Can we borrow your arena?
Lately I have been trying to start thinking about what I might want to write in a post before the match is even played. Formulating some strings and threads which if everything aligns correctly could lead to a halfway decent write up. This was the case as I travelled to Tele2 Arena on Saturday afternoon to photograph the derby between Brommapojkarna and Djurgården. There was an idea for this post, and it involved using Brommapojkarna to talk about the standard in Swedish football.
Brommapojkarna, which translates into the Bromma boys, are Stockholm’s fourth team. They come from the Stockholm suburb of … you guessed it, Bromma. Brommapojkarna are known for their youth sector, people say it’s the best in Sweden. It is also one of the largest in Europe, featuring teams in all age brackets. Aside from that there isn’t much else to tell about this club. It’s a second division club that has been enjoying a stint in the top division. Being Stockholm’s fourth club they don’t have much of a fan base. One could even say that they don’t even have a proper venue. Home matches are played at Grimmsta IP which is really nothing more than a public ground. When they end up playing a game that could attract more than a few hundred people, like Saturday’s derby, they have to find another venue to use.
Somewhere in this was a message about how this is a reflection of football in Sweden. Brommapojkarna might be enjoying a rare spell in the top flight, but they are the mirror image of the lower end or provincial teams that make up a good portion of Sweden’s top football division. If you look at the league as a whole you could come to the conclusion that there really is no standard. That it’s more of a broad spectrum. The two new venues in Stockholm reinforce this idea. They sit at the high end, two fully enclosed arenas with retractable roofs. On the low end, you have grounds that you would expect to see in the third and fourth division. Grounds that don’t even meet FIFA and UEFA regulations for professional games. This lack of a standard is reflected in many other areas. Just look at the player kits, Brommapojkarna has eleven advertisements plastered on their kit. The shorts have five, three on the front and two on the back. The shirt has six advertisements. They don’t have player names on their shirts, or player numbers on their shorts. Djurgården is at the opposite end of this spectrum with only two advertisements on their kits. Large numbers on their shorts and names on the back of their shirts.
Eventually I would have arrived at posing a question. Is it possible to bring everyone closer to a middle ground and isn’t there a benefit in doing so? An effort to raise the value of the brand as a whole. Hoping that any losses are short term and offset by long term benefits. For example advertisement place on the kit could become more valuable if it is more limited.
That is what this post was supposed to be about. But a lot can happen in 90 minutes, after the match between Brommapojkarna and Djurgården was played all this seemed irrelevant. Brommapojkarna might not have a lot of fans, they might not have a proper ground, and they might not even have numbers on the their shorts. All of those things did not stop them from putting 3 goals in their opponent and calling it a day.
In the end you have to applaud them. They don’t even have the luxury of playing a home derby and had to ask their rivals to borrow their arena.
These images and more available exclusively via Pic-Agency.