When does a hobby become an obsession?


What defines an obsession? Is it the same as an addiction? Why do people become kleptomaniacs? I am often asked these questions when people see the lengths I go to to find a game of football to watch. Indeed, if you read some of my blog entries you would think I spend all of my life travelling around Europe watching any football going. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am sure if you ask CMF she would back up the fact that when I am at home I am the perfect father and husband. Or is she just being nice to me when I ask her the question if she minds when I announce another trip. I come from a long line of “collectors”. My father collects records, stamps, first day covers and orders from my mother, whilst she herself has a collection of antique silk hankercheives, thimbles and excuses why their house has not had any viewings since being on the market for the best part of a year. On CMF’s side the whole collection thing has taken over their life and their house. Cherish Teddies, Beenie Bears, F1 replica cars and Swarovski crystal takes over almost every room, as well as their pechance for buying in bulk which often means the upstairs landing is rammed full of toilet rolls (124 on my last visit), boxes of Wheetabix (23 of them) and UHT milk (only 18). So that could partly explain my quest.

I am lucky in a way that I have an opportunity to see games through my work, although contrary to popular belief in the boardroom of a certain company in SE1 I never plan my work trips around football matches. However, I feel it is rude not to take in a game if I am away and there is a match on – I see it as just a good way to learn the local culture as drinking in a bar or even going into language schools. It is also a great way to strike up relationships with new people. Football is a universal language and if you put two football supporting strangers together in a room you would find them striking up a friendship within minutes, that is except a Rangers and a Celtic fan!

As you already know from my previous posts I spend a lot of time in Copenhagen. This is a great thing for a number of reasons. Firstly, it has all of the ingredients for a top football weekend – Passionate locals who enjoy a beer. Secondly, it believes that football is a game for the masses and so it hasn’t sold out yet and thus admission prices are low in comparison to other attendances. Finally, it has a dozen clubs who play within the city limits. Some of these clubs play at the highest level and attract crowds comparable with our Premier League. Further down the Danish football pyramid the structure of the clubs is a bit more complicated as many are part owned by other clubs, such as KB who are essentially FC Copenhagen’s reserve team who play in front of crowds of hundreds despite being in the second division.

Often some of these games in the second and third level of Danish football are played at strange times. This may be due to reasons such as a lack of floodlights, fear of clashing with games on TV or simply because the club owner has a prior commitment later on in the day. When I am due to travel over to Copenhagen I always scan the fixture lists to see if there is a game on. After all, I normally have three or more hours to kill after people leave the office and before my flight leaves. In the summer the Danes head off home about 4pm so they can “spend time with their families”, and in the winter it is when it gets dark, which in mid December is about 3pm. Nice life if you can get it. Prior to my monthly trip in late October I was amazed to see that there was a game starting at 5.30pm in the city. For some inexplicable reason FC Amager, a team who had played in the top flight on a couple of occasions in their short history were playing a local derby against Frem, based less than a couple of miles away in Valby. FC Amager play at a ground that is very common in Denmark – one large covered stand basically dominating an athletics track. As the ground was less than a ten minute bus ride from the office it would have been rude not to have popped down to the stadium for this game.

As an added bonus there was also a chance to slot in the first half of another game in the north of the city at the Gladsaxe Stadium, home of AB Copenhagen who were playing another local derby against Lyngby who less than six months ago were enjoying high profile games versus Brondby and FCK. AB are one of the oldest clubs in football AB had resisted the approaches to become part of the “Copenhagen Superclub” when the local authorities created FC Copenhagen in the early 1990’s. They had themselves played in the Superliga on a couple of occasions but similar to clubs like KB, Hvidovre and FC Amager they could not make the step up needed in the ever growing professional era of European football. It was going to be a tight schedule as I had only one bus that could get me from the stadium to the airport in time for my flight home.

So as you can see this is not an obsession or an addiction. It is simply an opportunist moment – well that is what I keep telling myself! I could see an opportunity at the end of the tunnel to produce the first ever set of guides for travelling fans for the major capital cities in Europe. After all, I am sure I am not unique in my passion for football abroad, or am I?

So I headed off from the office after an early flight on Luton’s finest, and a full day of meetings. Fortunately the 35 bus to the stadium ran directly from outside the office, from the trendy Islands Brygge area of the city down to the airport. Less than ten minutes after leaving work for the day I was deposited outside the ground, the Sundby Idraetspark ready for the big game of the day (well, the only game of the day).

Wednesday 22nd October 2008 – 5.30pm – FC Amager 2 FC Frem 2

The teams troop off at half time

The teams troop off at half time

Amager is the name of the large island on which Kastrup airport is located. It is a flat expanse of land that shelters the main part of the city from the Oresund straights, and Sweden. The locals are very proud of their island and will often think of themselves firstly as Amagerians rather than citizens of Copenhagen. Consequently their club, FC Amager, have a very passionate and local support. The Sundby Idraetspark is located a short bus ride away from the city centre, and close to the university. The club were only actually formed at the start of the season through a merger between BFA and KFB. The plans for the club are very ambitious and they have outlined a 5 year plan that will see them promoted by the start of the 2010/11 season to the top division. The new owner, Todi Jonsson, was one of the most famous players to have come from the Faroe Islands and so it is no real surprise that he plans to import the best young talent from there and blood them in the Danish leagues.

Whilst this was a local derby, the thought of any away supporters making the journey across the harbour was non-existent. Apart from the big two clubs in Denmark, travelling fans are a rarity. Despite Denmark being a small country, some of the distances between clubs is huge and can only really be completed by air. The driving time (and cost of course) of travelling from AaB Aalborg to FC Copenhagen is not conducive to away travel in most instances. However, in the lower leagues there tend to be more local derbies and these two clubs were separated by 1.5 miles as the crow flies according to Google Maps. After eight games both teams were languishing in the lower reaches of the table so on paper they seemed pretty well matched.
I headed out of the office at five on the dot, planning on getting a bus around the corner to the ground. The best laid plans of mice and men, as they say. Despite the fact that five buses served this route, and it was rush hour I sat and waited, and waited and waited some more. With time ticking out until kick off I started to walk. And of course within a minute I was passed by not one, two but three buses. I started walking backwards and saw another bus arriving so I hopped on that one. At last I might actually make kick off. Oh no, less than 100 yards up the road, the bus driver drew up to the curb and turfed everyone off. I have no idea why, and judging by the reaction of the other passengers, this was not an uncommon occurance as they simply went walking off in their various ways.

After a ten minute walk I arrived at the stadium and paid my 90DKR (about £8) to enter the ground about 5 minutes after kick off. First impressions of the stadium were not particularly good. It had one big covered stand that had around a dozen rows of seats and one temporary terrace of four steps on the other side. Behind one goal was a large grass bank where some fans were sitting enjoying the late afternoon sunshine and a beer. There was a small athletics track running around the pitch which didn’t really retract from the viewing positions.

The home fans were mostly sporting the old club colours and looked very much like Crystal Palace fans (the shirts, not the spray paint cans). The game was ebbing and flowing from end to end and it didn’t take long for the home side to take the lead as their captain Jochumesen slotted home from the edge of the penalty area after a smart turn. Five minutes later it was two as he stole in at the near post to head home.

I then realised why this game was being played in the afternoon – there was no floodlights. The stadium had two stands, two scoreboards, a number of bars but no floodlights. I was so engrossed with the lack of facilities that I missed Frem’s goal in the 30th minute. As the half time whistle blew I was on my way out of the ground to get the bus up to Gladsaxe for the next installment in the Copenhagen Collection.

