Scandinavian football fans are renowned for flying over to the UK to watch Premier League fixtures at the weekend, writes Andrew Warshaw.
But it isn’t every day they opt exclusively for the non-league game instead.
It was therefore both a surprise and a pleasure to welcome seven Danish fans and 17 Swedes for our recent 2-0 home win over with Corinthian Casuals.
Both trips were organised entirely separately and provided an international feel to the game which was also attended by two Italian supporters. Enfield Town’s reach is obviously stretching far and wide!
All the Swedish fans were members of a so-called “brothers in sport” society and supporters of first division club IFK Norrköping .
They chose to come and watch us as the first in a three-match weekend itinerary and afterwards both clubs exchanged pennants.
Gunnar Hagberg, who helped organise the Swedish trip, explained: “We go to England on a regular basis to watch football but we always tend to go to clubs like Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal.”
“This time we wanted to look for the roots of the game, to find football’s true soul, something we think has been lost in top-division football.”
Luckily for Gunnar and his friends, we just happened to be playing on a Friday night since they had already made arrangements for Saturday and Sunday.
“I checked through the fixture list and saw Enfield were playing on Friday. We couldn’t miss that instead of going out somewhere in London,” said Gunnar. “We had a brilliant time. The rain was perfect for football! We really enjoyed it and everyone was so friendly. It’s been a real treat.”
Needless to say, both the bar and the club shop did a roaring trade among our Scandinavian guests!
Although we are in step 7 of the national pyramid, Gunnar (pictured with another Swedish fan) says we could hold our own much higher up in Sweden. “I was talking to some of our coaches who came with us and they reckon Enfield Town would be the equivalent of the Swedish third division.”
“They were surprised and impressed how intense the game was. We will definitely be spreading the word!”