By Jackpollock – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Some of you will know that I speak Swedish. Some of you will know that I have spent much of my life in the Land of ABBA and Pippy Longstocking. It was a pleasure to return recently and my friend Mats from Idrottsplats was kind enough to recommend a few grounds to visit. Stockholm in the sun is truly the most beautiful place on earth (apart from the Priestfield Stadium, of course.) I was blessed with absolutely perfect weather as I strolled around the capital after a ferry from Estonia. The Swedish season avoids the worst of their winter so there were top two division games to see whilst the amateurs have a mid-season break and I asked Mats for recommendations. It boiled down to the National Stadium at Solna or Brommapojkarna just up the road. Sadly, I could not catch both so he recommended AIK at the Friends Arena. It’s a VERY impressive stadium with excellent communication links. It would remind anyone of the London Arena – it even has its won Westfield immediately opposite the arena! Excellent security, “reasonably acceptable” food and drink prices and £12 for a great seat. Sadly no programme or similar. Tragically an absolutely appalling game where the locals AIK were easily beaten by an average BKH, Bollklubben Häcken who surprisingly are towards the very top of the table. AIK look relegation fodder. Respect to the home fans who have only seen their team win once at home all season in the league. They kept singing all afternoon in the bright sunshine more associated with Santorini than Stockholm!

Mats Tallkvist runs the excellent website which is a definitive guide to grounds throughout Sweden. Idrotts = sport and plats =place/ground. That gives you a little clue about the grounds. Yes, many are the multisports complexes much loved by local councillors the world over! Mats produces postcards of many of these and an excellent calendar. Please feel welcome to get in touch, he says. He speaks excellent English. He is a fan of Halmstads Bollklubb, also known as Halmstad or HBK or Bollklubben from Halland in the South of Sweden. Hands across the sea!

Some of Mats’ postcards available on the website

Edsvallen i Edsbruk

Åsavallen i Listerby

Siljumsborg i Bygdsiljum

They all look rather idyllic don’t they? I guarantee they are less so at minus 20 and horizontal rain. Perhaps collecting Mats’ cards is the safest way. Enjoy!


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