Posted: 7/16/2017


        I was lucky enough to be in Sweden's capital city for a top of the table clash in Alsvensken, the country's top league. Visitors IFK Norrkoping FK were lying second in the 16 team league to Malmo FF, but with a very late 1-0 victory for AIK, the home team leap frogged into 2nd from 4th place. It was a 75th minuite own goal by Christopher Telo, English born with a Brazilian father and Swedish mother past his keeper David Erik Johan Mitov Nilsson who was in brillant and spectacular form all evening. He wears No 91, and although born in Norrkoping, his mother is Macedonian and so he is now the Macedonian national team goalkeeper. He had played for Sweden at U17, U19, and U21.

       Earlier in the day I had made my way to Stockholm's Olympic Stadium, home of the 5th Olympic Games in 1912, and also the Equestrian events in 1956 when Melbourne would not allow foreign horses to enter Australia.  It is one of my favourite stadiums, with beautifully preserved brick walls, with ivy.  It now has floodlights and a modern track on which athletes were practicing, and some old statues, and a plaque with a list of 1912 Olympic winners, including STORBRITANNIEN (Great Britain) Fotboll. 

       Until recently Djurgarden IF played their home matches there, but have now moved to Tele 2 Arena along with city rivals Hammerby. It is a retractable roofed stadium in Stockholm's Globe City with a capacity of 45,000. FRIENDS ARENA in Solna is slightly larger with a 50,000 capacity. With standing allowed on the North side, only for national matches but not for UEFA competition, it can accommodate 55,000 although Alsvenskan matches only attract crowds in the low 20's at best,. It is an awesome structure, also with a retractable roof. Hammarby's average crowd is 23,500, followed by AIK 19,000, Malmo FF 18,300 and IFK Goteborg 14,600.

         Both new arenas also attract large crowds for concerts and other non fotboll events.

         AIK wear Black & Gold kit and their art nouveau crest is yellow, gold and dark blue, with the towers of Stockholm City taken from the arms of Saint Erik, Stockholm's patron saint. Their nickname is AIK: are. GNAGET, Swedish for rodent. AIK is an abbreviation of Allmanna Idrottsklubben (The Public Athletics Club). AIK was founded in 1891 but the fotboll club 5 years later.

       The club's entrance music to which the fans stand and sing is 'OH we are AIK' orginally performed  by Roger Williams. Their biggest local rival is with Djurgarden also formed in 1891. Known as the Tvillingderbyt (derby of the twins). | was seated in some very comfortsble chairs in the press box, with nice press working rooms inside and a cinema style press conference room.

       The stadium is across the road fom the offices of the Svenska FF, the Swedish FA and next door to THE MALL OF SCANDINAVIA, with many pubs and restaurants. HOWEVER, my favourite is down on the street BISTR GRENOLI  named to honour three Swedish stars fom 60 plus years ago  Gunnar GREN, Gunnar NORDAHL, and Niels LIEDHOLM. After the three forwards led Sweden to Olymic gold in london in the 1948 Olympics they all joined AC Milan.

         A much more modern hero is Zlatan Ibrahimovic who scored all four goals for Sweden v England (4-2) to mark the opening of FRIENDS ARENA, on 14th November 2012.  the 4th goal a spectacular overhead bicycle kick from the 6ft 5 in striker, then with PSG, to keep England from winning in Stockholm for the first time since 1937.