The Svenska Cupen has already taken place and in just a couple of days Allvenskan football will return as well after what felt like an eternity of nearly 150 days. Usually the anticipation in this early stage of a campaign is huge for supporters of any club worldwide:
Will my team avoid relegation? Will we crown ourselves champions for the first time since World War I? Will the latest Brazilian signing be the saviour that we all hoped for – or just another lame duck, already on the move again as soon as the summer transfer window arrives? The early stages of a season is the time for hopes und musings, of promises and exuberant optimism – which will be totally unjustified in most cases.
Supporting Blåvitt from afar
For me, as a german supporter of IFK Göteborg, this phase of the season mostly consists of hours and hours of research and translation work. Unsurprisingly, the news situation about international football in Germany is rather monotonous (some might say boring): England, Spain, Italy, France – that’s it.
Swedish football solely catches the attention of our media scene on rare occasions. For example when a player is expeled from the country for sexual abuse of a minor, or someone tries to influence the result of a game by corrupting a player, or when a hipster club from Jämtland stops by in our capital on its Europe tour. There might be some websites that offer transfer rumours and such from Sweden, unfortunately those articles are barely more than two or three rows long.
When I want to soak up the reactions of our fanbase towards a new signing, I have to go on a treasure hunt. Equally hidden are statements from the core of the IFK community about coaching staff, formation changes, economic problems and anything else that keeps the loyaliest of Änglarna from sleeping at night.
In order to put the pieces of this puzzle containing opinions and emotions together, I’m on a constant hunt on social media. What is stated in Facebook groups, what’s tweeted under #ifkgbg? Are we still good with Poya and his idea of a „new IFK Göteborg“? Or did I miss the breaking news and he was already sacked last tuesday? What’s bigger for us: the hope for better days back at the top or cynical pessimism after an historically poor season? At a slow rate I manage to get my finger on how the circumstances reveal themselves for IFK Göteborg, for us, in spring 2019.
Reconnection is inevitable from time to time
Nevertheless, it’s even harder to keep track of everything once the new season is underway. For instance, the lack of TV coverage can really kill your vibe. Even though DAZN broadcasts highlight matches from the Allsvenskan from time to time, they often decide to strike it form the program in favour of more popular leagues. This happened on matchday 1 in 2017, when Blåvitt hosted archrivals Malmö for the season opener. For weeks, „netflix of sports“ had the classic encounter in their program preview and I was looking forward to it with the joy of a child waiting for its birthday – just to hear that it was thrown out hours before kick-off. I’m still mad at DAZN for such a ruthless behaviour.
But those are the kinds of adversities you have to deal with in Germany, when you want to watch a match of your favourite swedish football club. Indeed, there are other possibilities to stream the matches online, but then you might always be in jail with one foot. So most of the time you don’t do that and follow the action through a cold and unspectacular livescore app instead. But that’s really far from being the same experience and only reminds you, how big the distance between you and your club really is.
At least there is a short summary of every Allsvenskan match uploaded by Fotbollskanalen, so I don’t miss out completely. In the past it was much more difficult to find highlights from last weekend somewhere in the depth of YouTube. Still it constantly happens that, in the buzz of my everyday life, I just forget to inform myself with the latest updates about my club way up north – which seems normal since Swedish football doesn’t pop up anywhere here. No gossip in the newspapers, no silly talks at the pub. Luckily Instagram’s algorithm now and then chooses to drop something important into my newsfeed to remind me, that there will be an important match next weekend. Then I start the process all over again, researching for articles and blog entries, soaking it all up once more.
Being a fan is more than a 9 to 5 job
As you can see, it is still hard work to keep the flow of communication going. Of course it’s a lot of fun as well. To be a part of something, even though you are separated by hundreds of kilometers which allows me a maximum of one live match on the ground per season. The feeling of belonging, through the good times and even more the bad ones, is a gift and one reason why I love this club so much.
And I’m crazy about the new season. I’m looking forward to poor appearances in front of half empty stands, to furious comebacks, to dramatically lost points, to exciting young prospects, who we will be forced to sell in summertime due to economic troubles anyway. I’m looking forward to broken dreams and last gasp winners in the rain. I’m looking forward to another season with Blåvitt from abroad!