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Poland star Pawel Olkowski 'didn't get along' with Bolton at first

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
PAWEL Olkowski has revealed how his move to Bolton nearly collapsed in the summer.

Speaking in an interview with the Polish press after his recall to the international side, the Wanderers defender claims he was on the verge of rejecting a move to English football until Phil Parkinson intervened.

Asked by, Poland’s largest football news outlet whether his decision to move his family to Lancashire had been ‘love at first sight’ the 28-year-old said it had been quite the contrary.

“First it turned out that I had to go to England because the club did not want to negotiate by email,” he said. “They were afraid that if they sent me a contract, I would go to another city and try to get better conditions. I flew, but we did not get along.

“I was about to return home. At the last moment, manager Phil Parkinson interceded. He called the chairman and persuaded him to sit down again.

“They gave in a little, I did too, and managed to reach an agreement.”

Olkowski also revealed his representatives had approached Polish side Legia Warsaw about a move when he failed to find regular football at FC Koln in the second half of last season.

Other offers were also on the table for the full-back, who has made a fine start to life in the Championship, fighting his way back into the international set-up after a break of three years.

“In the winter there were more offers,” said Olkowski, who had seen a loan deal with Lech Poznan called off. “They were more concrete. In the summer I was close to an agreement with the club from Bundesliga 2.

“I had already talked to the trainer. If I did not go to England, I would probably be there.”

Olkowski had chased a move to Legia prior to Wanderers’ interest and could have been playing in the Champions League had the deal materialised.

“I pressed, I gave signals,” he said. “I resolved the contract with Cologne and came to Poland.

“I saw that Legia is building a new team; I knew that he would play in the Champions League qualifiers.

“It was very tempting for me. It is my dream. I talked with Legia in the winter, but then they offered me medium conditions. In the end, however, I said: ‘Good, give the same as you proposed then, and I’ll sign the paper.’

“I did not care about money, I just wanted to start playing. I heard from (Legia) director Ivan Kepcia, however, that I do not fit into his plan.

“It came good for me, in the end, but at that point I really wanted to play in Warsaw.”

Olkowski briefly used an interpreter when he first arrived at Wanderers but has since developed what he terms “tourist English” skills.

“I do like to look at the media and I also have contact with supporters. I write back to them on Instagram and Twitter and write in English because thanks to this, I can practice my language.

“I try to be up to date: I read interviews, browse newspapers, watch press conferences.

“I had a language at school, I passed my high school diploma, I used it a little while on vacation. I joke with my friends from Bolton that my English is like a tourist. Maybe so, but I get along.

“On the first day the club invited an interpreter for me, but after a while I found I could send him home.”

After spending so long on the outskirts of the FC Koln side last season, Olkowski was eager for regular football when he moved away from Germany. And after tying down the right-back berth this season for Bolton he has been able to force his way back into the international reckoning under new Poland coach Jerzy Brzęczek.

“I make up for lost time,” he said. “I’ve played almost 1,000 minutes. I always wanted to try England, though it was not my obsession. In the Championship, I found myself very quickly.”

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