It takes two days to hold the Gothia Cup Finals at Gammla Ullevi, the splendid rebuilt stadium in the heart of Gothenburg, a block away from Nya Ullevi, the much bigger stadium.
By the time I arrived around 2.00pm on Friday afternoon, BP was on the way to winning their third GULD of the day, the gold trophy handed out to winning teams. Brammapojkarna is a legendary club from the Bromma suburb of Stockholm. 21 times at Gothia Cup they have taken home the gold to the nation's capital. WELL; today they added three more of these trophies, plus a couple of silver ones.
Their pro team is doing well in the ALLSVENSKAN, the top league in Sweden, despite an average attendance at their GRIMSTA Stadium of only 2,100, much less than local giants AIK and Djurgärdens. The red and black stripes are well respected in youth football. According to Peter Kisfaludy, their youth development office,r 17 of the 24 senior players are a product of their system. 'one, player, one ball, that is our motto. I used to watch Voluntas and Tahuichi at Gothia Cup, so skill and technique are our methods. Tactics and team work can come later'.
BP as they are know, have about 4,000 young players, 2,700 boys and 1,300 girls. Each year about 20 teams compete in the Gothia Cup.
Another team that I enjoyed watchin gon Friday was US Voluntas, the youth club from Brecia in Italy. I have visited their campus years ago built by a wealthy businessman who made a fortune in bathroom fittings. I saw them beat a Bogota, Colombia team 3-1 in the U13 final. Both teams had great technique but the Italians were much bigger and mature than their South American opponents.
On Wednesday and Thursday nights, after a day of football, I had had supper at a busy kebab house at the corner of The Avenue and Storagan and a feast it was. NOT ON FRIDAY. I joined some of the organizers and team leaders high above Gothenburg at Skansen Kronan, a fortress built by the Dutch over 300 years ago. It had guards in costumes marching up and down with ancient rifles, and we were given schapps by costumed wenches outside and asked to guess the flavour.
It turned out to be calloway-who would have guessed it? Anyway, upstairs in the gun room with large cannons, we were served a feast to last through the weekend, of an Italian buffet with pastas, chickens and more, and awesome breads. I sat with a Tunisian coach and his Swedish wife , and the guitarist who got up occasionaly to entertain us. Dennis Andersson came over and I told him that the Australian white wine, Colombard Chardonnay, wasn't Swedish, He said that as it arrived on a Swedish ship it was technically Swedish..
We had a dessert of panacotta made with cream, vanilla and arrack, and then there was a choice of cognac, cointreau and Baileys cream, so I had one of each. Why not?