On the road with the Black Army

26 Apr

Regular EFW contributor Andy Hudson hooks up with the Black Army of AIK…..

Elfsborg 2-2 AIK – 17th April 2011

Sweden – the country of cold winters, yellow football shirts, England World Cup opponents, beautiful ladies and expensive beer. Now, pick out the reasons why this fine country makes, for me at least, the perfect location for a European Football Weekend. You’ve all said the beautiful ladies, haven’t you? Now come on, I’m not that obvious. Honestly….I’m not.

This was my first trip of the year to Sweden, a country that I visit as often as I can (including every Midsummer – second only behind Christmas in the Swedish celebration list and a time when everyone spends the whole day amongst friends and family drinking far too much alcohol and eating far too much herring) to see friends, spend time with my Godson and to cram in watching football. OK, it helps that some of my friends are beautiful ladies and I get to spend Saturday nights out in their company, but there’s more than that behind my trips. One of those reasons is the greatest club in the land, the club with the greatest football fans in all of Sweden: AIK.

The reason I follow AIK, and for that matter Swedish football, can be traced back to the evening of Monday 2 June, 2003 and the Stockholm derby at Råsunda. With the final minutes being played out and AIK three goals adrift of their rivals Djurgården, they mustered the strength to score the three goals needed to equalise the game. I was standing behind the goal amongst the Black Army, AIK’s vociferous and fearsome supporters. With the noise they were making it was to be expected that the Gnaget players on the pitch would never give up. From that moment, jumping around in that Swedish stand whirling my top around above my head with the rest of the delirious fans, I was hooked.

Read more here.

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Stockholm Syndrome

4 Apr

What is the biggest match in football around the world?  Many will say Real Madrid v Barcelona, others AC v Inter whilst some of a more continental persuasion will go for the Boca v River Plate game in Argentina.  But what is clear that in most domestic leagues the biggest game tends to be the local derbies.  In fact Spain (and to an extent, France) is the exception in that the biggest game is not a inter-city derby.

Germany has all of the passion (and spite) of Borussia Dortmund and Schalke as well as a new rivalry, played for the first time this season in Hertha v Union Berlin.  Italy has the Rome, Milan, Turin and Genoa variations.  Portugal has Sporting v Benfica derby played between the Lisbon sides and then of course there is the Old Firm in Scotland.  Childhood friends grow up enemies based on the teams they support, families are split in two over their allegences.

During the past few years I have been lucky enough to experience a few such games.  Internazionale 0 AC 6 will always rank up there in my most treasured footballing memories, as will the rampant destruction of Parken, home to FC Copenhagen by Brondby IF fans in one of the fastest growing inter-city rivalries.  But one game I had always wanted to see was the Stockholm derby between Djurgården IF and AIK.

Djurgårdens IF and AIK were both founded in 1891 separated by just a month apart and both are originally from the Northern part of Stockholm.  Today they are almost in different towns with AIK based in Solna, to the north of the city centre and Djurgården in the district of Östermalm. They are also historically two of the biggest and most successful clubs in Sweden, with 11 League titles each. The Djurgården vs AIK rivalry is considered by far the biggest rivalry in Sweden and maybe even the whole of Scandinavia because of its rich history and the huge animosity between the two clubs and both sets of fans with the Järnkaminerna or Blue Saints of Djurgården on one side and the notorious Black Army of AIK on the other.  With this being the first game of the season for both teams, it was guaranteed to be a cracker in terms of atmosphere.

But few people outside Östermalm know that back in 1985, Djurgården IF’s star striker was none other than Edward “Teddy” Sheringham.  Teddy was nineteen at the time and pushing to break into the Millwall first team.  With Sweden playing summer football it was seen as an ideal opportunity for him to gain some first team football.  Thirteen in goals in twenty one appearances saw Teddy become a cult hero here as well as returning back to South London to a first team place for the Lions.

