How Blue Army Sweden started
In 1997, Leif and Sören decided it was about time to go to London and watch football in football's homeland. Wives and children could do without us for a week we thought, and booked flights and a hotel as well as tickets to two Premier League matches. We were off to see Chelsea - Blackburn and Arsenal - Nottingham Forest. When we were there, we realized that on Monday there was a Championship match between Crystal Palace and Bolton at Selhurst Park, so we got tickets for that match too. Before that match we visited a pub in Selhurst called 'The Clifton Arms', that pub will return later in this story. This trip of eight days and three matches was a revelation for us, we discovered not only good football but also the golden drink ALE!
1998 passed without any of us taking any new initiative, but in early 1999 we wanted to go again. Now Kenneth was also interested, so in March we went to see Arsenal - Sheffield Wednesday at Highbury. Luckily, Leicester played in London that weekend and we managed to get tickets to Wimbledon - Leicester even though it was sold out! The travel company had 20 tickets and we acted quick to buy. Wimbledon shared stadium with Crystal Palace at this time, so before the match we visited 'Clifton Arms' again. There I saw a guy standing in a corner drinking beer, he was wearing a blue match shirt. I went up and talked to him and he introduced himself as 'Jocky McMahon'. So here we were, three old friends, two of whom (Sören and Kenneth) had supported Leicester City for 30 years, and now we were about to watch Leicester live for the first time. In addition, we ran into a lifelong Leicester supporter who has been supporting since he was born. It was now the idea of a Swedish fan club was born! So from the beginning there were only three plus the happy Englishman in Blue Army Sweden, and since then we have grown slowly, which is completely conscious, and become the gang we are today.
The match between Wimbledon and Leicester ended with a 1-0 win for Foxes. Steve Guppy scored the goal with a screamer from 25 meters without a chance for Neil Sullivan in the Wimbledon goal. By the way, it was a freezing cold day, the temperature was around zero degrees and it was snowing. I remember we bought coffee in Styrofoam mugs during the break, not to drink but to keep close to the body and get some warmth! There were some famous players on the pitch that day, at Wimbledon Ben Thatcher, Jason Euell, Marcus Gayle, John Hartson and Robbie Earle were seen. The latter has, incidentally, been to see my wife (she´s a physiotherapist) for treatment when Wimbledon was having a pre-season camp in Hallsberg in the early 90s. Leicester lined up with Kasey Keller, Gerry Taggart, Steve Walsh, Muzzy Izzet, Neil Lennon, Robbie Savage, Steve Guppy, Matt Elliott, Pontus Kåmark, Ian Marshall and Tony Cottee. At half time, Martin O´Neill had to make his only substitution, he replaced Kasey Keller who got injured, on came Pegguy Arphexad. Was the game sold out you ask? It was far from sold out, how could we now get such a message? There were 11,801 spectators in a stadium that seats over 26,000. Nearly 2,000 of these were Leicester supporters.
Kenneth, Torbjörn and Sören made their first trip to Leicester in 2003 together with Jocky and 4 more of his friends. We took a train from London and saw Leicester lose 2-1 to Tottenham Hotspur, Paul Dickov scored Leicester's goal in front of 31,521 spectators at Walkers Stadium. But it was close that we never came to Leicester! We took the tube from our hotel in London to go to St. Pancras, halfway there was a signal error and we were left standing. We realized that time was running out of our hands and rushed up to find a taxi, found one and came to St. Pancras two minutes before the train would leave! Jocky and the others stood anxiously waiting on the platform.
In 2004 Sören himself traveled to London, met Jocky and saw Tottenham - Leicester which ended 4 - 4. All but one goal was scored by Tottenham players! We were late to White Hart Lane and when we were on our way in a huge cheer was heard, already in the sixth minute Michael Brown made it 1-0 to Spurs. When we are on our way up to our seats, I see out of the corner of my eye how a white player first nods and then kicks the ball into goal, oh no! But I was surprised when everyone around me cheered, then I realized that Spurs scored an own goal and it was 1-1 instead of 2-0 to the home team. However, Jermaine Defoe and Robbie Keane made it 3-1 for the home team before the break and it looked like we were going to lose. But in the second half, Leicester came back. Former Tottenham players Les Ferdinand and Ben Thatcher made sure it was equalized before Marcus Bent gave Leicester the lead 4-3 in the 79th minute. The only goal scorer who never played for Tottenham! Guess if there was wild cheering in the stands where we stood. With only extra time left of the match, Jermaine Defoe made his second of the day and the match ended 4-4.
In november 2010 Palle and Sören went to Leicester for two matches. Leicester Mercury wrote an article about Blue Army Sweden for the first time and we were invited by manager Sven-Göran Eriksson to his lounge after the match against Derby. We have seen some fun matches over the years, Leicester - Burnley 2011 which ended 4-0, the Swansea match in 2015 which ended 2-0 and was very important when Leicester managed to stay in the Premier League. 2-2 against West Ham 2016 which was a match that had everything, including a referee who did not know what he was doing, remember?
We have also seen some crap performances, 1-4 against Brighton in the days after Leicester were promoted to the Premier League. The players themselves have admitted that they were hungover! The 0-0 match against Burnley in 2012 was terrible, not only because the match was lousy, it was also freezing cold and rainy in April 2012. But this is what we can expect from Leicester City, it has always been a roller coaster with ups and downs.
Today Blue Army Sweden have 30 members from Umeå up north to Lund in the south. Most members are located in Hallsberg and Stockholm.