Torbjörn Nilsson

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Torbjörn Nilsson
Torbjorn Nilsson.jpg
Torbjörn Nilsson in April 2014
Personal information
Full nameTorbjörn Anders Nilsson
Date of birth (1954-07-09) 9 July 1954 (age 66)
Place of birth Västerås, Sweden
Position(s) Striker
Youth career
1966–1970 Jonsereds IF
Senior career*
YearsTeamApps(Gls)
1971–1974 Jonsereds IF 80 (50)
1975–1976 IFK Göteborg 49 (34)
1976–1977 PSV Eindhoven 11 (2)
1977–1982 IFK Göteborg 114 (62)
1982–1984 1. FC Kaiserslautern 65 (22)
1984–1986 IFK Göteborg 49 (31)
1986–1990 Jonsereds IF 40 (14)
Total408(215)
National team
1975–1980 Sweden U21 8 (2)
1976–1985 Sweden 28 (9)
Teams managed
1988–1990 Jonsereds IF
1991–1993 Örgryte IS
1994–1995 IK Oddevold
1997–1999 Västra Frölunda IF
2001 BK Häcken
2002–2004 Sweden U-21
2008–2013 Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC
2017 IFK Göteborg (assistant coach)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Torbjörn Anders Nilsson (born 9 July 1954) is a Swedish former footballer who played as a striker. He is considered to be one of the best Swedish footballers of all time, and is best remembered for his time with IFK Göteborg with which he won two Swedish championship titles, the 1981–82 UEFA Cup, and reached the semi-finals of the 1985–86 European Cup. He also had a less successful spell in the Netherlands with PSV Eindhoven and a better one in Germany with 1. FC Kaiserslautern. He won 28 caps for the Sweden national team and represented his country at the 1978 FIFA World Cup. He was the 1982 recipient of Guldbollen.

Contents

Playing career

Nilsson was born in Västerås on 9 July 1954, and raised in Hallstahammar. He and his family (father Göte, mother Daisy, the brothers Rolf and Bosse and sister Rose-Marie) moved to Partille, outside Gothenburg, before he started school, and he began his footballing career in Jonsereds IF at the age of seven or eight. [1] Nilsson joined IFK Göteborg for the 1975 season, and helped the club climb back to the top tier of Swedish football, Allsvenskan, by winning Division 2 in 1976. [2] He tried his luck abroad with PSV Eindhoven, but returned to IFK after only one season. He then helped the team to a treble in 1982, the Swedish championship (IFK won both Allsvenskan and the title-deciding play-off), Svenska Cupen, and the UEFA Cup. He was awarded Guldbollen, the Swedish footballer of the year award, for his heroics.

Nilsson moved to Kaiserslautern in Germany, where he played two seasons, and was about to move to Benfica when his former Göteborg manager Sven-Göran Eriksson left that club. [1] Instead, Nilsson moved home to Gothenburg and his former club. When he ended his playing career after three seasons due to knee problems, [3] Nilsson had led the club to another Swedish Championship, and nearly a European Cup final in 1986. IFK was eliminated by FC Barcelona after having won the home leg 3–0. They lost the away match by the same score. Nilsson still regrets not taking a penalty in the ensuing penalty shootout, [1] which forced two young and inexperienced players — Roland Nilsson and Per Edmund Mordt — to the spot. Both missed their penalties.

It is a mystery to a lot of Swedes how Nilsson with all his talent never really made it big when playing for PSV and Kaiserslautern, but according to himself he was too shy to make it in those rougher top club environments. [4]

Despite Nilsson's so-so stays abroad, and his short career in the Swedish national team – for whom he played only 28 matches and scored nine goals – he is considered to be one of the greatest Swedish footballers of all time. [5] [6] He declined to play for the national team for four years in the early 1980s when he was at his prime, the most important reason for this was a conflict between him and the coach Lars 'Laban' Arnesson, who mixtured a lot with different formations, which did not suit the playing style that Nilsson liked. [6] He instead concentrated on his club team, but made a comeback in the national team in 1984, scoring a goal in the 3–1 win against Portugal in the 1986 World Cup qualification. Nilsson was elected to the Swedish football Hall of Fame in 2003.

In a Sky Sports interview, March 2020, Sven Goran Eriksson said that Nilsson was the best Striker he had ever managed.

