We were drawn against Ostersunds FK in the last 32 of the Europa League on Monday afternoon.
Founded in the same month that Arsène Wenger became our manager, the Swedish side were created in October 1996 when three local clubs, Ope IF, IFK Ostersund and Ostersund/Torvalla FF, merged together.
A fourth club, Froso IF, joined the following year and the club then began its life in the third tier of Swedish football.
Known in the Allsvenskan for its English links, director of football Daniel Kindberg used his friendship with Roberto Martinez and Graeme Jones to start a partnership with Swansea City - and the Swans even played the inaugural game at their new 8,000-seater Jamtkraft Arena.
Nowadays, its manager Graham Potter who is continuing Ostersunds’ English connections. The former Football League defender - who is best known for his time with York City - joined after the Swedish side had been relegated to the fourth tier in 2010, and achieved successive promotions during his first two years in charge.
Two years later they had been promoted once more, this time becoming an Allsvenskan side for the very first time in their existence, and then they lifted their first major trophy, the Svenska Cupen, after beating six-time champions IFK Norrkoping 4-1 in the final.
Their Europa League record has been equally as impressive this season. After earning a shock win over Galatasaray in the second qualifying round, Saman Ghoddos’ two goals helped them reach the group stage of the competition.
From there it just got better for them, finishing second in a group featuring Athletic Bilbao and Hertha Berlin after only losing one game. They are the Sweden’s sole representative in this year’s competition, and the only Swedish club to have ever progressed beyond the Europa League group stage.
We’ll travel to Ostersund on Thursday February 15, with the return leg taking place at Emirates Stadium a week later, on February 22.
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