Wednesday 22nd October 2008 – 7.30pm – AB 0 Lyngby 1

The Lyngby fans welcome the team

The Lyngby fans welcome the team

Akademisk Boldklub to give them their full name are actually 120 years old, making them one of the earliest teams formed in the country. They have been crowned champions of the league on nine occasions, although the last of these was in 1967. But they have enjoyed a few seasons at the top table in the last decade and also won the Danish Cup in 1999, and finished third in the Super Liga. They were relegated in 2004 and since have struggled to challenge for the promotion places again, although this season they have started well and came into this game in 2nd place. The opponents for this game Lyngby had been in the Super Liga up until last May when they were relegated after just one season.

For once it was really easy to transverse the city from one ground to another. The express bus line 250S ran from close to Sundby Idraetspark all the way through the centre of the city and out the other side to Gladsaxe in less than 30 minutes. I was concerned after reading AB’s website that they may have been expecting a big crowd and Lyngby are based no more than 2 miles from the stadium. I had seen them play earlier in the year at home to Brondby and their fans had certainly been passionate and many in number, so I was expecting a fair few to have travelled.

With just 15 minutes to kick off I headed into the stadium after paying my 75DKR and climbed up a steep grass bank to the back of the terraces. The Gladsaxe Idraetspark had been redeveloped into a football only area around ten years ago with a vision that it would host regular sell out’s in the Super Liga. It is certainly a smart stadium with one large two tiered stand, and a single tiered covered one opposite. Behind each goal were ten or so steps of terracing, which were open to the elements. It turned out as more and more fans arrived and began standing beside me that I had actually boughtt a place on the Lyngby fans terrace. Queue the teams coming out and I was engulfed by smoke from flares and flag waving, swiftly followed by a shower of toilet rolls in a scene not seen in England since the late 1980’s. The small group of home fans, located as far away in the main stand as possible from the away fans tried to generate some noise but failed miserabely. The away fans then launched into their renditions of classic terrace songs including “You’re goonna get you foookng head kicked in”, “We are Lyngby, no one likes us and we can’t care” plus finally “We are Lyngby, super Lyngby, we are Lyngby, from Lyngby”.

The game itself was very bland. The first half passed without incident, apart from an incident on 20 minutes when AB appeared to have broken the deadlock with a deflected effort that was rolling into an empty net before their centre forward, in an offside position went after glory and was flagged offside.

So another productive day in Denmark, which is more than I can say about our work network that had miserably failed again, plunging me into the dark ages with no email or Blackberry connection. Just how did we used to cope in the old days of analogue mobiles!

 

About the Sundby Idraetspark
The stadium is essentially a small athletics ground with a 4 lane running track and other track and field facilities. The main stand runs down the south side of the pitch and has around a dozen rows of seats. Whilst the front row is a few feet above pitch level the view is partly obscured by people walking backwards and forwards to the refreshment bars at either end. This stand is fully covered, unlike the small wooden terrace on the opposite side. Behind the east end is a grassy knoll where fans congregate in the summer months, and picnic. The stadium does not have floodlights, and it is also possible to watch the game from outside the fences through the trees.

Who Plays There?
The stadium is now home to FC Amager who were formed in July 2008 through a merger of local clubs including the previous tenants Fremand. The club is owned by a wealthy Faroe Islander who aims to have them playing in the top division within five years.

How to Get There?
The stadium is located close to the city centre, but not walk able. There is a metro stop at Universiteet which is a 10 minute walk to the west of the stadium opposite AmagerFaelled. The easiest way to reach the stadium is via the 35 bus which stops directly outside the entrance on Irlandsvej on its way from the airport to Islands Brygge (or vice verca) where you can get the metro in the city centre. Bus fare from either is 20DKR and can be bought from the driver.

How to Get a Ticket?
Average attendances rarely break the four figure number in the second division of Danish football, unless the home team draws one of the big two in a cup, so expect to turn up before kick off and pay your 90DKR to gain entry and a programme. The turnstiles are located in Englandsvej and Irlandsvej, either side of Sundbyplats.

About the Gladsaxe Idraetspark
The Gladsaxe was originally built as an athetics stadium to provide sporting facilities for the nearby housing estates. However, the local government as part of their ambitious plans to put Copenhagen football on the map decided to invest heavily in the stadium and completely redeveloped it as a football only stadium. Today this means that the old single tier covered stand has been joined by a smart two tier structure opposite. At either end of the stadium are open terraces with very steep steps meaning that the views are excellent. There are plenty of places to get grilled sausages and beer around the stadium. Entry is through the gates in the south east (home fans) and south west (away) corners. If the weather is nice then head for the upper tier of the east stand where you can enjoy the sunshine, watch the planes on their way into Kastrup and enjoy a great view of the action.

Who Plays There?
The green and whites of AB are one of the oldest clubs in Denmark, having been formed in 1888. They resisted the advances from FCK in the early 1990s to become part of the new “super club” and instead enjoyed some great seasons in the top division, including two consecutive third place finishes and a Danish Cup win in 1999 that enabled them to enter the UEFA Cup where they lasted just 2 games.

After relegation back into the second tier of Danish football a few seasons ago it has been a hard slog to try and get back to the Super Liga.

How to Get There?
The stadium is located in the northern suburbs of the city, close to the E47 motorway and the industrial estate of Gladsaxe. There isn’t really a train or metro station within walking distance so the best way to reach the ground is by bus. Bus numbers 68 and 250S run from Radhuspladsen opposite Tivoli on a regular basis, and also stop at Forum for the Metro. The express 250S takes around 20 minutes from the city centre to the stadium, whilst bus 68 takes ten minutes more.

How to Get a Ticket?
Whilst they may have a nice football only stadium, locals still haven’t taken the club to heart and so expect a core home following of no more than a 1,000 spread across the two covered stands. Therefore pre-purchase is not something you need to worry about when you are planning to attend a game here. Admission is 75DKR and Gate 2 in the south west corner is for entry onto the away fans terrace. All other gates are for home fans to enter the seated areas.

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Danish Football


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A Danish Double


FCN attack the Vejle goal

FCN attack the Vejle goal

I figured some time ago that something is only worth doing if either you do it well, or you become an expert in it. So whilst my football travels have taken me to the furthest corners of Europe I had become a generalist in a specialist subject, which is fine to an extent. But to be classed as an expert in a particular subject requires focus and dedication. So I have decided to become an expert in football in Copenhagen. There, I’ve said it and I feel better already. My sad obsession which has dominated my travels to this wonderful city in the past 18 months is now out in the open. Like all such goals you need to research the competition first, and so a quite check on Google revealed that when you type in football stadiums + Copenhagen the results pages by….me! So it appears I already have a fair amount of knowledge and kudos (as much as knowing about football in one of Europe’s smallest capital cities goes!), so all I have to know is to build on it.

This season Danish domestic football is probably at the highest point it has ever been in terms of European attention. AaB (Aalborg) are in the Champions League Group Stages for the first time and will host Manchester United, Celtic and Villarreal before Christmas, and FCK, Brondby and Nordjaelland are still in the UEFA Cup. Add to this the recent visit to Herning by Manchester City who beat FC Midtjylland and you can see my quest does have some merit.

I am no stranger to football on these shores. In the past year, as work has permitted me time over here, I have already racked up visits to half a dozen games in the city, plus visits to a few more stadiums. I have seen top level football on a number of occasions at Brondby, and when they were in the highest division for a season, Lyngby. I have also seen games at Hvidovre, KB and Greve on other trips, covering a whole spectrum of quality of grounds. At my last count there were 11 grounds hosting football in Copenhagen in the top three divisions and so I still had my work cut out to get to the likes of AB, B1903, B93 and the likes.

