Hammarby Fotboll is a Swedish football club based in Södermalm, the southernmost district of Stockholm city centre. In Sweden, the club is often referred to by its nickname Bajen (a short form of a mock-English pronunciation of "Hammarby").
Formed in 1889 as Hammarby Roddförening (eng: Hammarby Rowing Association), in 1897 the name was changed to Hammarby Idrottsförening (Hammarby IF) as many of the club's athlethes were now engaging in more sports than just rowing. In 2001, the A-team, B-team and the J-teams were separated from the youth teams and the club is referred to as Hammarby Fotboll.
Until recently, Hammarby were considered a yo yo club, being regularly promoted and relegated through the Swedish leagues. The team has played in the top division since 1998 and won their first and so far only Allsvenskan title in 2001.
Owing to its geographical location in a formerly less affluent district of Stockholm, Hammarby has historically been regarded as a club with a mainly working-class fan base.
The club is by 49% owned by the Anschutz Entertainment Group and by 51% Hammarby Fotboll AB.
With Nike as kit manufacturer, Hammarby also has major sponsorship deals with insurance company Folksam, brewery Falcon, and sporting goods retailer Intersport. Since 2008, consumer electronics company Finlux is the club's main shirt sponsor.
After that the club spent a long time as a top team of the second highest division, called Division 2 at the time. In 1936/1937 they won Div. 2 for the first time, but lost the playoff match then required to be promoted to the Allsvenskan. Also in 1937/1938 they won, only to again losing the playoff match. In the next season, which became their third win in a row, they finally managed to qualify for the Allsvenskan for the second time ever. However, they finished up last and the next six years they finished in the top four, but then followed some tough years for Bajen. In the 1947/1948 season, Hammarby finished on a tenth and last place in Division 2, and because of a reformation in the league system, were directly relegated to Division 4.
This marked the beginning of another period of Hammarby, a period of being a stable Allsvenskan team. In the 1970s the reputation of Hammarby's supporters as some of the most dedicated in Sweden was born, as they throughout the 70s had attracted some of the biggest crowds in Sweden, despite not managing to repeat or outperform their fifth place from 1970. In 1978 Hammarby changed from the black-yellow to the new-old Green/White colours. In 1982 a new system was introduced in Swedish football - the top 8 teams in the Allsvenskan would play playoffs to decide the Swedish champions. Hammarby immediately aimed for the top 8, and their reputation as a home-strong team was not weakened - during the entire season, Bajen did not lose one home game. At the end of the season, Hammarby had finished Runner-ups, much better than anything they had achieved before, after winners IFK Göteborg, which Bajen beat in the very last round.
The new system created a chance for Hammarby to take revenge, and after easily defeating Örgryte in the quarter-finals, and, after a bit of trouble, defeating Elfsborg in the semi-final, Hammarby was in the final against IFK Göteborg. In the first away match, Hammarby won 2-1 and Söderstadion sold out record-fast and everything was in place for a party. However, IFK dominated the match and won 3-1, but Hammarby had still made a season much better than all before, especially considering IFK Göteborg later went on to win the UEFA Cup, as the first, and so far only, Swedish team to do so. In the following year, 1983, Hammarby continued to play strongly, finishing fifth in the highest league and qualifying to the playoffs, however losing the derby versus AIK. In the Svenska Cupen, Hammarby for the first time made the finals, where they again lost against the IFK "ghost-team". However, since IFK qualified for the UEFA Cup that year, Hammarby qualified for the Cup-Winners Cup, their first major international competition, and they lost to Finnish FC Haka in the second round. Hammarby 80s were consistently strong, finishing top 6 every year between 1981 and 1987 and having some of the biggest fan crowds for the time (rather small compared to today).
Trainer Sören Cratz, which led the team to the gold that season, got the news that his expiring contract would not be extended halfway through the season, which led to the strange situation that he won the gold in his second last match. The reason for not extending his contract was due to a motion passed on board level earlier that year which said that Hammarby should play a positive, attacking and fun football, something the board did not think that Cratz did. A proof of how big he became in the eyes of Hammarby fans is proved in the following season, 2002, when he led Swedish competing team Helsingborgs IF and, following a match against Hammarby, were cheered upon and praised by the Hammarby fans after the match had finished. Because of this, he was fired as Helsingborg's trainer. The following years are perhaps the most successful in Hammarby's history, as they finished runner-ups in 2003 after winning team Djurgården, led during a majority of the season in 2004 (finished sixth in the end), finished fourth in 2005 and led halfway through the series but finished third in 2006 .