Tuesday 2nd June 2015 ko 19.00
IF BROMMAPOJKARNA 2 (Hellberg 29 75)
IFK VÄRNAMO 1 (Cederqvist 44)
Entry (seating) 150sek (c £11.76)
Programme/ Lottery 20 sek
In Stockholm there’s a fairly obvious footballing pecking order. Top are Djurgården and AIK, closely followed by Hammarby, and all are currently playing in top flight of Swedish football, the Allsvenskan. Bromma were relegated from there last season, and currently lie bottom of the second tier Superettan, or Super-One division if you’d prefer the English translation. But to judge Brommapojkarna, or to translate, the Bromma Boys Club, on their league position would be to completely miss the point of their existence, as they are the biggest club in Europe.
Hard to believe isn’t it? They are after all a small club in Vällingby, and their home Grimsta IP is one-sided and holds a mere 5,500, making the club move high profile games to the more suitable Råsunda stadium and more recently to the Tele2 Arena during their Allsvenskan days. In fact on more than one occasion when I told a local where I was heading they replied, “Brommapojkarna? At Grimsta?” But the great joy of visiting this club is both hearing about, and seeing their youth system in action, they are by definition the biggest the club in Europe with 247 teams and over 3,000 players of all ages and both sexes under their banner, all run by volunteers on next-to-no money.
Put simply, if you grew up in Stockholm wanting to play football, chances are you played for Brommapojkarna. With that background, there are no lack of diamonds the club has dug up, polished and sent away to make their fortunes. Players such as Anders Limpar, Nils-Eric Johansson, and Bojan Djordjic all started here. And that is a source of both pride and frustration for the club.
Icelandic manager Magni Fannberg Magnusson summed it up nicely, “As soon as we get a good player, off he goes.” He smiled phlegmatically, “But who are we to stand in their way?” That was in the context of a man who knew that in the next few days another likely lad, Joseph Colley, a midfielder would be sold to Chelsea.
This was Bromma’s first win of the season, and despite that success against a below-par Värmano side, it was obvious why they are bottom. You compared each player to his visiting opponent and each was younger. At that age the losses hurt more, and confidence looked low. Nevertheless Magnusson has got his young charges playing attractive passing football, and on this evening they managed to take advantage of their misfiring opponents off-day.
Even this neutral allowed himself to cheer the win, how many professional clubs invite a foreigner and his group in for the post-match interviews, then repeat the press conference in English for my benefit? But for all their kindness, the most telling moment came as I left. Because there, on a side pitch, a group of children were taking part in a training session with a volunteer. The famous Brommapojkarna production line continues to move…..