, , , , , , , , ,

Sunday 7th June 2015 ko 12.00

Division 4 Norra Stockholm

VIGGBYHOLMS IK 3 (Persson 20 Sten 49 N Jonsson 63)

FF TÅBY CITY 1 (Higgs 89)

Att 129

NB The Swedish hop’s cost of £280 included all entry fees, programmes, two nights bed and breakfast, and coach travel between the games and Arlanda airport.

Entry & Programme 20sek

From our base in Uppsala, we set off due south towards Stockholm before striking out east into the outer reaches of the archipelago. We reached the municipality of Tåby most famous for the large numbers of Viking runic stones found here, and less so for being the home of DJ and producer Eric Prydz.

House music seemed a million miles away as the coach pulled into the small town of Viggbyholm nestling in Stora Värtan, an inlet of the Baltic Sea. There are beaches and boat clubs, and the area was opened up in no small part by the opening of the Roslagsbanan, a 891 mm narrow gauge railway running from Stockholm Östra station out north and eastwards.

It is the only narrow gauge railway in Sweden still in use for commercial traffic, and since it carries 47,000 passengers a day it is likely to continue that way! In the 9 year history the Swedish hop does have a history of visiting clubs on the Roslagsbanan, namely Roslagskula, Rydbo, Åkersberga, and Österåker. So if you want a steer on where we’re likely to visit next, get a timetable!

The Hägernäs Idrottsplats has quite a history. Hägernäs was a base for the Swedish Air Force’s seaplane squadron between 1919 and 1974, and from 1948 the civilian club had to negotiate which times it was allowed use the facility! You could understand that the base cared about who gained access when there was the Catalina Affair to consider.

In June 1952 Soviet pilots shot down a Swedish Douglas DC-3 over international waters in the Baltic. Two Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina Flying Boats took off from Hägernäs to search for the DC-3 but the Soviets shot one of these down too. All 8 airmen on the DC-3 died, and the 5 airmen in the flying boats were rescued by the German Navy. It took over 40 years for the Soviets to admit to shooting them down, and the Swedes to admit the DC-3 was on a spying mission!

Thankfully the Swedish Hop’s visit was altogether more convivial. The club have played mostly at the lower level of Swedish football their best achievement being two seasons in Division 3, but despite this game being for them a massive local derby they clearly enjoyed having a party of British hoppers visit. There was the added intrigue of the game being streamed live too, with the cameraman sufficiently worried about a shower that never materialised to put an umbrella over his equipment.

Local derbies tend to be close encounters and with the hosts third from bottom a tight tense encounter a tense niggly game was expected. It didn’t quite work out like that, yes the tackles flew in and there were 6 booked, but Viggbyholms on the day were worthy winners.