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Sunday 3rd June 2018 ko 19.00

Division 6C Stockholm

IFK LIDINGÖ BK 6 ( I Gustafsson 9 49 Broström 27 Undhammar 66 Sjöwall 70 Engdahl 77)


Att 43

Entry – FREE

One of the many reasons I love Sweden in general, and Stockholm in particular is that it manages to signpost significant points in my life. My first foreign football trip was to Nyköpings BIS in 2007 and my photos since then tell so many stories, from the start of the collapse of just about everything that meant something to me on the 2010 Swedish Hop to the newly separated man trying unsuccessfully to laugh his way around the hop a year later in front of “Offside Magazine”. Then two years ago something I thought would never happen did, Robyn arrived in my life, and actually wanted to join me on my regular little odysseys round Sweden. But unlike all the other times, this Swedish milepost I decided to be in full control of. 

I don’t suppose too many folk ask their girlfriends to marry them on the 28th floor of a radio tower, but the Kaknästornet is no ordinary tower and the views over the Stockholm archipelago are fairly spectacular! That said I did wonder what the rest of the holiday, all 7 days of it, would have been like if she’d have said no!

We found ourselves in a little bubble up there with just the two of us knowing, then being in a radio tower the mobile phone reception was excellent to tell our parents and close family and friends. But even as we look the lift back down to our funny little version of reality we still felt we were in that bubble. But then we sat on the bus back to central Stockholm, announced our engagement on social media, and had to switch our phones off for a couple of hours, our phones’s constant vibrating telling us that our bubble had well and truly burst!

We spent a happy couple of hours on the royal island of Djurgården and the Vasa Museum. The boat is the Swedish equivalent of the British “Mary Rose” in that it was a medieval warship that sank on it’s maiden voyage and its remains were preserved for hundreds of years by the oxygen-sealing mud at the bottom of the sea. These days it sits in it’s dry dock preserved in polyethylene glycol- the major constituent of lipstick (minus the colouring) with the few bits of the boat that didn’t survive the Baltic being replaced by modern spares in deliberately different-coloured wood. You’ll see what I mean when you see the photo of the rigging.

From there, via an ice cream stall we took the Djurgården Ferry (handily included on the SL Access card) over to Gamla Stan. We strolled over to Slussen to meet Adrian and Sim, and I spent the metro ride to the end of the red line at Ropsten convincing Sim what he really wanted to be in life was my best man. I have to say I found Robyn slightly easier to convince, but then Robyn won’t have to find Estonian non-league fixtures for the Stag weekend.

Ropsten T-bana station is an odd place. The tunnel finishes, the train goes on to a bridge, and the bridge just… stops. You head downstairs and transfer to a bus to get over another bridge to the island of Lindingö. The island is a place of trees, with small cafes and the quiet affluence has attracted both Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog of ABBA fame to buy houses here, although I bound to comment that if you research a well-to-do Stockholm suburb, they can usually claim an ABBA home-owner!

But the reason for visiting Lindingö was football, and as I type this I am still surprised that given what had happened earlier, we still bothered to go to a game. I’d only planned this one out so Robyn got no hint of what I’d planned for earlier!

Mind you, even if we hadn’t have made it here, we’d have had to have returned at some point as the place needs to be seen to be believed! There’s an athletics stadium, an outdoor ice rink, and the tennis hall that replaced a structure that a right-wing extremist burned down in 1997. But it’s the football ground that really catches the eye.

I’ve no idea why the municipality decided to build a ground with a terrace cut into geometric patterns, but I’m glad they did! The only issue was that there is little or no cover and our arrival coincided with the only rainfall of our entire trip! Still we were able to shelter near the changing rooms.

That allowed me to ask exactly what we were watching, as the links between first XI’s and reserve teams aren’t as clear cut here as they are in the UK. All the branding was for IFK Lidingö FK who ply their trade in Division 2 Norra Svealand. This team was IFK Lidingö BK (In essence Ball club instead of Football club) and the explanation given that BK is a feeder team to FK. Some will read this and immediately think reserve team, and that wouldn’t be massively inaccurate here. But it isn’t a hard-and-fast rule.

The last game of last year’s Swedish Hop saw us watch Vellinge IF who started life as Vellinge FF’s feeder team, but are now completely independent of their former masters and now play in the same division! What watching this game did do was allow us to see a massive local derby!

Torstens Lärjungar also play on Lidingö at Breviks IP so there was a little spice when it became clear that all the players knew each other well! Unfortunately that didn’t add up to a close game, the hosts winning, and winning extremely well.

The rain soon ceased and we retraced our steps and soon found ourselves near to Stockholm Centrum station. Despite all my planning I couldn’t ever have predicted that we’d end our day drinking to our future in an Argentinian restaurant. But then how can you plan a day that starts with you getting engaged at the top of a radio tower, sees you visit a boat preserved in lipstick, watching an 8th tier football match and finishes with you eating Burritos in a Swedish Argentinian restaurant?

Mind you, on our very first date I said to Robyn “Dating me will be many things, but I promise it won’t be dull!” Point proven I think!