After the fans of both teams enjoyed a glorious warm day in the old town of Stockholm the atmosphere in the 50,000 capacity Friends Arena was electric and the pre-match team songs sung with gusto. The Arena, opened in 2012, is the home ground of Swedish top flight side AIK and is a short metro ride north of the city centre in the Solna district. After an almost perfect (!) minute's silence the final got underway; it was soon clear that Ajax couldn't cope with United's robust style of play. This was even more evident after Pogba's deflected effort put United ahead in the first-half. Mkhitaryan's acrobatic goal early in the second half effectively ended the contest. On the whole it was a disappointing spectacle, a goal from Ajax would have made it interesting. United threatened more goals while Ajax continued to lack a cutting edge despite having the bulk of position for the 90 minutes. Manchester were deserved winners; however the award ceremony was unsurprisingly understated in the circumstances experienced in Manchester earlier in the week.
Sadly some of the Ajax fans in the lower tier decided to rip out their seats and hurl them on the pitch at the end of the game, which only abated when the Ajax players went over to address them.
At the end of the evening on leaving the stadium police barriers either side of the end of the ground where the bulk of the Ajax fans were allocated blocked egress. This 'security' measure significantly delayed access to anywhere other than the coach park for the Dutch fans that arrived by that means. Even Gary Lineker was spotted climbing over barriers to try to find a way out of the contained area!
Both sets of fans mingled before and after match day, many Manchester fans stayed on and were evident in their club colours enjoying the delights of the city for a couple of days.
The 30,000 capacity Tele2 Arena, opened in 2013, is home of Stockholm's other two top flight sides Hammarby and Djurgarden and is adjacent to the Globen dome in the south of the city. The dome is the world's largest hemispherical building where a Skyview ride can be experienced with magnificent views over the city.
One of Sweden's all-time footballing legends, Lennart 'Nacka' Skoglund, formerly of Hammarby, AIk and Inter Milan is still 'worshipped' by Hammarby fans at a stainless steel statue erected (with goal-posts). The statue is located in a square in the Sodermalm district and worth a visit.
Stockholm is an excellent, maritime city to visit with many attractions and large areas of green spaces to enjoy the views across the 'islands' of the city environs. It is an expensive city to stay in, but as the football season runs through the Summer then there is a good chance that Wilkie Tours will visit some day.