Ground: Bravida Arena
Date: 5th July 2015
Match: Häcken - Helsingborg 3-2 (Allsvenskan)
Attendance: 6 049
Häcken used to play at Rambergsvallen
I arrived back home from my trip to Andorra on Friday afternoon. On Sunday morning I was on the move again. BK Häcken have built a new ground and on Sunday 5 July it was time for the opening match, Häcken vs Helsingborg. The Helsinki derby, HJK vs HIFK, was then played on Monday evening and even though it was only two games for me on this trip the fact both were more or less sold-out meant two interesting games for me. My train left Kristianstad at 08.24 and after changing trains in Lund I arrived in Gothenburg around 12.30. My hotel was then only a short walk from the train station. The weather in Gothenburg was really nice with around 25 °C and sunshine and after checking in I enjoyed a late lunch in a nearby restaurant before going back to my hotel for a short rest.
Häcken are based on the island if Hisingen, part of greater Gothenburg, and until 2013 the club played at Rambergsvallen. Rambergsvallen was old and out-dated and in 2014 the ground was demolished and the construction of the new ground, later named Bravida Arena, started. During the rebuilding Häcken played at Gamla Ullevi in central Gothenburg. Bravida Arena has an artificial pitch and a capacity of 6 500 (4 500 seats and 2 000 standing). It is possible to add a few rows of seating which would then add 500-800 to the total capacity (source: matchday programme). Away fans are given the East Stand, or at least half of it depending on the number of visiting fans. I used the tram to get to Bravida Arena and from Brunnsparken, close to my hotel, it only took around 10 minutes. Once at the ground I walked around taking some exterior pictures. After a while I met up with Magnus and Sven, two other Swedish groundhoppers. Dirk headed a group of German groundhoppers who I also met briefly. They were all a bit shocked to hear my story about the arson attack in Pajala. Anyway, around 16.15 (kick-off 17.30) I went inside the ground. To my surprise there was only one (combined) entrance, with 4-5 turnstiles, for the North and West stands. Later there were massive queues outside this only entrance. It felt like the ground couldn´t cope with crowds of 6 000 or so, 30 minutes or so before kick-off you should not have to wait 15 minutes to buy something to drink.
My seat was in row three of the North Stand. The away fans were to my left and the fans from Helsingborg showed their contempt for artificial pitches. Several songs and banners protesting the trend of artificial pitches in Sweden. You can see, with translation, two of the banners below. Artificial pitch or not, the actual match was entertaining. A nice move by Helsingborg gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, it was then 1-1 at half-time. In the second half Helsingborg once again took the lead. A stunning volley from outside the penalty box should have been enough to give Henrik Larsson´s side the three points. Häcken had other ideas though and scored twice in the last 20 minutes to win this opening game 3-2. Poor defending by Helsingborg and huge disappointment for the away supporters who through-out the 90 minutes gave their team a good vocal support. I am sure Bravida Arena will serve a club like Häcken well but when the ground is full it seems they can´t cope with that (or maybe they will learn). The first match on this tour also meant a chance to meet up with some friends of mine and after the match Magnus and I had something to eat and drink in central Gothenburg. Tomorrow morning I will fly to Helsinki, via Arlanda, for the Helsinki derby. That should be a very memorable evening and something I am really looking forward to.
Rear of the South Stand
Rear of the southeast corner
Rear of the northwest corner
Queues for ....
...the entrance to Bravida Arena
Queuing for refreshments
Smoke (part of the opening ceremony)
View of Bravida Arena
View of Bravida Arena
Goal for Häcken
"Time to take responsibility, time to act!"
"Nine clubs are pissing on our sport - the plastic has to go now!"
"Football is played on grass!"
"You demolished your home and switched to plastic"
"Häcken is HIFs direct opposite"
View of play
Pano (view from the West Stand)
Pano (view from the NE corner)