Not that AIK didn’t have their own South London connection themselves.  Step forward long term TBIR fan and Millwall fanatic, Kenny Pavey.  One of the best English players currently playing overseas, Kenny is down to earth, committed and above all passionate about the game.  He was fired up for this one.

For me it would also be a good chance to visit the Stadion, home of the blues and the only ground in Stockholm that I hadn’t been to.  The Olympic Stadion, or simply Stadion for those in the know hosted most of the events in the 1912 Olympic Games including the Tug of War competition.  Well, not really a competition actually as only two nations competed (Sweden represented by the Stockholm City Police and Great Britain represented by the City of London Police) and the event was held in less than 30 minutes on one day.  If that bizarre fact wasn’t enough then do you know that it also hosted part of the Olympic games in 1956?  Yep, whilst the running, shooting, pushing, pulling and throwing was going on in Melbourne some 9,609 miles away in Australia, the equestrian competition was held in the Olympic Stadion due to quarantine issues.

However, I had of course made a simple assumption that the game would be played at Djurgården’s 13,000 capacity stadium.  And I would have happily headed off in that direction if it wasn’t for one of the guys in the office pointing out that Solna is only a 5 minute journey from my hotel.  Solna?  No I am heading out to Östermalm…Well you will be Johnny no mates out there came the answer.  It seems that all big games like this are played at the Råsunda, that is until the new Swedbank Arena is finished in 2012 although AIK will not be moving in to the new superstadium.

Both teams had suffered poor seasons in 2010.  The home side’s 10th place finish was at least an improvement on 14th in 2009 but still along way from their domestic double in 2005 and subsequent jaunt into the Champions League.  AIK also went through a season of hell in 2010 after winning the treble in 2009, finishing in 11th place.  The Allsvenskan is a hot potato that no team wants to hold for more than a season.  Six different winners in the last six seasons did not bode well for both of these sides, especially as Huddo Hudson have confidently tipped Örebro for the title this year.

So a full day’s work under my belt I headed north up to Solna ready and waiting for what was about to hit me.

Djurgården IF 0 AIK 0 – Råsunda – Monday 4th April 2011
The journey to the stadium should have been straight forward. Five stops from T-Central straight to the stadium. But those little rascals the AIK fans decided to trash a metro train so we weren’t going anywhere fast. What was obvious was the railway workers had recently been on a customer experience course hosted by SouthEastern railways as the confusing messages being relayed to the thousands of football fans on the platform was a great help in getting us all nowhere.

Still, thanks to a helpful policeman I did a little shufty one way, a shimmy the next and before you could say Martin Kayongo-Mutumba I was at the stadium. One end was rocking. I will give you a clue which one. They play in black and yellow. AIK had almost filled the “away” end, which was actually the same end they have when they play at home. At the other end the “home” fans had a decent turn out (it turned out many were stuck due to said train incident above), but it did beg the question why not play this at home in the first place.

The bad news was that “our Kenny” was only on the bench. He consoled himself by giving fellow sub Ibrahim Bangura a piggy back race around the pitch as you do. The good news was the atmosphere was cracking (you can see some footage on YouTube herehere and here).  A little bit too cracking for the referee and the police because minutes after the teams came out and lined up they were ushered back down the tunnel as the smoke engulfed the stadium. I’ve seen some fireworks before but this put London on New Years Eve to shame. Add in AIK’s fans singing a version of KC & The Sunshine Band’s Give it up and the Djurgården X-Factor style ticker tape and I think I can only give you a fraction of the picture.

Five minutes later the referee appeared again. He chatted to a few people and disappeared again just as more loud bangs reverberated around the stadium. If this was a “tame” derby in terms of games around the world I cannot imagine what a “lively” one would be like. The noise was cranked up to ten as we had to sit and wait….Eventually some nine minutes late the home side got the game underway to almost silence as both sets of fans regrouped and planned their next move.

