Probably the stadium that away teams fears most in Sweden. At least until some year ago. The atmosphere can be incredible, which always helps the home team. Until last season Söderstadion had a capacity of 10 011 spectators, almost always sold out, and the black market-sellers had happy days in Stockholm when Hammarby played.
Unfortunately the Hammarby-board got stupid, and started to think of the possible income that they could get from the tickets.
For the season 2001 the prices of the season tickets were raised with 47-84 percent (and Hammarby’s prices were already before the most expensive in Sweden…), and many of those supporters who had gone to Söderstadion for years now couldn’t afford to follow their team anymore.
The board didn’t thought much about that, saying that Hammarby was a business, and if the supporters couldn’t afford the tickets there were others that were prepared to pay what Hammarby has asked for.
It was in that moment it started to go down for the club. It sounds strange, specially with the fact that they actually won the league for the first time ever later year, but the crowd never got back to what they once were. Hammarby had said bye-bye to some of their biggest supporters, and sooner or later you’ll pay for that…
Still the club was sure that they could fill any stadium, since Söderstadion always was sold out. That wasn’t the whole truth though, which they discovered this season (2004)… The stadium was re-built, and now has a capacity of over 16 000 spectators. Many more millions of income to the club, the board thought, but truth is that the stadium has been sold out only once this season – the first game of the season against Malmö. They media-crowd is even lower this season than earlier, even if they now have a bigger stadium!?
The singing home-supporters stands in a special standing sector on one of the long sides, the E1-tribune. Plus that ultra-group Ultra Boys stands on the short side. On the same side, on the flank, you’ll find the away-sector.
Hammarby-supporters were the first who brought the samba and south European style to the Swedish stands. In 1982, when the team met IFK Göteborg in the final a samba orchestra was brought into the stadium, which for years then built on the legend as Hammarby – the samba team.
True or not, the atmosphere at Söderstadion is famous, not only in Sweden.
The Hammarby-supporters were also those who first started to use choreographies and fire crackers on the stands, the first time in 1994. And then it got more and more popular.
The last seasons the group, that earlier was just “Bajen Fans”, have changed into many smaller groups, and there have been trouble to cooperate. This have meant that other club’s supporters have got as good as the Hammarby-supporters, and now also better. It was a long time ago that the Bajen-supporters were said to be the best in Sweden.
The ultra-culture got into the Hammarby-stands early, but the combination of older supporters who wants to keep most as it has been earlier, and the younger guys who wants everything to be like in Italy and France, hasn’t been as smooth as in other big clubs.
That’s a reason to why Ultra Boys (UB), who celebrated their 5th year as an ultra-group 2004, are standing on the short side of the stadium from this season, while Bajen Fans, Bara Bajare and all the other groups that still exists, or not, are standing on the long side, where they always have been staying.
The atmosphere at Hammarby’s matches is still really good, but you will definitely be more impressed if you visit a game when Hammarby win… enough said…
If Djurgården has had a tough time the last 20 years it’s nothing against what Hammarby has had. Except for a final 1982 against IFK Göteborg, the supporters of Hammarby have been forced to see their team end up in the bottom of the table, or in the second division almost every year.
The club was, and in some ways still are, seen as a club on the left side of the political side. It goes through the whole club, as the supporters.
And Hammarby haven’t had more success than the communists in the eastern Europe…
Until 2001 that is, when the club suddenly, to everyones surprise, won the Swedish league for the first time ever.
During the summer the manager Sören Cratz was told by the board that he wouldn’t receive a new contract at the end of the season, and both players and supporters were very upset over this.
It might have been the reaction from that situation, or something else. But in anyway Hammarby started to win game after game, and when the final whistle of the season had gone the impossible thing had happened, Hammarby had won the league!
The whole south parts of Stockholm, where most of the Hammarby-supporters live, was colored in the club’s colors green and white. And the party went on for days…
Since that year it has been quite turbulent in the Stockholm-club. So far no problem to say among the top teams in Allsvenskan, but neither any more titles. The board has been changed a couple of times, and the supporters have been protesting against cruel ticket prices.
At the same time the economy is quite bad, and to next season (2005) the board has said that there won’t be any new signings, if no players are sold first.
Probably the Hammarby-faithful will see some new signings during the winter anyway. Wing-defender Alexanders Östlund may be wild in the bars, but he’s also a really good football-player, and several European teams have been looking at him. It’s quite probable that he will leave Hammarby soon.