Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Helsingborgs IF

Welcome to Helsingborg

Helsingborgs IF 1-0 IF Brommapojkarna (14:03:10)

- Click on photos to enlarge image -

Someone in the EFW Brilliant Ideas Dept. is in need of a serious pay rise - again. On this chilly but sunny Spring Scandinavian Sunday, they'd suggested we visit two games, in two different countries within the space of a couple of hours. Oh, go on then, if you insist.

After a Saturday evening of football (Odense BK) and beer (Copenhagen) in Denners; Mr Fuller, Big Deaks and I were ready to give Sweden a try. A short train journey through the snow filled countryside up to Helsingør was followed by an even shorter ferry trip over to Helsingborg.

A shot of Gammel Danks isn't normally the way I choose to open my drinking account for the day but our new best friend Henrik - who was running the bar on said ferry - insisted. He gave each of us a free shot each, which we duly washed down with a bottle of Mariestads. When in Sweden as they say, or were we still in Denmark? It took less than 20 minutes to cross between the two countries.

After a very steep and sweaty climb up through the town, you arrive at the Olympia Stadium. The first thing that smacks you between the eyes is their agreeable floodlight arrangement. 2 x old skool standard coupled with 2 x beauties that angled in at 45 degrees. I'd been in Sweden a shade less than 20 minutes and I was already in love with Helsingborg and their quirky little floodlights and free shots policies.

And it's goodbye to Denners....

....and a warm welcome to Sweden...

....the home of 45 degree angle floodlights...

.....and club shops made out of footballs. What's not to like!?

EFW on the pitch again. What's Swedish for "Stewards arrest this man"!?

The love was set to extended. The three of us we welcomed with open arms by the club officials. We marched triumphantly down a red carpet (no really), picked up our press passes and were ushered into a lounge and offered some warm food by the delightful staff. It may have taken the form of the world's smallest ham and cheese toastie but this was just terrific. The only beer on offer was a low alcohol effort weighing in at 2.1%. Swedish football has recently experienced a bit of 80's style hooliganism by all accounts and as such, civilised beer drinkers have to suffer.

Inside the ground the HIF fanatics choose to sit (sit!) in section 37 of the main stand. This despite the Olympia having two small banks of terracing behind each goal. A strange choice to my mind but they get a great view from there, have a roof and made a great noise throughout the game. The attendance in total was a little disappointing at just under 7,000 but this was the earliest ever start to a Swedish football season, HIF's legendary star attraction Henrik Larsson was no longer playing and the cold may have put a few fans off.

IF Brommapojkarna (BP for short - phew!) had turned up with one (one!) away fan. Five FIFA Stars and some IKEA vouchers to him for making the long trip. Oddly enough, their number swelled to a massive four during the second half so they'll have to share the prize. BP are probably most famous for their enterprising youth system. All players tend to be home grown and they are the largest club in Europe in terms of number of active teams of all ages. So they're into playing rather than supporting down in that particular Western part of Stockholm.

As the game kicked off, it was unusually hard for me to concentrate on my job of enjoying the football and pretending to take notes. Sat two rows in front of us was actual Henrik Larsson! Big Deaks had told me he'd said hello to him about ten minutes beforehand but I just thought he was taking the piss.

The solitary away fan.

Then there was four. Clearly not the best of mates either!

Both Larsson and the vociferous HIF ultras kept us entertained for the opening 20 minutes, which was a good job because the football was a bit dull and we were Helsing-bored of that early on. That all changed 28 minutes into this opening game of the season, BP keeper (Nordfeldt) decided enough was enough already. He inexplicably handled the ball outside his area and then just for good measure, he booted the ball out of the stadium. 1 x yellow card swiftly followed by 1 x red. What a loon!

I can think of worse ways of spending half time than chatting away to "Henke" and eating free muffins but that is what we did. Larsson was a gentleman and if he's not managing either Celtic or HIF in the next year or so I'll eat my viking helmet. The muffins were great as well. Correct amount of moisture and minimal crumage.

