Why is ‘everyone called Glenn’ in Gothenburg?

Why is 'everyone called Glenn' in Gothenburg?
How many Glenns actually live in Gothenburg? Photo: Per Pixel Petersson/imagebank.sweden.se
We find out if everyone in Gothenburg is really called Glenn and where the old joke comes from.  

If you’ve been to a football match involving IFK Göteborg, you’ve probably heard this chant from fans: Alla heter Glenn i Göteborg! Alla heter Glenn, Alla heter Glenn, Alla heter Glenn i Göteborg!

But why is “everyone is called Glenn in Gothenburg” a football chant? And is Gothenburg really a city of Glenns? 

It started in the 80s. At the time IFK Göteborg had four star players called Glenn: Glenn Hysén, Glenn Strömberg, Glenn Schiller and Glenn Holm.

Hammarby, a rival club from Stockholm, came up with the chant to taunt the opposing team. But IFK Göteborg’s fans quickly co-opted it and started singing it themselves. 

The Glenn-filled team of the 80s went on to win the Swedish Cup and the UEFA Cup, so the name turned into something of a good luck charm that persists to this day. 

Glenn Hysén in a match between Hammarby IF and IFK Göteborg in 1986. Photo: Jack Mikrut / SvD / TT
Glenn Hysén in a match between Hammarby IF and IFK Göteborg in 1986. Photo: Jack Mikrut/SvD/TT

According to census data from Statistics Sweden, a total of 5,455 men in Sweden have Glenn as their first name. Most are over 50 years old. There are also 10 women called Glenn in the country. 

But the public database Ratsit has found that most Glenns, in relation to population, are found in Munkedal, a town about 110 kilometres north of Gothenburg. Only about 212 people called Glenn live in Gothenburg. There are 19 dogs called Glenn in the city too. 

Nonetheless, the joke (and chant) survives to this day.

In fact, a sports bar which opened 12 years ago in the centre of Gothenburg is called Glenn i Göteborg (the owner is not called Glenn). 

There’s an outdated dad joke that is popular among older Swedish men: “What would happen if Glenn Hysén married Glenn Close? They would both be called Glenn Hysén.”

*Pause for laughter*

The city has even named a train Glenn.

In the video below, you can listen to the four Glenns – Hysén, Strömberg, Holm and Schiller – as they sing the chant themselves.


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