DIF - Hammarby 1-0
I love derby games... the atmosphere, the stakes, the adrenaline... the fire in players and supporters eyes is so much more than just a “my car has to be better than my neighbours” –kind of thing. Passion about a team increases when you have a sworn enemy from so close that it even takes rivalry to an everyday life. Who gives a monkey what is happening in Norrköping the next day, everyone wants to be the one celebrating and joking at the office and in the own streets. For supporters derby games are the most important of the season, so we players show our respect to this tradition by going all in all the time on the pitch. It is not originally our history, but we inherit and play like it.
Apparently, in aftermath I have raised a moral discussion in Sweden. Because some people have watched enough replays in suitable angles so that they know what my intensions were in a sole situation. I don’t care the slightest about anything – good or bad - that is been said, because it is all based on false assumptions. I am only morally binding to the truth, which is that I have never tried to injure a fellow professional and nobody has ever had to finish a game because of my actions. Neither did happen now either. So you should only write me red cards at Xmas: in my career – including junior games since I started 1982 – I have never been sent off or should have got the marching orders, rarely in my 450 professional games I have even got a yellow card. There are rules in football and referee to interpret them, nobody can or should escape a 15 year career without been found out. Playing tough in front of everyone’s eyes is different than cheating or being morally questionable. I have and will never hold anything back in any situation. I also believe in rules of the game and will stand accordingly behind everything I do. I actually thought the game was clean and calm, nothing compared to dozens of heated derby games I am used to in England and Germany, or even in Norway.
I don’t like to find controversies where they don’t exist. It is disrespectful towards the game. I rather talk about a good game of football, great sporting event that just took place. Sweden and both clubs can be proud of the Stockholm derby and people around it, the great support from both sides created a magical atmosphere to match. It was football culture at its greatest and the intense, good quality game gave a show worth of the ticket in return. My maximum respect.