Last Swedish Allsvenskan Champions in 2001, Stockholm side Hammarby IF or Bajen are small but perfectly formed. The smallest of the Swedish capitals great football sides, its one-time home at the Söderstadion saw its last game in June 2013. The 1-1 draw against Ängelholm saw the curtain come down on football at the traditional stadium.
The Söderstadion – translated in English as Southern Stadium – was a very traditional football stadium with a small capacity. In appearance it was similar to many of the lower league grounds we see in England such as that at Carlisle or Halifax. With its tall floodlights a football stadium had existed at the site since 1918 originally under the name Johanneshovs Idrottsplats. It was not until 1950 that a stadium using the Söderstadion title was built.
For many years the stadium was known for its location next to a neighbouring indoor ice stadium. This fact says much of the lack of success enjoyed by Bajen on the football field. The massive white spherical roof of this ice arena dominated the skyline like an overgrown golf ball standing tall over the Söderstadion stands.
Essentially the ground was the most modest of the three venues in Stockholm and had a small capacity of 16,000. It was though famous for its intimate atmosphere and chanting. The last game against Ängelholm saw singing on the 75th minute as always and a spectacular choreography was organised.
With the last days of the Söderstadion, Hammarby IF moved only a few yards away to a more modern purpose built football arena. While shared with Djurgardens it became known as the “new Söderstadion” although officially it is the Tele2 Arena.
The new ground design was inspired by three football stadiums. The Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Bruxelles proved inspirational; but it was the Parken and Brondby Stadiums in Copenhagen which provided the ideal stadium model for Hammarby.
The first event at the stadium was a football match between then Superettan sides Hammarby IF and Örgryte IS held on 20 July 2013.