Thursday 30th May 2013 ko 19.30
Division 4 Mellersta Stockholm
VÄRTANS IK 3 (Morales 13 Sjöde 77 Isimeme 84)
BAGARMOSSEN/KÄRTORPS BK 1 (Sheriff 34)
Recent events looked like making my attendance at the 7th Annual Swedish Groundhop impossible, but I was able to catch my plane to Arlanda, then the Pendeltåg, or suburban train in to Stockholm central.
I’d wanted to be in Sweden a day earlier than the rest of the other hoppers, as with there being a collection from two flights the next day, an extra pair of eyes and hands are useful. These groundhops are organised by Joachim “Kim” Hedwall, and specialise in the games of football that are a little off the beaten track, in short the games that I, and many others watch during the rest of the season in the UK! I act as his deputy, dealing with the UK end of things and offering help and advice when Kim requires it.
It gave me the chance of a bonus game too. If you take the Red T-Bana line to Ropsten you get to visit two places. For the majority its the sea terminal for the cruise ships bound for the likes of Finland and Russia, but for me its the adjacent district of Hjorthagen and Horthhagens Idrottsplats (IP).
The venue is best known as the training ground for top flight (Allsvenskan) outfit Djurgårdens, and the ground as been refurbished to meet their requirements. That includes, in winter, an inflatable dome called the Johan Björkman Hall, to allow training in the freezing Swedish conditions. More here,
The weather couldn’t have been more pleasant though on this evening, and the two spectacular gas holders provided a spectacular backdrop. The older, brick-built one behind the far goal, Värtagasverket, was designed by Robert Boberg, and was the first major gas works in Stockholm, opening in November 1893 and only closing in 2011.
Hjorthagens translates as “Deer Paddock” but the area didn’t seem at all like a place where you see animals, but then the island of Djurgården was the royal zoo so perhaps that’s the connection!
The home were notably friendly, and I soon found myself slipping back into the relaxed routines of watching Swedish football, buying an ice cream from the excellent café and exchanging a joke or two about Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It really was a salve for the last few days.
Both sides made good use of an excellent 3G surface, but the difference between the two sides was midfielder Nelson Moreles. He scored the first, and was at the start of everything good the hosts did. More than anything else though, I finally managed to relax; I’d sat on the plane worrying about, amongst other things whether my umpteenth trip to Sweden would or could be as enjoyable as all of the rest. I caught the underground back to Solna from Ropsten, with my answer. Once again, I was off and running.