ON paper, this trip to Mjallby looked like the pre-season friendly from hell... and I went to Portsmouth a few seasons ago.
Stuck in the middle of nowhere, even the Swedish people think this club is out in the sticks. It isn’t even that near Mjallby.
I consider myself a fairly confident traveller. I’m no Gloria Hunniford – but who is? Except for Gloria Hunniford, of course.
But I have followed Wanderers round to some pretty far-out places in the last six or seven years, from the USA, Greece, Holland, Germany, Canada – I even got interrogated by airport police on my way out of Belfast once.
This one was making me nervous, though. A lot of things could go wrong and I had a flight to catch back home in the morning.
The train appeared to be making excuses not to get to Solvesborg – the nearest station to Mjallby – as it went along.
I counted 14 apologies from the driver for going slowly, waiting outside stations, avoiding the wrong types of leaves, that sort of thing.
At one point we pulled into Kristianstad then went into full reverse, as if the vehicle was thinking twice about its final destination. It turns out that kind of behaviour is a regular thing in Sweden. Go figure.
It didn’t help that all the electrical devices I have come to rely on during this trip, my phone, my iPad, my laptop, were now refusing to acknowledge we had moved into another country, rendering me totally lost once I had got off the train.
A kind Wanderers fan had tweeted me the number of a local taxi firm earlier in the day and thanks to him, I got to Strandvallen. And boy am I glad I did.
Set right on the edge of the Baltic Sea, there can’t be many prettier grounds that I have ever been to.
Typically of European stadia there was a little fan park with a BBQ and drinks on tap. It was the perfect way to bring the tour to a close.
I’ll even forgive the fact I couldn’t log on to the wi-fi.