The excitement of the fans was palpable as I entered the stadium. I was on the lookout for the woman and her daughter who I came in with. The ticket I bought was standing room in the top tier directly behind the goal. The other side of the field held 50-100 fans from the other team, which had come from Stockholm on a Monday night. Our side in the green and black, I have been recruited as a Gais fan, had a few thousand.
I found out the the reason for the cops was because this particular match-up had a history of fights. Part of the tension comes from both teams being at the bottom of their league. This was a VERY important game for both of them. The winner would have a better chance of staying in the league. In Sweden, the team at the bottom drops down to the next lowest league based on performance. Also Göteborg is know as the second city in Sweden to Stockholm…
Göteborg has four football teams at this particular level. Gais is currently ranked lowest, but I can attest has some passionate fans. The stand roared with coached cheers, chants, and song even before the team came onto the field. I am not sure that that passion let up for more than a few moments at any time during the 94 minute game.
The game started and I hadn’t found the people I came with so I found a spot to stand in the bleachers and watched the game, chatting with the woman next to me. Goal! Gais scored first in the game.
I took a break just before halftime and when I came back found my standing place taken. So I had to move on to find a new one. Still no sign of my new friends. I found a spot at the very top row, got to talking with the people around me and got a great education about the details of the rivalry between these two teams and Swedish soccer details. The other team scored. Boo!
Finally, just before the end of the game I ran into the women I had come with. The game ended tied 1-1. But I ended the night with new friends and having had a great experience.