The streets of Helsingborg will come to life once again this Saturday when HIF start their Superettan campaign against Trelleborgs FF at the newly renovated Olympia.
While the game is technically a derby game, both clubs are located in the county of Skåne (Scania), they are at different ends of the county. Separated by roughly 80km (50 miles) as the eagle flies it won’t feel like a derby game in the true sense of the word in the same way as game against Malmö FF would.
In fact Saturday’s game will be important for a much more important reason as it marks the official opening of the newly renovated Olympia, HIF’s stadium.
Originally built in 1898, Olympia is thought to have been named as a consequence of the modern era of the Olympic Games which started in 1896. However, no actual Olympic Games have ever been held at the stadium.
In October 2014, Helsingborg City Council, who owns Olympia, voted unanimously to renovate and rebuild the stadium. The ground has a capacity of 16,000 which is made up of seats and safe standing terraces which can be converted to seating places if required.
At the time of writing 11:20 on Thursday before the game) the club has sold 12,245 tickets and there is high hopes that the match will be a sell out.
“It’s amazing, it’s incredible. You have to be on the ball if you want a ticket. It’s a hell of an achievement. I think we are moving towards having a full capacity!” says HIF’s club director Mats-Ola Schulze.
You think it might be a capacity crowed?
“Yes, I think it might be. It is often a good move those last days when there are these kind of games. The whole of Helsingborg is adorned in HIF colours and flags and we have seen a lot of social media advertising it. All over the city, we have received a great deal of help to create a successful opening weekend. The festivities start at one o’clock and I recommend to bring ear protection because there will be a hell of a lot of noise!”
And waiting for HIF in the first game is a fellow team from Skåne who has not played each other in the league since they were relegated from Allsvenskan in 2011, Trelleborg FF.
“It can not get better. Trelleborg are a classic team that were promoted back to the Superettan about a year ago and did well last season. I think this will be a memorable day for their players too.”
On HIF’s side a lot has happened since the team went were relegated from Allsvenskan in a blaze of infamy in November after the relegation play-off against Halmstad.
“It’s nice that the season kicks off again. I am happy with where we are now. We had a good annual meeting with the supporters who vote the most out of all clubs in Sweden attending the meeting. We have received 500 to 600 new members this year. HIF touches and engages their fans. Everyone in Helsingborg wants to be part of building a strong HIF and it’s amazing that everyone is pulling together!”
Kick off is on Saturday 1st April at 16.00 CET (BST +1)