Saturday, December 3, 2011

1976 was a year of changes around Europe – surprising winners, suggesting reshaping and challenging the status quo. Either this, or suggesting decline… Sweden, the best Scandinavian country, introduced change as well. The Cup went to Stockholm.
AIK triumphed and just as well, for the old club did not win anything since 1950.
Top, left to right: Lars-Oscar Nilsson - coach, Sven Dahlqvist, Jan-Olof Wallgren, Per-Arne Wahlstedt, Bo-Lennart Jepson, Stefan Lundin, Göran Göransson, Christer Andersson, Yngve Leback, Schramm - administrator.
Bpttom: Manni Thofte, Tommy Lundh, Rolf Zetterlund, Leif Karlsson, Claes Marklund, Göran Falck - masseur.
Typical Swedish team – hardly a single recognizable name.
New champions, even less known than the Cup winners, came along too – Halmstads BK.
Founded in 1914, the club from the relatively small town of Halmstad had no trophy to display so far. First title is always big news, even in a country where champions changed frequently.
Just like the Cup winners, the new champions had no stars and little attention was paid to them outside home. They did not look like a team on the road to greatness – skeptics probably detected weakening of Swedish football instead of improving. Numbers suggested so: the championship was littered with ties. Goals were scarce. The dominant club of the 70s – Malmo FF – was defensively minded this year: they lost only 3 matches, receiving 21 goals in 24 championship games. Malmo FF finished second. The Cup winners – AIK – were kings of ties: 13 matches, precisely every second championship game of theirs was tied. The heroes of few years ago – Atvidabergs FF – finished second to last and departed First Division football. Halmstads BK look different in this environment: they obviously an attacking team. They scored the most goals in the league – 56. They also finished with most wins – 17 – the only club with more than 50% of the championship games won! The next best total was 12 wins, so the difference was huge. Nevertheless, there was little to be optimistic about. It was just good to have a small club beating everybody else.