Half term comes and goes three times a year and means us parents have to find new things to amuse the kids with. I suppose I am lucky that I “live” in two of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities (for cosmopolitan read expensive) which means I have to entertain them twice over. Things in life are rarely free, but this week I found something perfect…..for me! A free friendly between two premier clubs, well two clubs who have seen better days in their respective leagues. Roll up Brondby and Flora Tallinn. We have been friends with Flora for awhile, despite having an average attendance that rarely breaks the three figure mark (see our last visit here) and looked forward to renewing our acquaintance, as long as they brought their fans with them (tall, blonde, love a drink and female of course).
With just two weeks to go until the re-start of the Supaliga season in Denmark, Brondby needed to be in tip top form to overcome the Europa League challenge of AGF and Esbjeg this season with the top two spots almost out of reach with OB and FCK setting the running. They also had to get over the loss of Rasmussen, one of their brightest stars who had joined Celtic during the Winter break.
The game was an afternoon kick off somewhere on the Brondby campus. They do not do things by half here, so alongside the impressive 29,000 stadium were a host of training and reserve pitches. We had been to Brondby a few times, enjoying the hospitality of the Cafe 1964 Bar. So with the Little Fullers wrapped up to the nines we headed across to Glostrup by bus and wandered around the training complex until we saw a sign pointing us in the right direction.
Brondby IF 4 FC Flora Tallinn 0 – Brondby IP – Wednesday 17th February 2010
So after a 10 minute walk through the complex of training grounds we arrived at the designated pitch where a crowd of a couple of hundred were already taking in the match day experience. And by that I mean they had cracked open the beers. Sod the fact there was no stand, just a pile of snow (a big big pile of snow) the Danes simply got on with it. We had arrived just in time by the looks of things as the teams were lined up to kick off.
Or so we thought. What had actually happened was that the game kicked off a minute before, Flora kicked off, gave the ball away, Brondby got a corner, they crossed it and Remco Van der Schaaf headed home…23 seconds gone. And we had missed it. Thankfully, the electronic scoreboard replayed the action to us all (joke…I got an update on my phone!). It was blooming chilly. So chilly that the officials had donned tights for the occasion.
Overlooking the ground is Denmark’s biggest flag pole apparently, although Big Ben claims it is the world’s biggest, but having been to the peace village in the DMZ in Korea I would believe the crazy North Korean who pointed out a similar one to me there than a Tottenham fan any day. The girls headed off into the snow and I stood having a beer with a guy who then started doing some warming up exercises and I discovered he was one of the Estonian team substitutes…
One became two in the 26th minute when a clearly offside Peter Madsen hooked the ball over the keeper after a cross from the right from Krohn-Deli. As you would expect from a pre-mid-season game played on an artificial training pitch in sub zero temperatures it wasn’t high on quality, and if truth be told after Michael Krohn-Deli had headed home in the 75th minute, we were at the exit on our way back to the warmth of Cafe 1964. Apparently the fourth came in the 82nd minute from the Dutchman van Schaaf but we were tucking into the hot chocolate/Tuborg classic and FIFA09 on the X-Box to care too much.
Pre-season games are rarely exciting and always fail to deliver any promise. Add in freezing conditions, two little Fullers and tights and it ranks up there with the Zenith Data Systems 1st round clash at Upton Park in the late 1980’s with Plymouth Argyle…pointless.