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Saturday 8th June 2019 ko 17.00

Division 6A Sydvästra Skåne

SKANÖR/FALSTERBO IF 3 (Persson 22 Lindell 48 54)

BOSNISKA FK BEHAR 3 (V. Khoshawi Essa Essa 45 Bektasevic 67 Pajovic 74)

Att 70

The Swedish Hop’s cost of £285 included all entry fees, programmes, coach travel, 2 bridge tolls on the Øresund Bridge and 2 nights’ bed and breakfast at the Clarion Magasinet Hotel in Trelleborg.

The final game of the day saw us head over the Falsterbo canal over the isthmus on to what amounts to a man-made island. The canal is short, only around 1.6km and was built in 1941. With Denmark under German occupation and with them having mined extensively the usual shipping route outside Falsterbonäset, a canal was needed to allow ships to pass through the isthmus of what’s now the island of Näset and shorten the travel from the Baltic to the Øresund strait.

It had the unintended consequence of gaving Danes wishing to escape the Nazis an opportunity. They simply took the ferry from Copenhagen to Rønne on the Danish island of Bornholm, waited for the boat to reach the canal then simply jumped to Sweden and asylum!

When the war was over the canal’s use was still valid, and even today the canal does get used, although nowhere as much as in the past! The reef contains three towns, Ljunghusen and on the westernmost point of the reef- Skanör and Falsterbo. The two towns are a curiosity, joined in just about every way you can think of, apart from the most important factor- the minds of those who live there.

But given the football club is named after both I’d better say it quietly that Möllevallen IP is just about in Skanör, but more than that it is very close to the sea. So much so in fact it’s claimed that it is the closest to the sea in Sweden, with just sand dunes between the far side of the pitch and the sea. The backdrop to our game was a steady stream of walkers using the boardwalk, and campervans heading back from the beach! In the background to all of that was the Øresund Bridge, an amazing feat of engineering but also a sign that all of this was end the next day. I inwardly grimaced at that thought before quickly deciding to concentrate on the here and now.

The flying of an English courtesy flag was a lovely touch, even if I’m bound to say the number of expat Englishmen there who’d moved here to marry Swedish women probably meant they had little difficulty in finding a flag! We’ll conveniently forget the Scot in the party too…

But it took no time at all to see why someone would want to move here. Being in the extreme south-west the climate here is the best in Sweden, and this stunning part of the world is in easy commuting distance of the likes of Trelleborg, Lund, or Malmö.

Of course the Bosniska FK Behar club weren’t strangers to us, they were the first host club on the very first hop in Trelleborg and I also remember that they are rather good at knocking in goals, and equally good at conceding them too! I suspect they also remember how quickly the crate of beer they left for us was drunk!

What followed was a perfect example of why I love local football. In a strong wind that ended up being a portent of overnight rain. there was something of the soap opera in how the hosts managed to throw away a two goal lead twice. On one level you felt for Skanör /Falsterbo who’d been excellent hosts, they’d clearly expected to win, but expectation and reality often don’t meet. It had been an excellent day’s hopping and Kim had a final treat in store for us, and once again it involved the mayor of Trelleborg!

The Saturday night on the Swedish hop has often been an awkward time. Often we get back to the hotel too late to make going out for a meal straightforward, so Kim has long learned to make sure some sort of meal is available. Here that wasn’t really needed, we were home by 7.30 but nevertheless he’d organised a Swedish buffet for us back at the Clarion Magazinet in Trelleborg. He’d made the best of a bad situation, back in Denmark we’d been due to visit the Carlsberg Brewery, but they decided that due to a refit we couldn’t go. So Kim used the funds earmarked for that to make the meal free which turned out to be handy, I’m not sure every single member of the hop party would have participated otherwise.

And it was important as we had a distinguished guest of honour Mikael Rubin, the new mayor of Trelleborgs Kommun. It was good to see him, as he in no small part is why we’re based for the time being in Trelleborg and his kind words of welcome were much appreciated. I made sure that he was thanked, then commented that it was time to help boost his town’s economy. He smiled when he worked out we were off to the pub, by Swedish Hop tradition the Tre Lyktor (3 Lanterns). I hope the good mayor was happy with the financial boost we gave one of the town’s finest institutions!