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Full nameGöteborgs Atlet- &
Nickname(s)Makrillarna (the Mackerels)
Grönsvart (Green-black)
Gårdakvarnen (the Gårda Mill)
Founded11 March 1894; 130 years ago (1894-03-11)
1897; 127 years ago (1897) (football department)
GroundGamla Ullevi, Gothenburg
ChairmanRoland Blomstrand[1]
Head coachFredrik Holmberg
2023Superettan, 2nd of 16 (Promoted)
WebsiteClub website

Göteborgs Atlet- och Idrottssällskap (meaning Gothenburg's Athletics and Sports Association), commonly referred to as GAIS or Gais,[A] is a Swedish football club based in Gothenburg. The club is affiliated to the Göteborgs Fotbollförbund and play their home games at Gamla Ullevi.[2] Fans also refers to the club as Grönsvart (green-black) or Makrillarna (the Mackerels) because of the traditional shirt colours.

GAIS is one of the oldest football clubs in Sweden. The club was a founding member of Allsvenskan and also the first champions of the league. They have won a total of four national championship titles, five league championship titles and one national cup title. Even though GAIS have played 49 seasons in Allsvenskan they only spent six years in the top division during a 30-year period from 1976 to 2005, with another six seasons of that time spent as low as the third division. The club thus gained the reputation of being a yo-yo club, constantly going up and down through the league system. After their promotion in 2005 the club played seven straight seasons in Allsvenskan which was a feat not achieved since the degradation in 1955. After relegation in 2012 they finished seventh in Superettan in 2013, where they stayed until 2022 when they got relegated. However after achieving back to back promotions, GAIS will now play their 2024 season in Allsvenskan.


Formation and early glory[edit]

GAIS was founded 11 March 1894 at Ehdlunds Café in the Gothenburg city centre. The founders had created the club for "patriotic purposes and to promote all kinds of sports". Its main activities were athletics and an assortment of strength sports. The football department was formed in 1897 and played their first official game against local rivals Örgryte IS in 1903. GAIS first appearance in the highest league at the time, Svenska Serien, was in 1915/16 where they finished in fourth place. In 1919 the club won its first national championship beating Djurgårdens IF away in the finals. The same procedure would be repeated in 1922, this time against another Stockholm team, Hammarby IF. GAIS won the first season of the new first tier league Allsvenskan in 1924/25, two points ahead of local rivals IFK Göteborg. The feat was to be repeated in 1926/27, this time three points ahead of IFK Göteborg. The league champions was not recognised as national champions until the 1930/31 season. GAIS won this year as well, six points ahead of AIK and IFK Göteborg.

Sune Sandbring, Malmö FF in a game with Frank Jacobsson, GAIS in 1953.

During the 1930s GAIS slowly lost the dominance the club had exercised over Allsvenskan since its foundation and in 1938 the club was relegated. Having spent three years in the second division GAIS returned with a vengeance for the 1941–42 Allsvenskan where the club finished in second place. Later in 1942 they won Svenska Cupen for the first, and until today, only time.

The club then stayed in Allsvenskan throughout the 1940s and the early 1950s. They quite unexpectedly won their fourth national championship one single point ahead of Helsingborgs IF in the season of 1953/54. The clinching game was the last one of the season; a nail biting no score draw at Stadsparksvallen in Jönköping. The following year, equally unexpectedly, when the club finished third last and was relegated.

1960s and 1970s[edit]

The newly promoted 1966 GAIS squad who helped reestablish the club in Allsvenskan during the late sixties.

GAIS returned to Allsvenskan the following 1955/56 season but from the mid-1950s the club lost its former continuity and never spent more than five years in a row in Allsvenskan until the 2000s. The club was relegated again in 1959 and spent four seasons in the second division only to return briefly to Allsvenskan for one year in 1964. After that relegation they immediately returned to Allsvenskan in 1966. GAIS then remained there during 1966–1975, except for one year in the second division in 1971. In 1975 the club made its first appearance in the UEFA Cup playing Śląsk Wrocław in the first leg. GAIS lost out to the Polish club after winning 2–1 at home but losing 2–4 away. The same year GAIS got relegated from Allsvenskan for the sixth time, this time due to scoring two goals less than Halmstads BK.

