Right straight to the point. We love Malmö FF. We love their new stadium (we actually loved their iconic old stadium which still sits next door to the new Swedbank Stadion), we love the pale blue shirts, we love their passionate fans and we love their press office who on asking for accreditation this week told us that:-
“Of course…We appreciate all of the interest around the club at the moment, but when it comes from the home of football it warms the heart a little extra.”
They had me on “of course”. But this season has been special for Di blåe. With just four games to go they went into round 27 with a 3 point lead over local rivals (and also a top club by the way) Helsingborgs IF thanks to the passionate win last month. With both teams kicking off at 7pm on Monday night, the right result could almost put the Allsvenskan on a bus down to Malmö from Stockholm where AIK had been hiding it in a cupboard. Helsingborgs were away to recent champions IF Elfsborg whilst Malmö were hosting Kalmar FF, themselves Allsvenskan Champions in 2008. Continue reading
I’ve been to a few tasty games in my life. Those where you wake up the next morning with cordite still wafting around your nose, a persistent ringing in your ears from the screams and chants, and if you are really lucky wearing nothing but a strange football scarf (hats off to Mr Danny Last for the last one). Whilst we may claim to have the “Best League in the World” (©Sky Sports) we are woefully bad at generating a real atmosphere at a game. Occasionally we get a game that may have some passionate followings, but we are so scared of the thought of two sets of fans in the same postcode at the same time that we are now experts at the “Bubble Games” – where away fans are bused in and out of a city/town/village/out-of-town shopping centre irrespective how they want to get to the game. All in the name of safety the authorities will have us believe. Continue reading
The 18 May 1946 is not a day that many will remember as being well known for anything. If you are old enough to remember, then President Truman gave a televised speech announcing the end of the railroad strike in America and that is probably it, unless you were a resident in the small town of Ängelholm in south west Sweden.
On that night, in a small forest on the outskirts of the town a UFO landed. The Swedes aren’t known for their strange beliefs such as other nations (Trolls for instance in other more northerly areas) so it was hard to put this down to a flight of fancy, especially as it was seen by a chap called Gösta Carlsson, a famous Swedish ice hockey player at the time. Gösta claimed that the aliens landed and then passed him some secrets that enabled him to set up a successful natural therapy company. A bit like an extra-terrestrial Herbalife then. There is a monument in the forest clearing where the incident was alleged to have taken place which makes it the one of the biggest tourist draws in the area.
The town itself is better known for us younger people as one of the best surfing beaches in the Nordics. People come from hundreds of miles away to enjoy the wide sandy beach and the strong currents. It is certainly a nice looking place – free from litter and well kept lawns, and lots of very bronzed Swedes cycling around.
But I was not here for the UFO watching or the wind surfing. Of course I was here for football. Ängelholms FF are your typical provincial Swedish football team. Happy to sit in the mid-table of the second division, occasionally upsetting one of the big boys in a cup and even rarer pushing for a promotion spot. They have ambition though, and the club have stated that 2011 is their target date to reach the Allsvenskan for the first time. This season has started well for them. A 3-2 win on the opening day against favourites Hammarby in front of over 3,000 set them up well, but since then it has been a disappointing series of draws mixed in the occasional defeats. In their last home game the crowd dropped down to just over 300 which must be a real concern for the club. Continue reading