Åtvidabergs Fotbollförening, also known simply as Åtvidabergs FF or Åtvid, is a Swedish professional football club based in Åtvidaberg. The club is affiliated with Östergötlands Fotbollförbund and play their home games at Kopparvallen. The club colours, reflected in their crest and kit, are blue and white. Formed on 1 July 1907 as Åtvidabergs IF, the club were most successful during the 1970s when they won two national championship titles and two national cup titles. With a population of around 7000 they are the smallest town to have ever won the swedish league. They currently play in Allsvenskan, where the season lasts from April to November.
During the 1920s the small town club Åtvidabergs IF played in the fifth tier of swedish football. Local businessman Elof Ericsson was however determined to change this. He became chairman of the board and took initiative in separating the different sections of the multisport club, thus creating Åtvidabergs FF for the football section. Through his company Facit, which employed a large portion of the small Åtvidaberg population, he was also able to increase the funding for the team.
Åtvidaberg became early forerunners with their strategy to scout players nationally instead of just locally. Since all players in Sweden at the time were amateurs their ability to offer new signings a good job at the Facit-factory made them an attractive club to play for. This together with the hiring of foreign coaches like Kálmán Konrád helped the club move up through the divisions establishing themselves in the second tier and playing one year in Allsvenskan.
In 1967 they were promoted to Allsvenskan and five years later they won the league for the first time ever and repeated the year after in 1973. Ironically this golden age came at exactly the same time as the Facit company, which had enabled the success, struggled greatly and was forced to be sold off to Electrolux.
After struggling greatly in the 1990s and falling as low as the fourth tier with attendance numbers in the hundreds Åtvidaberg had managed to climb back up to the second tier again by the start of the new millennium. In an effort to further strengthen their organization and economy the club started a cooperation with reigning champions Djurgårdens IF in 2003. The deal also included several Djurgården players going on loan to Åtvidaberg. In 2005 the Djurgården chairman said that the team should move to nearby Linköping which doesn't have a club in any of the higher divisions. This was met by a negative reaction from the Åtvidaberg supporters. The cooperation finally collapsed in 2006 when Åtvidaberg Municipality refused to cover any potential economic losses for Djurgården.
In the following years Åtvidaberg finished in the top half of the Superettan table and finally in 2009 they were promoted back to Allsvenskan for the first time since 1982. They were relegated again but bounced back immediately and then finished in eighth place of the 2012 Allsvenskan.
A. ^ The title of "Swedish Champions" has been awarded to the winner of four different competitions over the years. Between 1896 and 1925 the title was awarded to the winner of Svenska Mästerskapet, a stand-alone cup tournament. No club were given the title between 1926 and 1930 even though the first-tier league Allsvenskan was played. In 1931 the title was reinstated and awarded to the winner of Allsvenskan. Between 1982 and 1990 a play-off in cup format was held at the end of the league season to decide the champions. After the play-off format in 1991 and 1992 the title was decided by the winner of Mästerskapsserien, an additional league after the end of Allsvenskan. Since the 1993 season the title has once again been awarded to the winner of Allsvenskan.