I managed to arrange a trip out that would allow me to see at least two more games, both in the Super Liga. The fixture list was kind and in theory I could have actually got in part of a game at four grounds, but having been bitten before with such arrangements earlier in the season I decided that two was plenty for one afternoon.

So after dumping my bags at the plush but very dull Island hotel I headed north on S-Tog line A from the stop by the hotel. The good thing was that despite the first game of the day being essentially in another town outside Copenhagen, I could stay on this train all the way to the end of the line at Farum. When I say a different town I would compare it to Dartford as a part of London. The train took me through the city centre, past the harbour and the docks and into surburbia. No signs of a Bluewater here, just smart little houses all flying the Danish flag. This was the kind of neighbourhoods where crime would be dropping a crisp packet or playing 2Unlimited in your car. The train then headed through the forest of Store Hareskov, and with just two stops to go until the end of the line we ground to a halt. Apparently weekend engineering works meant that this was the end of the line. The good news was that a replacement bus service was running. The bad news was that it wasn’t actually co-ordinated with the train arrivals rather than “once it’s full we will go approach” and so we had just missed one. Never mind, there was sure to be another along shortly. And there was, but unfortunately there was little in the way of passenger action coming off subsequent trains and so we waited, and waited. With the time to kick off fast approaching, and half of the bus filled with football fans tension was in the air. Of course this being Scandinavia everyone was too polite to say anything to the driver, although the level of coughing went up. Eventually one young fan went and asked the driver if we could go, and he seemed to respond by saying “of course, why didn’t you ask earlier”.

Ten minutes later we arrived in Farum, and without any other way of reaching the stadium we started walking. The area around the stadium was surreal. If anyone has gone to Centerparcs before then imagine wandering down a straight road with rows and rows of villas lining it. All of the houses were nice, but completely uniform. Whilst it was 3.30pm on a Sunday it appeared that everyone was observing some kind of curfew as no one appeared to be home. Of course, they could have all been already at the stadium.

Farum Park sat at the end of this road, with the floodlights dominating the skyline, leaning in as if to spy on the fans. It sat behind a sports centre and was almost hidden from view. It was almost identical in design internally to Glanford Park in Scunthorpe, with four identical stands, all joined together and sitting under a continuous roofing structure. I counted that each stand had 19 rows of seats.

FC Nordsjaelland 2 FC Vejle 1 – Farum Park – Sunday 21st September 2008 – 4pm

Nice job if you can get it!

Nice job if you can get it!

Inside the stadium I was disappointed to see that the locals had not actually turned out in force. One end of the stadium was completely empty, and the home fans were split in three areas. Behind the north end goal around 300 fans stood with their flags and banner (notice the singular). To my right in the side stand were a group of another 100 or so all of whom had identical t-shirts on. Based on the lack of passion or noise these fans showed throughout the game I was normally say they were on a corporate jolly. However, the third set where directly opposite me in the VIP stand, and part of the luxury facilities were that they had been issued with green blankets to put around their knees – after all it was only September!

The band of 100 or so noisy away fans were located in the corner to my right and to give them credit they made a fair racket through out the whole game. The teams entered the pitch to a wimper of noise from the home fans, as well as red and yellow flares that had been planted in the goal mouth at one end. Of course it wasn’t the end where there were no fans, and so when the game started 2 or 3 minutes later, the smoke was still hanging around causing those fans behind the goal to be completely unaware of what was happening.

This reminded me of my first ever visit to the Milan derby. I managed to get a cheap seat at the top of one of the end behind the goal, beggars could not be choosers for such a game. The game kicked off as I finally made it into the stadium but I then had to climb to the top tier. At the San Siro you can either do this via the stairs that run up the middle of the spiral towers, or following the spirals up, climbing slowly to the top. Just as I reached the top there was a huge cheer as a goal went in. About thirty seconds later I entered the arena but all I could see below me was smoke, caused by hundreds of flares being lit. I had no idea who had scored either in terms of the team or the player. After about two minutes the haze cleared and it was obvious that it was AC who had taken the lead. Of course I chose a game where AC Milan were rampant and scored 6 times without reply. I estimate that I missed half of the game due to fog related issues!

It wasn’t quite the same here though and within a minute the smoke had cleared and the game was underway. FCN had surprised many this season with their performances in the UEFA Cup that had seen them beat the mighty Queen of the South amongst others. They had lost the first leg of their game versus Olympiakos a few days previous, holding out for over 75 minutes against a team with considerable European experience. That game seemed to have taken it out of the players and they started sluggishly.

Vejle broke the deadlock first with a well worked goal that was cooly finished by Vejle centre forward, Adeshina Lawal on the twenty minute mark and that was really the high point of the first half. Whatever was slipped into the tea of the FCN team at halftime worked as they came out for teh 2nd half pumped up and found themselves level in the 58th minute when captain Martin Bernburg scored.

The game was heading for a draw when in the 90th minute a hopeful punt up into the Vejle penalty area fell at the feet of the centre back. In one of those rare comical moments he tried to kick the ball over his own shoulder, only resulting in hitting his chest and the ball fell to the unmarked Bajram Fetai who couldn’t believe his luck as he slotted the ball passed the Vejle keeper. Harsh on the away team but that is how football goes sometimes. The official crowd of just over 3,000 headed home with a “ho hum” and I made my way back to the bus stop for my trip down to more atmospheric conditions back in the city centre.

FCK 3 AaB 0 – Parken – Sunday 21st September 2008- 5.30pm

Ready in the tunnel at Parken

Ready in the tunnel at Parken

Quite how FCK get away with the wealth splashed on them is a complete mystery to most observers of the Danish game as well as the supporters of every other team in the country. Sitting in the comfortable press area of the national stadium, the Parken, for this home game against the Champions League surprise package AaB Aalborg you can see what a lucky hand they have been dealt. Not content with the relatively modern 40,000+ seater stadium being gifted to them free of charge, they have now started redeveloping the stadium to include a hotel to add even more €’s into the already swollen piggy bank. But instead of playing in a three sided stadium, the club have erected a huge mural, complete with sponsorship of course similar to the one used by Arsenal for their North Bank redevelopment whilst the serious building goes on behind. Displaced from their usual spot behind the goal the hardcore Copenhagen fans were now located in the top tier of the west (side) stand, precariously jumping around, doing the conga and enjoying life to the full.

FCK’s relatively short history (they were only formed in 1991 through a merger of a number of small clubs) has been punctuated by domestic dominance and shocking lows. Quite how they have never made an impression in Europe is a mystery as they are by far and away the biggest club in Scandinavia. In recent years they have out muscled their bitter rivals from across the city, Brondby in terms of honours, but complacency has set in in recent years and they have been caught up on the field by the likes of FC Midtjylland from the small town of Herning, and last season by AaB who have both invested in their youth academies and are now reaping the rewards.

This was to be the first big game of the new Danish season. Despite starting in mid-August, the fixtures had been ravaged by the surprising success on the European scene by a number of teams, and so the Danish FA moved games left, right and centre to accommodate their teams when in European competition. The move seemed to have worked with only FC Midtylland failing to progress in Europe as of the end of September, although it took a penalty shoot out with money bags Manchester City to decide the tie. The visitors today had provided the biggest shock of the lot by overcoming a couple of tricky qualifying ties to reach the Champions League Group Stages, only the second Danish team to do so (after FCK). The initial draw of Celtic, Manchester United and Villarreal had most people thinking they would be lucky to get a point, but after the first round of games they sat in equal first (and last!) place after a very good draw away at Celtic Park.

