Tag Archives: AIK

AIK still drawing blanks in the Stockholm derby

24 Sep

Andy Hudson brings us the tale of woe from another Stockholm derby:-

AIK’s winless run in the Tvillingderbyt stretched to four games as Stockholm rivals Djurgården recorded a 1-0 victory in which the real winners were Helsingborg who now find themselves eight points clear of AIK at the top of the Allsvenskan and with a game in hand. The win for Djurgården came despite their boss, Magnus Pehrsson, picking faults with what he perceived to be the rough nature of some of the home side’s tackling.

The last time AIK won this game was during their 2009 Gold season, almost two years to the day when a Flavio double secured the three points. The Gnaget fans amongst the attendance of 24,639, a crowd beaten only by the first derby back in the opening round of games of this Allsvenskan year, were buoyed by going into this game on the back of five straight victories – a remarkable run considering the sale of their potent strike force of Mohammed and Tetteh Bangura – and harbouring hopes of overhauling Helsingborg. By the end of the match the Allsvenskan became a one horse race.

Read more at Andy’s site Blagul Fotboll here.

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Still England’s finest export

4 Aug

We think Kenny Pavey is the best English player currently playing outside of these shores.  Whenever we are in Sweden we try and make time for him, simply because he is a really nice bloke.  After my trip over to the Stockholm derby I asked Andy Hudson, our expert on Swedish football, and author of the excellent website Blågul Football to meet up with Kenny when he was next over in Stockholm.  Over to you Andy.

Pavey thanks to Robert Henriksson

I’ve been involved in many great situations since I started writing about football, but one stands out. It’s June 26 2011 and I’m sitting in O’Leary’s, a bar in Örebro. I’ve just ordered another beer, my fifth of the day, and AIK have won 2-1 away to Trelleborg. The only people celebrating as Teteh Bangura struck the winner in the 77th minute were me and a friend, in stark contrast to our protests when AIK wrongly had a goal disallowed in the first half; the other lads with us are still fuming about the ÖSK loss earlier. I fire off a text message and then there’s a look of disbelief from around the table as I read out the reply. My AIK supporting friend, the person to blame for the amount of time I spend talking about AIK; the person to blame for me checking the internet for the latest news; the person to blame for me listening to Swedish radio coverage of games whenever I can, can’t believe it. Kenny Pavey, ‘scorer’ of the disallowed goal, has replied. The same Kenny Pavey who can also happily be blamed for my AIK lust.

An infectious smile comes across the face of every AIK fan when I mention one name: Kenny Pavey – crowd favourite, idol of the North Stand, legend. If you wanted a definition of a whole-hearted, passionate player then I would give you Kenny Pavey. But he isn’t an English clogger, this guy has skill to go with the tough tackling.

AIK fans couldn’t believe it when he was left out of the starting eleven at the start of the season. Once he was back in the team he scored a last minute winner against ÖSK in the first full 90 minutes that he played, an example of his never-say-die attitude. With Pavey back in the team, AIK have started climbing the table. The Banguras may get the goals, but when the chips are down you would always want Pavey on your side.

Of course, Kenny has appeared on TBIR before. And it’s a great pleasure to have him here again:

Hi Kenny, thanks for taking the time to speak to The Ball Is Round again. How’s Stockholm life treating you?
Always nice to speak to The Ball Is Round; life is good in Stockholm. The football and my family are keeping me busy haha.

Has it been frustrating for you starting from the bench at times this season?
Yes of course. Any player that is happy to be on the bench has no ambition or belief in my eyes; I was injured just before the start of the season which meant not starting the first 3 games. I had a good run in the side then what can only be described as politics got involved and I was on the bench for another 3 games. But since then I have played from the start in every match and we have actually won every game: 6 wins in a row.

What else do you think went wrong last season when the club spent so much of the year around the relegation zone?
The key thing was that we lost so many players throughout the team. Key players, regular starters, it doesn’t matter which team you are, it takes time for players to gel together. I never thought that it was going to be as bad as it was but it really was something that I’ve never experienced in my playing career before. For me this was one of the most important seasons in my life as I was going to play Champions League football. The team was totally different from the year before and we never got a chance to show people outside of Sweden how good we really were, and that was very disappointing for me.

AIK fans love you, with many holding you up as an example of a player who displays the AIK spirit. How does that make you feel, knowing that you’ve become such a big part of a special club?
What can I say to that? When I signed for AIK, some friends from my team in Ljungskile told me that the fans would love me. Of course I had my doubts of how well it would go, but I never in my wildest dreams thought that it would be so special. They have been amazing to me and I will never forget the support they have given me during my time here.

Are you missing the games against Hammarby since their relegation?
Yes, absolutely!! I think it’s a shame for Swedish football that teams like Hammarby are not in the top league; the atmosphere is fantastic. As much as the AIK fans loved to see them go down, I think they really miss the derby matches. 

Apart from AIK, who do you reckon will win the Allsvenskan this year?
I think Elfsborg and Helsingborg are our biggest threats 

Do you have a plan to move back to England at some point or do you see your life as being in Sweden for the long term?
We are very happy in Sweden right now, especially in Stockholm, and being that I have a good profile in Sweden and I would like to work in football in the future, I don’t really think about it [moving back to England] too much. Plus it’s a great place to bring up kids which is a huge priority to me, so I guess at this moment no.

Could you imagine ever signing for Djurgården with the huge rivalry in Stockholm?
No, I could never do that to the AIK fans.

Do you ever get together for a beer with Calum Angus and James Keene – the other top-flight English lads?
No, I don’t actually. Borås is quite a long way away from Stockholm but I always have a good chat with James when I’m down there and I recently had a chat with Calum for the first time. Both are top men.

What kind of reaction do you get from Djurgården and Hammarby fans when you’re out in town?
To be honest, I have a lot of fans from the other clubs come up to me and tell me how much they hate AIK and me, but they tell me they love my style and would like me if I played in their team. I have never had any bad incidents with any of the fans.

How do you celebrate Midsommar?
Yes we have the traditional Swedish midsummer with dancing around the penis* and having a beer with some lovely food haha.

Kenny, it has been an absolute pleasure, cheers!
THANKS THE BALL IS ROUND, ALWAYS A PLEASURE!

The full version of Andy’s interview can be found on his excellent website Blågul Fotbul.

* Many readers will have read about the penis and will maybe think “those Swedes are always at it!”. And then maybe they’ll be confused for a moment. To help you: at Midsommar (a Swedish holiday) the Swedes will get together for a party which includes a load of booze and food. In the afternoon they will dance around a pole, a bit like the English maypole, where it’s a symbol of fertility with the pole having phallic symbolism.

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.

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.

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