Thirty years of underperformance: 1976–2006[edit]

The relegation in 1975 would in retrospect prove to be a turning point for the worse in the history of GAIS. Unable to qualify for Allsvenskan in 1976, and furthermore losing the qualifying spot to now arch-rivals IFK Göteborg, they lost the position as Gothenburg's leading team that they had enjoyed throughout the early 1970s. The club then consistently failed to qualify for Allsvenskan during the following five years and in 1981 the club got relegated to the Swedish third division due to economical problems and a surprisingly weak performance by the squad. The future looked bleak after GAIS failed to return to the second division in 1982 but due to a massive performance in the latter part of the 1983 season the club secured the qualifying spot seven points ahead of IK Oddevold and then beat Mönsterås GoIF in the promotion playoffs to the second division.

A chart showing the progress of GAIS through the swedish football league system. The different shades of gray represent league divisions.

In 1984 GAIS made what was to become one of the club's most spectacular signings to this date. Tunisian midfielder Samir Bakaou left his former club Étoile Sportive du Sahel to join the Gothenburg side and proved to be the injection of flair and energy that the club had been needing so badly. With "the Black Pearl" as playmaker and notorious goalscorer GAIS was once again a force to be reckoned with and made it to the promotion playoffs to Allsvenskan in 1985, only to lose out to Djurgårdens IF after a penalty shoot-out in a highly controversial game. GAIS finally made it back to Allsvenskan in 1987 ending eleven long years of struggling in the lower divisions. For the second time in club history GAIS made it to the finals of Svenska Cupen as well, but lost out 2–0 to opposing side Kalmar FF.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s GAIS mostly fought for its survival in Allsvenskan. With the exception of a third place in 1989 the club had to settle for the lower half of the league table. Relegation followed in the season of 1992 and GAIS yet again had to face a long and tortuous walk through the Swedish second division. The nadir was reached in 1997 when the club had been relegated to the third division and ran a huge economical deficit while only finishing third in the league. This season would be the starting point of possibly the worst yo-yo experience any Swedish football club has ever experienced.

GAIS wearing their traditional green and black striped shirts during a preseason game in 2008.

GAIS was promoted to the second division in 1998 and made it back to Allsvenskan after the season of 1999 by finishing in second place and defeating Kalmar FF in the qualifying round. After finishing second to last in the 2000 Allsvenskan the club continued its fall through the second division Superettan in 2001 and was relegated to the third division for the 2002 season. From there on things slowed down when GAIS failed to make a quick return during their first season there. Then after a hard-fought battle throughout 2003 against local competitors Ljungskile SK GAIS finally ended up winning the series by goal difference. In the promotion playoffs to qualify for Superettan the club faced Mjällby AIF and defeated them 2–1 away as well as home.

The next year GAIS signed Roland Nilsson as head coach, and with him at the lead the club finished in sixth place of the 2004 Superettan. During the following season, facing competition from newly relegated AIK and Östers IF, GAIS managed to finish third and got to play Landskrona BoIS in the promotion playoffs to Allsvenskan. After beating Landskrona 2–1 at home and drawing them 0–0 in an extremely tight away game, where GAIS forward Wilton Figueiredo got his second yellow card after 30 minutes of play and manager Roland Nilsson substituted defender Kenneth Gustafsson for himself during the last 25 minutes, GAIS finally got to make their return to Allsvenskan. There they would spend their next seven seasons but after a strong fifth-place finish in 2011 they ended up in last place and relegated in 2012. They have since remained in the swedish second tier.

Supporters and rivalries[edit]

GAIS supporters in 2006.

According to polls GAIS are the second most supported club in Gothenburg, with 12% of the people in the city who follow a football team claiming to have GAIS as their favorite side.[3] Their supporters have traditionally been perceived as coming from the working class-districts of Gothenburg and having left wing sympathies,[4] even though research on the subject couldn't conclude that this were more true than for other clubs.[5] Their supporters are also perceived as being loyal, despite whatever hardships the club may face.[6] The oldest and primary GAIS supporter group is called Makrillarna (meaning the Mackerels) and was founded in 1961.[7]

During the 2018 season the club chose to allow a supporter to act as an assisting manager for a single game, against Halmstads BK in September, which at the time were unique amongst Swedish football clubs.[8]

The club and its supporters harbour a fierce rivalry with Gothenburg's other traditional working-class team IFK Göteborg. Attendance rates are normally around 4500–7000 when playing in top tier Allsvenskan and 3000–4000 in second tier Superettan with greater numbers attending against local rivals IFK Göteborg, Örgryte IS and IF Elfsborg as well as the biggest teams from Stockholm and Skåne.[9]


