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Sunday 4th June 2017 ko 12.00

Division 5 Södra Skåne

KLAGSTORPS I.F. 4 (Dakaj 24 50 A Sheshaee 30 Krasniqi 54) Mullatahiri sent off 48 (violent conduct)

ANDERSLÖVS Bo.I.K. 1 (Lindahl 33)

Att 115

Entry & Programme 40 sek

With carry-on baggage so limited on budget airlines these days I’ve long since learned to take and wear old clothes so that they can be dumped leaving space for souvenirs on the journey back. But this time I decided that my “North Face” waterproof jacket was due for retirement, so there it sat in the hotel wardrobe in Trelleborg, destined to stay there if the weather stayed sunny. My alarm went, I peered through the curtains….. typical…rain! The coat was brought into action one last time. 

The entire nature of an organised hop changes when there’s rain. The whole event “Hunkers down” as people find shelter, and if a club has a large clubhouse, the catering tends to do well! At Klagstorp all of the above happened, but in a way few of us could have predicted.

We arrived at Klagstorp, a small town to the east of Trelleborg. It’s the kind of sleepy settlement with the road through the middle seeming to stretch into infinity as the idrottsplats marks the eastern edge. One or two of our party were trying not to recognise one of the visiting players, as they’d met him in the Tre Lycktor pub in Trelleborg near to closing time. They could afford to nurse a hangover, he couldn’t….

Swedish hop organiser Kim Hedwall has been doing this for 10 years, and while his early efforts closely resembled what he’d seen attending GroundhopUK events in the UK, nowadays he’s adapted his offering to suit what he wants to do. That, being Kim involves little surprises. On one occasion we ended up riding a vintage tram, another time we had a guided tour of the Olympic Stadium in Stockholm. They are the hopping equivalent of Easter Eggs on a DVD, but Kim sees it as means of adding value when organising in an expensive country makes every penny count.

Here his surprise was a hoppers’ penalty shoot out. Nothing remarkable in that but he organised a trophy for the winner and managed to get Swedish goalkeeping legend Ronnie Hellström to present the trophy. Hellström played for Hammarby, Kaiserslauten, and G.I.F. Sundsvall with distinction from 1974 to 1988, and represented his country 77 times. He was Swedish player of the season twice. He’s now goalkeeping coach at Malmö F.F. Here’s the calibre of the man.

We were grateful to Ronnie, and to the rain for relenting just long enough to get the competition completed. Then it was a mad dash to the clubhouse to shelter, where yet more beer was made available (what must they think of us?) and the dartboard was commandeered for an impromptu game of “Killer.”

 

Mayor Torbjörn hadn’t been put off by the weather and came over for a chat, was I the only one who wondered if he was enjoying chatting to a group of people who simply didn’t care about his politics, and treated him exactly as we’d found him to be- a lovely bloke and a credit to his country.

The game the game to be at, whatever the weather. It was a real local derby, just 10km between the two towns, but a real difference in approach. A few years ago Klagstorp were in real difficulties, at the bottom of Division 7 the club only being kept alive by a few 30 year old players.  But they saw the migrant crisis as a positive and realised that many of the people now making Sweden their new home would want to carry on playing football. The result was two promotions in two years and the club only missed out on a third straight promotion narrowly last season, they lost in the playoffs.

They were too strong her for the visitors, winning despite playing nearly half the game with ten men. Arlind Mullataheri’s dismissal was the classic “Red Mist” sending off, lashing out after a heavy challenge. The episode seemed to embarrass the club, hopefully not because they had international visitors, a red card can happen at any time.

It was one of those visits Kim Hedwall is good at. You walk in wondering what you’ll find, and 3 hours later you leave feeling like one of the family, even if fitting in the replica shirt was a tight squeeze! In fact the only sadness was that we only had one game to go.

 

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