Man City Transfer Target!
Aug 6, 2019, 3:41 PM
Location: North London
Team(s): Oxford United / Groundhopper
Sweden (Division 4 Stockholm Mellersta) 8.30pm
Ragsveds IF 4 Langholmens FC 0 (H/T 3-0)
F & N
Crowd – c. 100
Having flown in from Stansted this morning for a three day stay in Stockholm, this match was the first of three I attended during this trip. While Division 4 is not usually on my radar (it forms part of regional football) it was the only new tick available within reach of the capital for me this evening. After arriving in Stockholm on the bus from Nykoping airport, I headed for the hotel I had booked. This was actually the first time I had stayed at a proper hotel in Stockholm, as opposed to a youth hostel. I had previously been under the impression that hotels in the Swedish capital were unaffordable, but this one was a bargain at only around £40 per night, if booked and paid for on-line in advance. (If any of you are interested in booking it next time you are in Stockholm, it is called the ‘Metro Hotel’ and the address is Vretensborgsvagen) The reason for it being so cheap is probably because of its unattractive location, which is in the middle of an industrial estate and next to a busy flyover some 3 or 4 miles south-west of the city centre. On the plus side, the rooms are en-suite (if rather cramped) and breakfast is included in the price. There is a kitchen on each floor for the use of guests, and there is also a computer which guests can use. If any of you know of a cheaper hotel in Stockholm, I’d be very interested to read about it!
A bonus was that the hotel was not all that far away from the football match so in order to save money on public transport, I walked all the way there and back. The walk took me just under 55 minutes. However, there are two different walking routes available and you will need a good map (printing one off the web will not suffice unless you use an awful lot of paper) because it involves a lot of short-cuts, footpaths and walking over footbridges. The last part of the walk involves walking for some 5 minutes (along a footpath that is not easy to find) through a wood that backs on to the Hagsatra IP, where Ragsveds IF play their home games. Ragsveds is a smaller district of Hagsatra, and these two places give their names to the two closest tube stations to the ground. Judging by the signage at the ground, Ragsveds appear to be the only football club using it at present. Although reasonably enclosed, there is no paybox and there is plenty of room for pedestrians to enter the ground, which is an athletics stadium. There is a sizeable bank of concrete terracing along most of one side, with the clubhouse and changing rooms situated on the top of this bank. The only cover for spectators is an overhang running along the length of this building, with a few bench seats beneath it. The rest of the ground consists of flat standing around a fixed railing, apart from some grass banking in the corners leading from the terracing. Trains pass the ground quite frequently on one of the local SL lines.
The visitors, Langholmen FC, actually have ‘Football Club’ in their name (it appears on the crest on their shirts) which is very unusual for a Swedish club. I have not checked where they play, but there is an island in the Stockholm region called Langholmen. The teams were 3rd and 4th respectively in the table before the kick-off, but the home side won comfortably, thanks in part to the first goal which came in the 11th minute and was one of the most clear-cut penalty awards I have ever seen, the keeper having pulled down a striker who was about to score. The keeper was fortunate to escape with a yellow card. Two further goals followed in the 24th and 26th minutes, before the rout was completed with a fourth goal in 2nd half stoppage time. A couple of interesting points to be made; firstly, the scheduled kick-off was very late at 8.30pm (the floodlights were switched on ten minutes into the second half) which is very unusual for Sweden at this time of year, and secondly, despite the very late start, the crowd was comprised mainly of children and youths. Most appeared to be from ethnic minority groups living on the adjacent housing estate and only a small number were adults. Refreshments were on sale, which was popular with the younger spectators.
At the conclusion of the match, I acted swiftly to remove a poster than was attached to a noticeboard on the side of the clubhouse. It listed all five fixtures taking place at then ground in June, including the one I had just seen. Three were men’s matches (these were all on Thursdays at 8.30pm) and two were women’s matches. Quite a decent souvenir, and as I walked away from the ground I was surprised to see a couple of hares bounding through the grounds of the adjacent housing estate. It was not the first time I had seen hares in Sweden, but this was the closest I had seen them to houses. Another hare was visible later on, running across the main road as I got closer to the hotel. So that’s something to watch out for if you are visiting Sweden!