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IFK Göteborg

IFK Göteborg is a football (soccer) club from Sweden.

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About IFK Göteborg

IFK Göteborg is a Swedish professional Football team based in Gothenburg. Founded in 1904, the club has won 18 national championship titles, five national cup titles, and two UEFA Europa Leagues.

IFK is arguably the most successful club in Sweden together with Malmö FF, and one of the most successful clubs in all of northern Europe, as it is the only Scandinavian team to have won a pan-European competition. IFK won the UEFA Europa League in 1981–82 UEFA Cup and 1986–87 UEFA Cup. They currently rank in the highest Swedish league, Allsvenskan, where they have played for the majority of their history. They have played top flight football in Sweden since 1977, which currently is the longest top flight tenure of any club in Sweden—the second longest is Helsingborgs IF, since 1993.

IFK is one of the most popular football clubs in Sweden, with diverse country-wide support. Since the start of the 2009 season, they play all their home games at the newly built Gamla Ullevi (2008) stadium.


IFK Göteborg was founded at Café Olivedal on 4 October 1904, becoming the 39th Idrottsföreningen Kamraterna. A committee for Association football was created at the historic first meeting; the association's first football match ended in a 4–1 victory against a club from the local area, IK Viking. The foundation of IFK Göteborg was important for the development of Association football in the city, as until that point, Örgryte IS, the largest of Gothenburg clubs, were dominant. IFK Göteborg represented some needed competition.

IFK Göteborg became the first Swedish team in four years to beat Örgryte IS in 1907. They then went on to win their first List of Swedish football champions in 1908 by winning the cup tournament Svenska Mästerskapet, and three players from the club were selected to play for Sweden national football team in the national team's first match. Two years later the team drew 1–1 in a game against the 1912 Swedish Olympic team, and the newspapers in Stockholm nominated IFK Göteborg as "the best Swedish football club ever". IFK Göteborg won Svenska Serien—the highest Swedish league at the time, but not the Swedish Championship deciding competition—for the fifth time in a row in 1916–17 in Swedish football. The early IFK Göteborg team had no trainer; the club gained its first such official in 1921, when Hungarian manager Sándor Bródy (footballer) was hired. Bródy was appointed manager for IFK two years later. The first Swedish official national league, Allsvenskan, started in late 1924–25 in Swedish football, the year the legendary Filip Johansson made his debut for IFK Göteborg. The club finished second, but Johansson scored 39 goals in 22 games and was the league's top goalscorer.

IFK won their first Allsvenskan title in 1934–35 in Swedish football, the ten previous seasons of the league saw the club finish in the top four. Swedish football was dominated by teams from Gothenburg during these years, but IFK Göteborg were surprisingly relegated in 1937–38 in Swedish football, although the team was promoted back to Allsvenskan the next season. Back in the highest division, IFK finished second, with the league continuing despite the breakout of World War II. IFK won another title in 1941–42 in Swedish football with a strong team, When Gren left in 1949, IFK were relegated from Allsvenskan the following season. As happened the last time IFK played in a lower league, they were promoted directly back to Allsvenskan after one season in Swedish football Division 2. IFK went on to compete in a European Cup—the European Champion Clubs' Cup—for the first time in 1958, but were eliminated in the second round by FC Erzgebirge Aue. In 1959, the all-time Allsvenskan record attendance of 52,194 was set when IFK played Örgryte IS at Ullevi.

After an unglamorous decade, IFK were led by manager and retired footballer Bertil Johansson to a surprising championship title in 1969. IFK were relegated, and unlike previous relegations they did not make an immediate return. After three seasons in the second league IFK had lost all signs of being a team from Allsvenskan, and had still not managed to gain promotion. But after hard work from board member Anders Bernmar and others to get the club on the right track, IFK were promoted to Allsvenskan in 1976. He introduced the Formation (association football) 4–4–2 system with "pressure and support"—called the Swenglish model—which would give IFK great success later on, and his first season at the club ended with a second place in Allsvenskan and the club's first gold medal in Svenska Cupen.

After reinforcing the team with several expensive players—including Thomas Wernerson and Stig Fredriksson—IFK had finished second in the league and reached the quarter-finals in the UEFA Europa League as 1981 came to an end. 1982 then became a turbulent season as the whole board was replaced and the club almost went bankrupt—even needing to borrow money from the official supporter's association to travel to Valencia, Spain to play the quarter-final of the UEFA Cup. After the troubled start IFK won every competition they entered, including Allsvenskan, the Allsvenskan play-off, Svenska Cupen, and the UEFA Cup, defeating Hamburger SV 4–0 on aggregate in the finals. During the following 15 years the club was the leading club in Swedish football, winning the Swedish championship ten times, the domestic cup three times and the UEFA Cup twice.