Two minutes in and the home side nearly got the dream start when Sebastian Rajalakso’s drive from the edge of the box narrowly went past the post with Turina in the AIK goal well beaten. That brought the blues fans into song. Ah if Teddy was here tonight – the Djurgården fans broke into a chorus of “No one likes us, we don’t care” but in Swedish (well that is what it sounded like to me) so send a message to their favourite English son. AIK responded with “We’re on the march with Alm’s army, we’re on the way to Gefle”.

Eighteen minutes on the clock and AIK have a massive shout for a penalty. After Gustavsson outpaces the defence and lifts the ball over Pa Dembo Touray in the Djurgården goal the goal bound ball is cleared by a defender. Only he kicks the ball straight up in the air and the ball hits his hand and goes out for a corner. What would Alan Hansen say? There is no such thing as “ball to hand”, it is just handball. To try and rouse the home fans out came the Djurgarden mascot. A big cat….with an upside down saucepan on his head. Now that is just bizarre but I had already seen most things in this game so it wasn’t too much of a surprise.

Chances were few on the ground in the first half with both keepers tested from distance and their catching ability from corners, with the bulk of the play being seen in the middle third of the pitch. Half time saw a few exchanges between the fans and the police as missiles were thrown down from the Djurgarden fans behind the goal onto a small group of AIK fans in the stand along the side of the pitch. For the first time in the evening I started noticing how chilly it had become. Just because April is here does not mean winter has disappeared here in Stockholm. Snow is still on the ground in outlying areas and some of the rivers are still frozen. What we needed to warm us up was 45 minutes of decent football.

“One Kenny Pavey” sang the AIK fans as he was brought on at the start of the second half to inject some pace down the right hand side for the “visitors”. With both teams attacking their opposing fans it was going to be 45 minutes for the brave. The noise was cranked up to 11 and it was difficult to keep an eye on what was going on on the pitch for fear of missing something either set of fans was doing. There was an almost constant stream of flare smoke, syncronised bouncing, fire crackers and songs with English tunes. Do the Premier League officials not look at games like this and wonder where the passion and spectacle come from? This cannot be bottled and sold as part of your monthly subscription. These are fans who haven’t been priced out of the game and a football association who respects the supporters as more of a part of the game than the teams themselves. Nearly 29,000 were in the stadium. Less than half you would get at The Emirates but I bet twenty times as loud and passionate.

Inevitably the game ended nil nil.  With so much at stake in the opening game of the season both teams will claim the bragging rights from the first battle of the season.

As usual there was always time for a chat with Kenny Pavey post match.  I waited for him to complete his Swedish interviews, conducted in perfect local dialect.  Sod the fact that the rest of his team mates were waiting on the coach, he wanted my opinion on the game, whether Millwall could get to the play off final and whether it was true that Lilly Allen had been lined up to replace Cheryl Cole on X-Factor.  Good, no and unfortunately yes were my answers.  No time for a beer tonight but stay tuned for our latest update on his antics.

Football was not the winner but passionate support was. Would I want to see supporters like this every week? Hell yes…”Oh Teddy Teddy, he came to Stockholm and all he won fuck all….apart from a second division championship”

All of the pictures from a memorable night can be found here.

SIXTEN’S THE RICHER

26 Mar

On the eve of the Swedish football season Andy Hudson brings us an exclusive interview with John Alvbåge and introduces us to the biggest team in Sweden you may never have heard of, until now….

A quiet revolution was taking place in the Allsvenskan last year; a revolution that went almost unnoticed on these shores. A revolution instigated by a Finn.

When I mention Örebro SK to most English people there’s an immediate look of confusion. When they think of Swedish football they’ll think of AIK or IFK Göteborg or that 1994 Swedish national team. When they think of Swedish players they’ll think of Zlatan, of Larsson, of Brolin and Dahlin; players who all register as a result of becoming etched on your brain when accomplishing much outside of Sweden. Due to the ability of the Finnish coach Sixten Boström there’s a quiet hope that Örebro, runners-up in the Allsvenskan twice in their history and runners-up in the Svenska Cupen (Swedish Cup) a solitary year, could start to make in-roads on the collective brains of fans across Europe.

