“I wear Bajen shirts sometimes and it’s clear that people recognise it.”
- Alexander Skarsgard. [x]
^ Just sometimes baby?
(via fabulousvikinglovers)Source: alexanderssskarsbrow
(Full translation of Alex’s interview with Bajen fansite; Thanks to Maria for the translation!:)
Alexander Skarsgård: When you are at Söderstadion , you are back
That Hammarby, with the associated green and white commitment is alive and well across borders is nothing short of fantastic. Thanks to Oscar and Niklas, Bajare residing in the U.S., who are accessible to us Hammarby fans and Swedish fans, and enable us to publish an exclusive interview done with Alexander Skarsgård. Enjoy, readers!
Despite sporting setbacks in Hammarby, there has been a person that has always kept the flag flying. Many have been impressed by actor Alexander Skarsgård for his commitment to spread the word to green and white inhabitants on the other side of the Atlantic. In recent years, he has become something of an ambassador for the club. In an extended interview, Skarsgård talks about his life as Bajare in Hollywood and his commitment to Hammarby.
After having his breakthrough in Sweden, Skarsgård moved to Hollywood, California, where he now lives. Currently, he’s shooting the sixth season of the vampire series “True Blood” and he doesn’t deny that it is a lot of work.
- I have no free time here in Los Angeles (laughs). I work almost all the time with this. If I’m off for more than a few days, I try to go back to Sweden, he says.
Last year he bought a house in Los Feliz, an area that he likes to compare with Södermalm where he grew up.
- It’s kind of eastern Hollywood you can say, more like Downtown. It is relaxed and has a pleasant vibe. It’s not like the Hollywood and Beverly Hills stress. Before I bought the house I now live in, there were two areas that I thought was awesome. It was Venice and Los Feliz. Both of these areas has their own character and are a little more laid back, they reminded me most about home on Söder. I work in Hollywood and the daily trip to Venice is two hours by car. That was what determined that I moved there, I felt it was too long.
Since “True Blood” has become a popular series with many fans, Skarsgård has also become a name among Americans. However fame does not seem to bother him too much. He says that he has met some Bajare when he is out on the streets of LA.
- I do get recognized, absolutely. I guess I try to avoid shopping malls and the like where it is very crowded.
- I have a Bajen pennant on my car, so it happens that people see it. Then you do get some comments. I wear Bajen shirts sometimes and it’s clear that people recognize it. I have noticed that there are a lot of Bajare here. I have some friends like Joel (Kinnaman). He’s a hardcore Bajare and was raised in Söder, so we are a gang of Bajare away from home too.
At the time of the interview, it has been one day since Hammarby played the fourth round of the 2013 Superettan (Swedish soccer league). It became a loss away from home against Falkenberg, and many fans were disappointed by the difference in the game compared to the home game against Örebro, which was played in the earlier round, where Hammarby won and created many chances. Skarsgård belongs to the disappointed crowd of supporters and admits that he had high expectations for this season.
- I think we have an incredibly strong team and we’ll go up this year, no doubt about it. The Örebro game was amazing, and as fun as it was against Örebro, it was just as disappointing in the last game against Falkenberg. I hope it gets back on track because I think with the squad we have now, we belong in Allsvenskan (Swedish professional league for soccer clubs).
Although he often works and spends a lot of time on movie sets, he tries to follow Hammarby’s matches as much as possible. He says that he has problems with streaming matches and the conditions are usually not the best.
- Now, for example, I’m sitting in my trailer in Montebello which is an industrial area where we are filming in a soft drink factory. It is very often how it is that we’re out in strange places with bad internet. Mostly I follow live coverage from Hammarby Football website. They do a great job of reporting, but emotionally it’s a hassle, especially if you’re in an area with poor reception. Sometimes it does not work and sometimes you lose reception. It can get very frustrating.
How often are you on location in Sweden to see games live?
- As often as I can. Unfortunately it is very difficult with my schedule. Most often I’m off over Christmas about 10 days, and they do not play then, of course. But I try to time it so that I can come home and check out a game at Söder Stadium if I have the opportunity. But that said, it is not always possible. However, if I get three days off, I go home of course.
- I really hope to come home to the last game at Söder Stadium. We are filming then, but I’ll beg to get a few days off. It would be a dream to be part of the final game at Söder Stadium, it is a historic moment for everyone with green and white hearts, so it’s a given you want to be there. If I’m off for 48 hours, I’ll fly home for the evening, it’ll be worth it. And of course, it would be magical to be in the first match in the Nya Söderstadion. The PSG match would also be a blast to see. But again, it’s tricky when you live in LA But I’m doing everything I can to come home to these matches.
