The football team was one of the first two sections of the PZL Mielec club (the other was the men’s volleyball team), established in 1939. It consisted of players previously playing for other Mielec clubs (TG Sokół, AZS) and employees of the PZL No. 2 Airframe Factory. In the first match, the local team of the Gymnastic Association Sokół was victorious 4:1, followed by wins against KS Dzikovia Tarnobrzeg 2:1, Metal Tarnów 3:1 and the team of the Ammunition Factory in Dęba 6:1. The players who played then included (in alphabetical order): Zdzisław Gordziejew, Eugeniusz Grodecki, Władysław Jasiński, Karol Jaszcz, Marian Korpanty, Marian Meissner, (?) Ryś, Leon Solarski, Emil Toczyński, Jan Wilk and (?) Zieliński. The meeting with Okęcie scheduled for September was not played because the Second World War broke out.

During the Nazi occupation, no sports matches were allowed. Illegal matches were, however, held, most often on the grasslands behind the communal forest (nowadays – the Kazimierza Wielkiego estate and POD Metalowiec). There were also trips to other towns and cities (Dębica, Grębów, Kolbuszowa, Sandomierz, Tarnobrzeg). The only official match was played against a German military unit (1:2) at the Warszawska Street stadium. Players who played for the team in those years included Stanisław Achtyl, Zbigniew Adamczewski, Henryk Boryński, Stanisław Brożonowicz, Zenon Brzeziński, Lucjan Kędzierski, Leszek Kopacz, Janusz Korpanty, Wiesław Lachnit, Edmund Lipczyński, Kazimierz Lipczyński, Zygmunt Lipczyński, Zbigniew Łojczyk, (?) Magdaliński, Henryk Noworyta, Mieczysław Noworyta, Zygmunt Noworyta, Adam Pyrzyński, Ryszard Stopka, Kazimierz Ślęzak, Józef Światowiec, Zygmunt Trzaskoma, Mieczysław Wydro and Józef Zdebko.

Official sporting activity was resumed in 1945, and the team, under the new name RKS PZL Zryw, won 4:3 against a Soviet military unit at the Makkabi stadium (today a market hall stands on this site, in Wolności Street). In 1946, they entered the Class B competition, and in 1949 won 1st place in Class B and were promoted to Class A. The 1949/1950 season ended with the first major success – under the name ZKS Stal the Class A championship was won with a balance: 16 25:7 47:23 (ahead of Włókniarz Krosno and Stal Rzeszów) and competed for entry to the Second League. Unfortunately, the team played unevenly, finished in 3rd place and was not promoted. Matches in these years were played initially on the Makkabi pitch, and from 1949 onwards at the club’s own stadium on the factory estate (nowadays the area between St. Wyspiańskiego, M. Konopnickiej, J. Kochanowskiego and S. Żeromskiego streets). Between 1945 and 1950, the players who played (there are letters mA next to the players who won the Class A championship) were: Julian Bątor, Tadeusz Biernat, Wacław Biernat, Aleksander Drożdżowski mA, Kazimierz Drygalski mA, Zbigniew Furtak, Julian Gargas mA, Jan Garlewicz, Józef Giera, Józef Gryczman, Władysław Gwoździowski mA, Władysław Kochmański, Janusz Korpanty mA, Adam Krzysztoforski, Tytus Lachnit mA, Edmund Lipczyński, Kazimierz Lipczyński mA, Zygmund Lipczyński, Ryszard Michalski mA, Zygmunt Nosal, Henryk Noworyta mA, Mieczysław Noworyta mA, Stanisław Olczak, Tadeusz Orłowski, Tadeusz Rożniał mA, Józef Snopkowski, Mieczysław Sztuka, Zbigniew Śmieszek, Józef Światowiec mA, Stefan Światowiec mA, Zygmunt Trzaskoma, Kazimierz Wanatowicz, Paweł Węgrzynowski, Wojciech Witkowski, Jan Wołk, Włodzimierz Zabrzejewski mA and Zenon Zydroń mA. The coaches were Stanisław Maurer (1947-1948) and Rudolf Pirych (1948-1950), and the team managers were Franciszek Zybura, Zygmunt Nosal. Stanisław Bayer and Paweł Węgrzynowski.

