The original Ullevi, a short walk south-east of Central Station near the Liseberg Amusement Park, opened in 1916 and was in operation for 90 years. Too small to host internationals in the post-war era, it was overlooked when it came for Sweden to host the World Cup in 1958 and the New Ullevi, Nya Ullevi, was built next door.
Used by all three Gothenburg clubs – IFK, Örgryte and GAIS – until 1958, the original Ullevi, referred to Gamla (‘Old’) Ullevi, was rendered obsolete as post-1958 league crowds increased and IFK began playing prestige European clubs on a regular basis. The Nya Ullevi came into weekly use.
As GAIS and Örgryte slipped down to the second flight, so the bigger Gamla Ullevi, at 20,000 capacity less than half that of the Nya, was more suitable. Its modern neighbour hosted derbies, other major Allsvenskan clashes and European games.
Though occasionally revamped, the Gamla Ullevi of 1916 vintage was clearly past its sell-by date. After much deliberation, it was decided to knock it down, in 2007, and rebuild a new arena of the same name on the same site. Pushing the decision was the staging of the Euro under-21 championships in 2009.
The original budget of 270 million Skr was stretched to nearer 330 million Skr as the lounge area, private boxes and even capacity were increased, the latter to 18,800. It was also announced that the new Gamla Ullevi would be the home ground of Sweden’s national women’s football team.
Criticised by supporters’ groups for lacking character and atmosphere, the stadium opened with a derby between GAIS and Örgryte in April 2009. The crowd for the curtain-raiser was 17,000-plus but the average for each club has fallen to less than a quarter of that total. IFK’s gates are just into five figures.
Allocation configurations change according to which team is at home – away fans (‘bortasupportrar’) tend to be placed in the lower tier behind the goal on Smålandsgatan, sectors A and O.
The Gamla Ullevi is a 7min walk from Central Station – head for the Clarion Post or Scandic Crown hotels and nip over the narrow waterway.
Tickets & shops
Each club has different ticketing and merchandise arrangements. IFK distribute merchandise and tickets from their Blåvittshoppen (Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 11am-3pm) at the stadium – from 9am on match days, tickets are sold at the windows by the information office, behind the West Stand on Parkgatan. Away fans have their own ticket office between gates 1 and 2 on Smålandsgatan.
In town, tickets are also sold at the Coop supermarket at Avenyn 26-28 (Mon-Fri 8am-7pm, Sat 8am-4pm, Sun 10am-4pm) and the Scandinaviums ticket office (Mon-Fri noon-6pm) at Järntorgsgatan 12.
There are also online sales with Ticketmaster.
Prices are around Skr200, Skr70 for under-16s and Skr130 for over-65s. A Skr20 levy is charged on the day.
For lower-flight GAIS and Örgryte, it’s around Skr100-Skr160.
The bars recommended in the Gothenburg section are all walkable to the stadium.
The handiest spots for a pre-match swiftie are on Odinsgatan on the Gamla Ullevi side of the roundabout: Dutch pub/restaurant Het Amsterdammertje; The Star bowling alley and bar/restaurant, mysteriously closed between Friday and Sundays; and standard Italian restaurant, La Vacca.