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Saturday 20th August 2011 ko 11.00am

Division 7 Norra Örebro

IFK LINDESBERG II 1 (Fredriksson 90)

HÄLLEFORS A.I.F. 4 (Eriksson 5 Mohammed 45 65 85)

Att 17 at Stadskogsvallen

Entry FREE

No Programme

With the 8th annual Swedish Groundhop starting on Friday, I thought I’d give you a little of the background on the event, and the lengths that the organiser Kim Hedwall goes to make the event a success. I help Kim where needed, mainly as a sounding board, and we’ve developed the hops as being for discovering the kind of ground that is a little more obscure. And let’s be frank, it’s not difficult to book a flight to Arlanda to watch A.I.K. at the Friends Arena, and if you do have difficulties, contact me at this site, and I’ll give you guidance. We use the hop to find places that probably have not seen a British hopper, an example on last year’s hop was Månkarbo where the weather was matched only by the locals’ curiosity!

That hop was based around Uppsala, but back in 2011 all previous hops had been based in Stockholm. It made for an easy life for organiser Kim, and coach driver Thomas who both live in the capital, but Kim was hankering to take the tour to somewhere else in Sweden. After all, Kim’s reason for organising the hop is different to any other organiser. A league looks to promote itself, a club looks for money and publicity, but Kim’s motive is to show his country in the best possible light. He took the view, correctly, that there is a lot more to Sweden than just Stockholm. The trouble is that he didn’t know the clubs as well elsewhere, so he decided to do a road trip to dig out some suitable gems, and as a result I found myself bleary-eyed at Skavsta airport one morning to meet Kim in a hire car!

I don’t think there’s a groundhop organiser that would countenance a hop game featuring a reserve side, but with this game kicking off early and two others to visit there was an obvious point to be stretched! It is also worth mentioning that Kim likes to visit every single club featured on the hop prior to the event, although I wonder how he’s managed that for this year’s Gothenburg-based event.

Lindesberg is around 30 minutes drive north of Örebro, and is one of those beautiful conifer-dotted small towns that Sweden seems to specialise in. Its background is mining, not that you’d know now, but the name is derived from the Linden, or Lime trees that grow here. Yet from 1996 and 2007, it was best known for the Augustibuller Punk Festival, which does seem rather out-of-step with the arborial feel of the place.

I don’t think I need comment on the ground, I think the venerable wooden stand speaks rather nicely, don’t you? In fact, my happiness would have been complete if the referee, Jusuf Mirvic had turned up on time! His excuse was that he got lost, but the 35 minute delay meant we were extremely tight for time to get to our second game. On the field, the visitors were easy winners, so the rapid turnaround at half time was not a factor in the hosts’ capitulation!

So why hasn’t the hop so far visited Lindesberg? The answer is that we’d love to, but the problem proved to be finding cost-effective accommodation in Örebro. That meant the next Swedish hop in 2012 ended up being based in Eskilstuna, some 90km east making Lindesberg too much of an undertaking for us. This research trip did yield two grounds we did use; the third game that Saturday was at Degerfors. Here’s the hop report including footage of me being interviewed, and the last game that weekend was in Eskilstuna. We watched IFK Eskilstuna, but the first game of the 2012 hop was at fellow tenants Eskilstuna City, report here.

We did another exploratory tour the next year, and toured Southern Sweden, The reports start click here, and there’s quite a few for you to enjoy, and I’ve little doubt that we’ll do more in the future, just check back here to see where the Swedish Groundhop MIGHT end up!