In the 1950s, a team capable of successfully competing for the Second League was being built. This process was facilitated by the development of the parent company, Wytwórnia Sprzętu Komunikacyjnego (Communication Equipment Manufacturing Plant), which employed sportsmen on good financial terms (in those days professional sport was practised after work). The progression of results was evident. In 1951, the team took 4th place in Group I of the provincial class, in 1952 – 2nd place, and in 1953, after the reform of the competition, 3rd place in Class A. A success in that year was winning the title of the best team in the Polish Cup at the level of the Rzeszów district. Also in 1953, the club moved to a new stadium in the north of the city to play its home games. The breakthrough year turned out to be 1954, when the team played with a squad strengthened with good players: Antoni Brzeżańczyk (playing coach), Henryk Czylok, Tadeusz Grześka, Henryk Pilarski, Leszek Procak, Helmut Tobolik and Helmut Waleska. In Group I of Class A, the Mielecs won 1st place (22 39:5 116:12) and were promoted to the final of the inter-provincial league, which was created as part of the competition reform. In the autumn, the team won this final (10 15:5 24:14) and were promoted to the interprovincial league (Rzeszow-Lublin). The second success was winning the Winter City Cup after a 4:1 victory against the Krosno team. In 1955, 1st place was won in the inter-provincial league (22 34:10 63:16) and the team was promoted to the second league. After securing 2nd place (6 7:5 11:6), Stal played a play-off against Bzura Chodaków at Lublinianka’s neutral stadium and, winning 3:1, was promoted to the 2nd division. The joy of promotion was shared by the two thousand Mielec fans present at the match. The winning team featured Mieczysław Sztuka, Tadeusz Grześko, Zenon Książek, Herbert Juraszczyk, Helmut Waleska, Edwin Wieczerzak, Leszek Procak, (Alfred Lenart), Henryk Czylok, Antoni Brzeżańczyk, Helmut Tobolik and Stanisław Latacz. In addition, between 1951 and 1955, the following played in the colours of Stali: Rafał Anioła, Ginter Bańczyk, Aleksander Drożdżowski, Kazimierz Drygalski, Eugeniusz Eksner, Leszek Gaj, Julian Gargas, Jan Iwanow, Herbert Juraszczyk, Antoni Kanik, Janusz Korpanty, (?) Kosmala, Jan Król, Engelbert Kuczera, Kazimierz Lipczyński, Jerzy Marszal, Marian Michałuszko, Tadeusz Mokrzycki, Henryk Noworyta, Mieczysław Noworyta, Józef Olszewski, Bolesław Piekarski, Henryk Pilarski, Marcin Powała, Adam Pyrzyński, Tadeusz Rożniał, Czesław Stęplewski, Józef Światowiec, Józef Wcisło, Józef Wolski, (?) Wosiński, (?) Woźniczko, Włodzimierz Zabrzejewski and Zenon Zydroń. The coaches were Rudolf Pirych (1951-1952), Eustachy Poticha (1952-1953) and Antoni Brzeżańczyk (1954-1955). The team’s managers were: Bolesław Klimański, Stanisław Bayer, Roman Wcisło, Edward Kołacz and Stanisław Czopek.

The first season in the Second Division (1956) was a constant fight for league existence, and the task was only completed in the last match, won 3:2 against Górnik in Wałbrzych. Among 14 teams, Stal placed 11th (26 22:30 30:34). The first match against a foreign first division team, Tatran Prešov (CSRS), was also played, resulting in a 0:0 draw. The 1957 squad was strengthened by, among others, Kazimierz Bielecki, Stefan Gabrysiak, Marian Kaleta, Józef Kęcki, Rajmund Kapuściński, Ryszard Mysiak and Otto Opiełka, and the well-known coach Michał Matyas. The second season in the Second Division, after good play, brought 2nd place (22 27:17 42:23). In 1958, an even stronger line-up (Kazimierz Budek, Zbigniew Czuda and Alfred Gazda were acquired) took 3rd place (22 24:20 36;27). The team was rebuilt in 1959 (coach A. Brzeżańczyk returned, more players were introduced to the team) and the result was only the 6th place (22 25:19 29:29). Incidentally, it should be added that in the years 1958-1959 the first player of the Stal Mielec team, goalkeeper Wiesław Pytlos, played for the Polish junior national team. An attack on the First League was successful in 1960 – the fifth season in the Second League. The Stali Mielec team won 1st place in the southern group (22 31:13 40:20) and were promoted to the Premier League. The team, which won 3:0 in Mielec against Piast Gliwice, a rival for promotion, consisted of Ryszard Mysiak, Otton Opiełka, Jan Król, Leszek Gaj, Zbigniew Czudo, Kazimierz Budek, Alfred Gazda, Henryk Czylok, Helmut Tobolik, Rajmund Kapuściński and Stefan Gabrysiak. Erwin Pyka, Tadeusz Lupa, Herbert Juraszczyk and Adam Lubertowicz played in other matches that year, and earlier, between 1956 and 1959, also played: Ryszard Baran (died in an accident in 1956), Kazimierz Bielecki, Antoni Brzeżańczyk (playing coach), Tadeusz Grześko, Herbert Juraszczyk, Józef Kęcki, Zenon Książek, Stanisław Latacz, Alfred Lenart, (?) Mleczko, Leszek Procak, Wiesław Pytlos, Henryk Robotycki, Stanisław Smajda, Mieczysław Sztuka and Helmut Waleska. The coaches in this period were Michał Matyas (1957-1958) and Antoni Brzeżańczyk (1959-1960), and the team managers were Zygmunt Nosal, Stanisław Czopek, Edward Kołacz, Stanisław Olczak and Józef Wcisło.

The squad that won promotion joined the fight for the Polish championship in 1961. The first match, against ŁKS Łódź, played on 19 March at the Mielec stadium in front of an estimated 15,000 spectators, ended in a 1:1 draw. The subsequent matches, notably against Polonia Bytom 4:3, Legia Warszawa 2:0 and Lechia Gdańsk 6:1, confirmed the capabilities of the Mielec team. However, uneven form and inexperience, despite ambition and good training, meant that the Mielec team saved itself from relegation to the Second Division with the greatest of difficulty, taking 12th place (26 21:31 34:45). Before the following season, the coach was changed, but the necessary reinforcements were not made (despite the departure of E.Pyka) and in the reformed First Division (played only in the spring due to the change to the autumn-spring system), Stal took the last – 7th place in Group II (12 6:18 9:21) and was relegated to the Second Division along with Cracovia (last place in Group I). In the play-off matches for 13th place, Stal beat Cracovia 3:0 and 1:0. The success, however, was the awarding of the PZPN cup to Stal for 1st place in the fair play (clean play) classification. Stal’s first two-year encounter with the premier league ended with a balance: 40 matches – 11 victories, 9 draws and 20 defeats, a points ratio of 31:49, the number of goals scored and lost 47:66. In international matches, the Mielecs won, among others, against the leading East German team Empor Rostock 3:2 and lost to Lewski Sofia 1:2. The team played: Ryszard Mysiak and Wiesław Pytlos (goalkeepers), Otton Opiełka, Jan Król, Tadeusz Lupa, Leszek Gaj, Jerzy Syska, Herbert Juraszczyk and Ryszard Rachwał (defenders), Zbigniew Czudo and Kazimierz Budek (midfielders), Alfred Gazda, Henryk Czylok, Erwin Pyka, Helmut Tobolik, Stefan Gabrysiak, Tadeusz Płaneta, Ryszard Harężlak and Ryszard Kleszcz (forwards). The coaches were Henryk Skromny (1961) and Czesław Suszczyk (1962), and the team manager was Edward Kołacz.

