If you’re an Assyriska fan, and you’re tired of your beloved side being left out of the world’s best football community, consider becoming our new team blogger. We can get you set up in a matter of a day or two, and then you can be sharing your thoughts on the team, transfers, results and everything else Assyriska with the world. If you’re interested, fill out an application at http://www.theoffside.com/bloggers and we’ll get back to you soon.
Just like Mirko Slomka is both manager of Hannover and assistant coach at Milan.
Ryan Babel the player:
Ryan Babel the rapper/moozishan (goes by the alias “Kid Cudi”):
I know this is the Assyriska Offside (and to be specific, the recently self-declared soon-to-be inactive Assyriska Offside), but I still reserve the right to post things of immense importance.
This has to be one of the best passes ever made in the A-League, let alone this season.
….not bad for a young Costa Rican making his (correction: home) debut in the A-League.
I just realised that you need to actually see the camera view from behind the goal to truly appreciate and understand how good this pass was. Hopefully some more angles of this goal will emerge from the depths of youtube and the A-League Offside picks up on it soon. Surely this will make 101gg’s ‘assists of the week’ video?
I have really been neglecting my sacred duty as a blogger in the past couple of months. While my passion and commitment to football is so unbounded that I look at any non-football related activity or undertaking with indifference and even disdain, blogging began to take a toll on me. It became a burden, almost a liability, which is where my tentative situation with Assyriska Foreningen comes in.
It became difficult to watch the team I am actively blogging about – or to even read news about them – since every new piece of information, every incident in a game, every goal scored or conceded, hell even down to every substitution, became something I was responsible for disseminating to the many or few (just say [>1]) ardent or casual readers of this blog. This was a growing encumbrance, and it forced me to rethink just what I was doing. However, this was not the tipping point. Some other things happened which I cannot explain on here, so I am asking you to use your imagination as I go from this paragraph to the next.
I am stepping aside from the Assyriska blog. My last duty as the inaugural (and hopefully legendary) Assyriska blogger is to find a suitable and committed replacement. One who won’t abandon ship like I have. However, the last thing I want to do is leave the blogging community altogether, let alone The Offside. It’s just too awesome to turn away from. I’ll be there or thereabouts, contributing somewhere and somehow to something sometime or another.
Money – great. Conditions – great. Job security – zilch. No joke, we go through more coaches than Real Madrid.
Pictured: The Tubby Swedish Mourinho, Conny Karlsson, holding aloft a Helsingborg jersey. I expect the club will announce a permanent successor in the coming week(s).
Latest transfer rumour – Petter Digneus.
It’s been around two weeks since my brief part-disappointment part-my-internet-sucks induced sojourn, and a lot has happened since.
- First on the agenda is the continued fallout from the now infamous qualifier (made infamous by uncivilized Djurgardens hooligans). DIF belatedly released a statement regarding the events. What stood out was that they ridiculously tried to shift some blame onto Assyriska, basically suggesting something along the lines of it was our own players’ faults that they didn’t, in an instant, teleport themselves (see illustration) off the field to avoid before being surrounded left right and bloody centre by the onrushing pitch invaders. That made me laugh [see the last line under the heading 'safety of the invasion plan'].
- Police are now close to identifying the thugs who attacked our players (well, the fool who punched Andi Toompuu at least).
- Better yet, police now know the hooligan who attacked Andi, and he will be arrested asap. Apparently this poor excuse for a football supporter (sorry, human being) has a record of football related violence. I hope he never steps foot in a stadium again.
- The referee of said infamous match, Martin Ingvarsson, had the following to say:
What would have happened if I had made a decision that the greater majority of the audience had thought was wrong?
In other words, he is suggesting that he favoured Djurgardens during the match because he was intimidated and most likely fearing for his safety. He is now considering quitting football. Unruly hooligans/ultras rejoice, normal rule-abiding supporters worry about the state of Swedish football.