IFK managed to field a strong team for a couple of years and won gold in the league in both 1983 and 1984, and the cup in 1983. In 1986, the team reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League but were defeated on penalties against FC Barcelona. A new team of talents won both the UEFA Cup and Allsvenskan once again in 1987,

As IFK won the 1993 Allsvenskan, they qualified for European competition. IFK advanced to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, where they faced FC Barcelona, Manchester United F.C. and Galatasaray S.K. (football team). Elimination at the group stage was widely anticipated, but IFK Göteborg confounded expectations by winning the group and advancing to the knockout stage. However, IFK Göteborg was eliminated in the quarter-finals by FC Bayern Munich on away goals rule.

The last years before the new millennium were disappointing for IFK, providing a stark contrast to the earlier success. The team only managed a silver in 1997 and an eighth place in 1998, after buying several expensive players who failed to produce. IFK changed manager in the middle of a season two years in a row—in 1998 and 1999—when the club never before had changed manager even once during an ongoing season.

Colours and crest

The traditional colours of all Idrottsföreningen Kamraterna are blue and white, and IFK Göteborg is no exception. The club's first kit was a blue jersey with a single horizontal white stripe and a four-pointed star, one of the IFK association symbols, in white on the chest. During the next few years, white or blue jerseys without stripes were used. In 1910, a kit comprising a blue and white vertically striped jersey and blue shorts was used for the first time, This kit has remained as the home colours ever since. A blue and white logotype of the main sponsor ICA AB—a grocery store chain—has figured on the jersey front since 1982, and has almost become part of the jersey. No other major sponsors are seen on the kit which, together with the long time use, has made the kit a classic in Swedish football. ICA was replaced by financial institution Prioritet Finans as the main sponsor at the start of the 2011 season. The traditional away kit is red and white, in different styles, though other colour combinations, for example orange and white, have been used, mainly in the 1990s and 2000s. The away kit introduced in 2005 once again uses red and white. An almost completely white third kit with blue details was introduced in mid-2007 after requests from supporters. The most recent away kit features a pink jersey with black shorts.

The crest of IFK Göteborg has its origins in the coat of arms of the city of Gothenburg which in turn is based on several other Heraldry arms. The lion on a field of silver and blue is the heraldic arms of the Folkungaätt, holding the Three Crowns of Sweden, both symbols being used in the Coat of arms of Sweden. This arm was granted to the city by Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. The coat-of-arms of Gothenburg sees the lion facing the sinister (heraldic right) side which often is interpreted as a fleeing lion, the normal being a lion facing the dexter (left) side, but IFK chose to have the lion facing dexter on the club crest. Adding the three letters Idrottsföreningen Kamraterna on top and the crest used since it first appeared on the kit in 1919 is complete.


Historically, IFK Göteborg's main home stadium has been Gamla Ullevi (2008), where the majority of the competitive games have been played. The club has played there in two separate periods, most recently after leaving Ullevi (Nya Ullevi) in 1992, although matches attracting large crowds—such as Local derby against the rivals Örgryte IS and GAIS, or international games—were still played at the larger Ullevi stadium. Gamla Ullevi's capacity was 18,000 when used in the 1990s and 2000s, while Nya Ullevi has a capacity of 43,200.

Gamla Ullevi was demolished on 9 January 2007 to make place for a new stadium, Gamla Ullevi (2008), with a capacity of 18,800. The new stadium was completed in late 2008, but not opened until the start of the 2009 in Swedish football. During construction, IFK Göteborg played the 2007 and 2008 in Swedish football at Nya Ullevi.

On 11 April 2009 IFK Göteborg played their first game on the new Gamla Ullevi (2008) stadium and won against Djurgårdens IF Fotboll with 6–0 in front of 18,276 spectators.

IFK Göteborg have used three other stadia as official home grounds. The first ground was Idrottsplatsen, in use from 1905 to 1916. It was built in 1896 for the cycling club Göteborgs Velocipedklubb, and was originally used for track cycling. During the 1909 in Swedish football IFK Göteborg also used Örgryte IS' home ground of the time, Balders Hage, due to a conflict with the owners of Idrottsplatsen. The third official stadium was Walhalla IP, used for a number of home matches at the same time as Idrottsplatsen. A fourth ground, Slottsskogsvallen, has never been the official home ground, but has nonetheless been used a number of times for IFK Göteborg home matches.

Idrottsplatsen fell into decline due to poor leadership and a troubled economy in the 1910s, and a decision was made to completely renovate the arena with the help of outside sponsorship and funding. The construction of the new football ground was started in 1915 and used the site of Idrottsplatsen as foundation. The new stadium, originally named Ullervi, but later changed to Ullevi and finally Gamla Ullevi, was opened in 1916. It was the home ground of IFK Göteborg until 1958, when Nya Ullevi—built for the 1958 FIFA World Cup held in Sweden—was opened. Due to a number of seasons with low attendance in Swedish football in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a move back to Gamla Ullevi was made in 1992.


Before the foundation of IFK Göteborg, the dominant club in the Gothenburg area was Örgryte IS, which was considered a middle class club, and in later years an upper class club, like most clubs of that time. IFK became popular amongst the working class, creating a fierce rivalry based upon both local pride and social class. In the early 20th century, supporters were supposed to act as gentlemen, applauding and supporting both their own team, and the opponents. However, this proved a hard task for supporters of the Gothenburg teams. Local patriotism and class differences sometimes resulted in fights and pitch invasions, making the Swedish press view IFK and Örgryte fans as the scum of Swedish football.