After relegation to the Second Division, it was hoped that the players would quickly regain the First Division, with only H. Tobolik leaving the first team (he ended his career due to a heart condition), and several talented players from Silesia and Kraków joining the team. The renowned coach Michał Matyas also returned. However, these changes proved insufficient even for the Second Division, where teams generally treated matches against the former First Division side as prestigious. In the 1962/1963 season Stal took 10th place (out of 16 teams) with a balance: 30 29:31 31:33, and in the 1963/1964 season – 12th place (30 28:32 26:38). In the following years, more players were brought to Mielec and coaches were changed, but satisfactory results were not achieved. The 1964/1965 season ended in 8th place (30 29:31 27:32) and the 1965/1966 season in 7th place (30 30:30 45:38). A complete collapse of the team occurred in the 1966/1967 season, when the core players of the former I-League squad no longer played, and the consequence of the poor play (Stal finished 14th (30 25:35 35:52) was relegation to the Third League. In the years 1962-1967 the team’s players included: Andrzej Barglik, Kazimierz Budek, Zbigniew Czudo, Henryk Czylok, Adam Dąbek, Leszek Gaj, Waldemar Gajek, Alfred Gazda, Włodzimierz Gąsior, Stanisław Gruszka, Jan Haberko, Eryk Hansel, Ryszard Harężlak, Mieczysław Kamuda, Rajmund Kapuściński, Henryk Kasperczak, Ryszard Kleszcz, Józef Klimza, Stanisław Korpalski, Janusz Korpanty jr, Jan Król, Antoni Kruczyński, Jan Leś, Adam Lubertowicz, Tadeusz Lupa, Adam Macheta, Stanisław Machoń, Bogusław Mazur, Józef Mazur, Ryszard Miceusz, Ryszard Mysiak, Otton Opiełka, Stanisław Paluch, Zygmunt Pietraszewski, Maciej Pietrykowski, Tadeusz Płaneta, Marian Płaza, Wiesław Pytlos, Ryszard Rachwał, Jerzy Rejdych, Jan Rymanowski, Marian Stala, Stanisław Stój, Ginter Strańczyk, Paweł Strzelecki, Józef Sudoł, Jerzy Syska, Wolfgang Volstaedt, Diter Weiss and Adam Wincencik. During this period, the coaches were Michał Matyas (1962-1963), Stanisław Malczyk (1963-1964), Otton Opiełka (1964), Władysław Lemiszko (1964-1965) and Konrad Jędryka (1966-1967), and the team managers were Edward Kołacz and Tertulian Świech.

At the same time, significant successes were achieved by Stali’s juniors. In 1964, at the final tournament of the Polish Championship in Mielec, they won the vice-championship, drawing 2-2 with Arkonia of Szczecin in the final (the champion, which was Arkonia, was determined by a coin draw). The team consisted of Zygmunt Kukla, Jan Banaś, Zbigniew Stadnik, Tadeusz Rogowski, Jan Rymanowski, Włodzimierz Gąsior, Stanisław Paluch, Zbigniew Pomykała, Janusz Korpanty jr, Waldemar Wieprzęć, Roman Jeleń, Jan Maziarz, Witold Stelnik and Stanisław Czajkowski, and the coach was Mieczysław Noworyta. In 1968, in the final tournament of the Polish Championships, again organised in Mielec, the Stali juniors won the bronze medal with the team consisting of: Sławomir Waliszewski, Ryszard Wrażeń, Andrzej Korpanty, Czesław Buda, Marek Garlewicz, Grzegorz Lato, Janusz Kapuściński, Stanisław Stępień, Waldemar Wydro, Jan Wiącek, Marian Dymek, Zenon Lipa, Zbigniew Noworyta, Kazimierz Czerw, Stanisław Myjak, Ryszard Chęciński and Andrzej Wieśniak. The coach was Konrad Jędryka and the team manager was Stanisław Kwiecień. A slightly changed squad also won the bronze medal in 1969 in Lublin. The team played: S.Waliszewski, R.Wrażeń, J.Wiącek, Cz.Buda, S.Stępień, W.Wydro, S.Myjak, M.Dymek, R.Chęciński, A.Wieśniak, Z.Noworyta and Z.Lipa, as well as Witold Karaś, Wiesław Kusek, Kazimierz Pietras, Leszek Stępień and Zbigniew Stanowski. The coaches were Konrad Jędryka and Mieczysław Noworyta, and the team manager was Henryk Robotycki.

