AIK are another of Sweden’s more popular clubs, but they also seem to be one of the most detested too. Much like Millwall (“Everyone hates and we don’t care”) and Leeds United, they relish being disliked, and while their nickname Gnagare (rodents) may have been intended as an insult, AIK fans have adopted it with pride.
Like Millwall and Leeds, the club have a bad reputation for hooliganism, particularly in matches against IFK Göteborg, Hammarby or Djurgården. To others AIK supporters can come across as aggressive, confrontational and quite intimidating. But they are also passionate and have a strong fan culture. They have a number of supporter groups, including the notorious Black Army. Their average home attendance is the highest in Sweden, and in both home and away games they can create a great match atmosphere.
Despite coming from Solna, which technically isn’t Stockholm, no other club seems to have engaged more in the Stockholm-Göteborg rivalry. AIK fans are the only Stockholm club whose supporters I’ve seen carrying banners such as “Hatar, hatar, hatar Göteborg” or “100% anti-GBG”. The last time I saw them play, Gais fans spent the game chanting ‘Solna gypsies’. I’m sure the rivalry is evident in other clashes between clubs from Sweden’s two biggest cities, but it is even more heated when AIK are involved.
AIK won the double last season, the league title and the Swedish Cup, which has only emboldened their already boisterous supporters. As Champions they’ll be Sweden’s sole representative in next season’s Champions League. The only problem is they lost a number of their key players over the winter break, and mounting debts mean reinforcements aren’t likely.
Why Might I have Heard of Them?
AIK have sporadically competed in European competitions. Their most successful campaign to date was qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League in 1999, where they came last in a group that included Barcelona, Arsenal and Fiorentina. They also made it to the quarterfinals of the Cup Winner’s Cup in 1996/97.
Any players, past or present, I might know?
Veteran defender Nils-Eric Johansson used to play for Blackburn Rovers and Leicester. Bojan Djordjic was formerly a youth player at Manchester United, and has also played for Sheffield Wednesday, Rangers and Plymouth Argyle.
A number of former Swedish internationals have played for AIK including Johan Mjällby, Magnus Hedman and Olof Mellberg.
Colours and kit: Black and yellow. Black shirts with yellow trimmings, with white shorts.
Nicknames: Gnagare (rodents).
Home Ground: Råsunda, Solna