Date: 23rd August 2015
Match: Gefle - AIK 1-2 (Allsvenskan)
Attendance: 6 243
Between 1923 and (April) 2015 Gefle played at Strömvallen
2014 was supposed to be the last ever season for Gefle IF playing at Strömvallen. Strömvallen was opened in 1923 and is one of the old, classic Swedish football grounds. The main stand at Strömvallen is classified as a historical building and could not be rebuilt. With new regulations for Allsvenskan grounds being introduced Gefle had to move to another ground and in May 2013 Gävle city council took the formal decision to build a new ground for Gefle IF. At a cost of 140 million SEK (15 million Euros) the new ground was to be built next to Gavlerinken, the ice-hockey arena in Gävle. After a vote among the citizens of Gävle it was decided the new ground would be named Gavlevallen. Gavlevallen has a capacity of 6 450 and the pitch is artificial. Building works at Gavlevallen were delayed and the ground was not officially opened until 20 May 2015 when Gefle hosted GIF Sundsvall. Running out of interesting grounds to visit in Sweden I was looking forward to my visit and going through my options I decided for Gefle vs Elfsborg on Sunday 19 July. That weekend I was visiting friends in Eskilstuna and I could combine the two trips. Unfortunately the match against Elfsborg was re-scheduled though. Elfsborg had their Europa League fixture moved from Thursday to Tuesday meaning they couldn´t play Gefle the previous Sunday. Disappointment for me but I booked a trip in August instead, Gefle vs AIK. The match against AIK was on a Sunday and my only option to get home the same day was to fly to Malmö. That of course meant I had to fly from Malmö as well since I needed my car to get home on Sunday evening. I booked a flight on Saturday morning and was planning to visit a Division 2-match in Uppsala later in the afternoon. Unfortunately my flight was cancelled and I was re-booked to an afternoon flight meaning I missed my planned match in Uppsala. Since Gefle vs AIK was my main match I went anyway and I arrived in Gävle on Saturday evening.
A match against the Stockholm clubs means a very good attendance at Gavlevallen. AIK brought around 3 000 fans to Gävle and the match was more or less sold-out. Gefle IF had been kind to me and given me a press accreditation for the match. No problems getting a good seat then! Kick-off was 15.00 and with nothing better to do I slept late before making my way to Strömvallen where I found an open gate. The weather was really nice with 25°C and a clear sky and I could take plenty of (good) pictures of this classic ground. As I understand it Strömvallen is used for youth teams at the moment but the future for the ground is unclear. Gavlevallen is situated in the outskirts of the city but Gefle provide shuttle buses from the city centre and 13.30 I boarded the first one taking me out to the ground. There is still some work to be done with roads etc near the ground and I had some problems finding the press entrance. The press box is situated in the top rows of the North Stand and the view from there was of course excellent. AIK was given the east end of the ground plus the side blocks of the two side stands. There were AIK fans in other sections as well but there is no rivalry with Gefle and not a hint of trouble during the match. The actual match was quite poor, AIK made it 0-1 in the 41st minute. Gefle played better in the second half and equalized in the 74th minute. Gefle should have taken the lead a few minutes later but somehow missed. Instead it was AIK who would win this game. In the 90th minute they scored the winning goal. That goal was scored in front of their own fans and massive celebrations followed in the away end. AIK held on to the three points but it was not the performance of the team I will remember from this game. The performance from the AIK fans inside Gavlevallen this afternoon was superb and it is the atmosphere at games like this that makes Swedish football popular with foreign groundhoppers. The AIK fans never stopped singing and one of the Germans I met at Gavlevallen said Sweden was his favourite country!
After the match I used the bus to get back to central Gävle. At 18.14 my train left the train station and an hour later I was at Arlanda airport. Shortly before midnight I was back home again. Plenty of travelling but at least I have now once again recompleted the Allsvenskan grounds.
Left: Gavlerinken (ice-hockey arena) Right: Gavlevallen
Rear of the West Stand
Players and officials entering
View of play
View of play
AIK fans celebrating......
......the winning goal