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The Scottish Influence in Swedish Football

Similar to other countries around the world, the nation of Sweden, who begin their Russia 2018 World Cup journey today,  would see help from Scottish migrants in introducing football to their country.

During the early 1890’s, a group of textile workers from Newmilns in Ayrshire were sent to Gothenburg to work at a sister factory. One of the workers, a lacemaker called John Lawson, set up a football section of Gothenburg Sports Club, Orgyte Idrottsallskap in 1892: making them the the oldest in Sweden.

The first ever game of Association football took place on 22nd May 1892 when Örgryte FC (ÖIS) took on I.S. Lyckans Soldater where Örgryte would win the match 1-0 fielding a team that included six Scots. By 1893 Örgryte were being referred to as Skottelaget (the Scottish team) fielding no less than seven players from across the North Sea.

The club would dominate the early years of Swedish football and were nicknamed ‘Skottelaget’ (Scottish team). At one point the team was so successful it was banned from playing in the local league. Eventually the Scottish workers went back home and Orgyte re-entered local competition.

Football remains a popular sport in Sweden and in 1958, the country hosted the World Cup, reaching the final- losing 5-2 to Brazil.

Lead image above: John Lawson, centre of the seated row, along with the Örgryte squad.

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