Saturday 4th June 2016 ko 18.00
IK SIRIUS FK 2 (Björkbaum 67 Bergman 78)
TRELLEBORGS FF 1 (Jovanovic 29)
Entry 140sek (but included in hop price)
Programme 20 sek (but included in hop price)
If the Swedish Hop isn’t about one thing it was this. We’ve put on games at Allsvenskan and Superettan grounds before and the result is always the same. Organiser Kim Hedwall gets the clamour to include them but when we do, we don’t get the extra hoppers that would justify doing it more often. Now whilst Kim and I would love to see more hoppers come to Sweden each year, we are reasonably comfortable with the 20-or-so we get each year. There was though a couple of compelling reasons to head north to Uppsala.
The first was the late kick-off, this second division fixture was televised, and any late fixture is likely to interest a groundhop organiser. The more compelling reason though is that Studenternas IP is soon to be redeveloped.
Perhaps its a sign of the times the football ground is first on the list for improvements. The athletics will get its own stadium, with the current stadium being exclusively football and upgraded to a 10,000 capacity with an artificial pitch. The interesting part though is what happens to the biggest part of Studenternas IP.
I know what you’re thinking, “That’s the football right?” But you’d be wrong, the bandy stadium next door holds 8,000, 2000 more than the football stadium’s current capacity. It’s the home of Sirius’ bandy team who play in the top-flight Elitserien and hosted the Swedish Bandy final from 1991-2012 before it was moved firstly to the Friends Arena and more recently the Tele2 Arena. The redevelopment seems dependent upon whether a road can be re-routed. The full proposals are here, and the work is scheduled to start in 2019.
But the second we arrived it was clear why we don’t put these kind of games on hops per se, and not just in Sweden. We saw absolutely no added value from us being there, all the other clubs we visited were happy to take time to tell us a little about their club, here we were 20 extra on the gate, no more no less. There were all the little annoyances of the professional game too, such as the TV screen showing continuous adverts right in the eye-line just behind the goal.
At half time Kim and I pulled a few tricks of the trade and got teamsheets printed for our party and the Sirius ultras group gave us examples of their stickers, and in the end most of the party simply took the experience for what it was- watching a game of football. Little else was worthy of note.
There was one little unwitting nod to the Swedish hop’s past. I’m certain that Sirius’ midfielder Ian Sirelius won’t remember 20 or so British hoppers in 2007 turning up to watch Råsunda IS at Skytteholms IP on the very first hop or 5 years later at Tunavallen playing for Sirius at Eskinstuna City. He didn’t have much of an influence on what was a dull game.
Zoran Jovanovic gave Trelleborg a lead that served to do little else but stave off a goal-less draw, while Sirius seemed incapable of breaking down an obdurate defence. That was until they decided to try crossing the ball! Two quick goals from Ante Björkbaum and substitute Jacob Bergman kept the hosts in a playoff spot.
We headed back to northern Stockholm with a day’s hopping to ponder. We’d massively enjoyed ourselves at Danderyd and Djursholm but for Kim and I our experience at Studenternas served only to reinforce our view of what the Swedish Hop is about. The evening had been something of a marriage of convenience for us.
I’m not saying we didn’t enjoy it, or that it hadn’t been a worthwhile exercise, but if in the future if we get the choice between a little club like Film or a professional game, it’ll be the little club in the middle of nowhere that gets the visit. I wasn’t to know it, perhaps Kim did even then as we blasted down the E4, but Sunday’s games were to prove the point completely.