First-team squad[edit]

As of 10 February 2024[10]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK Sweden SWE Mergim Krasniqi
2 DF Albania ALB Egzon Binaku
4 DF Sweden SWE Axel Norén
5 DF Sweden SWE Robin Wendin Thomasson
6 DF Sweden SWE August Wängberg
7 MF Sweden SWE Joackim Aberg
8 MF Sweden SWE William Milovanovic
9 MF Sweden SWE Gustav Lundgren
10 FW Sweden SWE Mervan Celik
11 FW Sweden SWE Edvin Becirovic
12 DF Sweden SWE Robin Frej
14 MF Sweden SWE Filip Gustafsson
16 FW Sweden SWE Jack Cooper Love (on loan from IF Elfsborg)
17 MF Sweden SWE Amin Boudri
No. Pos. Nation Player
18 FW Sweden SWE Alexander Ahl Holmström
19 FW Nigeria NGA Richard Friday
20 FW Sweden SWE Chisomnazu Chika Chidi
21 MF Sweden SWE Axel Henriksson
22 DF Sweden SWE Anes Cardaklija
24 DF Sweden SWE Filip Beckman
25 FW Sweden SWE Jonas Lindberg
26 FW Sint Maarten SMA Chovanie Amatkarijo
25 FW Sweden SWE Mohamed Bawa
30 GK Sweden SWE Erik Westgärds
32 MF Sweden SWE Harun Ibrahim (on loan from Molde FK)
33 GK Sweden SWE Erik Krantz
GK New Zealand NZL Kees Sims

Retired numbers[edit]

15 – Fredrik Lundgren, defender and midfielder (1999–2002, 2003–2012)

Notable players[edit]

Karl-Alfred Jacobsson has been selected as both player of the century"[11] and player of the millennium[12] by GAIS fans. The GAIS player of the year award "The Honorary Mackerel" has presented by the supporter group Makrillarna at the end of each season since 1961. The following players have received the award:[13][14]

Gunnar Gren won the award as player manager in 1963 after helping the club advance to Allsvenskan. His statue currently stands outside of the Gamla Ullevi stadium.
Wánderson became the tied top goalscorer of the 2012–13 Russian Premier League after leaving GAIS.



1994 FIFA World Cup bronze medalist Roland Nilsson is the manager who most recently brought the club back up into Allsvenskan.




  • Allsvenskan:
    • Winners (4): 1924–1925, 1926–1927, 1930–1931, 1953–1954
    • Runners-up (4): 1925–1926, 1932–1933, 1933–1934, 1941–1942
  • Superettan:
    • Runner-up (1): 2023
  • Division 1 Södra:
    • Winners (1): 1987, 2022
    • Runners-up (2): 1995, 1999
  • Svenska Serien:
    • Winners (1): 1923–1924




  1. ^ In the media, the name of the club is normally abbreviated "Gais", in accordance with Swedish writing standards that state that acronyms that are pronounced as a word, as opposed to letter by letter, should be spelled with the first letter in upper case and the remaining in lower case, thus "Gais". However, some fans of the club, as well as the club itself, prefer to use only uppercase, "GAIS", even though they also pronounce it as a word: [ˈɡǎɪs].
  2. ^ 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.[16]


  1. ^ "Rapport från årsmötet 2022".
  2. ^ "Kontaktuppgifter och tävlingar – Göteborgs Fotbollförbund –". Retrieved 10 January 2011.
  3. ^ "IFK har flest supportrar". Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Gais känns mest Hammarby!". Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Klasskamp eller inte – i kväll är det derby". Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  6. ^ "Bara makrillarna inte vinner!". Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  7. ^ "GAIS Supporterklub". Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Gais tar in supporter i tränarstaben: "Fått positiv respons från spelarna"". Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Swedish attendances". Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  10. ^ "A-Laget" (in Swedish). GAIS. Retrieved 2 June 2023.
  11. ^ Tony Balogh (15 January 2009). "GAIS störste fyller 83 år" (in Swedish). GAIS. Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  12. ^ "Profiler vi minns" (in Swedish). GAIS. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  13. ^ "GAIS – Hedersmakrillen". Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  14. ^ "Hedersmakrillen" (in Swedish). Makrillarna. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  15. ^ "GAIS – Tränare och lagledare 1924–". Archived from the original on 1 October 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  16. ^ "Svenska mästare 1896–1925, 1931–". (in Swedish). Retrieved 25 November 2009.

External links[edit]