Both teams had started the domestic season sluggishly, with the team from Odense leading the way coming into the game. Whilst the Parken is rarely full for FCK games, apart from those against Brondby, there was a reasonable crowd. With the north stand closed, the capacity has been reduced to just over 30,000 so a 25,000 plus crowd can be considered pretty impressive, although the 100 or so away fans from the mainland (Jutland for those in the know) hardly made an impression.

Despite all the huff and puff of the teams, very little of note happened in the thirty minutes of the game (well I didn’t turn up until that point and as it was 0-0 we can assume this was the case!). FCK did look the sharper of the two teams, creating a number of half chances for playmaker Thomas Kristensen before Atiba Hutchinson, the Canadian international broke the deadline just before the 40 minute mark, smartly sidefooting in from the edge of the penalty area.

Aalborg looked a shadow of the team that had fought so bravely against Celtic in midweek and failed to trouble Jesper Christiansen in the FCK goal in the first hour of the game. It wasn’t a surprise when the second one came after another incisive break through the Aalborg left back area was pulled back into the penalty area and the ball was bundled over the line through a combination of a FCK knee and an Aalborg defender’s hip.

In the 80th minute it was 3-0 as the FCK Turkish midfielder Ailton waltzed through a static AaB defence and side footed home from 12 yards. The result did not flatter the home team at all, and with more determination in front of goal it would have been more. What was surprising was the ineffectiveness of AaB who just 4 days earlier had been so resilient against Celtic. Perhaps their minds were on the home tie versus Manchester United in little over ten days. Whatever the reason I cannot see them retaining the title this season, so perhaps they should just make hay while the sun shines.

So a successful day all told. Another two stadiums under my belt, and a good game to finish off the day. Shame I had turned up late at the Parken and missed the media’s free Carlsberg, served by none the less a person than Miss Carlsberg 2008!

About the Farum Park Stadium – Capacity: 10,000 All Seater
Exiled Scunthorpe United and Walsall fans look no further for a slice of lego stadium action that the smart little stadium in the Copenhagen surburbs. FC Nordsjaelland’s Farum Park was opened a few seasons ago to provide a home to the progressive club, and has since seen their remarkable rise from formation in 1991 to UEFA Cup football this season. All four stands are uniform and are covered, although with average attendances failing to break the 4,000 mark it can be very soleless on occasions. When FCK or Brondby are visiting expect a much better atmosphere. Despite the fact it is all seater, the hardcore (as hardcore as it gets here in sleepy Farum) stand behind the west goal. The stadium has a cafe bar at the north end, next to the club shop where any supporters are free to use before or after the game.

Also around the stadium you will find the traditional sausage grills and beer sellers meaning no one will go hungry or thirsty.

How to get to Farum Park
Almost all supporters tend to arrive on S-Tog Line A from Copenhagen city centre, that takes around 35 minutes from the central station and runs every 10 minutes. A single ticket will cost 500DKR, so it is often better value to buy a day pass for all zones which is just 110 DKR. Once you get out at Farum, which is the terminus for line A you can either walk to the stadium or get a regular 333 bus that drops you right outside the stadium. To walk simply cross the road from the station and walk down Ryttersgardsvej, across a couple of roundabouts and you will see the stadium ahead of you.  The walk will take you no longer than 15 minutes.

How to get a ticket for Farum Park
Despite its modest attendance the stadium is hardly ever close to filling up and so tickets can be purchased from the booths on both sides of the stadium prior to kick off.  All seats are 125DKR for Adults and 50DKR for Children.  Tickets for the games versus the big two from the city are 175DKR and 75DKR respectively.  They can also be bought online via the website at http://www.fcn.dk

About The ParkenCapacity:41,752 All Seater
The Parken has been the home of the national stadium since the end of the second world war.  The ground went through significant redevelopment work in the early 1990’s and re-opened with a friendly against Germany in September 1992.  The stadium is, unusually for a national stadium, owned by a club side – FC Kobenhavn who purchased the rights over the ground for 138m DKr.

The stadium is built on similar lines to a number of English grounds, with four separate box-type two tier stands.  All of the stands offer unobstructed views of the action.  The stadium has a UEFA 4-star rating, and has hosted the Cup Winners Cup Final in 1994 when Arsenal beat Parma, and the UEFA Cup final in 2000 when Arsenal were the visitors again when they lost to Galatassaray on penalties.  The stadium recently hosted a sell out crowd for the friendly with England.  However, its sub 50,000 capacity means it can’t be included in future UEFA Champions League Final matches.  The stadium has a retractable roof which is used primarily for concerts, such as the U2 in 2005 and the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest.

The next phase of redevelopment will see a hotel built behind one of the goals that will also be used for Executive facilities.  This work started in late 2007 and is due for completion in 2009.

How to get to the Parken Stadium
The best way to reach the Parken from the city centre is to catch bus 15 from Østerport Station.  Alternatively the stadium is just a 15 minute walk from the station or 10 minutes from Nordhavn.  Both of these stations are served by most S-Tog lines.  If you are coming from the central station then Bus 1A runs to Trianglen which is a two minute walk from the station.  The stadium is also easily walkable from the Nyhavn area of the city centre.  Just head back towards the city and turn right and follow the main road – the stadium will be a 25 minute walk away.

How to get a ticket for the Parken Stadium
Crowds in Danish football are not known to be too high, and for most games buying tickets in advanced for the Parken are not necessary.  The biggest game in Danish football is the Copenhagen derby when Brondby come visiting.  For tickets to see FC Copenhagen log onto http://www.billetlugen.dk or http://www.billetnet.dk .  Tickets for top matches range from 120DKR to 190DKR.

A cheeky Carlsburg in the Sun


Two weeks in April and London saw the heaviest snowfall it had had for years…IN APRIL, AFTER EASTER, IN APRIL! Two weeks later it hit the highs of 17 degrees – for one day. The following day I travelled out to Copenhagen for the day to shore up the budgets for 2008/09 weel ahead of deadline day, and thus earn lots of respect for being the “most organised manager in the company”…and the sun was shining from the very moment Luton’s finest touched down in Denmark. And when the sun shines in Copenhagen, all of the beautiful people come out of their winter hibernation, shed their clothes and inhibitions and simply enjoy life. Unbelieveably my trip tied in with a game in the capital – wow I hear you say, what co-incidence. Well, yes I am sure some of you dear readers may think that but I work long and hard and so I should have a bit of downtime while I am away.

With the season drawing to a close, games are shoehorned into whatever dates are available, and with IF Brondby now in the Danish Cup Final the local derby versus Lyngby needed re-arranging and it just so happened that it was arranged for the same day I was due to be in Copenhagen. The good news was that it was an early kick off at 6pm but the bad news was that as I was on a in and outer (return on same day trip) I would have to miss the last 30 minutes of the game, but that was acceptable, after all it was a game featuring the Danish version of Derby County, and based on what I had seen at the weekend when the rams had sent 33,000 West Ham fans to sleep at Upton Park I was sure I wouldn’t miss much.

So I sneaked out of the office at 5pm on the dot and headed north on the driverless metro (does this mean the prospect of strikes are removed?)to Norreport where I changed onto the commuter lines. Rush hour in Denmark is as chaotic as any city in the world. The city centre is small, and most people live within a 20 minute commute meaning that trains are frequent, but full. I managed to squeeze on the E S-Tog northwards, and after 10 minutes and a few stops the train emptied out a bit. The train then passed through the Hellerup region, which based on the size of the houses (think Bishops Avenue in Hampstead) is where the big bacons hang out. It is also the home to the Tuborg brewery, which is being converted into some exclusive flats and apartments on the water front. 15 minutes later and the train pulled in Lyngby station. There are other ways to get here – notably the “local loop” which runs close to the stadium. I looked at Google maps before I left the office and saw how rural this line looked – grass growing in the tracks, nobody waiting at the stations, so chose to head for the main line station. With three options available – walk (30 minutes perhaps), bus (not sure where to go or which one) and a taxi (simple and available) I chose the expensive but easy option. Interestingly enough the taxi had to wait at the level crossing with the local loop line as a single coach train trundled by on a single track line – good choice Mr Fuller! The taxi took less than 5 minutes and cost less than £10 which is a miracle in this city.

