Date: 28th June 2011
Match: IFK Luleå - Boden 1-1 (Division 1 Norra)
Attendance: 3 781
Some matches are more interesting than others. A Norrbotten derby between Luleå and Boden is as interesting as a football match will be in northern Sweden. The cities of Luleå and Boden are only 50 km apart. With Luleå being 1 430 km from where I live (and most other teams in Division 1 Norra being 800-900 km from Luleå) it is not difficult to understand what match you should visit at Skogsvallen. When I was young(er!) Boden had not less than 6 regiments and the city is still making up the northern defence of Sweden. Luleå has a big airbase and a university. The rivalry between the two cities can best be illustrated by the regional hospital. 15 years ago Norrbotten were to get a new regional hospital. It could not be agreed if it was to be built in Luleå or Boden. Instead it was built in the village in between the two cities. I knew there would be, for the Swedish third division, a big crowd for this derby and when fixtures were released I was more than happy to find out I would be able to visit the derby at Skogsvallen in Luleå.
After being in Stockholm for two days I set off for Luleå at 10.30 am and 80 minutes later I was at Kallax airport in Luleå. The airport bus only took 20 minutes or so and I found my hotel quite easily. Skogsvallen was a 20 minute walk from my hotel and when I walked through the open gates, some 5 hours prior to kick-off, there was a lot of activity at the ground getting it prepared for the big match. Skogsvallen has running tracks and a main wooden stand with around 700 seats. There are also a small mobile terrace on one side and a temporary(?) seated stand on the other side of the main stand. The far side is an open terrace and both ends are open. I decided to stand in the open terrace and already 75 minutes before kick-off, when I arrived, there was plenty of people inside the ground. As kick-off approached the ground was more or less full. The attendance was later announced as 3 781, about 3 300 more than Luleå´s average this season.
Luleå scored in the second minute but no other goals were scored in the first half. The second half was much better than the first with both teams creating good chances. Boden managed to equalise but despite their efforts neither team could find the winning goal and the derby finished 1-1. This was Swedish football at its best, a warm summer evening in the end of June, a local derby and above all a packed ground. It is a long way for me to Luleå/Boden but after this match I now know I have to visit the reversed fixture somteime in the future. Another match looking forward to!
Entrance to Skogsvallen
A young fan
Watching for free
View of play
View of play