Coaching career

After ending his professional playing career, Torbjörn Nilsson acted as playing manager for his youth club Jonsereds IF, [3] before becoming manager of Örgryte IS, then in Division 1, in 1991. The club was relegated to Division 2, but managed to advance two divisions into Allsvenskan the next year, thanks to the Swedish league system at the time. The luck did not last, however, and Örgryte was relegated from the highest league in 1993. Nilsson moved to IK Oddevold from Uddevalla, and brought the club to Allsvenskan for the first time in its history in 1995. He left his job after the season and did not take a new one for a year.

He then took the job as manager of Västra Frölunda IF in 1997, and for the third time coached a team to a promotion to Allsvenskan. He stayed as manager for Västra Frölunda for two seasons and led the club to a fifth and seventh place, the two best seasonal results the club has enjoyed. He took another one-year break before starting his fourth spell as manager for a Gothenburg club, BK Häcken, in 2001. He only stayed for one year, not being able to keep the club in the highest league. Instead he became the manager of the Sweden under-21 team, leading the team through a successful qualification to the 2004 UEFA U-21 Championship, where the team narrowly lost the semi-final and third place matches after penalty shootouts and extra time, respectively. He did not coach any team between 2004 and 2008, but then resumed his managerial career in Gothenburg's best women's team, Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC.

Career statistics

Club

ClubSeasonDom. leagueDom. cupInt. cupOtherTotal
AppGoalsAppGoalsAppGoalsAppGoalsAppGoals
Jonsereds IF −1970Youth football
Total–1970Youth football
Jonsereds IF 1971–74????00????
Total1971–74????00????
IFK Göteborg 19752514200015114226
19762420130023254848
Total1975–764934330038369074
PSV Eindhoven 1976–77????00????
Total1976–77????00????
IFK Göteborg 197763210041125
1978258570015164531
19792511564 [note 1] 015104927
19802514414 [note 2] 418145133
19812620346 [note 3] 719185449
198276236 [note 3] 214172928
Total1977–8211462212220138576240173
1. FC Kaiserslautern 1982–83339??8 [note 3] 4????
1983–843213??2 [note 3] 2????
Total1982–846522127106??≥87≥35
IFK Göteborg 198417 [note 4] 14224 [note 5] 6963228
198522 [note 6] 8326 [note 5] 617114827
1986109314 [note 5] 217153427
Total1984–864931851414433211482
IFK Göteborg totals1975–8621212732303427166144444329
Jonsereds IF 1988–90????00????
Jonsereds IF totals1971–90????00????
Career totals1971–86≥277≥149≥44≥374433≥166≥144≥531≥364

International

Appearances and goals by national team and year [7]
National teamYearAppsGoals
Sweden 197641
197720
197851
197924
198040
198142
198200
198300
198411
198560
Total289
Scores and results list Sweden's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Nilsson goal.
List of international goals scored by Torbjörn Nilsson
No.DateVenueOpponentScoreResultCompetitionRef.
111 August 1976 Malmö Stadium, Malmö, SwedenFlag of Finland.svg  Finland 5–06–0 Friendly [8]
228 June 1978 Ryavallen, Örebro, SwedenFlag of Finland.svg  Finland 1–02–1Friendly [9]
314 November 1979 Merdeka Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaFlag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia 1–03–1Friendly [10]
417 November 1979 National Stadium, SingaporeFlag of Singapore.svg  Singapore 1–05–0Friendly [11]
54–0
65–0
728 February 1981 Lahtis Storhall, Lahti, FinlandFlag of Norway.svg  Norway 1–24–2Friendly [12]
81 March 1981Lahtis Storhall, Lahti, FinlandFlag of Finland.svg  Finland 1–21–2Friendly [13]
914 November 1984 Alvalade Stadium, Lisbon, PortugalFlag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 3–33–3 1986 FIFA World Cup qualifier [14]

Honours

Club

IFK Göteborg

Individual

Notes

  1. UEFA Cup Winners' Cup matches only.
  2. UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (2 matches, 1 goal) and UEFA Cup (2 matches, 3 goals).
  3. 1 2 3 4 UEFA Cup matches only.
  4. Allsvenskan (11 matches, 9 goals) and Allsvenskan play-off (6 matches, 5 goals).
  5. 1 2 3 European Cup matches only.
  6. Allsvenskan (18 matches, 8 goals) and Allsvenskan play-off (4 matches, 0 goals).

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References

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