Ostersund's Links To British Football Pre-Date Arsenal Tie

Ostersunds FK, the Swedish side that stunned the footballing world by qualifying for the knockout stages of the Europa League, and a glamor tie against Arsenal, may have been punching above its weight.

But they are hardly unfamiliar with the British game.

That’s because the little-team-that-could has actually had a number of players from England and Scotland as it rose through the ranks of the Swedish league, and then finally earned a shot at European glory.

Ostersund would ultimately lose to Arsenal in that tie, 4-2 on aggregate, but not before giving Arsene Wenger’s men a scare by taking a 2-0 lead in the first half of the second leg at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday. Wenger, who has been under fire for the past two seasons, must have been walking on eggshells in his technical area.

The Brits who have also featured in the starting XI for Ostersund over the years include:

Paul Sheerin

Sheerin made 47 appearances for Aberdeen and 187 for St. Johnstone in the Scottish top flight before retiring in 2014 after a stint at Arbroath. He is currently U-20s coach at Aberdeen.

Connor Ripley

A Middlesbrough native and former youth player at his hometown club who also made 36 appearances for Motherwell in Scotland and now plays for Bury.

Lee Makel

A former Newcastle midfielder who suited up for several British sides before retiring in 2013.

Brian Wake

Wake played for Hamilton Academical in Scotland, among other clubs.

Daryl Smylie

Another former Newcastle youth product who also suited up for Livingston in Scotland.

Michael Tidser

The Glaswegian has made more than 150 appearances for Greenock Morton.

Jamal Blackman

The former Chelsea youth goalkeeper is currently with Sheffield United.

David Accam

Finally, American fans of MLS might recognize Ostersund as the one-time club of the former Chicago Fire star and current Philadelphia Union winger.

No, none of this will make Arsenal supporters concerned about their side’s performance feel any better. But, at least Ostersund knew enough about the British game to prepare. We think.

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