The senior team, after relegation to the Third Division, still could not find their feet and finished fourth in the 1967/1968 season (30 34:24 57:29). A definite improvement in the game, in which the team’s own alumni had more and more say, came in the 1968/1969 season, with Stal taking 1st place and being promoted to the 2nd division (30 45:15 64:21). The winning march upwards continued in the following season 1969/1970, with Stal being promoted to the 1st division after finishing 2nd in the 2nd division (30 43:17 40:15). The authors of these promotions were: Zygmunt Kukla and Marian Stala – goalkeepers – and Stanisław Paluch, Marian Kosiński, Ryszard Rachwał, Eryk Hansel, Henryk Kasperczak, Włodzimierz Gąsior, Paweł Strzelecki, Grzegorz Lato, Edward Maleńki, Paweł Koczot, Stanisław Stój, Witold Karaś, Ryszard Sekulski, Tadeusz Płaneta, Ginter Strańczyk, Janusz Korpanty jr, Władysław Paul, Ginter Langer, Jan Wiącek, Jan Rymanowski, Czesław Buda, Andrzej Wieśniak, Wiktor Wilk and Wiesław Kusek. The coach was Andrzej Gajewski, and the team supervisors were Władysław Szadkowski, Ludwik Niegowski, Józef Klich and Edward Kieżel.

In the first season (1970/1971) of Stal’s second stay in the Premier League, the team was strengthened, with Z.Kukla, M.Stala and Stanisław Majcher as goalkeepers, and S.Paluch, Krzysztof Rześny, M.Kosiński, R.Rachwał, Franciszek Smuda, W.Gąsior, E.Hansel, E.Maleńki, G.Lato, H.Kasperczak, Roman Kasprzyk, Adam Popowicz, R.Sekulski, S.Stój and W.Karaś. The team stayed in the First Division, finishing 10th (26 24:28 27:33), and the fans remembered the inaugural match against Wisła Kraków (5:2). Success was the victory in one of the groups of the international Summer Cup tournament (6 12:0 15:3). Mielec players G.Lato, Z.Kukla and W.Gąsior played in matches for the Polish youth national team for the first time. The stabilised squad (only Artur Janus, Tadeusz Krysiński and Stanisław Stępień joined the team) played better and better, and in the 1971/1972 season they won 5th place (26 30:22 29:19), barely 3 points behind runner-up Zagłębie Sosnowiec. G.Lato was the first Mielec player to play for the Polish national team (3 times). In the summer, Jan Domarski, a striker with national team experience, was acquired from Rzeszów.

The 1972/73 season was already a very special and extraordinarily lucky one – Stal Mielec won 1st place and the title of Polish Champion! (26 36:16 47:21). The strength of the team was evidenced not only by the numerous matches won in Mielec (e.g. against Gwardia Warszawa 5:0), but above all by the victories in away matches (e.g. against Pogoń Szczecin 3:1, Wisła Kraków 3:0, Legia Warszawa 3:0 and Polonia Bytom 6:0). G.Lato became the scoring king (13 goals). Line-up: Z.Kukla – goalkeeper and K.Rześny, M.Kosiński, E.Hansel, W.Gąsior, A.Popowicz, W.Karaś, G.Lato, H.Kasperczak, A.Janus, R.Sekulski, J.Domarski, S.Stój, J.Wiącek, T.Krysiński, R.Rachwał and S.Stępień. (Reserve goalkeeper S.Majcher did not play in the championship matches.) The coaches were Stanislaw Gajewski (1968-1972) and Hungarian Karoly Kontha and second coach Aleksander Brożyniak (spring round 1973), and the team manager was Józef Dubiel. In the autumn, Stal (without E. Hansel, who was replaced by Ryszard Per) competed in the European Champions Cup and dropped out in the first round, losing to Crvena Zwezda Belgrade (1:2 in Belgrade – 19 IX and 0:1 – 3 in Kraków – 3 X), as the stadium in Mielec did not meet the requirements of a competition of this rank at the time). Mielec players played an increasingly important role in the Polish national team, e.g. in the qualifying matches for the 1974 World Cup in 1973: against Wales (0:2 – Cardiff ) – H.Kasperczak, with England (2:0 – Chorzów) – K.Rześny and J.Domarski, with Wales (3:0 – Chorzów) – H.Kasperczak, G.Lato and J.Domarski, and with England (17 X – London – 1:1) – H.Kasperczak, G.Lato and J.Domarski. The goal for Poland, one of the most famous in the history of Polish football and giving Poland promotion to the World Cup finals – 1974, was scored by J.Domarski, after an action by H.Kasperczak and G.Lata.

The 1973/1974 season was entered with coach Aleksander Brożyniak (2nd coach – Zenon Książek) and a stabilised squad, which was completed by, among others: Edward Oratowski, Ryszard Adamowicz and goalkeeper Wiesław Siewierski. After fierce battles – mainly against a coalition of Silesian teams (including against Górnik Zabrze 0:2 and 0:1) – Stal took 3rd place (30 37:23 41:24), behind Ruch Chorzów and Górnik. The Mielec crowd remembered in particular the victorious match against LKS Lodz 7:0 and the win against Slask in Wroclaw 5:0. After the end of the competition, the Polish national team participated in the World Championships (15 VI-6 VII 1974-RFN) and, after a number of excellent matches, won 3rd place and silver medals. G.Lato became the World Cup’s top scorer with 7 goals scored, H.Kasperczak was one of the best in the team and J.Domarski also featured in several matches.