With ten minutes to kick off most of the crowd seemed to be inside already. In fact for a few moments as I walked around the stadium and couldn’t find an entrance I was hit with the fear that I might not get into a game – something that has never happened to me in nearly 10 years of travelling abroad to watch football. However, a kindly policeman – with a fierce dog pointed me in the direction of a couple of blokes sitting at a table in the middle of a training pitch like some left overs from a summer fayre. They sold me a ticket for 175DKK – possibly the most expensive ticket that I have ever bought in the country, but it did allow me to enter through the totty gate – three of the best looking stewards in world football manning the gate was worth at least 5DKK alone! I was also issued with a free programme – the kind of deal that some of my travellers from Istanbul would have killed for!

The stadium was a typical Danish lower league affair – a municipal stadium meaning it had an annoying athletics track which does nothing but to hamper the view. The rest of the stadium was quite unique and gave the arena a homely feel. Behind each goal were steep grass banks with a few rows of concrete steps. These had filled up with fans drinking beer and enjoying the sunshine as if they were at a concert or simply enjoying a Sunday afternoon in the park. In one corner was a clubhouse which had a large balcony full of fans like some modern day Craven Cottage. The main stand was simply a steep few rows of terrace with a roof, but home to the Lyngby fans. Opposite the main stand was a smaller stand which was full with Brondby fans singing their English songs (“You’re not singing anymore” was a favourite, despite the fact the home fans were singing!). The ground had been split down the middle with the Brondby fans out numbering the home fans by 2 to 1. They certainly kept up the tempo during the open exchanges. It was also a good opportunity to see Brondby’s strange chocolate brown and sky blue kit – not a combination of colours you would normally put together but in this instance it worked well.

Lyngby haven’t spent many seasons in the top division but are one of the most historic teams in Denmark. Coming from a country that has a history of creating teams simply as money making machines such as FCK in the late 1980’s it is a proud record, and their championship winning season last year was one of the highlights from recent seasons. They were actually the most feared team in Denmark during the 1980’s when they won two titles, four Runners Up spots and three Danish Cups. It all went wrong for them in 2003 when they went bankrupt and had to drop down to the amatuer leagues. Their rise back to the top has been fast to say the least – in just four seasons they achieved four promotions, cumulating in the 2nd Division championship last season. However, this season not much has gone their way as they had only picked up 12 points, and relegation was assured as early as March. But they still had pride to play for, and a local derby was never going to be a boring game.

So I settled down, beer and Danish sausage captured, sunshine warming my face and watched a cracking game that saw the lead change hands on four occasions before the final whistle and a 2-2 draw. Lyngby certainly didn’t play as if they were dead and buried and if it wasn’t for some inspired goalkeeping then they could have been 3 or 4 up by halftime. All of the crowd seemed to revel in the sunshine, some more so than others as on a walk around the stadium to the gents you had to step over a few prone snoozing fans (I should invite them to Upton Park – they would be at home there!). For £17 it may have been on the expensive side for a football match but it was the perfect end to a busy day and certainly one for the groundhoppers.

About the Lyngby Stadion
As with many other stadiums in Denmark, the Lyngby Stadion is part owned by the local council and is thus classed as a municipal stadium. In other words it has an athletics track meaning that the view from many parts is not particularly good. You do however get a real homely feel from the stadium – perhaps due to the club house in the corner of the ground that is packed to the rafters during a game with spectators hanging from the balcony.

The stadium has two steep grass banks behind each goal, which do have a few rows of concrete steps. In the late spring / early summer these grass banks form impromptu picnics and there is a real relaxed feel. Depending on who the opposition will depend on the away allocation. If IF Brondby of FCK are visiting then expect half of the stadium to be given to the away fans. They are allocated the smaller stand that runs down the side of the pitch, with the home fans in the main covered stands. In each corner you will find temporary bars and sausage grills.

Programmes are handed out free as you enter the stadium, and there is a temporary shop (well clothes rail) that is pulled along the side of the pitch during the game if you feel a need to purchase a scarf at the height of excitement in the game.

Who plays there?
When Lyngby Boldklub won the Danish 2nd division last season they were promoted to the Superliga for the first time in a number of years, meaning that Copenhagen had 4 teams in the top league for the first time in over a decade. However, this status seems to be shortlived as the club have found life at the top level difficult and were relegated with games to spare in April 2008.

The club have actually won the Danish Championship on a couple of occasions – most recently in 1992 which was the end of a period of sustained success for the club when they won three Danish Cups in the 1980’s as well as their first title in 1983. In the period from 1981 until 1991 they only finished outside the top 3 on one occasion. Everything went wrong for the club in 2001 when they were made bankrupted and were relegated to amateur leagues, reforming as Lyngby Boldklub. In less than 3 seasons they had risen back to the 2nd Division and after a period of rebuilding they pushed on to the top division in 2007.

The club has had a number of famous players including Henrik Larson, Dennis Rommedahl and Marcus Allback and is reknowned still for its youth academies which unfortunately end up seeing young payer leave for FCK or IF Brondby.

How to get there
The stadium is located in the north of Copenhagen in the suburb of Lyngby. The easiest way to reach the area is via S-Tog from Norreport (which is the interchange for both metro lines) via lines B or E. The latter runs fast from Hellerup meaning that the journey time from the city centre is 15 minutes, and costs 50DKK. When you exit the station you can catch bus 182 from directly outside the entrance to the stadium (journey time 10 minutes and 20DKK), get a taxi (10 minutes and 60DKK) or walk if the weather is nice which takes 20 minutes.

Getting a ticket
Crowds in Danish football are not known to be too high, and for most games buying tickets in advanced for Lyngby is not necessary. The games that do tend to sell out are the ones versus local rivals FC Kobenhavn and occasionally IF Brondby. With relegation on the cards again in 2008 then the biggest games will be versus Hvidovre and AB. Tickets on the day of the game can be purchased from the turnstiles at either end of the stadium for 110DKK, or 175DKK for games versus the big two. Alternatively you can book tickets online at http://www.billetnet.dk and then arrange to pick them up from a number of places in the city centre.

Hopping around Copenhagen with a Carlsberg and a Sausage in each hand


There is a word in the dictionary of the dedicated football fan called the “hop”. This is a specially arranged day in the season when a group of like-minded fans will try and see as many games in one single day as possible. Such is the appeal of these hops that many lower leagues in the UK will actually arrange a round of games especially for these fans, and even providing transport to each match. Whilst these games do tend to be in the lower reaches of the football pyramid, but these fans still plan this trip months in advance. The opportunity to take in more than one game in a day in most major leagues is rare. The one benefit of televised games is the occasional scheduling of games to suit the travelling fans – for instance the recent FA Cup sixth round in England gave travelling fans a chance to see Manchester United v Portsmouth, and Barnsley v Chelsea in the same day. My personal record has been stuck at two for many years – Crewe and Port Vale, Atalanta and AC Milan and even a couple of games on the same day in South Korea for the 2002 World Cup and 2004 European Championships in Portugal. However, as luck would have it a regular trip for work to Copenhagen turned into a trip made in “hoppers” heaven. Five games in one day, all in Copenhagen and all within their professional league structure.

