If I had to be cast away on a desert island and could only take a few items I am quite clear what number one on my list would be…OK, number two then behind Eliza Dushku. MARMITE. As the saying goes, you either love it or hate it. I have been in the former’s camp since the age of one. I have it on toast, I cook my roast potatoes in it and I have been known to smear it on the naked torsos of some lucky ladies (all in the past of course if CMF gets round to reading this). BUT this week we had some potentially devastating news. Denmark had banned Marmite. How could I survive my weeks out here without my little jar of happiness?
Unsurprisingly us Brits were up in arms and the Times, Guardian and BBC all took this very seriously. Twitter went into meltdown, pleased that the fiasco of Super Injunctions was being buried under controversy somewhere else in the world. Even the US-based Huffington Post picked up on the story. Reprisal actions were announced – “Boycott Ikea” came the call from “Dave, Chelmsford”. Bless him. He obviously assumes that Scandinavia is in fact a country on its own right. “Let’s ban Carlsberg” – another great suggestion from a chap in Devon. Except Carlsberg isn’t brewed in Denmark anymore, rather in Northampton.
Ben and I planned our own black market operation, secretly importing the Extra Mature version for ex-pats. We had quite a few addicts lined up when the Danish Food Agency came out with a “clarification” statement. No it wasn’t banned, but the sale of it would be regulated due to the ingredients, and only sold via outlets with a licence. So like methadone then.
So, the most “liberal” country in the world to do business in, the least corrupt country in the world in 2010, the world’s happiest county, the first country that legalised pornography (back in 1969), a country where the age of consent is 15 and one where having sex with animals is technically legal, a country which had the first ever hippy “state” in Christiana can also tell it’s people what it can and cannot eat. These Danes are crazy.
And to prove the fact even further we saw contrasting events during an evening of football to show the good and bad in the people.
Brondby came into the game with FC Norsjælland needing a favour from FCK. With the runners up in the Superliga this season going into the Champions League (albeit at the start of the Qualifying Rounds) it was down to a three horse race. OB were in prime position, sitting five points ahead of Brondby and FCM with just two games to go, but the first of those was at home to Champions FCK who had only lost one league game all season. So the hope was for an FCK and a Brondby win thus taking the race down to the last day. But of course supporting FCK was a bridge too far for many Brondby fans I knew so they had already resigned themselves to the Europa League.
The visitors to West Copenhagen, FCN had won the Danish Cup again on Saturday, in a game delayed by a monumental lightning storm. They had beaten FC Midtjylland 3-2 to win the cup for the second year in a row and thus had already packed their beach towels for the season. So a formality for Brondby surely?
I met up with Alan who has been enjoying a few months in Copenhagen going to as much football as he can jam in, with the only criteria he has to get his wife’s tea ready on the table when she comes home from work. A Glaswegian, who lives in Brighton and thus supports Rangers and The Albion. We got to the stadium a good hour before kick off and contemplated where to go in the ground. A chap came up to Alan and thrust two bits of paper in his hand and walked off. They appeared to be two tickets, the ones you can these days print at home (well for European football anyway). They had the right date on, the right ground, the right teams. Surely people in a country that is wicked enough to ban Marmite wouldn’t do such random acts of kindness? Perhaps they felt they should apologise for the misery they were going to cause us.
Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth we took them and proceeded to put the same amount we would have paid for tickets over the bar of the 1964 Cafe (Apparently named after the year the club were formed and not after the New Order song of the same name), which being in Denmark was approximately 2 pints.
Brondby IF 1 FC Nordsjælland 1 – Brondby Stadion – Wednesday 25th May 2011
We approached the turnstiles with trepidation. What if they were the missing link in a series of murders? And only the killers would have the tickets? Would scanning the bar code alert Interpol to come and grab us? The light went green and we climbed the 87 steps to the top of the South East stand, sitting in one of the empty seats in the row behind “Just in case”.
The game had an already resigned end of season feel to it. The crowd was just over 11,000 and that seemed generous. FCN had brought 37 from our joint efforts at counting them. Considering they are 40 minutes away on a train it wasn’t that impressive. News filtered through that OB had taken the lead. Minutes later Brondby opened the scoring themselves when Clarence Goodson slotted the ball home.
The highlight of the first seventy five minutes was undoubtably the half time competition for Pige 2011. Pige in Danish means girl which is quite amusing to say the least, and here was a competition to vote for the best pige of 2011. Leaflets had been handed out prior to the game for us to be able to text vote and now we had the parade of the six finalists. With a cheeky wave and a wink, Pige number 5 you got two votes from the British contingent.
The second half didn’t set us alight to be honest. News filtered through of a second for OB versus FCK and the game was up. Our attention was grabbed by an incident in the front of the terrace below us. A bit of pushing and shoving between a fan and a steward. The steward appeared to fall backward and hit his head. He didn’t get back up. The fan simply pulled his hoodie tighter and sauntered through the exit. Not one steward made any effort to go after him nor really see what was wrong with their colleague. Seven minutes later just as FCN equalised and the plastic cups of beer stared to be thrown down towards the injured party a paramedic with a stretcher turned up. Whilst we criticise the stewarding at our grounds I would rather have it our way rather than like this.
This soured the end of the game for many of the fans and people drifted towards the exit long before a chorus of boos signalled the end of the game. Hard to know how to sum up a day in Copenhagen like this really…Good, Bad and Ugly?