In the 1974/1975 season, the Stal team, strengthened by, among others: Edward Bielewicz, Andrzej Padwiński, Kazimierz Polak and Mirosław Misiowiec, won the vice-championship of Poland (30 38:22 40:24), behind Ruch Chorzów. With 19 goals, G.Lato was once again king of the scorers. Of the 13 victories, the club’s first-ever win over Górnik Zabrze, 2:1, was noteworthy. Zenon Książek was the coach, Orest Lenczyk the second coach, and J.Dubiel the team manager. A record number of international matches were played in 1975. In the UEFA Cup, Stal (as vice-champion of Poland) eliminated consecutively: Holbaeck (Denmark) 1:0 and 2:0, Carl Zeiss Jena (East Germany) 0:1, 1:0 and 3:2 in penalty kicks, and Inter Bratislava 0:1 and 2:0, which gave them promotion to the quarter-finals. In friendly matches, among others, it lost to the Buenos Aires national team 2:3 and won against Estudiantes La Plata 2:1 (during the tour of Argentina) and lost to Bordeaux 1:2 and won against Merignac 4:0 (during the tour of France). G.Lato and H.Kasperczak remained the core players of the Polish national team.

The 1975/1976 season was entered with coach Edmund Zientara and assistant Henryk Czylok and a little changed line-up (arrivals included Henryk Jałocha, Jerzy Krawczyk, Mirosław Tryba and Wojciech Niemiec, departures included J.Wiącek and A.Popowicz). After an extremely close (until the last round) rivalry between the 4 teams, Stal won the 1st place in the Premier League and the title of Polish Champion for the second time (30 38:22 45:23). The hit of the season was the record-breaking 6:0 against Legia Warsaw at the Mielec stadium, and probably the most important match – the 5:2 win against ROW in Rybnik in the last round of the competition. Line-up: Z.Kukla, K.Rześny, M.Kosiński, R.Per, W.Gąsior, Z.Hnatio, Z.Oratowski, G.Lato, H.Kasperczak, J.Domarski, W.Karaś, E.Bielewicz, R.Sekulski, J.Krawczyk, M.Tryba, A.Janus, A.Padwiński and W.Niemiec.

The year 1976 was exceptionally rich in international matches. In the spring, in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup, the Mielec players were eliminated by Germany’s Hamburger SV (1:1 in Hamburg and 0:1 in Mielec). The Mielec team also reached the final of the Polish Cup competition, where they lost to Śląsk Wrocław 0:2 (2 May 1976 in Warsaw). In the autumn, Stal, as Champion of Poland, played a two-match PEMK series against Real Madrid (Spain) and dropped out of the competition after close games (1:2 in Mielec – 15 IX and 0:1 in Valencia – 29 IX). It was estimated that the matches against Hamburger and Real, already played in the modernised Mielec stadium, were watched by around 40,000 spectators each. In other more interesting friendly international matches, Stal won against Dynamo Berlin 3:2 and CF Valencia (Spain) 2:1 and lost against Dynamo Berlin 1:2 and FC Sochaux (France) 1:3. G.Lato and H.Kasperczak played for the Polish national team at the Olympic Games in Montral (18 VII-30 VII 1976) and won silver medals for 2nd place, and in the qualifying matches for the 1978 World Cup they also played: Z.Kukla, K.Rześny and A.Szarmach (already as a player of Stal). The victorious match against Portugal (2-0 on 16 October 1976 in Porto) featured five Mielec players (Z. Kukla, K. Rześny, H. Kasperczak, G. Lato and A. Szarmach), with G. Lato scoring both goals. Z.Hnatio made his debut for the national team in the match against Greece.

Several important changes were prepared for the 1976/77 season. J.Domarski left for Nimes (France), but the team was reinforced by, among others, the already-mentioned A. Szarmach (IO-1976 goalscorer’s king), Edward Załężny, Marek Chamielec, Andrzej Demko, Stanisław Karaś, Andrzej Banasik and Andrzej Gac. The rebuilding of the team, representation duties of the leading players and a number of other factors resulted in Stal playing slightly worse and finishing 4th (30 36:24 42:30), with a minimal loss (2 points) to vice-champion Widzew. The international matches were not very successful, but the team did win against Hansa Rostock (East Germany) 1:0, Dynamo Berlin 2:1 and Lokomotiv Košice (CSRS) 3:0, but lost against AEK Athens 0:1 and Karpaty Lvov 1:3. Z.Kukla, H.Kasperczak, G.Lato and A.Szarmach played for the first Polish national team.

In the 1977/78 season, the team’s appearances included: Kazimierz Buda, Krzysztof Frankowski, Janusz Duchnowski and Ryszard Padwinski, and Konstanty Pawlikanec was entrusted with the function of coach. The first signs of crisis appeared, resulting in only 8th place (30 29:31 31:29). However, good results were achieved in international matches, including against Dynamo Berlin 1:0, Espagnol Sevilla (Spain) 2:1, Dinamo Bucharest 4:1 and FC Metz (France) 6:2. Poland’s first national team, which once again appeared in the World Cup finals (1 VI-21 VI 1978, Argentina, 5th-6th place), featured Z.Kukla, H.Kasperczak, G.Lato and A.Szarmach, and in the match against Romania (11 X), Włodzimierz Ciołek, Stal’s new acquisition, made his debut.

The 1978/1979 championship started without H.Kasperczak (who had moved to FC Lens in France), but with, among others, W.Ciołek and Bogusław Skiba and coach Z.Książek. The team finished 3rd (30 36:24 43:27), just 3 points behind champions Ruch Chorzów. In the UEFA Cup, Stal was unexpectedly eliminated in the first round by the Danish AGF Aarhus (1:1 in Aarhus and 0:1 in Mielec). Z.Kukla and G.Lato played for Poland’s first national team.

