AIK are Swedish Champions. Built upon nine agonising years of nearly. Nine years of getting a taste of that league title without ever being able to take a full bite. On Sunday, 10,000 AIK fans travelled down to Kalmar's 12,000 seater stadium sensing that this was their time. One point needed for the title.

Runners up in 2016 and 2017, a top four finish in each of the past seven seasons. Achievement, yes, but weighed down by frustration. AIK have been chasing along the title path for nearly a decade and on Sunday they found themselves at the Allsvenskan door, ready to knock it down with an army of 10,000 behind them.


If there were any pre-match butterflies in the air they were soon smoked out by a blaze of flares as nerves turned to expectation; the fans sensing that this was finally their time. Seven days previous AIK had a chance to win the title in their own stadium. A win over mid-table GIF Sundsvall would have clinched it – that would have been the easy route, the simple story. But a 0-0 draw after 25 shots resulted in a week long wait.

A full house at home, the ideal time to lift the title? Perhaps, but it would have been a false end to this story of tension and emotion. This had to go to the final game. Filling an opposition stadium and waiting for the final kick on the final day of the season. That was the perfect finale for AIK. Scripted from the start, the fans not having a single moment of respite in an energy draining season; that's what made the 1-0 win and title celebrations all the sweeter. Relief, ecstasy, closure.

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Photography by Bildbryan and Joakim Hall.

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