After shooting the UFC on Saturday night I had two days of shooting football. Two Stockholm teams making their home debuts in this new season. Sunday was AIK meeting Syrianska FC and Monday was Djurgårdens IF meeting Mjällby AIF. Going into these matches there was a great deal of excitement. It’s a big season for Stockholm teams with 3 of team moving into new arenas.
In the case of AIK, Sunday was a big party. Their first real competitive match in their new arena. Sweden’s national arena, located in the Stockholm suburb of Solna, is their new home. For this debut match they sold over 43,000 thousand tickets which is an extremely high number for Swedish football.
The day a started with the team bus and fans meeting at Råsunda, their old grounds, and then a procession followed to the new arena. Everything was in place for a big party, but unfortunately it never erupted. AIK and Syrianska played a draw and the goal that 43,000 people were waiting on never arrived.
Then on Monday things got really interesting. I was on hand at Stockholm’s olympic stadium to photograph Djurgårdens IF against Mjällby AIF. Djurgården is also moving into a new venue this season, but unlike AIK they will move into the newly constructed Tele2 arena halfway through the season.
With this being the final home premiere in Stokcholm’s olympic stadium there was a really strong atmosphere. The arena was more of less filled, and people were hoping for a strong showing.
As the game got underway Djurgården seemed to have the best of the first half, but then after about 35 minutes Mjällby scored a goal and the ridiculous happened. In the build up to Mjällby scoring a Djurgården player had gone down. The referee decided play should continue, but the fans didn’t seem to agree. As Mjällby celebrated their goal several fans began hurling objects on to the pitch.
Mjällby’s number 3 Gbenga Arokoyo went down in considerable pain and rolled around in agony. The medical staff came out to take care of him. I started scrubbing through my pictures and found the shot bellow of a beer bottle coming at him. Excited that I might have had the shot which defined this game I pulled out my laptop and proceeded to submit the image.
During this moment of chaos the referee decided to withdraw the teams from the pitch and a have a meeting with security authorities to decide if the match should continue. For about 45 minutes they deliberated in a back room, while the public grew restless and waited. Eventually they announced that the game would not proceed and that everyone should go home.
At that point I went to the press area and started submitting more images. I then got the most ridiculous news of the evening:
They say he was hit be a pear. You have any pictures with the pear?
I didn’t even have to look, I new right away that I never saw or photographed any freaking pears.
I did the rest of my work and the packed it up for the night. Luckily for me, pear or no pear, I had images used by both of Sweden’s leading papers. My picture of a bottle flying at Gbenga Arokoyo was used by Aftonbladet, and a separate image of Djurgården’s captain Andreas Johansson speaking with the referee was used by Expressen.
So all things considered not bad for half an evening of football.
Obviously the discussion has been focused completely on the pear thrower. Finding the pear thrower. How to prevent future incidents of possible pear throwing. Rightly so. The people responsible should definately be punished. It’s inexcusable to throw pears or any other objects.
However I just can get away from the fact that this guy rolled around on the ground for 5 minutes from being hit in the stomach with a pear. Maybe I was still under the influence of the UFC fights I photographed on Saturday.
If it was a coconut to the head I could understand, a pear not so much.
These images and more available via Pic-Agency.