I know you are all dying to know how my first Swedish match went…well…on the football side let me just say that had I been watching on the telly I probably would have switched over after twenty mins. But on the atmosphere side I was really impressed!
The Hammarby or ‘Bajen’ fans are probably one of the loudest I have heard. They just dont shut up! They have a fine repertoire of football songs, many with very funny lyrics well unless you support AIK that is.
Here are some videos I took, complete with sound! Look out for the guy at the front who is conducting the Bajen fans, there were several of these who got up at different stages to keep the fans singing.
Plus a couple of photos though not many as I thought clips would be better
I met up with Nick the Swede and his dad at Medborgplatsen, this is a big square in the heart of Söder. As the weather is getting really nice this area is totally transformed from a few months ago, with beer tables and food being served.
Nick and his Dad took me to the Green Hunter pub, Niclas pointed out that this was a great place pre match but not that nice any other night! I loved the pre match atmosphere and the sense of community, all fans in green and white, and united as they make their way to the ground. An earlier poster wrote that anyone who lives in Söder has to be Hammarby and I think he is right. Its not just football, its community and pride in ones community.
The ground itself, Söder Stadion is not the best. Its sandwiched between office blocks and Globen. In some ways its a nice sign that they havent sold out. In England the terrace I stood on last night would probably be a Morrissons or a Tesco Superstore now. Nick the Swede was telling me that first the Social Democrats in the mid nineties and more recently the Conservatives (Moduraten) have promised a new ground but of course this was conveniently forgotten when they got elected.
The first thing I noticed was the big net in front of us, to prevent crowd trouble I guess. This took me back to my youth on the terraces of the North Bank at Swansea!
It must be really hard being a referee in the Allsvenskan. They show the whole game on the screen so you get to see replays and of course the refs mistakes. It must be really hard to focus when you hear the fans baying at you as they see the replay. At least when you make a decision at park level you are sure you have made the correct call but when moments later you hear the fans then it must be hard.
I was impressed with the merchandise on sale both official and unofficial at the ground, I picked up an official Hammarby scarf, Nick the Swedes’ conversion of me into a Bajen fan is almost complete.
The transport infrastructure is also very good. The tube pretty much pulls up outside the ground and I am only a few stops away. I bought a Chorizo hot dog in bread on the way home and was appalled to find mashed potato in it! I love mash but couldnt get on with this, I think it will be a case of ‘bara salad’ next time.
Will I go back to watch Hammarby? Definitely, also be good to experience an away day atmosphere and most definitely a derby match with AIK or Djurgarden.