The move to New Söderstadion is something that he sees as necessary, but he also points out how much he loves Söderstadion and its charm.
- There are mixed feelings, as I think most of my friends also know, but I’m excited about the new stadium. If we are to become an established Premier Division club in Europe, we need a bigger stadium. I understand that the development has to go in that direction. It looks very nice, and I think it will be awesome. But it’s a little sad too. I love the old rusty Söderstadion, that’s where you grew up. It will probably be very emotional, the last home game I think.
Many remember Skarsgård from Söderstadion when he started the cheering with the chant “Hur ska vi ha’t” in the game against Syrianska at home in 2010. In connection with the match, he had previously been on Bajen Aid auction, an initiative of supporters to raise money for the club. There, he contributed two autographed movie boxes from “True Blood” and “Generation Kill” that he attempted to auction off for 10,000 kroner. When asked if he, similar to the match against Syrianska, will get up and lead the cheering, he chooses to respond more cautiously.
- I am not a leader of the cheering squad. We already have awesome peers attending to that. But of course I like to sing when I’m there. I felt it was time to start up the chant then and get the cheering going. It is possible that it happens again.
How involved are you in Hammarby’s other sports?
- It was through hockey that I started. It was Bernt Rosengren, an old jazz legend, his son Lasse and I were best childhood friends. Bernt took us to Bajens hockey games when we were eight, nine at the most, and I got to know the feeling at Hovet with the cheering and everything. I grew up in Söder so I was already Hammarbyare, but it was there my interest began, that’s where I fell in love with the club. Now I personally think that football is more fun than hockey, but it’s still fun to watch Hammarby in hockey. Jabbe (Jacob Avnet Holt) and the guys have done a fantastic job with Hammarby Hockey Fans.
What does a game day look like for you in Sweden? Where do you like to go before the game and how do you celebrate a victory?
- If the weather is nice, we gather at Medis, and we usually go to pubs around there. That’s where I am both before and after the games. There are various bars depending on which gang you are with. Most of my childhood buddies still live in Söder today
Childhood friends is something that Skarsgard mentions a lot. He says that they are a part of the security available in Sweden, along with family and Hammarby. A security that he values highly.
- My life has changed and looks very different in many ways today compared to how it looked 10 years ago. But it’s nice to have that foundation of some sort - to come home and meet up with childhood friends, sit at Medis, drink beer before the game and talk shit. Once you are back at Söderstadion, you’re one of the guys. It means a lot to me that I’m one of the gang there. It is something that has not changed even though my life has changed on many other levels. That is why it is incredibly important for me to come home. Not only home to Hammarby, but also to meet the family. Hammarby has meant a lot to me growing up and given me both love and sadness of course, as for all Bajare. It’s very important to keep for me, that you can be yourself.
Here in L.A. it is very much so that you meet people from the industry who are actors. My childhood buddies at home are workers. Söder, when I grew up, was different than what it is now. Now it’s a pretty rich neighborhood. When I grew up there in the early 80’s it was a plodding neighborhood. My buddies are from the working class and many of them are working class. It’s very important for me to have things remain so. In their eyes, I’m the same old Alex who in -93 went on the Hammarby Fans bus to Trelleborg, or where ever the hell we went. This is important for me to hold on to, very important.
Skarsgård has never been slow to show this love to Hammarby. In a television commercial in 2010, he and Joel Kinnaman tried, wearing game jerseys, to hitchhike from Hollywood Boulevard to Jönköping where Hammarby would play an away game. Recently, Skarsgard got attention when, in an American talk show he explained to the TV host what his favorite song is. Many Hammarbyare smiled when they heard him sing Kenta “ Just Idag Är Jag Stark.” Skarsgard says he always tries to introduce new people to Hammarby and the hard work has paid off.
- I have quite a few American pals who like football, and they are Bajare now. I’ve recruited them so when I go home I buy scarves and shirts for them. For example, at the moment I’m working in an industrial park outside LA , where a catering dude is running around in a Hammarby jersey. I brought a Bajen shirt for him. I try to spread Hammarby as much as possible
He has gone to various sporting events in the U.S. and feels that the American sports culture can’t be compared with the one you can find at Söderstadion.
- I’ve gone to some Lakers Games and I was at the Kings match when they won the Stanley Cup last season. It’s a fun experience, for example, to see the Lakers at the Staples Center with 18,000 spectators. But you won’t get the kick you get at Söderstadion. It’s not at all the same power and not at all the same adrenaline.
