With a population of 900,000 and a greater metropolitan population total of 2.3m people the Swedish capital of Stockholm is home to three top tier Allsvenskan football sides.
In terms of spread the city proper encompasses 188 km2 (73 sq mi) while the metropolitan area sprawls outward to 6,519 km2 (2,517 sq mi). This though is no ordinary city as that area also spans 14 islands with some 50 bridges spanning an extensive Baltic Sea archipelago.
Characterised by cobblestone streets and ochre colored buildings of the old town Gamla Stan there are cathedrals, Royal Palaces and historical museums that stand central from a sprawling mass urban area.
Unsurprisingly such an expansive area is home to many football clubs.
Stockholm given its size has over 36 football teams who are spread around the numerous leagues administered by the local FA the Stockholms Fotbollförbund and wider the national SvFF (Svenska Fotbollförbundet).
Of those sides the most successful and popular is AIK Fotboll or to give them its full name Allmänna Idrottsklubben (i.e the public sports club).
Alongside the other two top tier teams Hammarby IF and Djurgardens IF there are three Stockholm clubs who play in the second level Superettan namely Brommapojkarna, IK Frej and Syrianska FC.
The remaining teams are distributed across Divisions 1, 2 and 3 the main league of which – Division 1 – is divided into Norra (North) and Södra (South) leagues.
The original Swedish national stadium was the Rasunda Stadion which was located in the Solna district of the city. The stadium doubled also as an office complex and the home of the Swedish FA and club side AIK. Rectangular, concrete and modern for its time the Rasunda was composed of uncovered terracing and two tiered double decker stands which overlooked the touchlines.
The Rasunda was the host venue for the 1958 World Cup Final between Brazil and Sweden but thanks to its humble capacity was overlooked for the 1992 UEFA European Championship final which was instead hosted in Gothenburg.
Despite being innovative in design as well as much loved by fans of the AIK club the Swedish FA made a decision in 2006 to demolish the Rasunda and move to a new purpose built arena in the Solna district. The new arena was ready and opened in October 2012.
The new arena was titled the Friends Arena and named in support of the non-profit anti bullying organization Friends. As well as a private operating company one of the high profile corporate sponsors is Swedbank, who work in collaboration with the SvFF to sponsor the stadium.
The Friends Arena has an innovative colourful façade as well as a retractable roof that consists of two sections. The stadium meanwhile is also distinctive for a central media cube which hangs from the roof of the arena. This interactive media is further enhanced by 647 LCD screens which are dotted around the Arena.
The Friends Arena also contains safe standing areas for football supporters behind each goal area.
To the south of the Friends Arena sits the current home of AIK’s rivals Hammarby and Djurgardens the Tele2 Arena. Also noted for its retractable roof the stadium cost 2.7bn SEK to build with an element of the cost coming from the City of Stockholm who own the stadium alongside private partners.
Hammarby and Djurgardens sharing the stadium was a contraversial decision by the local municipality given the inner city rivalry between the two local sides.
Part of the initial rejection of the Tele2 Arena came from the signficant attachment both sets of fans felt to historical stadia. In the case of Hammarby the home territory was the Soderstadion which was small and atmospheric and located just minutes from the current Tele2 Arena.
The Sodorstadion was though lacking in amenities come matchday a factor which some felt had been responsible for the club dropping down to the second tier Superettan for a number of years.
Between 1936 and 2013 Djurgardens IF played its football at the equally historic Stockholm Olympic Stadium which sits some 9km north of the Tele2 Arena.
Built in 1912 for the Olympic Games a decision was made by the football department of Djurgardens IF to move its football to the Tele2 Arena despite opposition from the club’s supporters.
Selected Stockholm Football clubs
AIK Fotboll – Friends Arena
Djurgardens IF – Tele2 Arena
Hammarby IF – Tele2 Arena
IF Brommapojkarna – Grimsta IP
IK Frej – Vikingavallen
Syrianska FC – Sodertalje Fotbollsarena
Akropolis IF – Akalla BP
Football Stadiums of Stockholm images on flickr. This album will be added on an ongoing basis.