coach of Korona. Though the 2008/2009 was very uneven, Korona manager to return to the highest league on the spin. The team was led by coach Marek Motyka in the last three rounds of the season and the team managed to advance to third place, giving tchem the right to play in the playoffs for promotion. However, these matches did not take place. After the turbulence associated with the granting of licences, Korona were promoted directly to the Ekstraklasa.
Although the club could not afford as much as it did in Kolporter's times, it caused surprises in the top league several times. In the 2011/2012 season, Korona finished 5th under coach Leszek Ojrzyński. Two rounds before the end of the season, the yellow-reds even had a chance to advance to European competition. This result was also repeated in 2016/2017 under coach Maciej Bartoszek. Korona under lucky circumstances finished the regular season in the championship group, in which they did not intend to assume the role of Cinderella. The Kielce team proved to be an obstacle for many top teams and thanks to that, finished the season in 5th place.
Ever since Korona came into the ownership of the City of Kielce, an investor who would run and finance the club had been searched for. These efforts reached a happy end in 2017, when Dieter Burdenski, the legendary German Werder Bremen goalkeeper, and entrepreneur, bought 72% of shares of Korona Kielce and became a majority shareholder. 28% of shares still belong to the City of Kielce.