In the 1979/1980 season, the team was boosted by, among others, goalkeeper Janusz Stawarz and Antoni Mrowiec, Edward Tyburski, Mirosław Abramowicz and Mirosław Wnuk. After a poor game (for the potential), Stal finished only in 13th place (30 26:34 28:34). After the games, G.Lato moved to Belgian KSC Lokeren, while Henryk Janikowski and Witold Łukasik joined the team. G.Lato, W.Ciołek and A.Szarmach played for the first Polish national team.

The rebuilt team, already without Z.Kukla (ended his career) and A. Szarmach (moved during the season to French Auxerre), finished the 1980/1981 season in 9th place (30 28:32 41:44). Its coaches were Mieczysław Kruk and Marian Kosiński, who ended his playing career. Poland’s first national team featured K.Buda and W.Ciołek, as well as K.Frankowski, H.Janikowski and J.Stawarz exclusively on their winter tour of Japan.

The 1981/1982 season began with a new coach, Józef Walczak, and further acquisitions, including Dariusz Kubicki and Andrzej Łatka. The thoroughly rebuilt team won 3rd place (30 35:25 33:26) and qualified for the UEFA Cup competition. Line-up: J.Stawarz, Witold Pazdan and Zbigniew Klimczak – goalkeepers and B.Skiba, Stefan Kawalec, J.Bedryj, J.Białek, W.Łukasik, K.Polak, Kazimierz Zuba, D.Kubicki, Z.Hnatio, A.Mrowiec, W.Ciołek, E.Oratowski, K.Buda, M.Abramowicz, H.Janikowski, E.Tyburski, K.Frankowski, A.Łatka, Janusz Stelmach and M.Chamielec. In the summer, the Polish national team once again played in the World Championship finals (14 VI-10 VII 1982, Spain) and won third place and silver medals, with W.Ciołek as one of the representatives.

The 1982/1983 season began with an almost unchanged starting line-up, supplemented by Roman Gruszecki, Mariusz Barnak, Janusz Dobrowolski and Piotr Porębny. In the autumn qualifying matches of the first round of the UEFA Cup, Stal was eliminated by Belgium’s KSC Lokeren (1:1 in Mielec and 0:0 in Lokeren), and the Belgians’ advance was decided by a goal scored in Mielec. It should be added that this match too had an overbooked crowd of around 40,000. To the surprise of the entire football community, and especially the Mielec fans – in the 1982/1983 season a theoretically strong team of Stali played poorly, took only the 15th place (30 24:36 27:36) and was relegated to the second league. D.Kubicki made his debut for Poland’s first national team. The coaching reshuffle did not help – the team was led successively by Józef Walczak, Jacek Machciński, Henryk Jałocha and Marian Kosiński. After relegation, several players, including J.Stawarz, K.Buda, W.Ciołek, D.Kubicki and A.Łatka, moved to other clubs. The task of rebuilding the team was entrusted to coach Henryk Stroniarz and assistant Włodzimierz Gąsior.

In the first second league season (1983/1984), the team, with many new acquisitions, failed to live up to expectations and finished 4th (30 32 34:30). A major success, however, was reaching as far as the semi-finals of the Polish Cup competition, where the Mielecs were eliminated by Wisła Kraków (0:0 and 0:2). After the resignation, still during the games, of H.Stroniarz – the team was led independently by W.Gąsior and he also managed it in the 1984/1985 season, when it won the 1st place (30 40 35:18) and was promoted to the 1st league. The line-up: Witold Pazdan and Dariusz Zieliński – goalkeepers and Jan Bedryj, Witold Łukasik, Kazimierz Zuba, Janusz Duchnowski, Piotr Czachowski, Piotr Porębny, Mariusz Barnak, Roman Gruszecki, Jan Urbanek, Edward Tyburski, Andrzej Kołosowski, Marek Lizończyk, Maciej Śliwowski and Mirosław Wnuk. In addition, goalkeeper Piotr Wojdyga, Marek Filipczak and Adam Fedoruk were acquired. The 1985/1986 season saw Stal finish 11th (30 25:35 25:32), and the coaching changed again (W.Gąsior, Ryszard Latawiec, Z.Książek). The 1986/1987 season ended with another relegation to the Second League after finishing 15th (30 17 24:44). The coaches were Z.Książek and Włodzimierz Jakubowski (it should be mentioned that 3 points for victory were introduced into the scoring). A significant strengthening of the team in the 1987/1988 season was the recruitment of Krzysztof Tochel and the introduction of several of the team’s own alumni, as well as the re-employment of coach W.Gąsior and assistant Janusz Białek. (The team manager was Leszek Lichy.) Stal won 1st place without any problems (30 48 44:19) and once again returned to the Premier League. The team consisted of P.Wojdyga and W.Pazdan – goalkeepers – and P.Czachowski, P.Porębny, A.Fedoruk, Mirosław Kuniczuk, J.Bedryj, Edward Tyburski, Bogusław Waliszewski, Mirosław Radłowski, K.Tochel, M.Filipczak, M.Śliwowski, Jan Urbanek, M.Barnak, Zbigniew Makuch, Leszek Jędraszczyk, J.Dobrowolski, Tomasz Tułacz, Roman Gruszecki and Dariusz Peredzyński.

In the 1988/1989 season, the young team, after several adjustments (J.Bedryj, M.Filipczak and J.Dobrowolski left – the newcomers included: Dariusz Sajdak, Dariusz Zagórski, Tomasz Kukowski and Wojciech Klich), played very well in the season and won 5th place (30 33 35:27). It also participated in the international Summer Cup competition, but despite 4:1 and 1:0 wins against Djurgardens Stockholm and draws against Stuttgarter Kickers (RFN) 1:1 and 0:0, it only took 3rd place, having the same number of points as the winner (Naestved from Denmark) but a worse goal balance. The 1989/1990 season was played with a squad weakened by the departure of team leader K.Tochel, as well as Z.Makuch and J.Urbanek. (The new arrivals included Krzysztof Łętocha, Marcin Hrapkowicz, Jacek Tomczak and Krzysztof Tomanek) Stal finished in 11th place (30 26 27:38). P.Czachowski and A.Fedoruk played for the Polish national team.

