A FATHER and son from Pickering are the talk of Swedish football, after turning around the fortunes of a tiny club in the remote Scandinavian countryside - and making history with them.

Andrew Hardey and his son Liam are assistant manager and player respectively at Ytterhogdal football club, based in a village of about 900 inhabitants.

The story began last year when Liam, who went through the academy systems at Leeds United and York City, was released at 18.

He applied for a scheme called Erasmus+, which is administered by the League Football Education Department, and designed for ex-academy players to gain life experience in another country.

Liam's placement was with Ytterhogdal, a Division 3 side in the Swedish national league system. At the end of the 2015 season Liam was offered another year, extended to cover 2017, which he accepted.

His father Andrew Hardey, who has been involved in coaching for 16 years, was in Sweden watching his son play when he was asked to deliver a coaching session.

Then, just before the start of the 2016 season, there was a change of manager. Ex-Scarborough player Brian Wake got the job - and Andrew was offered the role of assistant manager.

"I jumped at the chance," he said. "To coach at this league level and with players of this ability is a dream come true."

The 2016 season turned into a history-making one for the club.

"We finished second in the league," Andrew said. "The highest league position ever attained by the club. And we won the League cup."

He added that the ethos of the team is to try and get the players back into the professional game, and this has also been a success. This season they sold one player, Curtis Edwards, to premier league Ostersund - who happen to be managed by Graham Potter from York. Edwards went straight into the first team and won four man-of-the-match awards in his first six games.

Andrew said that working in Sweden is "fantastic" but does have its occasional challenges. "With it being a summer season it is great to train and play in the sunshine instead of cold and wet.

"The people are very friendly and supportive and the lifestyle is slower and more relaxed.

"But this season will be slightly different with us having to start about six weeks earlier because of the cup games. Weather will be 6ft of snow and as low as -20 degrees. And the travelling distances for away matches is mostly between 3-6 hrs."

Ytterhogdal is an amateur team founded in 1921. Andrew said: "Whilst the infrastructure is run like an amateur club the same cannot be said for the training grounds and main pitch. We have three training pitches, two full-size and all irrigated with sprinkler systems. The main pitch is grass which is quite unusual for Sweden."

To top their season off, Ytterhogdal are also in the group stages of the Swedish cup for the first time ever, having beaten a Division 1 side 7-1.

Come February they will now play two Allsvenskan (Premier League equivalent) and one Superetten (Championship Level equivalent) teams.

"Quite a season for a village team," Andrew said.