Helsingborg may be very popular in Helsingborg and in other cities in Sweden, but you can’t say that they have a strong support, or supporters that create a good atmosphere during the games.
They have two different groups of supporters. One is called “Raggeline”, named after a former defender (Mikael Ragvald) at the club, while “Kärnan” is the more hardcore of the two groups. Raggeline are maybe 10-15 people at the homegames, while “Kärnan” can be somewhere around 100-300. Nothing special.
The crowd in general in Helsingborg is known as a very knowing football crowd, they are said to know football.
So far during my visits there I haven’t noticed anything of that knowledge, but I might have mistaken…? Among hardcore supporters in Sweden they are more known as stupid farmers, and it’s maybe something more like that, that also I sees them…?
The biggest game of the season for Helsingborg-supporters are the derby against Malmö FF. Home at Olympia the stadium is almost always sold out for these games, and the supporters then also tries to make some kind of choreograph. The atmosphere at quite good, but still nothing if you compare with other Swedish teams who are as big as Helsingborg.
They have a smaller group of hooligans too, who also have good connection with FC Copenhagen-hooligans.
Their biggest rivals, excluding Malmö FF-supporters, are supporters from IFK Göteborg, and the three Stockholm-teams. For some reason they don’t neither like another red-blue club, Örgryte, from Göteborg.
UPDATE 2008: Helsingborg's supporters have taken a huge step forward, and even if they aren't that many, they always create a good atmosphere on away games. Still not a great atmosphere at home, but it's getting better.
That the club play, and play good, in the Uefa cup group stage this season has probably helped a bit too.
For the big Celtic-supporter, there is also the chance to see Henrik Larsson’s first club play when he is in Helsingborg. Högaborg, where Larsson took his first step as a football-player, have their pitch just a couple of kilometers from Olympia. It’s called “Harlyckans IP”, and Högaborgs BK is now playing in the third division. There are no tribune around the pitch, so you’ll just sit on the grass when you’re watching a game.
Larsson has earlier said that he would like to finish his career with playing for Högaborg for another season. Let’s see if that will happen after his time with Barcelona comes to an end.
2004 was a bad year for the club. Not only they had a quite misguided season in the league, finishing 10th, but they also lost one of their players.
During the winter Helsingborg signed the brazilian player Claudinei Resende, a very promising talent who in the beginning played very well for Helsingborg. But he never find the life in Sweden any good, and after some months he left the country, leaving Helsingborg without any explanation, but with a huge phone-bill for all the calls he had made back to his homecountry.
His former brazilian club bought him back, but later during 2004 Claudinei was shot to death at a disco in his hometown, by some drug dealers who were looking for some of his friends.
The news shocked Helsingborg, as a club and as a city. The supporters have started a fond in his name, with the though of helping Claudinei’s seven month old son with some money.
Also in Brazil his death was a huge and tragic shock for a lot of people. Hundreds of people followed his funeral.
After playing in the Champions League 2000/2001 (against Bayern Munich, Paris SG and Rosenborg) the club started to spend a lot of money, a lot more than they had. Suddenly the club had a lot of losses and debts, and 2003 they were so close to bankruptcy. Only thanks to a very generous community, who gave the club a loan of the whole sum, the club is nowadays still alive and kicking.
Some say it’s because it’s a big club, otherwise the Swedish FA would have forced them down to the second division.
The years before that were much more positive, with the team so close to win the Swedish league in 1998 (lost in the last match against already relegated Häcken, and AIK won instead). The next year they won instead, then making it all the way to the Champions League after beating Inter in the qualification.
After that though, it has been more about debts and players running away, than any titles.
For a long period during the 1970, 80 and beginning of the 1990-tis, Helsingborg was playing in the third and second division. But with young talent Henrik Larsson and former Benfica-hero Mats Magnusson as an attacking pair, they went back to Allsvenskan in 1992. The year after, the first year in Allsvenskan for Helsingborg for 24 years, people came from all parts of Sweden to see Helsingborg play again.
Larsson then went on to Feyenoord, and then Celtic and Barcelona, while Magnusson took his shoes away from the pitch.
But Helsingborg was still in Allsvenskan, and in 1999 they won the league again. Although it was their 6th league-title, it was their first since 1940/41, and there was a huge party in Helsingborg. The last game of the season they played, again in Göteborg. This time against IFK Göteborg. Half the stadium was full of HIF-supporters, and this time they won.