, , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday 2nd June 2018 ko 14.00

Division 3 Södra Svealand

FC STOCKHOLM INTERNAZIONALE 5 (Culeu 42p 49 Tourang 67 82 Aloui 90og)


Att 78

Entry 50sek (£4.31)

The idea behind this years trip to Sweden had long been to visit Stockholm before travelling south for the annual Swedish hop, based once again in Trelleborg. It meant spending two weekends in Scandanavia with the week between linking them. It gave me a couple of decisions to make.

By far the cheapest flights into Stockholm were to Skavsta Airport, roughly 90 minutes of Stockholm itself. The Flygbussana coach service is excellent, and it wouldn’t be difficult to load credit on to our SL Access cards on arrival at Stockholm Central to allow us unlimited public transport for a week. It was then that decisions needed to be made. Do we store our cases at Left Luggage and head north for the second tier Superettan game at IFK Frej or do we head south to and check into our hotel in the southern suburb of Årstaberg then head for Sweden vs Denmark at the Friends Arena later?

The answers came from Swedish Groundhop organiser Kim Hedwall, and a friend of mine for longer than either of us would care to remember. He hired a car to collect Robyn, myself and Adrian and Simeon Bean from Skavsta, and take us straight to Årstaberg to check in. From there we could go to a club game then head to Solna, return the car, eat then go to the Sweden game. It was a lovely gesture, greatly appreciated by us all but the genius was what he spotted a week or so before our arrival.

Of all the grounds in Stockholm there was one that I really really needed to visit. Around 11 years ago Kim had taken me on a tour of Stockholm’s interesting football grounds. Some we visited on Swedish hops, some I did myself, and some Kim and I did ourselves. But somehow Kristinebergs Idrottsplats escaped my clutches.

The ground lies in one corner of land that until 1920 formed part of Kristinebergs Palace on the island of Kungsholmen, the island most famous for also being home to Stockholm’s City Hall. In 1921 the area was bought by the municipality and created a residential district. The stadium was built between 1920 and 1923 with the stand designed by celebrated architect Paul Hedqvist who also designed Johanneshovs Ice Stadium now rebranded Hovet, adjacent to the Tele2 Arena.

Initally the ground was used by the famous Westermalms IF club who played two seasons of Allsvenskan football here in 1926/7 and 1928/9 whilst supplying the likes of Herbert Almqvist, Rune Bergström and Birger Carlsson to the national team. They vied with AIK for the supremacy of Stockholm but never recovered after after a famous 3-1 defeat to their rivals at the Olympic Stadium in 1929.

Sadly the club have plummeted through the divisions in more recent years, and now are based at the more humble Stadshagens IP and play in the lowly Division 6E Stockholm. In more recent years Superettan football came briefly to Kristineberg as Djurgården played most of the 1993 season here while the Söderstadion was being renovated.

These days though the ground is proving to be rather awkward for the council. They’d love to tear up the grass pitch and install an artificial surface allowing more football to be played but there’s also athletics here too, and the grass is needed for the discus and javelin events, and that wonderful stand has byggnadsminne, or listed status too. So for time being Kristinebergs IP is reasonably safe but with only Stockholm Internazionale calling this place home, and Djurgården playing occasional ladies and girls games here, this place isn’t as easy to visit for a game as other grounds in Stockholm.

So when Kim spotted this game we dashed off the plane and fairly blasted our way through the airport, and were driving north before the plane was back in the air heading back to Stansted! We made good time, not a given on a Friday afternoon in a capital city and parked up in Kungsholmen a quite amazing 20 minutes before kick-off!

As if to mark the mad dash we’d undertaken a plane destined for Bromma Airport (also designed by Paul Hedqvist) buzzed excitely overhead as Kim investigated a parking meter that seemed to be designed to discourage you from actually using it!

The ground remains at gorgeous as it was 11 years ago, even down to the handy little cafe underneath the stand. When you’ve had a busy morning on a hot day, having cold drinks available was a godsend!

I do enjoy Swedish Division 3 football; it manages to find both skill, endeavour and excitement. Scholars of the Swedish Hop may remember Tyresö from the 4th hop of the series. The memory was of 20-or-so hoppers walking into the ground as 1000 people left. The club was and is far more famous as being a women’s club than as a men’s and despite the club going bankrupt in 2014 and reforming, that’s still the case.

And here they were no match for their hosts, who once they broke through courtesy of a penalty late in the first half strolled through the second in the heat and rapidly put the game out of Tyresö’s reach.

But I suspect the 5 of us won’t remember the result, as much as the game was entertaining to watch. This was all about Kristinebergs I.P. the Grand Old Lady of Kungsholmen, and for me, the greatest football ground in Stockholm behind the Olympic Stadium. You really ought to pay this place a visit.

My thanks to Mats Nyström for his help with this article.