The 1990/1991 season started without M.Śliwowski (on loan to Bochum) and E.Tyburski, but with, among others, Rafał Ruta, Krzysztof Boćek, Andrzej Jaskot and several other alumni. In the middle of the games, P.Czachowski left. The coaches were M.Kosiński and, after 12 games, W.Gąsior. However, they failed to rebuild the team effectively and the result was only the penultimate, 15th place (30 16 25:49). Stal was not relegated, however, as the First Division was enlarged to 18 teams and the runners-up of the Second Division, Miedź Legnica, won the play-offs (1:3 in Legnica and 3:0 in Mielec). A.Fedoruk played for the first Polish national team. Further major changes to the squad occurred before the 1991/1992 season, with the departure of, among others: P.Wojdyga, D.Sajdak and D.Zagórski, and newcomers included Paweł Curzytek, Modest Boguszewski and Wiesław Bartkowski, as well as a group of alumni with goalkeepers Witold Gajek and Bogusław Wyparła, and the first foreign players – Alexei Tereshchenko from Dnipro Cherkiv and Sergey Ralyuchenko from Metallist Kharkiv. The heavily rebuilt squad stayed in the First League, placing 13th (34 32 27:28). Playing with a strengthened line-up (arrivals included: Ryszard Federkiewicz, Janusz Czyrek, A.Drożdż, Daniel Konopelski), with 1st coach G.Lata and 2nd coach Janusz Białek (team manager: Edward Kieżel, then Waldemar Gajek) – the 1992/1993 season won 6th place (34 39 41:28). A.Fedoruk continued to play for the 1st Polish national team. After coaches G.Lata and J.Białek left for Olimpia Poznań – the team was taken over by Witold Karaś and Krzysztof Rześny. Among others, A. Fedoruk and A. Jaskot left, and Paweł Pilawiecki arrived.

The unsuccessful autumn round of the 1993/1994 season resulted in a change in coaching positions – Franciszek Smuda and manager Edward Socha were hired in place of Witold Karas and K.Rześny. Jan Złomańczuk became assistant coach and Edward Oratowski became team manager. From 1 January 1994, Thomas Mertel, an entrepreneur from Germany, became the manager and president of the Autonomous Football Section. During the winter break, the team was reinforced by Bogusław Cygan, Paweł Kloc and another foreign acquisition, Aleksander Spiwak from Donetsk. After a very good game, Stal climbed out of the relegation zone and took 11th place (34 31 32:45). In the preparatory period for the 1994/1995 season, the departed players included A.Tereshchenko, P.Curzytek, R.Drożdż and A.Spiwak, and the arrivals included: Janusz Kaczówka, Marek Kupidura, Rafał Domarski (son of Jan – former Polish representative) and Sebastian Piechota. At the start of the new season, Stal was invited to Nuremberg, where they played a friendly match against Kuwait and won 1:0 (the goal was scored by D.Konopelski). The first and last match against the national team FKS Stal played with the line-up: Sławomir Bielecki, K.Łętocha, R.Federkiewicz, W.Bartkowski (M.Kupidura), Barnak, J.Kaczówka, P.Kloc (D.Konopelski), R.Ruta (S.Piechota), T.Kukowski, R.Domarski (T.Tułacz), B.Cygan. During the season Rafał Oprzondek and T.Tułacz arrived. on 11 IV 1995 coach F.Smuda resigned from leading the team, but in the end Stali (under the direction of coach J.Złomańczuk) managed to save themselves from relegation and take 11th place (34 31 44:50). The success was B.Cygan winning the title of scoring king with 16 goals.

The team’s crisis deepened in the 1995/1996 season. Despite some reinforcements (Wojciech Rycak, Rafał Piotrowski and K.Bociek, who returned from PAOK Thessaloniki) – coaches J.Złomańczuk and Leszek Brzeziński failed to create an understanding collective. During the tournament, J.Czyrek, K.Łętocha and R.Ruta left, while R.Federkiewicz was loaned to another club. The reinforcement of the defence with Piotr Jegorek and Wojciech Jarzynka and the introduction of more of their own players did not help. The team finished in penultimate 17th place (34 28 33:67) and left the Premier League.

Before the start of the second division in the 1996/1997 season, G.Lato and assistants W.Karaś and L.Brzeziński took charge of the team. Initially, Stal was winning, but growing financial problems forced them to leave: K.Bociek (AZ Alkmar – Netherlands), B.Cygan, R.Domarski, P.Kloc, W.Bartkowski, R.Federkiewicz and B.Wyparło. Porębny and E.Tyburski returned, and in addition, alumni were introduced to the team: Damian Polak, Dawid Polak, Marcin Murdza, Maciej Gądek, Arkadiusz Gera, Jacek Dąbrowski, Paweł Występek, Paweł Gajek, Krzysztof Petrykowski, Waldemar Grzanka, Grzegorz Kolisz and Tomasz Abramowicz. The Mielec environment was shaken by surprising events. on 30 X 1996, the players did not go out to the match against Cracovia, wanting to enforce financial dues with a strike (Cracovia won by walkover 3:0). on 6 XI 1996, T.Mertel’s contract was terminated as he had failed to meet his financial obligations. Debts to the team and a number of creditors were mounting. After the first round, Stal occupied the last 18th place (17 17 17:29). Spring matches usually ended in defeat.

on 12 VI 1997, at the General Meeting of FKS PZL-Stal members, it was decided to terminate the club’s activities and withdraw the football team from the Second League competition. At this point Stal occupied the last, 18th place (30 21 24:55).