After World War I, the rivalry calmed, and Gothenburg supporters became known as friendly and sportsmanlike fans. However, this only applied to the behaviour on home ground, as IFK supporters continued to behave badly when travelling to away matches by train (called göteborgstågen, the Gothenburg trains), a phenomenon that grew quickly in the 1920s. This behaviour peaked in 1939, just after the outbreak of World War II, when approximately 1,900 IFK fans travelled to Borås to see IFK play IF Elfsborg. After a 2–3 loss, the fans fought with the Borås police, before returning home to Gothenburg and disturbing a Blackout (wartime) exercise.

As the club gained success in European club tournaments in the 1980s and 1990s, and thousands of IFK fans travelled to Hamburg, Barcelona, Dundee, Milan, Manchester and Munich, the supporters gained influence on the club, for example by lending money to the almost bankrupt IFK Göteborg so the team could go to Valencia CF to play the quarter-final in the UEFA Europa League in 1982, or by being the main force behind the move back to Gamla Ullevi in 1992. The early 1990s saw a downward trend in attendance numbers, even though the club was successful on the pitch, but the trend turned in the later years of the decade and the first few years of the new millennium brought the club's highest average attendance since the early 1980s.

In the 2000s, supporter culture in Sweden started to shift from being English-influenced to being more influenced by the Southern European countries and their football culture, making tifos and ultras a common sight in Swedish arenas. From acting as an almost uniform group of fans gathered under the same flag, the supporter club Änglarna, IFK fans created separate supporter factions, including Ultra Bulldogs, Young Lions and West Coast Angelz. IFK is the most popular football club in Sweden; A majority, 55%, of football fans in Gothenburg support IFK, and the club is the fourth most popular in Stockholm (after AIK, Djurgårdens IF and Hammarby IF) and the second most popular in Malmö, after Malmö FF., have been chosen for the dream team presented in the club's official 100 year jubilee book published in 2004, or have gained more than 90 caps for the Sweden national football team. The players are listed according to when they debuted for IFK Göteborg:




Technical staff


Notable managers

The following fourteen managers either have won at least one major honour with IFK Göteborg or have managed the team for more than 100 league matches. The managers are listed according to when they where first appointed manager for IFK Göteborg:



- Swedish football champions
- - Winners (18): 1908, 1910, 1918, 1934–35, 1941–42, 1957–58, 1969, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2007


- Allsvenskan:
- - Winners (13): 1934–35, 1941–42, 1957–58, 1969, 1982, 1984, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2007
- - Runners-up (11): 1924–25, 1926–27, 1929–30, 1939–49, 1979, 1981, 1986, 1988, 1997, 2005, 2009
- Svenska Serien:
- - Winners (5): 1912–13, 1913–14, 1914–15, 1915–16, 1916–17
- Fyrkantserien:
- - Winners (2): 1918, 1919
- Mästerskapsserien:
- - Winners (1): 1991


- Svenska Cupen:
- - Winners (5): 1978–79, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1991, 2008
- - Runners-up (5): 1985–86, 1998–99, 2004, 2007, 2009
- Allsvenskan play-offs:
- - Winners (5): 1982, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1990
- - Runners-up (1): 1985
- Svenska Mästerskapet:
- - Winners (3): 1908, 1910, 1918
- Svenska Supercupen:
- - Winners (1): 2008
- - Runners-up (2): 2009, 2010


- UEFA Europa League:
- - Winners (2): 1981–82, 1986–87
- Royal League:
- - Runners-up (1): 2004–05


- Home victory, Allsvenskan: 9–1 vs. IK Sleipner, 10 May 1925; 8–0 vs. Hammarby IF, 2 June 1925; 8–0 vs. Stattena IF, 21 April 1930
- Away victory, Allsvenskan: 9–2 vs. IFK Eskilstuna, 8 October 1933; 7–0 vs. IK Sleipner, 20 April 1941
- Home loss, Allsvenskan: 2–9 vs. Malmö FF, 10 September 1949
- Away loss, Allsvenskan: 0–7 vs. IFK Norrköping, 1 May 1960
- Highest attendance, Ullevi: 52,194 vs. Örgryte IS, 3 June 1959
- Highest attendance, Gamla Ullevi (1916): 31,064 vs. GAIS, 27 May 1955
- Highest attendance, Slottsskogsvallen: 21,580 vs. AIK Fotboll, 25 October 1931
- Highest average attendance, season: 23,796, 1977
- Most appearances, total: 609, Mikael Nilsson (born 1968) 1987–01
- Most appearances, Allsvenskan: 348, Bengt Berndtsson 1951–67
- Most goals scored, total: 333, Filip Johansson 1924–34
- Most goals scored, Allsvenskan: 180, Filip Johansson 1924–34
- Most goals scored, season, Allsvenskan: 39, Filip Johansson 1924–25


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