I wonder what sort of punishment and sanctions we would have received had this actually happened in Sodertalje. Without intending to suggest racism on the part of the Swedish Football Association (or whatever they are called), but without intending not to, I’d say Assyriska would have had their right to compete in Swedish football revoked. But that’s a story for another day. The punishment to be handed out to Djurgardens will be made public in early December (the 5th to be precise).
Three of them in fact. All Swedish. All defenders.
Presenting…. Gustaf Segerstrom. Gustaf is a tall and probably no nonsense central defender coming on a free transfer after leading IK Sirius to relegation, as their captain. He scored 5 goals last season. He’s 27. He’s got some awesome facial hear.
Presenting…. Richard Jansson. Richard joins us from Ljungskile SK where he has been for the last 4 years. He experienced the Allsvenskan with them in 2008, making 28 appearances and managing a goal. He is a central defender and joins us at a great age (25). He counts the mohawk as one of his hairstyles.
Last (but certainly not least), presenting David Björkeryd. David is the youngest signing at 23 years of age and joins us from (also) relegated Qviding. He is a left back. He survived the tackle pictured.
Oscar Berglund’s future is up in the air, and so we’ve been linked to Hammarby’s Kristoffer Björklund.
Tobias Rick Hammer is training with us. Must be signed, if only because he has such a cool name. Also, he scored 10 goals for division 1 (3rd tier) club IK Sleipner (the same club we signed Lorenzton from) as a wide midfielder. He is only 19 years of age. Good replacement for Petter Furuseth, who seems unlikely to return to us following his loan season from Lyn Oslo.
Martin Lorentzon on a free to AIK. Our best defender, hence the above signings.
Hmm, I think that does it. Oh wait, just a small bit of news I just read… CONNY KARLSSON WILL MANAGE HELSINGBORG AND NOT US NEXT SEASON!!!! The tubby Swedish Mourinho was almost a certainty to sign on for 2-3 years with us, but somehow slipped through our grasp and will be coaching in the Allsvenskan next season. This is a massive blow to what was going to be another must-be-promoted-this-season season in 2010.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must break some timber with my elbow to ease the pain.
Still not over this.
24 hours later and I am still hating football. Unbelievably devastated. Words seem pointless at this moment.
Words cannot describe how big this game is. The money, the increased audience, the potential to play in Europe and all the rest of the flow-on effects from promotion to the top flight are ancillary to most Assyriska supporters. What really makes it significant for us is the fact that we will repeat history as being the only immigrant club ever to play in the highest league in any European country. You just have to read this article from FIFA.com, which appeared shortly after our promotion in 2005, to understand the significance:
Assyriska rises to Sweden’s promised land
They have been called modern day churches, provided a sanctuary for the oppressed and an escape for the masses. But despite the religious likeness, few football stadiums can claim to house spectators speaking the language of the Lord – until now.
Aramaic, the tongue said to have been spoken by Jesus Christ, is regularly chanted by the faithful of Assyriska, a club in, of all places, Central Sweden. Last month, the team, founded in 1974 by descendants of the Assyrian people who had fled from the Ottoman Empire in 1914, gained promotion to the top flight of the domestic league for the very first time.
“Assyriska feels like a national team for the entire group,” said club president Zeki Bisso. “For all of us who were oppressed in our home countries for many years … this felt superb, it was something every Assyrian wanted to take pride in.”
The very first Christian converts, the Assyrians, historically from the Mesopotamian region between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris in the Middle East, have never had a state of their own. After the beginning of the First World War, a great number dispersed across the globe with many of that diaspora ending up in Sweden. Since then, the club has provided a means of identity and unity not only for those living in Scandinavia but for close to two million Assyrians living throughout the world.
For a people who have become used to playing the waiting game, 30 years for Assyriska to rise from the depths of the seventh division to Sweden’s Premier League was not too much to ask. But, despite screening the decider against Orgryte live to 82 countries with thousands more gathering from all over Europe, it so nearly ended in tears.