You can’t compare the sports culture here in the U.S. That’s what I mean, we have to protect our sports culture in Sweden. Going to games here in the U.S. I think is extremely dull. It’s a completely different experience. In the middle of game, people can go and buy sausages or hang out in the souvenir stand. You’ll find the most power in the stadium when they shoot out free t-shirts. It’s not the same as at home at Söderstadion. It’s really fun to take people who have previously not been to Söderstadion, because they get absorbed in the new experience.
The closest to it was when I was in Louisiana in connection to doing a film a few years ago. Then I went to a college football match and watched as Louisiana met Alabama. It is a great rivalry between the two schools. There was the power.
It’s at the college level that more people fight for their team. There they have no “corporate sponsorships”. Here in the U.S. they also buy the clubs. A club can move from one city to another. It’s like some rich guy from Malmö would buy Hammarby and move the team down there. It’s very fabricated . At the college level, I feel it’s more genuine. There is still a lot of money involved, but not as at the pro level. Still college football is almost as big as the professional level, but the players don’t get paid. So it’s not quite the same as on a professional level.
The discussion continues on his view on Bengal fires (fireworks). He makes it clear that he first and foremost wants it to be safe on the Swedish stadiums, but also think it’s important to try to preserve the Swedish sports culture and not try to regulate it too much. He talks about the responsibility of the media and how they often defame the active supporters holding the Swedish sports culture alive.
- You have to find a balance. It is extremely important of course to have a high level of security at the stadiums. But it is also important that we let the sports culture live and don’t stifle it too much. It’s amazing - there is so much love and joy there. I think that Hammarby and a great many other clubs are very active in trying to find a position where it is safe and secure, but also can turn wild. In a cheering section, there should be smoke - in a positive sense. It is such an amazing energy when you stand there – you want to keep that the energy. I don’t think anyone who has stood in the cheering section in Hammarby, or any other club, would oppose it. Of course one should oppose it if there is violence in the stands or fire hazard. But it is another thing. It is dangerous to stigmatize the entire supporter culture. Sometimes it’s very black and white in the media when talking about it - to say all who are active supporters are mass murderers.
That Skarsgård knows what supporting is all about is no secret, given his history. He talks about going to many away games when he was young with the Hammarby fans busses and he saw Hammarby take their first national championship of all time. He has a few favorite memories that he remembers particularly well.
- When we beat Vasalund in -93, it was damn fun. It was in Stockholm when we went up in the Allsvenskan. Obviously, winning the gold medal too. It was an absurd feeling. I was there. I even have Peter Holm’s shoe at home. I managed to get hold of it, so it is here in LA in my bookcase.
But the SM-gold was so weird too. It became an identity crisis among fans. I started going during the 90’s so the whole growing up was that we have never taken the cup and we have never taken national championships. It was a chant you stood and sang. We were always the underdogs. We were the gritty club from the south of Stockholm who didn’t have the money of AIK or Djurgården - but had an incredible loyalty and love. That was our whole identity. In a way it was strange when we won. It was like, “oh well?” In no way was it that now it is we who are Swedish champions, we are the ones that everyone else wants to beat. It was an incredibly strange feeling while quite lyrical course. But there was also this: “what now?” There were many who almost bragged that “we are crappy but I’m Bajare anyway”. I even had a t-shirt with the words “we have never won the Cup, never taken national championships, but we could not care less of it, everyone knows who we are, we are Hammarby fans and from Södermalm.” There was a kind of pride in it. In the middle of the joy, many were perplexed: “Who are we now?”
Skarsgard remembers the players who did everything for the club - the faithful and genuine Hammarbyere.
- Mike Hellstrom is a favorite with his loyalty. He was always there for his entire career - it was so powerful. Kennedy also, absolutely. He is an awesome dude. I remember 10 years ago when I ran into him at Hoven when Hammarby was playing hockey. He is a genuine Bajare with an incredible passion. I have always loved Pétur too.
As his idols struggled on the field, he hopes that the fans will continue to fight, despite setbacks. He sends a greeting to all Hammarby fans worldwide and promises to do his utmost to come home this summer to bid farewell to his beloved Söder Stadium.
- Fight on. Hopefully I’ll see you at the last game at Söder Stadium on June 23. I will do everything in my power to see to it. Even if I have to row home in a canoe across the Atlantic. I’ll do anything - I have to go home to that.
(via vikingwenches)Source: skarsgardnews