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
.

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.