I simply don’t believe it

21 Jul

Monday night football in Sweden isn’t many people’s cup of tea. Add in the fact that it was a second division (Superatten) game and the weather was reminiscent of the forecast Noah saw that prompted him to start his woodwork GSCE.  But that wasn’t going to stop me.  I had finished work for the day, completed my PR exercises for the company and headed off on the train to Landskrona, plum in between Malmo and Helsingborgs on the west coast of Sweden facing Denmark across the Helsingor straits.  That was the plan but the train was late.  “Not our fault” said the Danes, blaming it on the Swedes who apparently had forgotten to pay the toll across the bridge.

Landskrona have had a yo-yo existence in the Swedish leagues for the past few years. Their best ever finish in the Allsvenksan was a second place in 1938 and they have also won the cup once in 1972.  In the last few years they had a four season spell in the top league, dropping down in 2005 to the second division where they had been in mid table ever since. The visitors were Angelholm, from just up the road (well around 30 miles to the north) who had come close to promotion last season.  Famed for the manufacture of clay pigeon’s, Angelholm hoped to be doing some shooting of their own later (I thought of that one up all on my own).

My train was running late, and the driver tried to make up time by simply not stopping at certain stations.  A fine ploy except when you pass a station when more than a few people wanted to get off at.  So as we passed through Landskrona station at a rate of knots, those of us expecting to get off were suddenly proppelled to the ground as someone used the emergency stop cord, and with a screech of brakes and a smell of burnt metal we came to a stop with the end carriage the only one on the platform.

Landskrona BoIS 0 Angelholm 1 – Landskrona IP – Monday 21st June 2009

Landskrona panorama

So after my Swedish train drama I eventually arrived at the ground with 15 minutes gone, but no goals on the board.  The rain had just started again, and within minutes was torrential.  Three quarters of the ground is open air and so the fans had little choice but to run for the shelter underneath the stands, leaving the terraces very empty except the hardy souls (including the resolute home fans in the west terrace) and those with umbrellas.  Landskrona were definitely the more accomplished of the two, constantly probing the Angleholm back four, and on twenty four minutes they nearly got their reward as a sharp break by Landskrona’s Carlsson ended up with the ball striking the foot of the post.

With half time approaching I headed up to get a sausage or two and returned to the entrance of the walkway to watch the rest of the action.  An old chap stood on the opposite side of the entrance, having a similar snack as me.  In between us was a middle age chap having a box of popcorn.  He was blocking the view of old chap and so he asked him to move.  Popcorn man ignored him, and so he asked me to tap him on the shoulder and point out the error of his ways.  I did as asked and got what could only have been a barrel of Swedish abuse for daring to suggest he moved.  Old man took exception to this and the two went toe to toe like a scene from One Foot In The Grave and a brief bit of pushing and shoving ended up with the old man wearing the remaining popcorn, and stewards separating the two.  Unbelievable – having been to the likes of Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Spartak Moscow, Dinamo Zagreb and of course West Ham in the past few years I had not seen sight nor sound of any trouble, yet here in a sleepy town in the Swedish equivalent of middle England it had kicked off.  If only I had my video camera.

Landskrona continued to push for a goal in the second half.  They had one of the most ineffective players I have seen for years in midfield though.  Alagie Sosseh reminded me of an unfit and out of form Titus Bramble and had the touch to match.  Yet he was immune from the substitution and stayed on for the duration.  The only goal of the game was scored by Landskrona but not at the end they wanted.  a rare Angelholm attack down the right was hit in hard into the box and defender Persson inadvertently turned the ball into his own net.

With the sky threatening to chuck down its contents I yomped up to the station and would have been back in Copenhagen by 10.30pm in theory.  But this was Sweden, and their “make it up as you go along” railway rules.  The train, advertised as a Copenhagen one, actually terminated at Malmo where we all had to get off, cross the platform and wait for another.  Our old train then went up the tracks, stopped, reversed back onto our platform and we reboarded.  But we couldn’t go anywhere just yet as the guard was missing.  Eventually she was found (in Burger King no less) and put on the train and we were going again.  Sweden may be full of beautiful people but sometimes they need to get their heads out of the mirror admiring their beauty and on the job in hand!  Next stop Oslo..

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