Representing the Reykjavik suburb of Gardabaer since 1960, Stjarnan FC upset the form book by going through the 2014 season unbeaten and winning the Icelandic league for the first time. Until then, Stjarnan had been part of a community-focused sports club whose women’s football team had been more successful than the men’s.
2014-15 proved to be the most memorable season in the club’s history. The Blues also impressed in their European debut, beating Motherwell after extra-time, then Lech Poznan, then facing Internazionale in the Europa League. Nearly 10,000 fans squeezed into the national stadium for the visit of Walter Mazzarri’s team, who were kept scoreless until nearly half-time. 3-0 was the final score, with Inter winning 6-0 in the San Siro in front of a 45,000-plus crowd.
Sadly, Stjarnan weren’t able to show the Italian public one of their elaborate goal celebrations, meticulously choreographed, communal works of art that would put the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games to shame.
Since 2008, Stjarnan have maintained top-flight status, partly thanks to the efforts of the Laxdal brothers, defender Jóhann and midfielder Daníel. Between them, the Laxdals have made a record number of appearances for Stjarnan at the highest domestic level.
Meanwhile veteran striker Gardar Jóhannsson returned to the club where he started as a prolific youth after spells in Norway and Germany. Nine goals from strike partner Halldór Orri Björnsson Jóhannsson’s helped gain Stjarnan third place in 2013 – and a debut spot in Europe for 2014-15.
Eight unanswered goals against Bangor City in the first qualifying round of the Europa League must be considered as impressive a European debut as any Icelandic team in history. Then came Motherwell, Lech Poznan and Inter…
In the domestic campaign, young striker Ólafur Karl Finsen was the hero, his goals helping Stjarnan pip FH by one point. In the close season, Faroese international goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen has arrived from Motherwell – and it was his series of saves, including one from a penalty, that kept Celtic to a 2-0 scoreline in a 2015-16 Champions League qualifier in Glasgow.
Part of the Gardabaer municipal sports complex, Stjörnuvöllur is a simple, 1,000-capacity ground with a single main stand. The clubhouse, from where tickets are sold on match days, is in a separate building to one side.
The nearest transport stop, Àsgardur, to the stadium is on the main No.1 bus route that departs from the downtown bus terminals of Laekjartorg and Hlemmur. Buses run every 15min and take 30min from Hlemmur, 25min from Laekjartorg.
Tickets (around ISK1,200) are sold on the day from an outlet at the clubhouse by the main stand.
Merchandise is sold from stalls set up by the main stand on match days.
Two bus stops further down on the No.1 route, by the crossroads with Hjallabraut, the Irish Pub (Reykjavíkurvegur 60, Hafnarfjördur) belies its bland location and façade with a large, homely interior, large enough to accommodate a projector screen for match action. Bear in mind that if you’re heading there post-match, the last bus back to Reykjavik leaves just after 11pm. It’s close to the Hotel Hafarfjordur, handy for the airport.