Read more here.

We’re gonna party like it’s 1989

18 Oct

Right straight to the point.  We love Malmö FF.  We love their new stadium (we actually loved their iconic old stadium which still sits next door to the new Swedbank Stadion), we love the pale blue shirts, we love their passionate fans and we love their press office who on asking for accreditation this week told us that:-

“Of course…We appreciate all of the interest around the club at the moment, but when it comes from the home of football it warms the heart a little extra.”

They had me on “of course”.  But this season has been special for Di blåe.  With just four games to go they went into round 27 with a 3 point lead over local rivals (and also a top club by the way) Helsingborgs IF thanks to the passionate win last month.  With both teams kicking off at 7pm on Monday night, the right result could almost put the Allsvenskan on a bus down to Malmö from Stockholm where AIK had been hiding it in a cupboard.  Helsingborgs were away to recent champions IF Elfsborg whilst Malmö were hosting Kalmar FF, themselves Allsvenskan Champions in 2008.

Monday night, 7pm kick off – of course we would be there.  In the not too distant future our whole Scandinavian adventure will end, and who knows where we will end up (please Mr Wicks not Paris!) but we will miss the trip over the water to Sweden to the lovely little city of Malmö.  So best make the most of it.  This was to be our last trip here of the season, and we came in hope that the club could regain its position at the top of the Swedish tree, a position that last really held in the late 80’s when they won five consecutive titles between 1985 and 1989.  To celebrate their last title, Roxette released Dressed for Success around the world, as a homage to the club and this fifth title..And now eleven years later Roxette are back, playing sell out gigs across Sweden…could this be an omen???

I met up with a few fans, of course over a low alcoholic beer (no really – remember we are in Sweden so the thought of a 4% beer sends the government into COBRA mode) and discussed the season and what was going on in England.  Their main interest was of course Liverpool.  As we have reported here before Mr Hodgson is a bit of a God in the city, and has a special Hodgson Corner (Roy’s Hörna) in the stadium, complete with his own flag as testament to the five titles he won back in the late 80’s.  Oh how he wished he was back there today, dancing away to “The Look” and regretting the day he was offered a lifetime contract to stay with the club.

They also admitted, begrudgingly that rivals Helsingborgs had done well this season, and if anyone was to finish runners up it should be them.  Cannot see Everton and Liverpool (I know that Malmö and Helsingborgs aren’t city rivals) fans being so open about each other.  But that situation would have to wait for a few weeks as there was a championship to win first.

As usual the fans in the stadium surpassed themselves.  A huge semi-circular banner went up behind the goal to welcome the teams celebrating the 1999 near miss and then another to show the elation of the last Allsvenskan in 2004.  Fan choreography at its best and something that unfortunately we will simply never see in England with the ridiculous amount of regulations that treat all fans like potential criminals.  The last time I checked a simple flag, with a pole was a banned item in most stadiums in the UK.  Sit down and shut up, but don’t forget to buy your branded water/coke/burger.

Malmö FF 0 Kalmar FF 1 – Swedbank Stadion – Monday 18th October
Fifteen minutes into the game with neither side really able to create an opening news filtered through that Helsingborgs had scored at Elfsborg.  as the goal was relayed on the big screens (I still cannot get my head around this practice of showing action from other games during the match) there was a collective groan from the fans.  However it did jerk the home team into life for a minute and they went close as Agon Mehmeti ran into the box but saw his lob bounce onto the top of the net as opposed to in it.

Kalmar started to come back into the game and if it wasn’t for a smart save from Johan Dahlin on 21 minutes they would have been in the lead.  The team from the west of Sweden had surpassed all expectations in the past few years winning a Swedish Cup and then the 2008 Allsvenskan.  Their first appearance in the Champions League last season had ended at the Qualifying stages as they lost to Debrecen on away goals, but they couldn’t be underestimated.