Assyriska, who had won the first leg of the play-off for promotion 2-1 at home in Sodertalje, fell to an extra time winner in the second leg. It seemed like more disappointment for a team that had failed at the final hurdle in the Swedish Cup the previous year.
Intervention, though, was to come from the Swedish Football Association (SVFF) a day later. Because top flight club Orebro had run into debt, Assyriska were elevated to the Premier League.
“At that moment we just felt such enormous joy, I figured everybody in the world is Assyrian now, even God is Assyrian, or at least a supporter,” said Robil Haidari, the club’s marketing director.
Local resident Abraham Staifo could not contain his joy.
“It encouraged the young ones to feel pride in being what they are, and brought tears to the eyes of the elderly. It was so much more than just football,” he gushed. “The Assyrian people have few opportunities to express themselves. We felt our hearts would shoot out from our chests. That is why the elderly cried.”
Scattered across the globe from New Zealand to Brazil, calculations for the number of Assyrians vary from one to more than three million. In April, many will turn their gaze back to Sweden where Assyriska, now coached by Portugal’s Jose Morais, will rub shoulders with the likes of Malmo, IFK Gothenburg and Halmstad when the new season kicks off. Who knows what 2005 will bring? But one thing is for sure – the Assyrians will never stop believing…
Nostalgic, historic, euphoric, epic and any other kinds of talk aside, we cannot get carried away. In about 12 hours, we have a football match to play. It’s the second and final leg of a certain playoff, and we are leading 2-0 on aggregate. Our opposition is a fallen giant of Swedish football, which makes them both vulnerable yet highly dangerous at the same time. Over 3,000 fans will travel for the game in Stockholm, and will be outnumbered by DIF’s notorious supporters by more than 3 to 1 in what is really a cauldron of football.
Kick off: Sunday November 8th, 4:45pm Stockholm time, Monday November 9th 2:45am Australian time, and something in between for the rest of the world (except for New Zealand).
So much for revenge. DIF player, but on loan to his boyhood club Assyriska, Stefan Batan, suffered a broken leg (well, more a broken bone in his leg) after only 10 minutes in the first leg in Sodertalje. Luckily it isn’t a Cisse-style broken leg (didn’t require surgery or even a cast) and thus he will only be out for 4 weeks. Nonetheless, he will miss this match. His replacement will most likely be Kristoffer Näfver, the same man who replaced him during the match a few days ago, and expertly set up Dennis Ostlundh for the first goal. Another possibility may be sticking Eddie Moussa over on the left wing, and with Xehvdet Llumnica starting up front alongside captain Marklund. This however may be slightly too attack minded for coach Conny’s liking. It’s especially more unlikely, or coincidental, in light of this. Come to think of it, the more you think about what Conny might do, the more doubt you cast upon each possibility. Let’s just wait and see.
Oh, and Bergman may also miss the game through an injury sustained in the first leg, but his situation is easy – a straight swap for the always reliable Conateh. Please please please please concentrate for the entire 90 minutes, if only for only these 90 minutes. Then you can never concentrate again for all I care, Lamine.
And as for them, well all the google-translated articles have been saying that veteran DIF striker “Michael Owen” will return for this game. Apparently Mattias Jonson is Michael Owen in Swedish. Or google translate isn’t doing it’s job properly. Djurgardens are still missing a bunch of players, who have hopefully made their last appearance in the Allsvenskan in a DIF shirt at least until 2011.
Pre-match noise pollution:
It’s been a little quiet. The short turnaround between games probably has a little to do with this. Or has everything to do with this. Also, DIF would have been feeling mightily shell-shocked the second Dennis Ostlundh smashed his header past an almost lifeless Dembo Tourray at the near post for the first goal. As such, they have tried the ‘let our football do the talking’ this time around. But that’s not to say DIF coach Andree Jeglertz was completely silent. He had a few words, mostly cliche’s, so about the only thing that stood out was “it is more to chew down the opponents.”