Annoyingly, we had to leave shortly before the end of the game to get the ferry back to Copenhagen to arrive at the FCK v Brondby match in time for kick off. Inevitably, we missed a goal accordingly. So if any HIF fans out there can talk us through Mattias Lindström's 91st minute winner - can you get in touch please.

So, thanks a million to Helsingborgs and their fantastic hospitality. If you're ever in Sweden, or Denmark for that matter just nip on the ferry and go and pay them a visit. Skål!

Thanks for popping in. BP keeper blows out his cheeks after being sent off.

A bit harsh. I thought it was actually quite nice.

These guys were loving it certainly.

Henrik Larsson joins EFW (who forget to breathe in - damn).

Rasmus Jönsson - the new "Henke"?

Hejdå

- Feel free to comment below -

9 comments:

HIF said...

The '90 minute winner was a beautiful volley strike. A corner from Erik Edman was headed away and just outside the box Lindström met the ball with his right foot and placed it in the far corner.

Relief is what we all felt after this.

Always fun to read about the club/stadium/supporters from a neutral point of view. Nice job!

Pride of Scania said...

Hope this works mate. Pretty nice goal and very well deserved too:

http://www.tv4play.se/sport/fotbollskanalen?videoId=1.1553324&selId=1.1019913&currPage=3

By the way, the lot in Block 37 don´t sit. There are seats but they´re only there so that the block may be used in European cup games. No-one sits in them.

Keep up the good work. And by the way, we´re Scanian - not Swedish.

Endor said...

Just want to fill in what Pride of Scania wrote. Were actually standing up the entire game.

And as he also wrote, some of us don´t like to be called swedes, because we are scanians. If you want to know more you can read about the difference about Scania and sweden here: http://www.scania.org

Thanks for the visit, and you are welcome back anytime.

Danny Last said...

Thanks very much for those comments lads and for clearing a few things up.

Having checked out scania.org I'm now fully up to speed with the facts, history and background of Scania. Something I wasn't aware of at all beforehand. That would also explain the red and yellow "den skånska" flags that were displayed in your section and indeed on the pitch before the match.

The link to the goal isn't available outside of Sweden, which is a shame.

With regards to the other flags I saw "Fotboll ar inget utan supporters" presumably means "Football is nothing without supporters"? I don't think anyone would argue with that...

The other one at the front of section 37 read "Sundets Parla". When I put that into Google, it tells me that is a guest house. Can one of you explain that one please!?

And finally, if I was to come back, what do you fans regard as your biggest game of the season!?

Anonymous said...

"Football is nothing without supporters" is correct. And no, I guess no one would argue, but sometimes they need to be reminded. Allsvenskan is changing and support is not always considered.

"Sundets Pärla" means "pearl of the sound" - sound refering to Öresund between Sweden and Denmark. It's a nickname for Helsingborg implying that all other Öresund cities are less beautiful - which is true.

The derby between HIF vs mff (Malmö FF) is probably considered the biggest game of the year. Followed by HIF-IFK Göteborg and HIF-AIK.

Danny Last said...

Anon - If you or anyone else in the know are reading this, can you elabroate on the comment that "Allsvenskan is changing" please!? What's changing exactly and I take it those changes aren't for the good of the fan?

For those who want to visit the big HIF v Malmo fixture, the dates are:

20:04:10 HIF v Malmo (19:00 ko)

23:09:10 Malmo v HIF (Exact date and ko time TBA)

Anonymous said...

http://bit.ly/aK6dTV

Wii Mod Chip said...

The attendance in total was a little disappointing at just under 7,000 but this was the earliest ever start to a Swedish football season, HIF's legendary star attraction Henrik Larsson was no longer playing and the cold may have put a few fans off.

1907 said...

Re: "Allsvenskan is changing"

It's getting more "professional" w/ more privitisation and rules. Games are paused if flares are lit and cancelled completely if "bangers" are thrown into the pitch (which is good because they're a nuisance). A lot of fans are tired of being portrayed as hooligans in media for singing. The average fan claps circa 30 second per game (made up stats but not unlikely) and it's probably not going to change. Because of the tabloids, people now think singing turns you into a hooligan.

How was that viking helmet by the way?