Allmänna Idrottsklubben - AIK, Stockholm
If your looking for something to do on one of those long wintry evenings in Stockholm you could take in an ice-hockey game, especially if like me you're from a country where the sport isn't played much. I went to a match between AIK Stockholm and Oskarsham and really enjoyed the experience. There are bigger clubs in Stockholm (Djurgardens IF and Hammarby IF) but tickets were hard to get (actually they were sold out) and more expensive. (Around 35 euros compared to around 16 euros for the game I went to.)
The games are played at the Hovet arena and the Globe arena for the bigger games and you can get tickets from the Derby sports store just off Sergels Torg in the city centre. (Near Ahlens City shopping centre or you can by tickets through ticnet.se
There are a lot of big teams in Stockholm, in many different sports. AIK, Djurgården and Hammarby have also ice hockey-teams, although it’s only Djurgården that plays in the first division, Elitserien.
They also have a handball-team in the first division, although they are in the bottom of the table this year. Better it goes for Hammarby.
AIK has a good team in floorball, while Hammarby are among the best clubs in Sweden in bandy. Female-bandy on the other hand is the sport for AIK.
In basket there is Alvik, and although a lot of clubs goes bankrupt all the time I think there is another team from Stockholm that still exist too, named 08 Stockholm or something like that.
I have probably forgot at least have of the teams and sports, but you see that there are things to look at also in this town…
Djurgården was formed in 1891, and for me they feel as classic as AIK Stockholm. Although when AIK was playing in Europe during the end of the 1990-ties, Djurgården were stuck in the second division.
They have had a tough period the last 20 years, where a final against Malmö FF in the middle of the 1980-ties was their biggest success.
One of their biggest stars ever is Stefan Rehn, now an assistant manager in the club, who later played for Everton, Lausanne and IFK Göteborg. In the last club he had a fantastic career, and is still cheered on everytime Djurgården meets IFK. Probably one of the most popular persons from Stockholm ever in Göteborg.
The last seasons their biggest stars have been, except for three mentioned above, Andreas Johansson and Tobias Hysén. The later, son to Glenn Hysén, once the captain for Liverpool and a star at Fiorentina, will most probably be sold during the next season, being one of the best players in Allsvenskan.
AIK-supporters are infamous in Sweden, and Europe, for being very violent. The Black Army was the first Swedish supportergroup that really acted as hooligans and even if they are now much calmer, and the AIK-supporters definitely aren’t as bad nowadays as their reputation, it’s something that will live with the black-yellow guys for a very long time.
Specially since they now and then makes trouble still, including a murder of an IFK Gothenburg-supporter (fights between hooligans some years ago, no one was ever caught for the crime) and big incidents during the derby against Hammarby this autumn (2004), when AIK-supporters tried to invade the pitch and the game had to be postphoned for half an hour.
The AIK-supporters are standing at “Norra Stå”, the north curve at Råsunda Stadium. The biggest supporter club is Black Army, while another one is Smokinglirarna. Ultra group Ultras Nord was formed last season. The old hooligan group is called “Firman” (the firm).
The atmosphere among Stockholm-supporters are much harder than at other groups in Sweden. That means that sometime the atmosphere at the games is fantastic, but it also means that they are quite tough for the players when it’s not going well on the pitch. AIK-supporters aren’t known for singing when the other team has scored, if I say so…
They are, though, famous for have having forced some of their ex-managers away. “Firman” has have small “talks” with managers and players, making many of those resign shortly after.
They used to follow AIK in a big amount during the 1990-ties, but as their team started to play worse, the supporters started to stay at home.
Quite the different on home pitch though, since AIK’s media crowd has gone from 6 700 1997 up to 13 880 (and even more the season before that) last season, despite the team went down in the second division at the end of the year.
For the former big-club AIK Stockholm the season 2004 was the end of a very bad period. Managers have come and gone, way too many in a short while, and the team hasn’t had a real style that they play after for many years.
It ended bad, really bad. For the first time in over 30 years they got relegated. Much to the joy of the rest of Sweden, but for the AIK-supporters it was a tragedy.
The club was formed in 1891(although the football-section didn't started until five years later), one of the oldest in Sweden. They won the Swedish league as late as 1998, and played in the Champions League (against Arsenal, Barcelona and Fiorentina) 1999/00, although without any success.
That was under manager Stuart Baxter, who also took the club to the quarterfinal in the Cupwinners Cup shortly before that. When he left the club started to go down, and after this season another manager (Patrick Englund) got fired, while big parts of the board have resigned. Including Uefa-president Lennart Johansson, who was the chairman of the shareholder company AIK Fotboll AB.
Next year will be very important for the club, since if they fail to get back immediately to Allsvenskan their economy would get even worse. Last season they lost more than 2 millions euro, a very big amount for a Swedish club, and what they once earned from the Champions League is since long gone.
They are now, during the winter, trying to sell some of their players, to get rid of the worst economical problems (and highest salaries), which gives new manager Rikard Norling an even tougher job.