Dariusz Dziekanowski was an immensely talented striker who sadly lacked the commitment to make the most of his considerable talents. The Polish international was signed by Celtic for £600,000 in July 1989 from Legia Warsaw. The mercurial player was soon to become a fans favourite. This however was not to last as his undoubted talents were not on evidence enough and were becoming overshadowed by his increasingly rising reputation as a playboy. After growing discontent from the terraces (of his seemingly selfish approach on the pitch) he was to leave Parkhead in 1992. It was this move that was to enshrine his name forever in English football.
Bristol City signed the striker for a club record of £250,000 and he was to remain there for just over a year before returning to Poland. His star was to burn very brightly, albeit for a short period only. During this brief period he was to establish a cult following at the West Country club and is still revered to this day. He is arguably the most talented player to have played for Bristol City, ‘Jacki’ as he was to be known, showed flashes of world class skill the likes of which had never been witnessed before (and possibly since) at Ashton Gate. His partnership with the young Andy Cole will live forever in the memory of those who witnessed it first-hand.
He score on his debut in the home tie against Southend but he will best be remembered for his Match of the Day debut in a F.A. Cup tie at Leicester’s Filbert Street stadium a week later in testing conditions. On a frozen pitch that was to thaw and become very heavy, he totally dominated proceedings, carving open the Leicester defence seemingly at will. John Motson described his skills as, 'like something from another planet'.
His performances whilst inconsistent were always entertaining and capable of winning a game or bringing the crowd to life with his sublime skills, often showboating to his adoring fans. Unfortunately, off the field problems dogged Jacki's time at City as he would often be relieved of his car keys after turning up to training worse for wear. The then City manager Denis Smith increasingly saw him as a "luxury" player who did not always fit into his game plans. Russell Osman who succeeded Smith as manager wanted to stamp his authority on the squad and after several allegations involving the Poles private life, he allowed Jacki to leave the club in 1993. Osman was never particularly popular with Ashton Gate faithful during his time as player, had now enraged them by what they deemed tantamount to treason. Such was the fans displeasure at this decision that they actually booed Osman after he scored for City the day Jacki left the club.
Jacki played a total of 43 goals for Bristol City, scoring only seven goals, however he is still revered at the club and his name will always ensure an enthusiastic misty eyed reminiscence of those lucky enough to witness the phenomenon he undoubtedly was, however flawed he was in his private life.