Friday 18th May 2012 ko 8.00pm
Division 4 Mellersta Stockholm
JÄRLA IF FK 3 (D Eriksson 38 Sidiqi 83 87)
ANDREA DORIA IF 0
I’ve been watching Swedish football for around 6 years, since Kim Hedwall started the annual Swedish hops. I’ve been back regularly outside of that event, so when Kim asked whether I wanted to join him on an 11 game, 11 day odyssey , I jumped at the chance. Unusually I flew to Stockholm’s main airport, Arlanda and caught the bus to Märsta from where my prebooked one-day travelcard was valid from. I then travelled to Stockholm Centralen before catching the T-Bana (underground) to Karlaplan to meet Kim. We then caught the ferry from Djurgården to Slussen and then a short bus ride to Nacka, in the southern suburbs. In fact, Hammarby’s soon to be demolished Söderstadion was clearly visable in the distance.
I should explain a few terms. Swedish football is played in the summer, as its far too cold in the winter. The top division is the Allsvenskan, then the Superettan (super-one). From then, its Divisions One Norra and Södra (North and South), before regional football kicks in for Divisons 2, and 3. Divisions 4,5,6 and 7 are local leagues, and Division 8 exists in a few localities, mainly for reserves. Other useful terms are Västra (west), östra (east) and Mellersta (central). Many smaller grounds are titled IP, or idrottsplatts, meaning a multi-sports facility.
Nacka IP is a case in point, with the oh-so-common running track and ice rink looming behind. Nacka of Division 2 Norra Svealand have recently vacated the facility and Järla have taken their chance. It’s got character, with the natural features allowing a wooden step-terrance on both sides. It gives quite a large capacity, and plenty of choice for viewing positions. There was a club-run cafe selling Kaffe (coffee), cakes and Korv med brud (hot dogs). Behind one goal a group of ice skaters trained in the track infill.
Programmes are not ingrained in the culture as they are in the UK. Its not unheard of to get a programme at this level, but when you do find one, it tends to be a teamsheet with a league table. With this being local football, the rule is for rolling substutions. It sounds appalling but in practice works extremely well, with the higher divisions seeing less use of the rule than the lower ones.
Our game, in some out-of Swedish-character hot sun saw the locals take on an ethnically Italian outfit. It proved to be a decent passing game on 3G, no FA hangups on surfaces here. The differences between the two sides proved to be the visiting keeper, who committed errors for the first and last goals, and subsitute Sadiq Sadiqi whose first goal was a glorious 25 yard blast.
So a decent start to our tour, but tomorrow the real fun was to start, with the picking up of a hire car and the start of a 3000km road trip…..