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Friday June 2012 ko 19.00

Division One Norra



Att 630

Entry & programme Hop Ticket

Burger and Can Fanta 50sek

So, back to Sweden for the weekend, but this is no ordinary weekend, this is the 6th Annual Swedish Groundhop, organised by Kim Hedwall, I’ve been on all 6 and in recent years helped Kim a little, mainly as a sounding board.

An issue for this year’s event was our desire to move away from the hop’s base of Stockholm, and base it somewhere in Värmland, Sweden’s beautiful lake district. With no suitable hotel in the most obvious location Örebro, Kim picked out Eskilstuna as there was a Friday night game. It proved to be an inspired choice, but it did leave us with only one choice for the hoppers’ flight into Sweden.

The 6.10am flight from Stansted to Nyköping based Skavsta is not ideal, especially as it would put us at the hotel well prior to 2pm when our rooms would be available. That problem was solved by a stroke of genius by Kim, a visit to the Taxinge Slott. This castle dates from the 13th century and is famous for having Northern Europe’s largest selection of cream cakes on sale! So picture the scene, 24 bleary eyed hoppers enjoying a cream cake or 10 and a refillable coffee outside in the summer sun. It killed an hour, gave the 3 newbies a chance to introduce themselves and in other cases catch up with old friends.

The Comfort Hotel in Eskilstuna, was a bonus too, mainly for its location, with easy access to the town’s bars and restaurants, but with the quirk of a rock and roll theme, the lifts being named after Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon of The Clash! I used the time to catch up with a little sleep before everyone reconvened at 5.45pm for the short drive to Tunavallen.

Its a ground I’ve visited before, for fellow tenants IFK Eskilstuna. Its an interesting place, built in 2002 on the site of the 1958 World Cup venue. There’s identical seated stands either side of pitch, with one end having wooden step terracing, the other simple hard standing. What sets this 7,800 Allsvenskan-compliant stadium apart is the tower blocks on each corner, complete with floodlights, and the balconies do seem to give a great view of a 3G pitch that’s set to be replaced with an even better artificial surface.

We were given a talk on the club by the chairman, before taking our seats for a game that he felt his side would do well to get anything out of, given that Uppsala-based Sirius were yet to lose. He was proud to comment that his side were all from Eskilstuna, apart from Lansana Kamara, who’s from Sierra Leone!

What we gor early on was a demonstration in text-book passing from the visitors, but as the game wore on, it became clear that Sirius were creating nothing that the home defence couldn’t cope with. Particularly impressive was home keeper Nicklas Bergh, who pulled off a number of fine saves. As hoppers we wanted a goal, and that came just after half time, Filip Rogic scoring with the faintest flick of a header direct from a corner. Sirius huffed and puffed but created only one gilt-edged chance, Alagie Sosseh missing an open goal with just seconds remaining.

For students of Swedish hop history, when Sirius’ Ian Sirelius came on as a second half subsitute, he squared a circle for the hop. He appeared on the very first hop, for Råsunda vs Gamla Uppsala, in wonderful 2-2 draw at Skytteholms.