Johan Mjällby

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Johan Mjällby
Johan Mjällby 2014-08-27 001.jpg
Johan Mjällby, 2014
Personal information
Full name Karl Johan Siward Mjällby
Date of birth (1971-02-09) 9 February 1971 (age 43)
Place of birth Järfälla, Stockholm, Sweden
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Playing position Centre Back
Club information
Current team
Bolton Wanderers (Assistant Manager)
Youth career
1976–1984 IK Bele
1984–1989 AIK
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1989–1998 AIK 135 (8)
1998–2004 Celtic 144 (13)
2004–2005 Levante 3 (0)
2006 AIK 1 (0)
Total 292 (21)
National team
1997–2004 Sweden 49 (4)
Teams managed
2010–2014 Celtic (assistant manager)
2014- Bolton Wanderers (assistant manager)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Johan Mjällby (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈjuː.ˈan ˈmjɛlbʏ]) (born 9 February 1971) is a Swedish former footballer. He made his debut for the national team in 1997, and played 49 matches scoring 4 goals as a centre back.[1] Mjällby was the team captain during the 2002 World Cup. He also took part in Euro 2000 and Euro 2004. He is currently the assistant manager of Bolton Wanderers, working alongside former Celtic team-mate and manager Neil Lennon.[2]

Playing career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Early on in Johan's sporting career he played both football and tennis and had the choice to turn professional in either. He made the decision to prioritise football and was signed by AIK in 1984 from IK Bele.

Making a name[edit]

Johan spent the next fourteen years in AIK and established himself in the side with solid performances as a no-nonsense tackling midfield player. His performances at club level were noticed and he soon broke through to the Swedish national team. Although he was a squad member in 1992 when AIK won the league, he refused to accept the gold medal, stating that he felt he hadn't contributed enough. Therefore it was a great day when lifelong AIK supporter Mjällby got his silverware in 1998 when he guided the club to a new league victory.

Life at Celtic[edit]

His solid performances for club and country caught the eye of Jozef Venglos, coach at Celtic. In November 1998 Johan Mjällby signed for Celtic for a fee of around £1,200,000 and was given 35 as his squad number, which he retained throughout his time at Celtic. He made his debut for the Scottish side in the famous 5–1 victory or arch rivals Rangers in the role of central defence. The rest of season 1998/99 saw Johan play increasingly in the role of central defence, a role in which he grew to prominence.

The 1999/2000 season saw Venglos move into the role of a scout with John Barnes coming in as head coach and Kenny Dalglish as director of football. Johan again took up his midfield role in Barnes' ill-fated 4–2–2–2 formation. He returned to his by now accustomed defensive role under Dalglish following the departure of Barnes in January 2000. It was under Dalglish that Mjällby won his first honour at Celtic in the League Cup win over Aberdeen.

Season 2000/01 saw Martin O'Neill replace interim manager Kenny Dalglish. Mjällby found himself a mainstay on the right hand side of O'Neill's 3-man defence alongside Joos Valgaeren, Tom Boyd and/or Ramon Vega. He was to pick up a further three medals as Celtic won the Domestic Treble of the Scottish Premier League, League Cup, and Scottish Cup.

It was in 2001/02 that Johan experienced his first taste of Champions League football in matches against FC Porto, Juventus and Rosenborg. Another Scottish Premier League title was added to his growing medal haul.

2002/03 saw Celtic, with Johan as prominent figure reach the final of the UEFA Cup. They lost out to FC Porto 3–2 aet. Celtic also went on to lose the Scottish Premier League and League Cup to Rangers.

Season 2003/04 was Johan's last at Celtic Park after struggling with injury throughout most of the season he decided to turn down Celtic's offer of a one year deal.

Throughout his six years at Celtic Park he picked up 3 Scottish Premier League Winner's medals, 2 League Cup Winner's medals, 2 Scottish Cup Winner's medals, 2 Scottish Cup Runners Up medals, 1 League Cup Runners Up medal and 1 UEFA Cup Runners Up medal as well as featuring in the Champions League Competition of seasons, 2001/02 and 2002/03. During his time at Celtic, Mjällby captained the team on several occasions.

Mjällby enjoyed a good relationship with the Celtic support in his time at the club and was often referred to as "Dolph" or "Big Dolph" given his perceived resemblance to his countryman, actor Dolph Lundgren.[3]

Life in Spain[edit]

Mjällby went on to try his hand in Spain's La Liga with newly promoted side Levante UD. However he did not enjoy the same level of success as he had in Scotland and was forced to retire as he eventually succumbed to his long standing injuries picked up throughout his Scottish career.

Return to Sweden[edit]

Following his retirement Mjällby returned home to Sweden. After almost a year out of the game he made comeback and signed once again for his boyhood favourites AIK. But on 16 May 2006 he was forced to retire from professional football due to his injury.[4]

International career[edit]

In Euro 2000, he scored the first goal of his country for Sweden in the opening match against Belgium, taking the ball after an error by Belgian goalkeeper Filip De Wilde. Although reducing Belgium's 2–0 lead from Bart Goor and Emile Mpenza to 2–1, Sweden failed to score an equalising goal and lost the game.

He captained Sweden in the World Cup 2002 since fellow defender Patrik Andersson had to withdrew because of injury. Mjällby formed a solid partnership with Andreas Jakobsson when Sweden almost reached the quarterfinals.

Two years later Mjällby was in the squad for Euro 2004 but did not make an appearances.

Coaching[edit]

On 25 March 2010, it was announced that Mjällby would assume the role of assistant manager at Celtic Football Club, alongside temporary boss, and former team-mate, Neil Lennon.[2] The appointment of Lennon and Mjällby was made after the sacking of Tony Mowbray as Celtic manager after a poor 2009–10 season for the club, culminating in a 4–0 defeat against St. Mirren.[5]

When asked about the appointment by reporters, Mjällby stated, "Neil is like myself. He has a will-to-win and that is what we are both looking to instill in the current Celtic team. We want our players to go out on the park, and on the training pitch, and to wear that Celtic jersey with pride."[6] On 1 July 2010, Mjallby was confirmed as Neil Lennon's assistant manager at Celtic.[7]

On 22 April 2014, it was announced that Mjällby would leave Celtic at the end of the season to look for new challenges in football.[8]

On 12 October 2014, he was appointed as the Assistant Manager at Bolton Wanderers linking up again with his former Celtic colleagues Neil Lennon and Garry Parker.[9]

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

AIK
Celtic

Media work[edit]

Mjällby worked as a prominent football pundit on Swedish TV channel TV3.

References[edit]

  1. ^ FIFA Player Statistics|Johan MJALLBY FIFA.com
  2. ^ a b "Neil Lennon and Johan Mjallby given chance to stake claim as Mowbray exits Celtic". The Scotsman. 26 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  3. ^ "Johan Mjallby". thecelticwiki.com. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Johan Mjällby lägger av
  5. ^ "St Mirren 4–0 Celtic". BBC Sport. 24 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  6. ^ WE CAN BECOME HEAD BHOYS SAYS MJALLBY Daily Express, 26 March 2010
  7. ^ "Celtic appoint Johan Mjallby and Garry Parker". BBC Sport (BBC). 1 July 2010. Retrieved 5 July 2010. 
  8. ^ "Celtic: Johan Mjallby to leave assistant manager's post". BBC Sport (BBC). 22 April 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  9. ^ Neil Lennon appointed Bolton Wanderers manager Bolton Wanderers FC, 12 October 2014