With Elfsborg scoring a late equaliser against Helsingborgs, both title challengers went in at half time hanging onto a point, a situation that would allow for the perfect team talk surely?

Just to prove how much my Swedish had come along, at the start of the second half the Malmö fans unravelled a banner that said “Staplats reducering – Nej Tack!” which I impressively told my colleague next to me, who was from Poland, that it was a protest against a plan to reduce the amount of standing places in the stadium…Next you’ll know I will be singing Abba songs in their original language (Tak för musiken, Vinnaren tar allt and En an voss if you must know).

As the temperature dropped, and my regret for leaving my gloves back in Denmark rose the air of frustration rose.  Kalmar put ten men behind the ball whenever they could, and with Helsingborgs taking the lead in Boras it was left to the home fans to try and motivate the team to retain the initiative in the title race in the final fifteen minutes.

But then it took a turn for the worst.  Begloved (is that a word?) Kalmar forward Daniel Freire Mendes received the ball some twenty five yards out from goal, saw the keeper off his line and placed the ball perfectly into the top corner.  A harsh reward for 85 minutes worth of defending, but football can be a cruel game.

Five minutes of stoppage time sent the fans into a frenzy, and a almost freakish own goal by the Kalmar keeper raised spirits but it was not to be.  Helsingborgs win took them level on points at the top, and with just three rounds of games left it looked like being the closest championship since, erm, last season when AIK beat IFK Göteborg on the last day to pip them to the title.

If it does all go wrong in the final few weeks I am sure Roy will be available in good time for the start of next season…..

More photos from the evening can be found at our Flickr stream here.

 

And now for some proper atmosphere….

20 Sep

Skane and Abel

16 Sep

I’ve been to a few tasty games in my life.  Those where you wake up the next morning with cordite still wafting around your nose, a persistent ringing in your ears from the screams and chants, and if you are really lucky wearing nothing but a strange football scarf (hats off to Mr Danny Last for the last one).  Whilst we may claim to have the “Best League in the World” (©Sky Sports) we are woefully bad at generating a real atmosphere at a game.  Occasionally we get a game that may have some passionate followings, but we are so scared of the thought of two sets of fans in the same postcode at the same time that we are now experts at the “Bubble Games” – where away fans are bused in and out of a city/town/village/out-of-town shopping centre irrespective how they want to get to the game.  All in the name of safety the authorities will have us believe.

Probably the best atmosphere I had experienced was at a Milan derby in the days when Inter were crap.  So crap that they lost 6-0 in this particular game.  I had a seat, well bit of plastic bolted to the concrete in the top tier.  For those of you who have never had the pleasure, the top tier in the San Siro is a long way up.  You can either walk up approximately 200 steps, or take the long winding slope around the edge of the turrets you see on the edge of the stadium.  I chose the latter, taking around 7 minutes to get to the top.  Just as I stopped for oxygen there was a huge roar – 1-0.  I rushed into the stadium to be met with a cloud of smoke.  I was above the tifosi and their flares had created an immovable blanket.  After a few minutes it cleared enough for me to see that Milan had taken the lead, only for them to score again, and thus another five minutes of watching nothing but my neighbour chewing his nails.

And the relevance for this trip down memory lane?  Well here I was sitting in the Swedbank Stadion in Malmo watching two sets of fans putting on quite a show of support for their team.  Two questions at this point – when (and where) do they have the time to practice their “moves” and two, how do they get these massive flags made and transported.  I mean the Helsingborgs offering stretched the length of the whole stand – about 30metres.

