So after nearly 11 months my Danish season draws to a close with an afternoon we all love – a double header. With so many teams playing in Copenhagen these days there is always a game on somewhere, especially on National Holidays such as today. The Danes, like their German cousins, celebrate Ascension Day. The day that Christ, allegedly, got on a special Ryanair plane and flew up into the sky. And they take a day off for it. Now considering that the country is one of the least religious I have ever visited I find this quite odd. However, it did mean only half a days work for me (I keep English hours despite being in Denmark) and then an afternoon of football.
And what more could a man ask for. BGA and BSF both at home, separated by a few miles of motorway. What do you mean you have never heard of them? Legends in these parts, legends. In a town where their rivals include AB, FB, B93, HIK and B1903 it is hard to remember who is who, but do we really care? After all it is football. And Danish football means sausages, beer, err beer and more sausages. OK, I admit it. I am addicted to watching football with a pint in one hand, and a sausage in another.
First up was BGA v Greve. Boldklubberne Glostrup Albertslund were formed out of a merger of Glostrup FK and surprisingly Albertslund IF. Glostrup FK themselves were formed back in 2003 from a merger between three local teams. It is all so complicated out here. I often find watching Eastenders and understanding their “family trees” more relaxing that trying to work out the parentage of Danish football teams. What do you need to know to start with? They play in an athletics ground (boo), they wear all red and they sell beer and sausages. There, simple as that. They are flirting with the relegation zone back to the Denmark Series, the regional leagues with just three games to go. The visitors Greve would be relegated if they didn’t win this one, although even three points may not be enough if results elsewhere went in their favour.
And straight after this one it was on the 500S “express” bus (A Danish term for being able to charge you even more money to use public transport) to Ballerup. There you will find the Ballerup Super Arena, one of the premier cycling venues in Northern Europe. A fantastic facility that also hosts concerts and Handball. Step outside and look to the north. See that hedge? Just the other side of that is the home of Ballerup Skovlunde Fodbold Klub, or BSF. If the situation with Greve looked terminal, then BSF’s was post-mortem. They were relegated a few weeks ago and came into this game adrift at the bottom of the league. Their opponents, Skjold were not in the best position either. One place and one point above the relegation zone this was a must game for them too.
So Survival Sunday had been translated into Trembly Thursday in the Danish Second Division (East). Who would be anywhere else?
BGA 2 Greve 1 – Glostrup Idrætspark – Thursday 2nd June 2011 – 1pm
The sun was shining on the Glostrup Idrætspark when we arrived just as the game started. Of course Alan and I had missed the memo that said today was “Dress as an English football fan day”. Alan has a slinky little sleeveless vest number on which was complimented perfectly by his sling (collarbone injury), whilst I was dressed in my finest official Bosnian FA top. However, the Danes hadn’t disappointed with numbers from Spurs, Man Utd and Wolves (Wolves!) on display around the edge of the athletics ground that is the home of Glostrup.
The home fans sitting high up in the stand tried to generate some atmosphere, although a disappointing lack of away fans in the hundred or so in attendance didn’t help. Greve is only 20 minutes away by train (In Copenhagen nothing is more than 20 minutes away by train).
The game had a real end of season feel to it. Which is quite ironic really as that is exactly what is was. Greve’s on the pitch urgency was clear to see from the first minute and they hit the bar and the post in the opening period. However, it was the home side that went in front with a goal Sam Allardyce would be proud of. Big hoof over the defenders, physical centre forward muscles his way through and slots home. If things stayed the same BGA would be safe and Greve relegated.
Things never get too passionate at this level though and half time saw more interest in the sausages and the beer rather than scores elsewhere. With league leaders Nordvest surprisingly losing at home to fellow relegation candidates Frederikssund it wasn’t so cut and dried for the home side, and if Sky Sports themselves were controlling the action Greve then equalised on the hour. All of a sudden mud was clearer than this position. But fear not exiled Blodklubberne Glostrup Albertslund fans as they restored their lead on seventy five minutes with a well taken effort.
Greve suddenly realised that relegation was going to happen and threw everything they could in a polite way at BGA but it was too little too late. Frederikssund’s win and their defeat ensured that next season they would be playing their football in front of a hundred or so fans where the quality of the sausage was more important than the game. So a bit like this season really.
BSF 1 Skjold 1 – Ballerup Idrætspark – Thursday 2nd June 2011 – 3pm
And as if by magic we appeared about 20 minutes north (of course) in posh little Ballerup. Nothing spoils a Public Holiday here. The lawns are manicured, the dogs are silenced and even the football is hidden behind a moat and huge grass banks. From the outside the ground would pass for a medieval fort ruins, and with no floodlights to blot the landscape it was hard to appreciate the game was on. But on it was and after paying another 50Dkr we walked in to find us looking the odd ones out by forgetting our European football shirts this time. Barcelona, Genoa, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool and a fat lad with a Newcastle 7 Barton shirt on gave us funny looks as if we were the odd ones out.
Frederikssund’s win had pushed the visitors into the relegation zone and so they brought out the big guns – the replica luminous green ex-Chelsea away kit. Not to be outdone BSF had a special treat of their own. Each player (apart from a few with blanks) had a different sponsors logo on the front. Unique? Ridiculous? Ground breaking? You decide.
The game ebbed and flowed as a cast of look-a-likes played the game. BSF’s captain had more than a passing resemblance to Matthew Upson, complete with a limp from the fifth minute that will no doubt keep him out of action for six months. David Burrows at full back for the visitors ran up and down the pitch with little effect. Kanu started in midfield, drifted all over the place and in the end tried to blend in with the trees with his green shirt.
Despite some desperate defending, the odd fracas and some appalling first touches, the half ended goal less. More amusement during the interval. One of the Skjold subs (we will call him TinTin although he looked like Cameron Diaz in THAT moment in There’s something about Mary) came over to the side of the pitch to chat to a fan. Although when she took out a tissue and wiped his nose and then gave him an apple we got the feeling the relationship might be a bit maternal. He was called back into action on the half way line as the subs were all taking it in turns to try and score from the half way line. Ten attempts, zero goals. Perhaps that is why they are subs for a team in Danish 2nd Division East?
The second half continued in much the same vein. Relegated BSF always looked more likely to score and score they eventually did after a corner wasn’t cleared and Stevie Spriggs look alike (going back awhile now – centre midfielder, about 3 foot tall) smashed the ball home. The lead lasted all of ten minutes before Skjold themselves scored from a corner, sending the three away fans rushing down the grass bank to celebrate with the players.
So a draw looked like a fair result. But wait. We still had the best bit of the game to come. The BSF forward to looked like he loved a pie or two lost possession of the ball on the edge of the Skjold penalty area. He fell theatrically holding his leg. Play went on. In fact play went on for about two minutes, during which time the keeper tried to pull him up and he shrugged off his gesture going back to hugging his other leg. Eventually the ball went out of play so the referee ran back to see what was wrong. As he approached him the player jumped up and immediately started shouting. Yellow Card. Then he continued to shout, but this time right in the face of the referee. Second Yellow Card and off he went. Except he didn’t give up. He carried on with his verbal tirade and out came the Red again. He got a standing ovation as he finally left the field, remembering to limp after he passed the keeper and he reminded him that he was suppose to be injured.
So a draw was irrelevant to already relegated BSF but a bad result for Skjold as they remain in the bottom four with just two games left. Quite an amusing end to my Danish season I would say.
More pictures from an afternoon of amusement can be found here.