The opening weekend of a new Allsvenskan season is something I am always looking forward to. It not only signals the start of a new season and shooting football regularly, but also that winter is coming to and end, spring has arrived, and that summer is around the corner.
The honors of being the first match I photograph this year went to AIK as they welcomed BK Häcken to Friends Arena. Of the three big teams in Stockholm AIK is in my opinion the strongest. They are consistently competing at the top of the table and challenging for the title. They are also the only team in Stockholm that seems to be able to balance selling their star players while maintaining a competitive side.
This first game was not pretty and the away side managed to hold AIK to a draw. Even so after this one game if I had to predict I would say AIK has all it needs to have a competitive season and challenge for the title.
Day 2: Djurgårdens IF – IK Sirius FK
The next day it was off to the other side of town to photograph Djurgårdens opening game as they welcomed IK Sirius FK.
Now for as long as I have been shooting sports photography Djurgården has been a bit of a mess. I want to say that most of the seasons I remember they started out problematic. This season they have a new coach Özcan Melkemichel, who is very promising. He started out coaching Syrianska FC and brought them from the fourth division all the way into Allsvenskan. He then joined AFC United and brought them from the third division into Allsvenskan in just three years. As a coaching hire it is a move that shows a certain ambition.
Djurgården was also very active in the transfer market. They brought back both Kim Källström and Andreas Isaksson who were apart of the team that won back to back Allsvenskan titles and a Swedish Cup win back in 2003-04. They also brought in former national team defender Jonas Olsson who was leaving West Bromwich after almost ten years with the club.
This however was not enough to get them started on the right foot. They lost 2-0 to Sirius, which is a team that just got promoted into Allsvenskan. I guess you would have to say new season … same shit.
It will be interesting see what Özcan Melkemichel can do with Djurgården. He’s done well as a coach, but he’s now at a club with a lot of expectations placed on him.