Published on 22/07/2011 12:29 AM
When it came, it came quickly.
In the space of a couple of years, Irish club sides went from being perennial whipping boys in European competition to competing – and beating – the best that Sweden had to offer.
I’ve been based in Stockholm for over twelve years now, moving from a dark, damp Dalymount to the terraces of Stockholm’s Olympic Stadium and Råsunda in 1999. In the beginning the Swedes were miles ahead. The year I moved here AIK faced Arsenal, Barcelona and Fiorentina in the Champions League group stage. Our nearest effort was a brave Shels side that made money, friends and no little progress, but ultimately came up short.