, , , , , , ,

Saturday 1st June 2013 ko 14.00

Division 3 Södra Norrland

HILLE IF 1 (Barku 45)


Att 231

Entry & Programme included in hop (50sek)

Badge 20sek

10 sek is roughly £1

From Storvik it was a 35 minute drive east and slightly north to Gävle, and the suburb of Hille, which again seemed to have an air of the country about the place. The coach party’s punctuality and Thomas’ driving expertise meant that there was time for a talk about the club from both manager and chairman. It proved to be extremely informative, with the club on the cusp of a major decision.

The city of Gävle is the traditional capital of Norrland.  The name derives from the word gavel, meaning river banks in Old Swedish and referring to the Gavleån (Gävle River). The oldest settlement was called Gavle-ägarna, which means “Gavel-owners”. This name was shortened to Gavle, then Gefle, and finally Gävle.

In more recent times the city has become famous for a burning goat! In 1966. Stig Gavlén came up with the idea of placing a giant version of the traditional Swedish Christmas goat of straw in the Castle Square.  At midnight on New Year’s Eve, the goat went up in flames. The goat has since had a history of being the victim of an arson attack almost every year, despite it being illegal and not supported by most citizens of Gävle, but the repeated sabotage has made the goat famous! In 2006 the goat was covered in a flame-resistant coating and goat to remained standing throughout the winter.

Hille IP is very much a community facilty with the club justifiable proud of their new 3G pitch obtained second-hand from Allsvenskan outfit Gävle IF and being put to good use by the junior teams while the first XI played. It summed up what we learned during the presentation. Division 3 is both the highest level of amateur football in Sweden, and the highest status the club has played at. Division 2 would mean mandatory contracts and payments to players, manager Carlos Santis clearly wants to go better than last season’s near miss, but the President Gunnarar Lindbom was noticeably reticent. Carlos deals with players, Gunnarar deals with the books, and often the two clash. Mind you, the club did buy a box of tea-bags for their English (and one Scot!) visitors!

In the best possible way the manager gave his chairman a headache, in beating the league leaders for the first time this season. It put Hille third, with only the champions promoted, and the runners-up playing off against the side finishing second-bottom for the division above. It was a tight, scrappy affair, the goal summing up the game, a free kick bundled over the line just before half time.

The fixture reminded me of the Månkarbo game on Friday. The team have obviously caught the imagination of their locality and there was quite an atmosphere in the sweltering heat as people supplemented the bleachers with garden chairs and picnics. In the corner the café had a near permanent queue as ice creams and cold drinks sold freely.

That friendly community nature has served the club well, and whilst a move to semi-professionalism needn’t necessarily mean that would be lost, care would have to be taken to maintain those grassroots links. Whatever their future holds, the coachload of hoppers made their way to the last game of the day with happy memories of Hille IF, if a little sunburned!