Ronnie Hillgren from Sweden
„I’ve infected others too“
As the light in the sport hall flickered on, Ronnie Hillgren was already lacing up his boots. On this particular Tuesday evening, the Swede was meeting up with some workmates for a kick-about. Proudly in his bag, he had the jersey of his favourite team – but not with the colours of Malmo or Goteborg! This Swede was preparing to pull on the VfL Wolfsburg shirt.
VfL reports in Swedish sport portal
Generally, VfL plays a distinctive role in his free time. The web developer from Stockholm is a big sports fan. Be it running, badminton, tennis or football – Hillgren has plenty of interests, but all the while, his lucky charm is in Green-White: “I always wear my VfL sweatband, otherwise I’d lose.” VfL won the Swede’s heart through his family: “My mother is from Fallersleben. When I was younger and began to gain an interest in football, VfL had just won promotion to the top flight.” Since then, Hillgren and his brother have been fateful fans – but he has infected others with the VfL Wolfsburg virus too: “I have ‘forced’ my friends to take more of an interest,” joked the ‘Wolves’ fan.
Hillgren watches almost every VfL game live on TV or on the internet and subsequently often reports on the games himself: “Here in Sweden there is a big sport portal in the internet called SveskaFans.com. Together with a friend I started a VfL section there and we write a couple of articles on every game.” The site provides VfL Wolfsburg’s biggest internet presence in Sweden.
Away in Moscow
There is nothing quite watching a game live in the stadium and a couple of times a year, Hillgren, with friends and family, make the trip to see the ‘Wolves’ in action: “We’ve seen Wolfsburg in quite a few different stadiums,” explained the web developer, who considers the away game at CSKA Moscow as one of the highlights: “When VfL qualified for the Champions League in 2009/2010, my brother, my father and I really wanted to go to an away game.” The Swedes were probably the only VfL fans who didn’t make the trip in a rented bus and in Moscow, the VfL fans got a taste of the local hospitality in the tube-train: “Luckily I understand some Russian, otherwise I would have felt insulted,” said Hillgren. The fans from Sweden were also somewhat puzzled by the police and army presence in the stadium: “The police officers were quite nice and as we stood out in our little group, we even got a private escort home in the tube.” In the end, all proved quiet and the trip was an enjoyable one in spite of the Green-Whites losing 1-2.
The greatest experience for Ronnie Hillgren, as it was for many others, was the title win in 2009 – and the Swede was live in the stadium for the 5-0 win in Hanover on the penultimate match day. “That was a great experience. I’d never seen the ‘Wolves’ play as well as that live in the stadium before,” said Hillgren, who hopes to visit VfL in Germany again this season: “We have discussed visiting Wolfsburg, or maybe an away game, at the beginning of the season.” And then Ronnie will surely be pulling on his beloved VfL shirt once again!