Välkommen to Stockholms Stadion

With nearly 2.3 million people the Swedish capital of Stockholm and its sprawling surrounds is home to three Allsvenskan sides. 

This though is no ordinary city nor no model for the future. It encompasses both a grand old center fit for Scandic Kings and modern exteriors that spans 14 islands. Around 50 bridges crisscross an extensive Baltic Sea archipelago with Finland and the Baltic States further in the distance.

Unsurprisingly such an expansive area is home to many football clubs.  

Stockholm has over 36 football teams – both big and small. These clubs are spread around the numerous leagues that are administered by the Stockholms Fotbollförbund and the national Svenska Fotbollförbundet.

The Stockholms Stadion once home to Djurgårdens is more than a stadium. It hosted in 1912 an Olympic Football Final when an Amateur Great British side defeated the Danes.

What Michael Jackson thought of the place when he played here will never be known but sadly its days of hosting large events look over. The city now has its fair share of super stadiums that have left the one time host of the Olympic Games way behind in terms of acoustics, entry points and transport access.

This is a place that provides memories not of what football stadiums used to be like but instead gathers reminiscent styles and plonks it down in one special place in the Swedish Capital.

The Stockholms Stadion is part castle, part aristocratic mansion, part brick factory, part sculpture park, part cloister and part watchtower.

Its like one big majestic enclosure royale. Multiple flagpoles stand atop turreted castle towers where the flags of both nation and identity are flown.

Its also got a running track, gated entry points and is clad in ivy.

Built between 1910 and 1912 it was designed by the architect Torben Grut. The original use was as a venue for the 1912 Olympic Games hence the Kings entrance point once used by King Gustav V during the games.

In European terms it is possibly among the best one of the preserved stadiums in existence before concrete and modern ideas took over.

Between 1936 and 2013 Swedish team Djurgårdens used this as its home ground where league and cup games were played. Their secondary venue for football was the Råsunda Stadium, where Stockholm derbies against AIK and Hammarby were played.

But the Stockholms Stadion was not without its derby action and many fans simply called it ‘beautiful’. Such was the attachment of fans to the stadium the levels of mistrust to the new Tele2Arena was incalculable when the time came to move.

Sculptures at the Stockholm Stadion (as well as the bricks and columns and the running track) remain preserved and well looked after despite this being an open stadium.

It is however no longer the home for men’s football that it once was given Djurgårdens move to the modern Tele2 Arena.

Womens football fixtures still occur hoping to catch the imagination of those eager to recall more classical times. Those who do go to a Damallsvenskan games will find it hard to find too many concessions to the pace of modernity.

The original concept retains its shape and feel but the footballing contests are one of a more calmer nature now.

Rather than then smoke strewn noble derby clashes between Swedish football’s giants the only grace and majesty now is the relative calm of a summers evening ladies football match.

Not so much a step back in time but a somewhat stark reminder of the pace of sporting and societal change given the ‘manly courage’ the 1912 Olympic Games were said to encourage.