Sunday, March 21, 2010

FOTBOLL - GAIS at Mjällby

Last Sunday, when I traveled to Helsingborg to visit our QB Kalle Nordström and Sanna, we walked past Olympia Stadium and heard the crowd noise as the home team, Helsingborg IF, was playing their Allsvenskan Premier League season opener.

I knew right then that I had to go see a game soon.

A few days later I had my interview with Tomas Gustavsson for the local newspaper, NorraSkåne. During our chat, I mentioned my desire to see a game in Helsingborg and he said that, instead of going West to Helsinborg and their huge stadium, I should travel East to see Mjällby play in their quaint little stadium as they played in their first Premier League season in over 20 years.

Today I opted for quaint.

The match was GAIS, out of Göteborg, at Mjällby at 15:00.

How to get there was the question.

First, hop on the 10:18 train to the city of
Sölvesborg in the Blekinge area

I tried to be as organized as the Swedes and bought my round trip ticket for today's trip yesterday morning at the train station. The man at the ticket window was quite helpful and let me know that I could take the 12:18 train which would get me to Sölvesborg at 13:06.

I opted for the previous train to Sölvesborg at 10:18 to give me more time to explore this new city and figure out how to get to Strandvallen Stadium which was several miles from the train station.

Later Saturday afternoon, I received a call from Tomas saying that he had arranged a ride for me to the game with the NorraSkåne sports reporter who was going to cover the game. I walked back to the train station to see if I could get a refund only to find the ticket office closed until 12:40 Sunday, after the last train that would get me to Sölvesborg in time for the match had left the station.

I had to call Tomas back and decline his very generous offer.

Did I mention that the people here are VERY nice?

Sölvesborg Station

48 minutes later, I got off the train and started exploring Sölvesborg.

Sölvesborg Crest

I love heraldry, I may have mentioned that once or twice before.

The Sölvesborg Musicum

Many a fine concert here over the years I'm sure.

Cousin Itt, is that you?

St. Nikolai Kyrka

Church of Sweden but of course!

Part of St. Nikolai's Graveyard

Now THAT'S a doorway!

Strangely Familar

How do I get to . . . ?

Have a drink,
there's a goat in the next panel.

If Mjällby fans are hooligans,

I don't think you would see anything like this on a road trip in the, shall we say, passionate Italian League.

"Konditori" is my favorite Swedish word

It means "Pastry Shop"!

All that walking called for a cappuccino and a pastry just to get out of the elements if nothing else.

Why don't more shoe stores use the Cinderella theme in their logos?

I come all the way to a Baltic Sea Coast village only to find this place!

We may be launching boats from here soon but not today.

The Baltic Sea in the distance

Check the flags on the boat, wind chill was DEFINITELY a factor!

The Rooter Bus

Tomas had mentioned a Rooter Bus as the easiest way to get from Sölvesborg to the match.

Thanks to Uffe's internet savvy, he found out that the Rooter Bus would leave the Resecentrum (Transportation Center) at 14:10 for the village of Hällevik where Mjällby's Strandvallen Stadium is located.

Only 40 Krona ($5.63 USD) roundtrip and WELL worth it! Thanks Uffe and Tomas.

I'm at the Right Place

Electricity was in the air!

"No guns, knives or Afro-combs
allowed in the stadium.

Mjällby Black and Gold Flags Waving

GAIS Flags in the visitors stands

I immediately noted the lack of fencing to protect the visitors from locals throwing projectiles.

It turns out that the Allsvenskan Premier League has civilized fans . . . imagine that!

The Baltic Sea is only about 50 meters past the trees.

Pre-Game Huddles

Mjällby falls back on defense

Corner Kick Mjällby

What is that GAIS player doing to Mjällby's #10, Marcus Ekenberg?

Is that legal?


Mjällby 1 - GAIS 0

First half observations:

1. In Sweden, the refs let the players play! It is a much more physical brand of soccer than what I saw in Catania. When players here went down, they actually had taken a solid hit!

No phantoms playing on this pitch.

2. After a rousing first five minutes, the fans of both teams failed to sustain any kind chanting stamina that is so much fun at Catania games. This disappointed me.

Time to tour the stadium.

June 9-12 in Sölvesborg

The headliners are Aerosmith and Billy Idol, it could happen.

High-Tech Concessions Stands

The grilled hot dogs looked GOOD!

Only 25 Krona which is only about $3.50 USD.

They tasted even BETTER
smothered in mustard!!!

That's my first row seat just to
the left of the goal post.

Whether it is football, basketball, ice hockey or fútbol/fotboll/calcio/soccer, I love to sit in the end zone seats to see plays develop.


That's me with my new Mjällby beanie

Mjällby defense down the line

GAIS Corner Kick

Mjällby added two more goals in the first ten minutes of the second half and then just played keep-away with GAIS.

At about the 60 minute mark I noticed that the GAIS flags were now missing as were most of the visiting fans.

Final Score
Mjällby 3 - GAIS 0

Mjällby's record is now 1 win - 1 tie - 0 losses.

After getting spanked today, GAIS's record is 0 wins - 1 tie - 1 loss.

Chanting from the start of the match


DPLassen said...

Not exactly Premier League-quality grass on that pitch. But kind of a cool little stadium.
By the way, how cold was it?

George said...

It was probably 9˚C which was OK. The problem was the wind off the Baltic Sea in my face. It stung!

Magnus said...

Wonderful little story about my favourite team, Mjällby AIF.

I will stay tuned and follow your blog :)

George said...

Tack Magnus!

Michael Contreras said...

Do they play Sunday, June 6th at home?!!! I like the quaint stadium atmosphere.

George said...


Bad news, I believe that the Allsvenskan Premier League is on their 2 month World Cup Finals Break at that time even though Team Sweden did not qualify.

I'll notify you if there is a change in the fixtures.

Lena/morsdeka said...

Great portrait of our Stadium and our beloved team, MAIF. Thank you!
I also loved the tour of Sölvesborg. It's always nice to see it through a visitor's eyes.
I'm a photographer for the team. Some of my pictures are on display in my blog: Från åskådarplats. It's written in Swedish, but the photos are universal ;)
Love your blog.

George said...


I Love MAIF! I need to go back to Sölvesborg when the weather is better and the stores/museum are open.

I'll try to go back for the next home match in two weeks.

I hope to meet you then.



Lena - morsdeka said...

Yes George, I'd love to meet You.
Did You get my mail? I sent You a photo.
You can reach me through mail or my blog.
Love, Lena.