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Saturday 9th June 2012 ko 17.00

Superettan

DEGERFORS IF 1 (Rennie 45)

HAMMARBY IF 3 (Ayranci 31 Forsberg 69 Lallet 90) James sent off 57 (2nd booking)

Att 5,603

Entry, and badge- Hop Ticket

Programme 10 sek

T-Shirt FREE

With Thomas driving, we reached Stora Valla in plenty of time, enough time to watch the Hammarby fans arrive in a plume of green smoke! Degerfors is the club where Tord Grip and Sven-Göran Eriksson started their managerial careers. Their names are inscribed on the “Tree of Achievement” behind one goal but other than that I found no other reference made to these famous sons. I’d made a visit here around a year earlier, where Kim and I ended up being interviewed for the club’s website!

The ground is Kim’s favourite in Sweden, and it’s easy to see why. There’s a wonderful old wooden stand, with terracing on the other three sides. On the far side the wooden steps double the standing capacity on a day when triple the normal attendance arrived. For me what makes the ground special is the nooks and crannies. There are so many places to watch the game!

The club annoyed Kim by not supplying the 24 programmes he’d ordered, but with the club producing a T-Shirt for the first 3,000 through the gate, they handed him a box of 50 for us, in a mixture of medium and extra-large sizes. Trouble was that most of us had already been given ours at the gate. On the basis of “Waste not, want not” I was charged with throwing the box of shirts over a 10 foot fence for Thomas outside to catch and stow aboard the coach. Expect Kim to have a similar shirt on for the foreseeable future!

I talked my way into the press area to grab a team sheet for the lineups, and the party scattered to find a space to watch the game, Kim and I found somewhere to reassure the other that it was all going well. Despite the shirts stating “VärmLAND VS HammarBY” ie a whole AREA versus just a DISTRICT, there was far more to the tie than that. Hammarby see themselves as an Allsvenksan side, and the Södermalm based club have the support to back it up. In 2013 they’ll have the stadium too, as their new ground just the other side of the Globen from the Söderstadion nears completion.

Going into this game, Hammarby were third, in the playoff spot, behind Östers and Landskrona. In contrast Degerfors were also in a playoff spot, of the relegation variety, fourth from bottom. Sadly for the red t-shirt wearers, the game went precisely by the form book. Eric Figueroa picked out Sinan Ayranci who finished with a deft flick. Degerfors responded just before half time, Amadaiya Rennie’s skidding 20 yard just sneaking in off the base of the left post.

When Monday James was dismissed for his second needless heavy challenge, it looked nicely set up for a Degerfors renaissance, but Hammarby went up through the gears and the for all the world it looked like Degerfors had the player missing. Max Forsberg danced past Daniel Sundgren and fired home from the edge of the box, before Christophe Lallet, last year at Degerfors player dribbled through the home defence before lobbing Jonas Bohlin in the home goal. There was even time for Ayranci to miss a tap in, but the Hammarby fans had already begun to party…