Sweden introduced a new formula of the championship – after the regular season the top 8 teams of First Division proceeded to the next phase: cup-like direct elimination culminating with a final. The bottom 4 teams went to promotion-relegation play-offs against the top 2 teams of each Second Division group.
Djurgardens IF won Division 2 Norra with 30 points, followed by
Gefle IF, also with 30 points, but worse goal-difference.
Division 2 Sodra was won by
Those four teams were to meet the last 4 in the First Division. At the end of the regular part of the season they were: Atvidabergs FF, 12th with 10 points, AIK, 11th with 18 points, IFK Norrkoping – 10th with 19 points and Kalmar FF – 9th with 19 points.
Gefle played with Kalmar FF and won; Hacken won against Norrkoping, and Mjallby – against Atvidabergs. Three of the second division teams were promoted. Only AIK kept its place in the top league after beating Norrkoping – thus, the champion of Division 2 Norra was not promoted.
The first phase of the championship mattered only for qualifying to the direct elimination phase, which practically meant that the 8th placed team had a good chance to emerge as champions, no matter how poorly they performed in the regular season.
Örgryte IS was 7th also with 21 points.
Östers IF – 5th with 24 points.
Malmo FF ended 4th with 25 points.
IF Elfsborg was 3rd with 26 points, Hammarby IF – 2nd with 28 points, and IFK Goteborg – 1st with 29 points.
The direct elimination stage acknowledged the regular season – the 1st played against the 8th, 7th against 2nd, and so on – thus, chances of the weakest teams winning the title were reduced, but still had good chances. Theoretically. In fact, the stronger clubs won easily and not just at the quarterfinals – in the ½ finals IFK Gotebord completely destroyed Malmo FF – 3-0 and 5-1. Hammarby, thoug, got the sacre – IF Elsfborg won the home leg 3-1 and Hammarby managed to reach the final only after winning 3-0 their home leg.
So, nothing unusual happened – the top two teams of the regular stage reached the final. The first leg was in Goteborg and the first surprise happened: Hammarby won 2-1. Looked like they had the title in the bag… but in Stockholm happened the second surprise – IFK Goteborg prevailed 3-1 and snatched the title.
Hammarby IF, pictured here together with their women team and wearing something like Christmas hats, did very well this year. They lost the title, unfortunately, but 2nd place was good enough at the end.
The Cup final opposed IFK Goteborg to Östers IF. Naturally, both teams had their own ambitions. May be because of that, may be because Goteborg was popular team, but the final in Stockholm was well attended – after reaching the all-time lowest attendance in 1981, when only 2200 fans showed up, this year the number jumped to 13 859! Not an impressive number for almost any other country, but this is Sweden – people were not all that crazy about football, and such a number was high. The finalists delivered dramatic match and IFK Goteborg extracted a 3-2 win. The Cup was theirs.
Middle row: Leif Widén, Per-Olof Bild, Jan Matsson, Karl-Gunnar Björklund, Mats Nordgren, Vilmos Varszegi, Stig Svensson
Sitting: Gudmundur Steinson, Johnny Gustavsson, Thomas Ravelli, Stefan Gustafsson, Greger Hallén, Tommy Evesson.
Young Thomas Ravelli was making his name, although his best years were to come between the goalposts of another club – no other, but IFK Goteborg.
Middle row: assistant coach Gunder Bengtsson, coach Sven-Göran Eriksson, Tommy Holmgren, Martin Holmberg, Jan-Erik Nilsson, Jerry Carlsson, Tord Holmgren, Glenn Holm.
Sitting: Glenn Schiller, Thomas Wernersson, Ove Tobiasson, Håkan Sandberg.
This became the best ever squad of the club – at least to date, but very likely the best ever even now. The first Swedish team winning European tournament, adding a domestic double – the boys won everything this year. It was their 8th title and 2nd Cup. It was their first domestic double. The whole team was becoming instantly famous – and with that: the trouble. No Swedish club was capable of keeping star players and coaches. It was just a great opportunity for the new stars to get good foreign contracts – and if some names are very familiar even today, they are associated with other clubs… Sven-Goran Eriksson, Dan Corneliusson, Glenn Hysen, Torbjorn Nilsson, Glen Stromberg – all of them made their names this year with IFK Goteborg. So far, the strongest ever Swedish team – after all, the strong Malmo FF of the 1970s lost international finals.