A great player, trainer and person has left us. Nils Liedholm died yesterday. Wikipedia and other sites have information about his achivements so I will not bother you about that.I will write some personal words.
I met Nils when AS Roma was in Gothenburg the 80s. I went down together with my friends to see them training. Those days AS Roma had players like Bruno Conti, Falcao and they were all trained by Nils, so seeing AS Roma train was something special. Once at the arena (Ullevi) we couldn’t get in. When starting to give up I was asked by someone I recognized from TV if we wanted in to get in. Well of course we said yes, and the reporter said to the guards that we were with him (Staffan Lindeborg… finally you’re getting a big thanks!!!!). We got in. We could see the Falcao. We could Conti. And Nils. And I even spoke with Nils. Even though he wasn’t that interested in me he was very nice and gave me some autographs and some nice photos. I still have them and I consider them to be among the most precious things. Not because of the value. Only because of the memory.
During the training I was caught by the guards (where were you then Staffan?). They yelled at me and I was pushed into a room. A small room. Alone. And I couldn’t open it. Very soon they opened it and then a Brazilian reporter used the room to interview Falcao. Yup, I stayed there in the room. In a room with my idol Falcao. He was writing so many autographs for me. It was a strange feeling.
After the training we went on to try to get in to their hotel. We didn’t of course since there were guards outside. But all of a sudden one guard lost control and we got in. Yes, we were inside the hotel. And we could see the Roma players eating. In another room. We crept behind some flowers and managed to sneak in to the room. We crept until we reached Nils’ table (I know this sounds a but stupid and perhaps even a story made up). Then we asked for more autographs. And we got them. We really did. Nils laughed about it. A couple of seconds later we were thrown out of the hotel and not so kindly asked to not come back. But we were happy. Probably the happiest people on the planet.
So this is my memory of Nils. Nice, warm and friendly. Even towards a fans without any sense of how to behave.
… and of course I remember when Nils was part of winning Serie A .