Swedish Addicks cheer on Charlton at Wembley

Members of the Swedish Addicks supporters group made the 900+ mile journey to Wembley last month to cheer on Charlton as they took on Sunderland in the Sky Bet League One play-off final.

www.cafc.co.uk spoke to Lars Liljegren, the founder of the Swedish Addicks, to talk about the game and what his reasons for following Charlton were.

When asked about the reason for following Charlton, Liljegren spoke of a game many people of his generation will be familiar with.

"[I've been following Charlton] since 1978. My older brother and his teammates in their club team had heard about the game Subbuteo. And in those days when you had no internet and things like that you had to import things and it was a rather big business and a lot of hard work to do.

And so, everyone pooled together and made a big order on that. My brothers and friends were all 14 and I was 10, so when they started the league, not to be too rude, they picked all the good teams! And so since I was four years younger I had to pick another team. I didn’t know much about any of the other teams but one of the guys that we knew had a football annual. I read about the teams and the history and things like that and so I picked Charlton!"

Liljegren also talked to us about the difficulties of keeping up to date with Charlton before the internet.

"If I go back to 1978, every Saturday there was one game live on Swedish television. Swedish television had a deal with BBC Midlands and so they showed all the games from there. There were games from Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Sunderland… and so a lot of people my age that support English teams will support; Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton, Hull or Sunderland.

In those days you could listen to BBC Midway if you were lucky, otherwise you could read the papers to get the results but if you wanted more information you had to wait for ‘Match!’ magazine which came about two weeks later so then I could see which players had played."

Liljegren and 9 others from Sweden made the trip to London for the big game.

"We took a flight on Saturday morning. For the expenses, ticket to the game and the hotel it cost roughly around £400 [each]. Then obviously we’d pay extra for food and drink and what came extra.

[The last time I came over] was away to Gillingham; I did enjoy it! It was not the best game that they played but they did what they had to do. They did better than the game before, for us, which was against Rochdale last Autumn."

Following Charlton's dramatic win over The Black Cats, Liljegren spoke about what the game meant for him and his Swedish Charlton friends.

"It was one of the best weekends in our Lives! We are very happy that we had the opportunity to be present since none of us 'original swedes' had the chance to be there 1998."

Charlton season tickets are back on sale and for a limited time the club are offering Championship football at League One pricing.

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