Balance of appearances in the First League: 25 seasons, 738 matches, 726 points, goal difference 838:845. Polish champion in 1973 and 1976, vice-champion in 1975, 3rd place in 1974, 1979 and 1982
Second Division appearances: 15 seasons, 414 matches, 454 points, goal difference 518:458 (including 4 walkovers at the end of the 1996/1997 season – goal difference 518:470).
Players who played the most games in the first division: G.Lato – 272, M.Kosiński – 263, Z.Hnatio – 238, W.Karaś – 235, Z.Kukla – 229, E.Oratowski – 226, H.Kasperczak – 209, K.Rześny – 196, A.Fedoruk – 179 and W.Gąsior – 175.
Players who scored the most goals: G.Lato – 111, A.Szarmach – 60, H.Kasperczak – 37, J.Domarski – 36, B.Cygan – 36 , A.Fedoruk – 26, K.Buda – 25, M.Śliwowski – 25, W.Ciołek – 23, W.Karaś – 21, R.Sekulski – 21, J.Czyrek – 20 and K.Bociek – 20.

Representatives of Poland: Kazimierz Buda, Włodzimierz Ciołek, Piotr Czachowski, Jan Domarski, Adam Fedoruk, Krzysztof Frankowski, Zbigniew Hnatio, Henryk Janikowski, Andrzej Jaskot, Witold Józef Karaś, Henryk Kasperczak, Dariusz Kubicki, Zygmunt Kukla, Grzegorz Lato, Krzysztof Rześny, Janusz Stawarz, Andrzej Szarmach, Bogusław Wyparło.
Polish representatives in the youth category: Krzysztof Bociek, K.Buda, Marek Chamielec, W.Ciołek, K.J.Frankowski, Włodzimierz Gąsior, Z.Hnatio, H.Janikowski, W.Karaś, H.Kasperczak, Dariusz Kubicki, Z.Kukla, G.B.Lato, Andrzej Łatka, Andrzej Padwiński, Ryszard Per, Rafał Ruta, K.Rześny, Janusz Stawarz, Maciej Śliwowski, Tomasz Tułacz, Bogusław Wyparło and Edward Załężny.
Representatives of Poland in the junior category: Tomasz Abramowicz, K. Bociek, K.Buda, Janusz Dobrowolski, Zbigniew Grudnicki, Roman Gruszecki, Grzegorz Kolisz, Daniel Konopelski, A.Łatka, Zbigniew Makuch, Marcin Murdza, Wojciech Niemiec, Krzysztof Petrykowski, Wiesław Pytlos, Bogusław Skiba, J.Stawarz, Janusz Stelmach, T.Tułacz, Sławomir Waliszewski and Andrzej Wieśniak.

prepared on the basis of the Encyclopaedia of Mielec by Józef Witek

history of the name:
1939 – PZL Mielec Sports Club
1946 – Workers’ Sports Club PZL ZRYW Mielec
1948 – Union Sports Club METALOWCÓW PZL Mielec
1949 – Union Sports Club STAL Mielec
1950 – STAL Sports Club at the Communication Equipment Plant Mielec
1957 – Factory Sports Club STAL Mielec
1977 – Factory Sports Club PZL STAL Mielec
1995 – Autonomous Football Section FKS PZL STAL Mielec
1997 – STAL Mielec Football Club
2002 – STAL Mielec Sports Club

1997/1998 – after withdrawal from the Second League – STAL was not in any competition!
1998/1999 – V LIGA RZESZOWSKA, promotion!
1999/2000 – IV PODKARPACKA LEAGUE, 12th place
2000/2001 – IV PODKARPACKA LEAGUE, 2nd place
2001/2002 – IV PODKARPACKA LEAGUE, 5th place
2002/2003 – IV PODKARPACKA LIGA, 12th place
2003/2004 – IV PODKARPACKA LIGA, 5th place
2004/2005 – IV PODKARPACKA LIGA, 4th place and GRUPA 8 PUPAR POLSKI, 4th place
2005/2006 – IV PODKARPACKA LEAGUE, 8th place and bronze medal of the JUNIOR POLAND CHAMPIONSHIP
2006/2007 – IV PODKARPACKA LEAGUE, 10th place and silver medal of Polish Senior JUNIORS Championships, gold medal of Polish Junior JUNIORS Championships
2007/2008 – IV PODKARPACKA LEAGUE, 4th place, AWANGE!
2009/2010 – III LIGA LUBELSKO-PODKARPACKA, 13th place, AWSH!
2010/2011 – III LAG LUBELSKO-PODKARPACKA, 14th place
2011/2012 – III LIGA LUBELSKO-PODKARPACKA, 10th place
2012/2013 – III LIGA LUBELSKO-PODKARPACKA, 1st place, AWN!
2013/2014 – II EAST LIGA, 7th place
2014/2015 – II LIGA, 8th place
2015/2016 – II LIGA, 1st place, AWANTS!
2016/2017 – I LIGA, 10th place
2017/2018 – I LIGA, 8th place
2018/2019 – I LIGA, 3rd place
2019/2020 – I LIGA, 1st place, AWANTS!
2020/2021 – EKSTRAKLASA

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