Helsingborgs IF (alternative spelling Hälsingborgs IF), commonly referred to as Helsingborg or (especially locally) HIF, is a Swedish football club located in Helsingborg. They are currently playing in the highest Swedish league, Allsvenskan. The club, formed 4 June 1907, has won five national championship titles and five national cup titles. Helsingborgs IF have also won Allsvenskan on two occasions when the title of Swedish champions was not decided by the outcome of that league.[A]
Helsingborg was a founder member of Allsvenskan, and between 1924 and 1968 they spent all but two seasons in the top division, and won the league five times. At the end of the 1968 season, HIF was relegated, and while most people initially expected a quick return, they went on to spend the next 24 seasons in the lower leagues before finally getting promoted back to the top flight in 1992. Since returning to Allsvenskan in 1993, Helsingborg has remained in the top division, winning the league twice in 1999 and 2011.
The club was formed in 1907 after the merger of Svithiod and Stattena (not to be confused with the Stattena IF of today), and the club played their first game on 6 June 1907, beating neighbours IFK Helsingborgs 6–2. Otto Malm was a star of the team; in the 1911–12 season he scored 69 goals in only 24 games. At the end of his time at Helsingborgs IF he had played 500 games and scored 735 goals. The year after the club's formation, John Pettersson joined as club president, and during his tenure the club won the league five times. The year after, the club changed their kit from white shirts and blue shorts to red shirts and blue shorts, as well as winning the Scandinavian Championships. In 1914 the club lost in the final of the Svenska Cupen (Swedish Cup) and also in the Svenssons Cup. That year the club were invited to play in the Swedish Series, but declined because they thought that playing friendlies brought higher attendances. Additionally, the club's players were part-time, meaning that regular away matches would have been impractical. On 30 May 1915, the club lost 5–4 to Gӧta in the District Championships. 1918 again saw the club finish second the Svenska Cupen, after losing to IFK Göteborg.
With the arrival of Norwegian manager Åge Hareide things started to look very good for the first time in many years. During Hareides first year HIF finished 2nd in the league and won Allsvenskan in 1999, for the first time since 1941.
Following the World Cup break however, Henrik Larsson arrived at Helsingborg along with a new manager, Stuart Baxter, and Helsingborg started to win matches. After victory in the derby and a 3–2 win at home against IFK Göteborg, Helsingborg finished in fourth place in the league and as winners in the Svenska Cupen after a 2–0 victory over Gefle IF in the cup final.
With wins against Galatasaray and Austria Wien, a draw against Panionios and a loss against Bordeaux, Helsingborg finished second in the group and faced PSV Eindhoven in the round of 32. PSV won 2–0 at home and 2–1 away. Stuart Baxter had left the club shortly after the loss against FC Girondins de Bordeaux following a disagreement with the club president Sten-Inge Fredin and was replaced with the club's Director of Football Bo Nilsson. It was from the beginning only supposed to be temporary but after a few months of good results, Nilsson was contracted for the whole season.
^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.
^Current youth players who at least have sat on the bench in a competitive match.