Football in Sweden as you will know from reading our fantastic sister blog, called Football in Sweden is normally quite sedate and a raised voice can sometimes lead to ejection from the ground.  And away support isn’t always made in great numbers (our lone IP Bromma fanfor instance at Helsingborgs earlier this season) but there are a few games that really tick all of the boxes for a passionate affair.  Two such “rivals” are Malmö FF and Helsingborgs IF, separated by 40 miles of west coast highway in Skåne.  Normally these affairs are loud and noisy, but throw into the equation that after 22 games the two teams were locked together at the top of the table – something that has not happened for quite a few years.  In fact it is six years since Malmö last won the league, and over ten for Helsingborgs so the meeting of these two great rivals was seen simply as the biggest game of the season.

I love a trip over the Oresund to this part of Sweden, and since Malmö moved into their 24,000 seater Swedbank Stadion two years ago I have been a regular visitor, thanks to Patrik Jandelin, the Press Officer for the club who is a big fan of our work and is on our Christmas card list.  So a pass for this one was never going to be turned down, and as luck would have it I was in town for work (now that is a surprise!).

The festivities in the stadium started some ten minutes before the teams emerged with the Helsingborgs fans pulling their huge flag across the away end.  Impressive.  Malmö, as you would expect from the home fans, pulled out all of the steps.  Every man, woman and child in the away end had been given a flag and the simultaneous waving created an impressive blue and white carpet that rippled with excitement.  Then from the top of the stand their huge flag slowly rolled down, engulfing them all whilst the clubs anthem blared out of the sound system.  Painting a good picture yet?

Then from underneath the banner came the flares, lighting up the whole show.  Not to be outdone the Helsingborgs fans unleashed their firecrackers, making the whole stadium sound like a war zone.  In the theme of OptaJo…Special.

Malmö FF 2 Helsingborgs IF 0 – The Swedbank Stadion – Wednesday 15th September 2010
Both teams gave 100% from the first whistle and the referee had to have eyes in the back of his head, or at least once in a while look up at the big screens to see what he missed off the ball (such as Helsingborgs Mattias Lindström deliberately running at a MFF player and giving him a kick whilst the ball was nowhere near).

Despite some near misses it took until the 17th minute for the first shot on goal, and that produced the opening score as Dardan Rexhepi smashed the ball home after the Helsingborgs team had failed to clear and then gave him too much space.

Both teams had good shouts for penalties turned down in the opening period as passions ran high on and off the pitch.  It is still strange to see in Swedish football the sight of goal highlights from the other games being played at the same time being shown on the big screens during the game.  And interviewing players from both teams on the pitch as the teams go off at half time.  Strange.  Very strange.

The second half started much as the first had ended with both teams attacking each other with pace and just a slight hint of aggression.  The game ebbed and flowed with both keepers put under threat, but without actually having to make a save.

With four and a half minutes of the three (yes you read that right) played, Malmö went on one last attack and the ball was played out to Wilton Figueiredo who jinked inside before unleashing a powerful shot into the roof of the net to seal the game for the home side.

The final whistle was treated by the home fans like a cup final win, but with still half a dozen or so games left it could be a bit premature.  Bragging rights for now would be with the light blues. The official crowd of 23,743, a record for the stadium certainly got their monies worth (bear in mind the average price for a ticket for this game was less than £20).

And for me?  I had the usual Swedish transport experience on the way home – the one that makes our railways and Easyjet look competent that essentially involved sitting on trains that were due to go that didn’t, moving to other trains and then watching the original train depart and then finding out the train you are on has been cancelled and is now heading Stockholm.  A normal experience in Sweden really.  Five games in six days (plus last night’s marathon Champions League session in the pub in Copenhagen – marathon in terms of bank balance) has left me with a bit of football fatigue?  Could I get my mojo back in time for the Lewes 125th Birthday on Saturday?  Well only time will tell!

More pictures (and video now we have learnt how to press the right buttons) can be found from our Flickr stream here.

The quickest penalty of all time?

6 Jul

The 18 May 1946 is not a day that many will remember as being well known for anything.  If you are old enough to remember, then President Truman gave a televised speech announcing the end of the railroad strike in America and that is probably it, unless you were a resident in the small town of Ängelholm in south west Sweden.

