Guest Post by Gianluca Lia
There was ‘Derby drama’ in Goteborg as the biggest club in the city and arguably Sweden’s biggest historical club, IFK Goteborg clashed with city rivals BK Hacken at the Gamla Ullevi Stadium, few minutes away from the famous Ullevi Stadium, where Valencia won the UEFA Cup back in 2004 and also where Sir Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen saw off Real Madrid in the 1983 European Cup Winners’ Cup final.
The match was scheduled at 3pm but the fans had filled up the stadium’s surroundings two hours before kickoff. Most of them got there before to have lunch from the stadium’s own bars and pubs while many youths came there to visit the store and buy their team’s official merchandise.
Children accompanied by their families painted their faces in team colours and waving their flags passionately. A very special atmosphere around the stadium, similar to a British or a German match day despite the gap between the mentioned leagues and Sweden’s own Allsvenskan.
As the minutes go by, the tension starts to increase among the fans with a derby to conquest and a city to conquer. IFK’s win is oblige. They are leading the Allsvenskan by goal difference as the point gap between IFK and the 6th placed team, Djugardens IF is only of 5 points. Meanwhile, BK Hacken are not considered as the main rivals of IFK but since the other clubs from the city, Gais and Orgryte are currently playing in the second tier of Swedish football, BK became automatically the main rivals of IFK. BK are not represented by more than 70 fans at the away stand despite playing in the stadium which they share with IFK.
An hour prior to the match, the Ultras prepare their stand with lots of banners and tifo, while also chanting for their new signing Mads Albaek who came from Ligue 1 based club Stade De Reims. A particular fact about the pre-match at the Gamla Ullevi Stadium is that the on their big screen they are transmitting the official pre-match programme, discussing tactics and making their own predictions.
Match time has arrived, children with the flags forming a circle in the middle of the pitch, all fans with their banners raised up while singing IFK’s official song and with the players entering the pitch. A simple but meaningful atmosphere, the evidence of a huge legacy between the people, the club and their city. The match was a total dominance of IFK, having overpowered their neighbours with an emphatic 4-0 victory. Soren Reiks made sure of becoming a fan’s favourite by securing a hattrick having scored only 1 goal in the previous 6 matches. A suggestion for your next Football Manager’s transfer signing? Haitam Aleesami, IFK’s number 6 and left back. A very technical player, got lof of pace with and without possession and has also the ability of penetrating the opponents’ defensive line from the flanks (watch his 4-0 goal for IFK vs BK).
With this win, IFK kept their lead in the Allsvenskan table by goal difference over IF Elfsborg with still 3 months left for the league’s conclusion. In the meantime though, IFK can sleep happy having made a bold statement in the match vs BK that they can cope with the pressure coming from the media and their own fans but also that the city is still theirs.