Denmark is one of the few countries that still classes Maundey Thursday as a public holiday, and through the sponsorship of Carlsberg, “Probably the best football watching day in the world” was arranged. Taking in 2 top flight, 2 1st division and a 2nd division game in just 8 hours was a marathon trip, but with some careful planning, fortunate scheduling and a warm coat it was certainly worth it. I am sure, dear readers you have read about my previous trips around one of Europe’s most enjoyable capital cities. The city is small enough to get around, and has a number of interesting atrtactions that if you are not careful will sidetrack you for hours on end. The myth that everything is very expensive is just that – a myth. Sure food and drink are expensive but more important things like public transport and ticket to the football aren’t. As a comparison:-

Metro (underground) ticket to go anywhere in the central area of Copenhagen = £1.25
Underground ticket to go anywhere in the central area of London = £4

Ticket to see IF Brondby in the Danish Superliga start from £8
Ticket to see West Ham in the English Premier League start from £35

So five games in 8 hours at a cost of less than £50 including travel was too good to miss. Preparation was the key to this event, and so a night out in the city drinking the unique Carlsberg Special with Ben was probably not the best preparation, but was certainly enjoyable. There are a number of stories that ex-pats in the US tell about American girls in cities such as New York falling for the Hugh Grant type accents in the bars at night. Unfortunately this theory does not translate to Scandinavia. With such beautiful people, us shy and retiring Brits, full of strong Danish beer do not really cut the Hugh Grant cloth, rather the Bobby Grant (Ricky Tomlinson’s character in Brookside) character…And the more you drink, the more pretty girls you see, and the braver you get. One bar merged into another, and in each one we tried a different approach…The original idea of Dolphin trainers went out of the window, replaced by Human Rights lawyers, sponsorship managers for 20th Century Fox, location managers for the next James Bond film, script writers for Porn films and finally casting agents for the next Big Brother programme….still it passed a few hours, and then a few more until the sun was coming up over the harbour. There was no option left – no night buses, no taxis and so Copenhagen’s policy of share a bike was a grateful sight when I came emerged from the bar. Two miles at 5am in the freezing cold has an amazing effect on sobering you up I can tell you although the comfy surroundings of the hotel at the company’s expense was a welcome end to the evening.

So leaving aside the capital of Copenhagen Cool at the Island hotel, the plan was to take in games at Hvidovre (Div 1), Frem (Div 2), Lyngby (Superliga), B93 (Div 2) and finally IF Brondby in the Superliga, ranging from the very basic athletics stadium of Frem and finishing at the ultra modern 29,000 capacity stadium at Brondby that would make many clubs in the Premier League jealous.

I planned for weeks in minute detail the itiniary, down to the finest detail. With the end of the winter break in Denmark coming this week, it was not only me that looked forward to a return in domestic football – nothing could spoil the day…..except snow….December, January and February had passed without so much of a snow flake falling, but come Easter week and the snow started falling, and the temperatures dropped. Lower league football is not as advanced in Denmark, with many stadiums being basic athletics grounds, undersoil heating is unheard of….So at 9am the games started falling like pins…First Frem was cancelled, then the Superliga game at Lyngby and finally B93 at Osterbro. With my trusted internet companion fired up I soon managed to replan the trip to take in KB, FC Copenhagen’s 2nd team to fill in the gap during the day.

The first game of the day was close by in the suburb of Hvidovre, a short 15 minute train trip from Dybbolsbro (one stop from Kobenhavn central station) to Friheden where the stadium is visible just north of the station. As with many of the stadiums in Denmark, this was a basic athletics stadium with one single large stands, and wooden benches running around the edge of the track. Now, as I have already mentioned, snow had fallen the previous day, but to turn up at this stadium on a bright blue sunny day you would have thought it was late spring. Families with their young children sat in the sunshine, sipping the odd Carlsberg or two enjoying the public holiday, although the football itself was dire. It is always amusing to see how footballers interpret “fashion”. For instance, the AB goalkeeper decided on the Bjorn Borg circa 1975 look with long blonde hair falling down his back, a black headband and a ginger beard…Obviously he was seen as a finger of fun by the Hvidovre hardcore fans – well the teenagers who started throwing paper airplanes at him. In fact the highlight of the second half was when one got lodged in his hair, just as he went for a cross which he fumbled, and thinking that he had been hit on the back of the head by a forward, proceeded to roll around on the floor in agony – until he saw the culprit.

I am sure the design of a stadium affects the style of play as every single game I have seen played in a athletics-track style ground is characterised by kick and rush football and little in the way of style, and his was no exception. Both teams struggled with the conditions – the players who started with hats and gloves were soon shedding them and whilst the pitch was far from a carpet, there was no excuse for the amount of time the ball spent in the air. This was one of those completely forgettable games although it was a shame when the final whistle went as it woke everyone up from their nice midday snooze.

So it was onto game number two…Whilst the club went by the name of KB93, they are now officially FC Kobenhavn’s 2nd team, playing in the 3rd level of Danish football. Due to the pitch being frozen at their Frederiksberg Idraetspark ground (another athletics track with a small stand), the game had been switched to FCK’s training ground just down the road. A 10 minute train ride from central station to Peter Bangs Weg, and then a 5 minute walk found me at the training complex. The game was being played on an open pitch with a rope around the edge – imagine the likes of Crewe or Brighton playing in such a ground.

However, it was refreshing to be so close to the action, although why there was a need for a speaker system in each corner that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Ministry of Sound, giving us a running commentary, interspersing the action with sound bites (Blur’s Song 2 every time there was a corner was a bit too much after the 6 consecutive one). The first half was a cagey affair, but it did seem apparent that certain players did not like each other, judging by the sly kicks and insults.

The second half started with FC Holbeck taking an early lead, although the goal celebrations of running to the 2 away fans was a bit over the top. The turning point was a seemingly uneventful punt upfield by the FCK keeper. The ball was being shepherded out by the Holbeck centre back when the FCK forward did what we all want to see happen – he booted the defender up the backside as hard as he could. Queue the histrionix on the edge of the pitch, and a straight red card although again some of these big time charlies look so silly playing in such basic conditions. Within 5 minutes the lead had been doubled to 2-0 as a defensive error was capitalised on by the Holbeck forward line.

The game seemed dead and buried, but some tactical substitutions by the FCK coaching team saw them get a well deserved goal back almost immediately. Stupid incidents in football *2 – why do forwards rush to get the ball out of the net when they are chasing the game? Of course it is the team that have just conceded who actually have to kick off and so that mad rush and bundle in the goal is absolutely irrelevent. In this instance the Holbeck goalkeeper picked up a stupid yellow card for stopping the retrieval of the ball.

With time running out FCK got a free kick thirty yards out, and with one of the best strikes you will see on any ground FCK equalized. So two games down, and two draws seen.

The final stop of my trilogy was one of my personal favourites – a visit to the west of Copenhagen to watch IF Brondby. As with many of the major clubs in Denmark today, Brondby were only formed quite recently through a merger of local teams. In their short history they have risen to the top of the pile in Denmark, played in the Champions League, nearly gone bankrupt before finding their feet more recently with sound financial backing and a spanking new stadium.

