“Farewell has a sweet sound of reluctance. Goodbye is short and final, a word with teeth sharp to bite through the string that ties past to the future.” – John Steinbeck
As we climbed over the fence to look for greener grass, we found greener grass. But green grass isn’t always the best. Actually, I suspect that green grass is the best in almost all circumstances where you require grass. I am beginning my farewell or goodbye (I am still to decide which) tour of Denmark. It feels odd writing that and I immediately start questioning the decision. Life would be much easier without decisions, but decisions mean freedom, but would you rather not have sausage than freedom. Not me, I am vegetarian.
So, first stop of the farewell or goodbte tour is to see my favouritist of all Swedish teams, Malmö FF, but this time it is Gy’s first ever Swedish game. I know this is something that she has been very excited about. As luck would have it, the sun was shining and it was pleasantly warm for Scandinavia. So with a hop, skip and a jump (and a slight nagging headache from an evening spent at the excellent waterfront Mikkeller Barrell Room), we made our way across the always impressive Oresund bridge for an evening in Malmö.
Let’s go reignite the roots of TimmyBacsi as a travel blog – the next bit is not my greatest of writing. Malmö is the third largest city in Sweden and the capital of Skåne. One third of the population were born outside Sweden giving the city a vibrant cosmopolitan feel (although this has also given the city some negative press in the past). Potentially a mere 35 minutes from the centre of Copenhagen, the journey takes a little longer with the compulsory passport checks introduced at the beginning of 2016 in response to the so-called ‘migrant crisis’ (a term used with neutrality by this author). We headed to Möllevångstorget, which is a large square just south of the centre and next to Triangeln train station. This square hosts a nice food market (a novelty for anyone from Denmark) as well as a variety of ethnic food shops, which was lucky because we really needed some sumac. Malmö is apparently famous for its falafel (I read this on the internet) so we got stuck into some falafel. Falafel itself was good, but it needed more sauce. (Have I sunk new lows in criticizing unnamed kebab shops about their lack of sauce? This makes for insipid reading). After having done some exploring, sunk a couple of beers, we made our way to the stadium.
This town is big enough for two of us. Aged between 8 and 18? I am confused.
So finally I have enough batteries on my phone to be able to take photos of the absolutely stunning, Malmö Stadion, which played host to Malmö FF (the top team) until they left in 2008. Nowadays, it hosts IFK Malmö who languish in the fourth tier of Swedish football. It is a beautiful stadium with the sweeping concrete lines that will be familiar to anyone who has seen in Gamla Ullevi. It looks far bigger than the purported 25,000 or so it can hold.
Love a slideshow. Spot the water feature?
The stadium was initially built for the 1958 World Cup before being renovated for the 1992 European Championships (won by those pesky Danes from across the water). It has definitely seen better days although nothing that a lick of paint would not sort out.
It is somewhat difficult to fully understand why the stadium was kept. Apparently, Malmö town council have approved the demolition of the facility although this work has clearly not started. It will be a shame, but from the moment that the decision was taken to build the Swedbank Stadium next door, the future of its older sister was in huge doubt.
We have been here before. I think I am going to call this the favourite modern stadium that I have visited mainly because of the lovely terrace behind the goal. After briefly touching upon the difference between Continental and British-type atmospheres last time out, I think the Malmoites have got it just about right. Song emanates from the terrace for 95% of the game, but the noise will vary with the state of the game. Maybe this is why I am so fond of this place.
Two slide shows in one blog post. Spot the Hibs fan?
Once again, I was struck by the difference between inside and outside the stadium. We enjoyed the sun in a small park whilst finishing off an imported beer or two. The park had more in common with a teddy bears’ picnic (pretty handsome, tall Scandi teddy bears though), than what a similar scene would be in Denmark. I am not complaining though.
Stepping inside the stadium, we were greeted by the pumping tunes of Scooter. Somehow I had missed the nightclub section of the concourse under the terrace. A DJ pumped out 90s classics whilst we sipped Carlsberg from plastic bottles at SEK 50 a pop (GBP 4.5). We met a very friendly (read drunk) Hibs fan. He was having a very fun tour of Scandinavia.
Malmö sat three points clear going into this game against a mid-table Kalmar (from South East Sweden) playing in red (strange how so few Scandi teams wear red (apart from Denmark)). This time I ‘belted out’ the Malmö anthem in something more than a mumble. (Gy provides strength in numbers.)
Malmö again flattered to deceive and Kalmar were the better team in the first half. To be honest, it was not hugely difficult. For whatever reason, Malmö struggle to get going at home. Kalmar were happy to let them dominate possession before countering with purpose (as is the fashion in football these days). The goal for Kalmar came in slightly unusual circumstances as Viktor Elm’s corner was bummed over the line by brother, Rasmus. To be honest, it almost looked intentional although questions have to be asked about the MFF defence in allowing a free bum from the corner. Rasmus looked a little embarrassed. Malmö were booed in at half time.
And it was not much better in the second. There were waves of pressure, but apart from a snap shot from the edge of the area that was screwed wide, Malmö were not really creating anything. The pressure built, but more into a succession of poor corners than anything more. Last home’s game hero Berget was hooked and showed his displeasure (I suspect at his performance rather than the decision to take him off). With five minutes left, Malmö through everything at it, the ball popped up to Eikrem whose beautifully deft volley back into the danger zone found Kjartansson who slid the ball home. 1-1. It turned out that the ball popped up via a tackle that looked very much like on a Kalmar defender. Kalmar remonstrated (understandably so), argy bargy ensued together with a smattering of yellow cards. Time ran out for either team to take the three points. Malmö were unhappy with what will be seen as two points dropped. Kalmar were unhappy with what will be seen as two points dropped. Malmö were booed at full-time.
Somewhat uncomfortable looking selfie.
We went to the pub, the excellent Malmö Tap Room followed by more falafel and a very pleasant evening in the delightful Far I Hatten in Folketspark being serenaded by Australian Joel Sarakula (check him out).
I like Malmö. It is farewell and not goodbye.
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