Five games in seven days. Apart from a major tournament this is a record at TBIR towers but not one I fancy repeating too often. After heading to the far west of Scandinavia last week for the joys of Esbjerg and Herning, to the barren north of Ilkeston, the chavtastic Dartford (speaking as someone who grew up just a few miles away before I get abuse) to the east of Sweden and the outskirts of Stockholm for my second Allsvenskan game of the season and the fabulously named IF Brommapokjarna.
As I flew into Stockholm I noticed that the snow and ice that had blighted my life for the first part of 2010 was still in abundance across the Swedish countryside. In fact many of the lakes were still frozen completely and there was clear tyre marks on many as they had been used for impromptu race tracks. With temperatures forecast to be hovering just above freezing point it had been a wise move to pack the old hat and gloves to avoid a repeat of the Danish frozen fingers syndrome.
Idrottsföreningen Brommapojkarna were formed back in 1942 and by my reckoning have the longest name in any top league in division, a title that Borussia Monchengladbach had proudly held for so long. The club are actually one of the biggest in the world as well in terms of organisation. They can boast over 250 affiliated teams, ranging across juniors, youth, senior and veterans levels for both male and females. But it has only been in recent years that the senior team has made its mark on Swedish football, rising to the Allsvenskan for the first time in 2007. After relegation the following season they bounced straight back up and finished 12th last season to give them another term at the highest level.
One player the club did develop was Bojan Djordjic who went on to play a single game for Manchester United, and there was a rumoured link up between the two clubs although the only thing they have shared since is the same black and red colours they play in.
So after a busy day in our new Stockholm office I headed off to Bromma which sits almost at the end of the T19 T-Bana line some 30 minutes from central station. Bromma is considered to be Suburban Stockholm and can count former residents Christer Fuglesang (the first Swede in space) and Per Albin Hansson who was Prime Minister in 1946 when he died on a tram. Today the area is more known as the home of Stockholm’s City airport which is the fourth largest in Sweden and a darn site nearer to the city centre than any of our offerings in London.
IF Brommapojkarna 1 GAIS 0 – Grimsta IP – Tuesday 7th April 2010
IF Bromma are one of the few teams in the top leagues in Sweden allowed to use an artificial pitch. They have no such problems as our friends at Durham, and are allowed to play in all competitions. Judging by the snow around the ground it appears to be a necessity on these cold spring days and would otherwise have lead to numerous postponements. The Grimsta is a funny old affair. One old covered stand is augmented by single stands all over the place, some wooden, some metal terracing and some concrete. Plus there is an uncovered area of seating which in inclement weather would not be too nice. The typical Swedish grills form the focal point at each corner and from my seat in the main stand I had a view of suburbia, which provided some entertainment in a very sterile first thirty minutes where there was not one single chance on goal.
The hundred or so travelling fans from Goteborg tried to make a noise, and there was a random drummer banging away for IF Bromma but nobody could take away the tedium of the game. Had so many games in such a short space of time taken away the magic of the game or was this genuinely that bad? Coming into this game IF Bromma has drawn two and lost one of their first three games, the game we had been to at Helsingborgs on day one actually. Worryingly the three games had yet to produce a goal for IF Bromma although they had only conceded one. And with our friend Kristoffer Nordfeldt back in goal after his indiscretion at Helsingborgs they had at least been tight at the back. Visitors GAIS had faired slightly better winning one, drawing one and losing one of their three games so far and it was them who came closest to opening the scoring in the 35th minute when full back Romario Pereira Sipiäo ( I don’t think he is Swedish somehow) rasping shot from twenty yards just flashed wide.
Just three minutes into the second half and we had some genuine excitement as firstly Nordfeldt made a great save from a GAIS free kick and then almost with the next attack Tim Björkström tried his luck with a lob from 25 yards that GAIS keeper Jankulovski could only tip onto the bar and someone the rebound stayed out. But IF Bromma smelt a goal and two minutes later they opened their account for the season as a quick throw in into the penalty area found Joakim Runnemo and he smashed the ball into the roof of the net.
IF Bromma then started to play as if they had been leading in every game, passing the ball around. If truth be told I lost interest on the 80 minute mark. Denmark finger syndrome started to take hold and the media seats were the most uncomfortable seats I have ever sat in – they were positioned so far away from the desk that you had to sit on the edge of the seat, which is fine if the game is an edge of the seat game, but when its not its blooming painful.
So the end of my marathon session of football. Would I do it again? Not in a hurry that is for sure. Perhaps it was just that the quality was poor, or was it that after 69 games my season interest was coming to an end. For IF Bromma it was just the start as a win took them up to the dizzy heights of 8th, although whilst the long winter was ending I could only feel their long summer of pain was just about to start.
More photos from the game can be found by clicking here.
About Grimsta IP
A real mixture of stands and styles at the 60 year old Grimsta. The main stand is covered with seats put directly onto the terrace and a big walkway separating the front rows from the pitch. Behind each goal are small wooden terraces although at the south end this only extends part of the way as the club house takes up the rest. On the far side of the pitch are two stands – one is uncovered seating and the other is a more permanent concrete terrace. The ground can in theory hold 8,000 although it would be creaking at the seams if it did. The club played for a while at the Olympic stadium to make the necessary improvements for Allsvenskan football. Picturesque in the summer months, harsh the rest of the year is a fair assessment!
How to get to Grimsta IP
Hop on the green T-bana line from central Stockholm in the direction of Håsselby Strand on the T-19 line and get off at Johannelund which is two stops from the end of the line. The station is in zone 3 and a return ticket is 60SEK. When you exit the station, turn right and then right so that you are walking along the main road. Cross the slip roads on the roundabout (at the crossings!) and walk straight ahead down the incline. You will see the stadium straight ahead behind the training pitches.
How to get a ticket for Grimsta IP
Unless the visitors are one of the big four (AIK, IFK, Djurgården or IF Hammarby) then you can buy tickets on the gate. Ticket prices are 250SEK for a seat in the main stand, 200SEK for an uncovered seat or 120SEK for a spot on any of the numerous terraces. Concession tickets are 50SEK. You can also buy tickets online at Ticnet where instructions are also given in English and you can print your own tickets off. Last season the club had the lowest average attendance in the Allsvenskan at 2,860. Only one game, the derby against AIK Solna sold out the 6,800 ground.