Coach Conny will certainly be regretting not finishing off DIF in the first leg, where the team as a whole decided to remove their feet off the accelerator in the last 20 minutes or so of the match despite DIF being completely demoralised.
Now, his team approaches this game with a greater degree of self-confidence. Before, we felt ‘no fear’. Now, it’s Djurgardens doing all the fearing. We now believe we can go to Stockholm and match DIF in quality and beat them on the day, let alone on aggregate. But, Conny says, it’s “easier said than done to do that again. It is not just pressing a button. It will not be easy at the Stadium to do what we did.”
A big issue being relayed in the Swedish media in the days after the first leg has been the supposed advantage we enjoyed on the artificial grass in the Sodertalje Arena. On artificial grass, the surface is a harder and flatter, meaning the ball bounces higher and runs much quicker. Thus, it comes as no surprise that some Djurgardens players used this as a reason for their hopeless display, expressing their dismay and surprise at the speed at which Assyriska were moving with and without the ball. That’s called we’re better than you, in my humble opinion. Coach Conny does not believe Djurgardens will have a similar advantage over Assyriska on the natural grass in Stockholm. I’ll assume he knows what he’s talking about.
Links and stuff:
Assyriska has been linked (think of a chain made of grass as opposed to metal) to the former captain of recently relegated IK Sirius (recently relegated to Division 1 that is), Gustaf Segerstrom, who has left the club as a free agent. He’s a defender who likes to score goals (5 in 28 this season). Pass.
Our wily winger Petter Furuseth, who is only on loan from Lyn Oslo in Norway, has been linked with a return to his former club Hammarby. Doubt that.
Assyriska would love to keep coach Conny and tie him down for the next century. Or 3 years. This blogger says yes to both.
Petter Furuseth’s super cool fiance interviews coach Conny’s wife. Why not?
Not long now till the Allsvenska party!
Well, to me greatness is just getting promoted. Considering we were in the 3rd tier of Swedish football in 2007, and were in an absolutely shambolic situation 2 months ago, last night’s/morning’s/yesterday’s victory was damn near perfection. Assyriska utterly dominated one of Sweden’s biggest clubs. A side which gave Juventus a decent run for their money a few years ago. Our passing and movement (well, what I was able to see occasionally in between refreshing my stream) was superb and had DIF looking confused and simply inferior. They barely even created a chance (save for a heart-palpitating moment that can be seen at the end of this video).
The majority of the post-match reactions (from all sides) suggest a common theme – Assyriska is ready for the Allsvenskan after this mighty performance – both in terms of the actual aggregate score, and the fact that we showed that style, swagger and verve which made Assyriska synonymous with entertaining football (and kind of allowed us to beat these very same opponents 4-0 in the Swedish cup semi finals in 2003). I recall several occasions where either one of our centre backs Bergman or Bengtsson (no Conateh thank you) would receive the ball about midway through our half, and 3 precise on-the-ground passes later Marklund is running at DIF’s cowering defenders. No long balls, no party. That’s the Assyriska way.
No injuries and no suspensions meant we lined up with Conny’s familiar 4-4-2 set up.
Lorentzon, Bergman, Bengtsson (Conateh 71′), Samuelsson
Furuseth, Ostlundh, Toompuu, Batan (Nafver 16′)
Eddie, Marklund (Llumnica 68′)
Unfortunately Stefan Batan could not personally inflict revenge/punishment upon his parent club as he sustained an injury (*update: he broke a bone in his leg and will undergo surgery*) after only 10 minutes and had to eventually be replaced by Nafver, who performed excellently.
Djurgardens were missing four players (whom I have very little interest in naming) through injury. They unsuccessfully lined up with a 4-3-3/4-5-1. Like I said to someone sometime somewhere, Djurgardens must really dislike playing us.
