Malmö 2 Landskrona 1 (29/07/2002)
I only spent one evening of a two-week mini-tour through Europe in Sweden, but it was enough to allow me to take in a Malmö home game. I’d been spending three nights across the water in Copenhagen, and arrived in the afternoon across the 12 mile long Öresund Bridge/tunnel which connects the two cities.
I have to confess, I perhaps didn’t give the city the time it deserved, as it did look a pleasant place – possibly nicer than Copenhagen. Time was against me as I didn’t arrive in Malmö until after 5 pm, with the game due to start at 7. I could probably have hopped on a tour bus, if there’d been one, but I settled instead for a slow amble to the ground, taking in the city’s main square en route.
I also passed Malmö’s old stadium, the tiny Idrottsplats, somehow managing to look smart and antiquated at the same time. This was just a few hundred yards north of its replacement, the Malmö Stadium (which has in turn since been superceded by the Swedbank Stadium, just another 100 metres further south).
Plymouth’s home Park may be surrounded by greenery, but none in England have the same feeling of being in the middle of a park as the Malmö Stadium. The fans were just lazing around on the grass, enjoying the evening sun, with probably a picnic or two on the lawn, as the Swedish flag fluttered lightly in the breeze. In my mind’s eye I still picture it being a calm collection of fit blonde men in loafers with no socks, chatting idly to their equally tanned and unfeasibly heathly looking wives and girlfriends. When architects draw in the people who’ll use the urban plazas and spaces of the buildings they’ve rendered, they draw people who look like this.
I felt slightly out of place, not helped by annoying a rare non English-speaking programme seller by trying to buy a 20 Krona programme with a Danish 20 Krone coin, before realising my stupidity.
The ground itself did look more like an athletics venue than a football ground. Although not empty, the two open end terraces, curving round the track a long way back from the goal, were largely shunned in favour of a more packed terrace down one side. I was in a seated stand directly opposite, and both sides had an upper deck with more seats in the middle than at the wings, covered in a curving roof. All very nice, but calm rather than the sort of place that’d set your pulse racing.
If I was expecting the laid back atmosphere to be reflected by a laid back – i.e. dull – atmosphere inside, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The fans on the terrace opposite were terrific, with singing, flares, masses of light blue flags, and pretty constant support throughout.
The game itself was an entertaining affair, with the home side eventually prevailing after a late winner, as the sun shone down unabated, despite it bearly nearly 9 pm. The floodlights were on, as they were needlessly throughout, presumably designed by the same people who do the sidelights for Volvos, but thankfully the game itself was enough to illuminate the evening.