The one thing about football stadiums in Denmark is the imagination in naming them. In the north of the country you have the NRG stadium in Aarhus, and the wonderfully named Essex Park in Randers. FCK play at the national stadium called Parken yet Brondby, having spent millions of pounds rebuilding their stadium, could only come up with the name “Brondby Stadium”. Getting to the stadium is an adventure in itself. Hope on the train out of central station for 20 minutes to Glostrup takes you only part of the way. You then really have to complete the journey by bus unless you fancy a 25minute walk. Normally the Danes are very much like the Germans when it comes to queueing – organised and orderly – except when it comes to football crowds. Then it is every man to himself, and the fun begins. Cans of Carlsberg are passed around and the singing starts. Now the Danes know a thing or two about football songs – simply because they have stolen all of ours! Stick the Blue flag, Blue Moon and You’ll Never Walk Alone are all sung in the 10 minute journey – word for word in perfect English.

The stadium was rebuilt in the late 1990’s, with each stand being demolished and rebuilt in turn to a standard that we would be proud of in England. The home fans take their place in the Faxe Tribune , or terrace as we would call it. They certainly know how to enjoy themselves, and with beer and grilled sausages available freely, they were certainly in the mood long before kick off.

This was the first home game back after the Christmas break. The first half of the season was a disaster for the club. If it wasn’t for the fact that Lyngby were so far out of their depth, Brondby would have been in the relegation zone. A run to the semi-finals (where a FCK v Brondby final is still on the cards) was their only redemption. However, they went away to Horsens in their first game back and won convincingly and now took the game to the Superliga’s surprise package FC Midtylland from the first minute. After just 90 seconds they took the lead as a misdirected shot from a poorly cleared corner was diverted into the net by one of the Danes. Well I say the Danes but with players in the squad including Martin Howard, David Williams and Duncan Rasmussen you have to question everything.

Queue the wild celebrations as plastic glasses full of beer were launched in the air and at the stewards, and a flare was fired onto the pitch. All of the stewards looked at each other, seemingly unwilling to venture onto the turf to put it out and so it was left to a steward who had obviously been enjoying the grilled sausages a little too much. He ambled onto the field (whilst play was proceeding), tried to stamp it out, managed to drop his cap, then his bottle of water and generally do everything apart from stamp out the flare….As he managed to kick the flare off the pitch Brondby scored again. This time the fans took aim and launched beer, paper airplanes and generally everything they could get their hands on at the hapless steward, causing him finally to drop his sausage.

After such an appalling first half to the season, Brondby could not believe they were 2-0 up and very quickly went back into their shell, and started defending very deep, inviting the FC Midtylland team to come at them. One of the traditions at half time was for the fans to break into song, prompted by the PA announcer. This week it was the turn of Elvis, and the song “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, expertly sung and a stirring anthem to great the teams back onto the pitch. The rest of the game was quite low key with a single last minute goal by the visitors the only excitement.

With the snow falling hard over the stadium, the journey back to the airport was always going to be a challenge. The original plan was going to be to get the bus back to the station, then head into the city before getting to the airport by train. However, the Brondby fans decided it would be more fun to try and tip the bus over rather than stand on it, and so a taxi was the preferred if more expensive option. Even so the taxi driver laughed off the snow, now settling on the roads, and as if auditioning for a part in Speed 3 did not let the car drop below 80 miles per hour all the way back to the airport. All part of the Danish fun.

Hvidovre IF
The second division Hvidovre IF have a fine tradition of developing young Danish talent, and selling them onto bigger clubs. The most famous player to come through the ranks has been Peter Schmiechel who played for the club 76 times in the mid-1980’s and actually scored 6 goals as he took on the role of penalty taker for the team.

The club have won the Danish championship on three occasions, the last being in 1981 which came a year after they won the Danish Cup. In their one and only European Cup campaign in 1982 they lost 7-4 to Juventus, although they did earn a 3-3 draw in Turin. Whilst they have spent most of their recent history in the lower leagues, they have actually played 19 seasons in the top flight.

The Hvidovre Stadion
The 15,000 capacity stadium is a multi-purpose stadium located in the south west of Copenhagen. It has one huge stand that seats close to 10,000 with the rest of the stadium being a 5 row wooden bench type arrangement, which does mean views are not particularly good due to the athletics track. In each corner of the stadium is a beer stand and a BBQ grill where fresh sausages go down very well.

How to get to the Hvidovre Stadion
The stadium is located in the south west of the city and is really easy to reach by public transport. From Central Station catch a regular C train from platform 9/10 in the direction of Koge to Friheden, which is 7 stops and around 15 minutes away. A ticket costs 20DKK. as you exit the platform turn left at the bottom of the steps, and then take a right through the gate into the car park of the flats. The stadium is a 3 minute walk northwards, and the floodlights are visible.

How to get a ticket
The club average just over 1,100 on a game by game basis, and with a capacity of 15,000 you will have no issues turning up on the day of the game paying on the door. Tickets cost 70DKK, with a programme adding 10DKK on top. Entry gives you the right to a seat in the main stand, or if the weather is good a seat on the wooden benches.

KB Copenhagen
Kobenhavns Boldklub, or KB are actually the oldest football club in Denmark having been formed in 1879. They have actually won the Danish Championship on 15 occasions, the last being in 1980. They have spent 53 seasons in the top division, although their current position in the 3rd tier of Danish football is the lowest they have fallen to. In 1991 KB and B1903 merged and formed the club that are today known as FC Copenhagen. The club still play under the KB name but are actually the reserve side for the current champions elect in Denmark.

The Frederiksberg Stadion

The club split their games between the Frederiksberg stadion and the FCK training centre in Peter Bangs Vej. The former is an athletics track with a small main stand which can seat 1,000 and a small club house on the far side of the pitch. The stadium holds 5,000. The training ground is nothing more than a series of pitches, and if games are switched here then entry is free but expect to stand behind a rope around the pitch.

How to get to the Frederiksberg Stadion
Both the stadium and the training ground are within a 5 minute walk from Peter Bangs Veg station, which is 5 stops from Central Station on line E. Trains depart from platforms 9/10 every 10 minutes during the day and a ticket costs 20DKK. As you leave the station turn left and continue along Peter Bangs Vej. For the training ground carry on walking for 500 yards until you see the training centre on the left hand side. For the Frederiksberg stadion turn right after 300 yards at the traffic lights, and follow the signs for the Idraetspark. The stadium is 250 yards down this road on the right hand side.

How to get a ticket for the Frederiksberg Stadion
There is no need to buy tickets in advance as the club rarely get over 300 fans to watch games. Entry is 50DKK at the stadion but free of charge at the training ground.

The magic of the FA Cup – Danish style


With the long winter closing in in Copenhagen, and the unfriendly football association deciding to play all of the league games on weekends (shame on you!), a rare an unexpected treat was served up as the Danish Cup was scheduled to be played in the last week of October. Obviously the cup will be won again by FCK, as it is most years, but this season the fairy tale story was from a tiny team based in the suburbs of Copenhagen called FC Greve.

Now, not being a person to miss such a historic event, I hastily arranged a couple of meetings on Wednesday 31st October on a routine trip to the office in Copenhagen, and planned to take in their historic game against Skive in the last 16 of the cup. The game was due to be played at 2pm as the club’s small stadium did not have any floodlights – in fact it did not have much of anything!

Greve is located a 15 minute train ride out of Copenhagen, in the tidy suburbs and close to the main suburban station of Hundige (a 15 minute train ride from central station on the S-Torg system towards Mitby. The place is tiny – exit the station through a small shopping centre and you are then on the main road out of Copenhagen. Whilst it was a tad chilly, it seemed pointless to wait for a bus so a 5 minute walk found the stadium.

Well, we say stadium but it was actually an athletics track, with a fence around the pitch, and a raise terrace of 3 steps which ran 1/2 way along the side of the stand – officially the stadium has a capacity of 7,000 but it it had more than 200 it would run into problems. But the locals were out in force, and at least one local school had given the kids the afternoon off to cheer on their team – albeit wearing their Chelsea, Liverpool and Bradford City shirts!