On that night, in a small forest on the outskirts of the town a UFO landed.  The Swedes aren’t known for their strange beliefs such as other nations (Trolls for instance in other more northerly areas) so it was hard to put this down to a flight of fancy, especially as it was seen by a chap called Gösta Carlsson, a famous Swedish ice hockey player at the time.  Gösta claimed that the aliens landed and then passed him some secrets that enabled him to set up a successful natural therapy company.  A bit like an extra-terrestrial Herbalife then.  There is a monument in the forest clearing where the incident was alleged to have taken place which makes it the one of the biggest tourist draws in the area.

The town itself is better known for us younger people as one of the best surfing beaches in the Nordics.  People come from hundreds of miles away to enjoy the wide sandy beach and the strong currents.  It is certainly a nice looking place – free from litter and well kept lawns, and lots of very bronzed Swedes cycling around. Continue reading

England’s finest export

1 Jul

Question: Who is the most successful English player currently playing abroad based on trophies won?

Most people would undoubtably plump for Mr Beckham at this point but they would be wrong.  Leytonstone’s finest has only won the La Liga title since leaving Manchester United despite the glory that always surrounds him.

The Answer is Kenneth Steven Pavey.  Who you may say, but I can assure you that Kenny is a true living and breathing legend in his surroundings and will be plying his trade in the Champions League come August time – yes a real Englishman in the Champions League (take note Arsenal!) when AIK Solna, Sweden’s double winners in 2008 take their place amongst Europe’s elite. Continue reading

IFK – the pride of Malmo

31 May

Don’t stress yourself too much about getting a match ticket for IFK Malmo. Their average crowd of around 100 can fit quite comfortably into the Malmo Stadion – capacity 27,500. They’re a club who subscribe to the old ‘fallen on hard times’ chestnut. As they’ve plummeted down the divisions, nearly everyone has given up on them. That is, aside from a few nutters. Hi ya!

With Sweden having failed to qualify for the World Cup, football wasn’t uppermost in the thoughts of the people of Malmo again for this game – in the fifth level of Swedish football. Talking of the World Cup though, IFK do have quite a claim to fame in that department. In 1958 (stick with this one – Ed), Germany played Argentina in Malmo. Germany’s kit clashed with Argentina’s but they refused to change it (typical Germans eh Fergie!) and therefore Argentina had to play in a borrowed kit from – IFK Malmo. I bored everyone with that story over the weekend. Read more here

A Right Royal Affair

22 May

Three years into my love affair with all things Scandinavian I am still yet to chose my favourite teams in each country.  In Denmark I think I am a Brondby fan, although the hospitality of certain FCK fans is swaying me (take a bow Ivar!).  Norway is a bit more cut and dry as I am firmly a Stabæk fan after being treated as one of their own last season.  But Sweden is a whole different kettle of fish.  I have tried Helsingborgs, AIK, Halmstads, IFK and IF Bromma.  But the one I come back to time and time again is Malmö FF.

There are a number of reasons why we should be good bed partners.  Close to Copenhagen, yet in a different country (tick), nice pale blue Puma kit (tick), decent vocal crowds (tick) and a ground where the application for a media pass is welcomed, and not treated with disdain (by the way, did you know to apply for a media pass at Wembley, you have to FAX the FA.  Who uses fax anymore?).  However, all was not too rosy in Sweden.  At the weekend THE wedding of the year was called off.  No, not plastic tits and no brains but brawn if you believe the News of the World but that of Princess Madeleine and Jonas Bergstrom after it was revealed he had a one night stand with a student from Bournemouth.  Yep – good old Jonas spunked away his future quite literally on a lazy good for nothing Pot Noodle eater.  Granted she was Norwegian, and was previously a professional handball player but must still be stupid for selling her story to a Sunday paper for just £1,300! These Norwegian’s are crazy. Continue reading