1-0 Dennis Ostlundh 38′
2-0 Goran Marklund 48′
Take your pick. I could dedicate a doctoral thesis on the comments in the lead up to this match. Batan spoke about revenge (or maybe I just interpreted it that way), Llumnica spoke about having no fear and perennial does-nothing-but-is-in-the-squad-and-gets-paid Martin Aslund said “There is too little experience in the club and too much internal conflict”. Well, you’re looking pretty silly now aren’t you Martin?
There was also the revelation that DIF have had a scout watching Assyriska, Sundsvall and the self-haters for an entire month in preparation for this playoff. Bosse Andersson had the following to say prior to the match: “Assyriska, I have seen the most times, three matches, so these I have the best track of. In this way, it is fortunate that there are those we may face, while it is clearly the best football team of the three. It is definitely a good team that we can look up to and have full respect for”. Andersson’s contribution to the DIF cause proved to be insignificant, but he was at least able to make one useful observation prior to the match, stating Göran Marklund “is a scorer with great qualities”. A cunning insight before the match, and an obvious one after.
Ok, so it didn’t quite break the attendance record as predicted (7,131 souls braved the freezing conditions) but the intense and nervous atmosphere kept the mercury above zero. Since, as usual, the game streamed piss-poorly thanks to Australia’s pathetic broadband capabilities in comparison with Europe..actually let’s just leave it at that. The video, my ramblings, and this minute-by-minute report on the game should provide any interested parties with a comprehensive view of the events of the match.
From what I saw, Goran Marklund was at his imperious best, terrorising the Djurgardens defense, Martin Lorentzon dominated the right side of defense as he always does, and Berglund was the usual impenetrable wall of doom. The stats paint a consistent picture with my biased analysis – 13 shots on goal compared to DIF’s 3. The only negatives to emerge are injuries to Stefan Batan and Philip Bergman, with the former definitely set to miss the return match.
DIF forward Sebastian Rajalakso summed up the night: “It felt good when we got here, but now I am hugely embarrassed. We made the fans disappointed.” Meanwhile, Goran Marklund teased DIF, asserting “It was not more difficult than in the Superettan” and “I always make goals against Djurgarden” referring to his former AIK days. However he stepped down from his (deserved) lofty position on the pedestal, “had someone said before that we would beat Djurgarden 2-0 in a qualifier [it would] have been perceived as a joke.”
The Swedish Mourinho - Conny Karlsson – was delighted (yeah, obviously) – describing the performance as ‘fantastic’ and was especially pleased with the clean sheet.
Miscelanous jovial post-match comments:
“We have a good starting point.” – Petter Furuseth
“I think Djurgarden behaved as expected, nervous and uncertain and it benefited us.” – Oscar Berglund
“Will be new conditions, we play on natural grass. It will be exciting and it’s fun to go into the match with a 2-0-lead. I suspect that Pierre is away on Sunday, Stefan also [not so jovial].“ – coach Conny.
DIF coach Andree Jeglertz was nothing short of disappointed as he attempted to shed light on this ignominious defeat and the match to come: “We have put ourselves in a very tricky situation.” He described his team as ‘nervous’ and the overall performance ‘abysmal’. Neither him, the players nor their fans were expecting this after three straight wins in the Allsvenskan which had pulled them off the foot of the table and into this playoff. Jeglertz singled out the speed at which Assyriska played: “We were ready for it to go fast but it went much faster than we could handle.” Consistent with this, DIF striker Mikael Dahlberg also expressed his surprise at the speed at which Assyriska attacked, suggesting the artificial grass at the Sodertalje Arena was a significant factor.
In trying to explain the defeat, Jeglertz used the tried and tested ‘we were tired’ gag, but correctly alluded to his team failing to close down the space and press Assyriska: “We had talked about that we would be aggressive in our defensive play but we were too far from the opponents all the time.” On the return leg in Stockholm, : “We must attack, but we must do it with understanding. It is a very tough but not impossible situation.”