The great thing though about the stand was the club house – perched on a raised piece of land in the corner of the pitch, with a BBQ on the go and as much draft Carlsberg as you wanted…….With the football taking place a mile away (or so it seemed with the athletics track) it made a pleasant change to stand and drink. Meanwhile on the pitch there was no sign of a giant killing as 5th division Greve huffed and puffed against a team called Skive who were from 2 divisions above. A goal in each half was enough for the visitors, and another great cup dream fell into tatters.

Certainly one for the serious ground hoppers only!

FC GREVE – Greve Idraets Center – 7,000 Capacity
About Greve Idraets Center Stadium
Located in one of the pleasant suburbs of south west Copenhagen, Greve Idraets Center is a very basic affair. Basically it is an athletics ground with a small terrace that runs down one side of the pitch. The ground does not have any cover, or floodlights so games tend to be played during daylight hours only.

The ground has an excellent bar and terrace in the corner of the track where most of the fans tend to congregate with a beer and a sausage to watch the game from a slightly elevated position. Apart from this, the ground is very basic but in the summer months is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Who plays there?
The small and homely Greve Idraers Center is home to Greve Fodbold club who currently play in the Danish 5th Division. They have never hit the heights of some of the more illustrious neighbours in Copenhagen. They reached this level by winning the Copenhagen regional league in 2006.

How to get there
The stadium is located a 20 minute train ride away from Copenhagen main stadium on S-Tog line E. Trains also run from the Norreport and Oosteport on the line to Koge every 10 minutes. Alight at Greve station where you can either get a local 225 or 600S bus to the stadium or a 10 minute walk. If you chose the latter, watch through the shopping centre and turn right onto the main road. Cross the small roundabout and the ground will be on your left after 7 or 8 minutes.

Getting a ticket
There is no such thing as advanced tickets at Greve. Simply turn up on the day and pay your 600Dkr to enter the ground – you can then either stand on the small terrace or at the outside bar.

Rubber stands and Danish bacon


It would be rude not to take up an opportunity to see a local game – you see I have gone a bit continental this year and am now spending 2 or 3 days a week in the city known as “Wonderful Copenhagen”. Now any city where the three main exports are Beer, Bacon and Tall Blonde’s can’t be a bad place – as long as they keep some of the three back for themselves.

After being over there since Christmas I had so far managed to avoid getting to a game – quiet an achievement considering my track record of sniffing out a game wherever I go. But I had a plan…The longer I abstained, the more my bosses would feel that my visits were not based around football – and I knew that the one match I couldn’t miss was the Copenhagen derby between Brondby and Copenhagen…..Traditionally, Brondby are seen as the middle class team, where as FCK are from the lower class northern suburbs…In reality they are both clubs created for the convenience of the city – Brondby were formed in 1964 and financed by the local city council for years to try and get a football team with a European track record….It failed so in 1991 they turned their attention to the underused national stadium and created a new “super club” – FC Copenhagen to compete with Brondby….In the 15 years since their formation, the championship has been won by either team on all but one occasion – and who says money doesn’t buy success!!

This season has been a nightmare for the blue half of the city…Currently lying in 6th place and with not a hope of European football, Brondby’s season will best be remembered for having 3 coaches in the season….Copenhagen on the other hand have led the way since day one, and needed just 3 points to secure another championship.

So in theory everyone in the city would be up for this – either red or blue….err no. Most people were more interested in the Chelsea v Man Utd game that would be shown on Satellite TV than the local derby. Consequently the game was easy to get tickets for, and even a place in the bar was assured by 7pm….

Everyone talked about the game – the fans unfurled banners and T-shirts saying “The blood of the Red’s would flow on the pitch” but in practice it was a real damp squib. So arriving at the stadium at 6pm we saw police and riot vans everywhere, although lots of families in their yellow and blue shirts.

The stadium is very neat – the phrase “English stadium” is used a lot – but it is true in this case. Completely enclosed, two tiered with a terrace behind one goal. On the far side of the stadium is the new cafe bar “1964” which was a good place to start the evening – mock ups of the bench, decent Carlsberg and bacon sandwiches all whilst watching Swedish women’s football on TV – nice…Now let’s clear up the beer and bacon mystery….Copenhagen has been the home to Carlsberg for something like 200 years. Not only can you buy five versions of the beer almost everywhere, you can also get the strong Elephant beer in most bars – and it does taste better than in England…but Bacon is a different story – apparently they export all the good stuff and eat the crap bits at home…so asking for a bacon sandwich in any cafe will leave you very disappointed indeed…

So back to the match in question…We toyed with the idea of getting a good place in the Faxe terrace, but did the usual English thing of staying in the bar for one more pint – thinking no more beer for a couple of hours…Ah – but wait – what is that queue in the ground – a bar! So you cant take beer in but you can buy it yards from the turnstiles…Of course, and with a sausage in each hand we headed onto the terraces, which were literally bouncing.  Ben found Amos Brearley at the front of the stand and headed down for a quick grope.  The atmosphere was fantastic.  The Brondby fans were well up for the game, leading the chants that seemed very English both in terms of words and tunes.  The crowd tried to get the team going but they seemed to have already conceded defeat and it was no surprise when FCK took the lead halfway through the first half.

The game petered out in the second half, and once the final flare had been extinguished the lights went out on any challenge Brondby had to their bitter local rivals.  No blood was spilt on the final whistle – indeed it all seemed a bit cordial on the pitch.  We headed back to the sports bar for another couple of beers awaiting our taxi.  The atmosphere for a while had been up there with a West Ham v Chelsea game but petered out into a Leyton Orient v Dagenham & Redbridge one…sad but true..

The Stadium – Brøndby Stadium
Brøndby Stadion 30, 2605 Brøndby

Capacity: 29,000 All Seater

The Brøndby stadium was originally used 1965, although at the time was no more than a field with raised embankments. It is amazing to think that until 1980 the ground featured just one single stand of 1,200 and a couple of rudimentary floodlights. A new 5,000 seater stand was built in 1982, and as the team became more successful further stands were added, taking the capacity to just under 20,000 in 1990. The latest redevelopment work started in 1999 and was completed in October 2000 when 28,000 crammed into the stadium for the first time to watch the Copenhagen derby.

The end result is a stadium that is almost identical in look and feel to Derby’s Pride Park, Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium and the new Ricoh Arena in Coventry. All four stands are two tiered, with a complete wrap around roof. The hardcore fans tend to congregate in the Faxe Tribunen.

How to get to Brøndby Stadium
The stadium is a 30 minute journey from Copenhagen central station. The easiest way to get there is to catch a Line B train to Glostrup or a Line A train to Brøndby Strand Station and then catch bus either 131 or 500S. Extra buses run on a matchday.

How to get a ticket for the Brøndby Stadium
It is almost unheard of for any domestic games to sell out, except those against FC Copenhagen, and so you will be able to turn up on the day to buy tickets. If you want to get them in advance then you can from the Brøndby shop at the stadium. For normal matches tickets cost between 110Dkr and 130Dkr. For the derby matches they rise to 170Dkr and 190Dkr. If you have any queries then the ticket office can be contacted at
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Around the Brøndby Stadium
The Stadium is located in the western suburbs of the city and sits in a nice residential area. However, the club have a couple of good supporters bars which are open for fans to go and have a few bars and a Danish sausage or two. Danish fans are some of the most hospitable in the world and any fans coming to visit the club on a weekend trip will be a very warm welcome, especially if they bring a few souvenirs from their clubs in England.