Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Seventh Time in Stockholm

So I spent all of yesterday in Stockholm.  By all of the day I obviously only mean 2pm-11pm because, c’mon, I don’t even wake up until 11am.  The trip was my 7th to Stockholm since I arrived in Sweden back in March, but only the 3rd time I went specifically for leisure.  The Swedish agent I work with got me a couple tickets to an Allsvenskan match between Djugarden (who could use me, btw) and IFK Norrkoping (who needs a bit of everything), so I headed down to Stockholm to visit around for a few hours before the game.

Djugarden and a bunch of geese who were full of themselves.
Now, originally my plan was to do a bit of shopping before the game.  Unfortunately, I never considered the fact that you can’t go into a professional sporting event with shopping bags, so those plans got canceled.  Instead, I decided to walk around areas of Stockholm that I hadn’t discovered yet.  This plan also backfired, because my ankle was still awful.  It was no longer the size of a baseball – now it was a tennis ball.  Still, I soldiered on and for two freaking hours I walked around downtown Stockholm and vicinity.  Among the highlights were a few randomly placed parks, Djugarden and a very odd military clothing store called ‘Indiana Store’.  Djuagrden was interesting mostly for the geese-looking birds who had absolutely no fear of humans.  In fact, they seemed to have a sort of contempt for people who dared wander into their path!  The lone lowlight of the day was the fact that I was walking with a severe limp, and I’m pretty sure people mistook me for homeless.  Between the limp, the hair and the fact that I was wearing a long sleeve button-up shirt despite the relatively high temps, I don’t blame them.
Indiana Store.  Apparently Indiana is synonymous with the military!

Stockholm Stadion: Home of Djugarden.
I met up with Daniel Alund, who is spending his midseason break in Stockholm, and we had a bite to eat before heading to the Djugarden game.  Djugarden play at a really old stadium, but despite that it was an enjoyable place to watch a match.  In the video you’ll notice the poles holding up the roof.  If they annoy you in the video, then multiply that by 1000 and you get the feeling I had during the game.  The game itself was pretty good; Djugarden dominated much of the match but gave up a late goal and tied 1-1.  The wing play from Djugarden was average in my opinion, but then again the oldest winger was 23-years-old so they can be forgiven for not being the finished product.  I took a video of the teams walking out for the lineups.  The stadium only holds about 12,000 people and wasn’t full, but when the fans got singing and chanting it was a pretty good atmosphere in there.  A little Yanks Abroad side note: One of the Djugarden players is a winger from UVa.  His name is Brian Span.  He played the entire second half as a replacement for the starting winger who got hurt.  He did ok, but didn’t see so much of the ball.  He’s been criticized before for his defense, but from what I saw he did quite well defensively.  He also would have scored had he not slipped as he was shooting.  The grounds staff put way too much water on the field and it caused a lot of players to slip during the match.
For those who care, I don’t think that there is much chance of me returning to ESK after the midseason break.  I have not been offered anything, and reading the papers it seems like the club is not intent on re-signing any of the three players whose contracts are up this month.  They seem instead intent of getting older players on loan who can be like “team fathers” for our younger players.  I think I’ve earned an extension, but that’s not up to me.  The club has to do what it thinks is in its best interest both financially and sportingly.

On the other hand, I’ve finally got some interest from my emails.  I got nowhere emailing top league teams, so I started emailing 2nd division teams in Scandinavia and I’ve now gotten a couple of responses.  Perhaps I will be starting a trial soon!  Also, I’m supposed to speak with the Swedish agent any day now about potential options in Sweden.  Unfortunately for me, none of my good performances in Division 1 came when scouts were watching, so it’s not easy for him to find me something.  That said, one of the specific teams he and I discussed will surely be signing at least 2 attacking players next month, so I believe there’s a chance for me in Sweden still.

Random park in Stockholm.
I don’t know when my next post will be.  I’m going to London on Thursday and I don’t know exactly when I’ll be returning.  I haven’t bought my return flight yet.  The last time I flew into London without a return ticket I was held in custody of the airport for five hours because my situation seemed like a lie to them.  Long story short was that my little “interview” at the customs stamp area didn’t go well (ie. She didn’t believe that as an unemployed person I was just going to England for 7-14 days without a plan.) and my holding cell interview went even worse.  This is pretty much how that went:

Officer:  “Who are you staying with?”

Me: “Celia Moran.”

Officer: “Where does she live?”

Me: “I have no idea.  Somewhere in the south.  I was gonna call her from the train station.”

Officer: “So you have an international phone?”

Me: “Nope.”

Officer: “Then how were you going to call her?”

Me: “I dunno.  Payphone?”

Officer gets up and leaves the room.  He comes back 10 minutes later…

Officer: “So the customs agents tell me you play football, but you currently have no club?”

Me: “Yup.  I’m staying with Celia until I get a call from my agent.”

Officer: “Oh yeah?  Who is your agent?  How will he contact you?”

Me: “Email.  And his name is Farrukh...”


I was in holding for another 3-and-a-half hours after that lol.  Let’s hope my next trip to London Stansted airport isn’t so eventful.

And how could I forget, the daily meme:

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