The answer to the question posed by this title when asked by a striker clean through on the keeper is almost invariably not to chip. The answer is definitely not to chip when you are the striker of a team recently promoted to the Danish second tier in need of a first win. But chip he did with the inevitable consequences of watching the ball sail over a bemused goalkeeper.
I find myself in Helsingor for the first game of the 2015/16 season a far cry from the first game of the 2014/15 season in the deep south of a sweltering Hungary. Helsingor for those literary folks amongst you was purportedly the home of Hamlet, King of Denmark, and lead character of eponymous play. (I am not sure if I have used the word eponymous correctly here.) I am joined by two of TimmBacsi leading fans (they assure me that they have read at least one article), DT and JC.
Enthusiasm for the 50km train journey up the coast from Copenhagen seemed slim after the dice rolling antics of the previous night especially with a kickoff time of 13.00, but the view of a sparkling Baltic as we pulled into the quaint town of Helsingor almost justified an appearance from a smug Portillo harking on about what the place was like in 1910. As it turns out, the 30 minute that we had pre-kick off was not sufficient to visit the castle (take that culture), but just long enough to realise that lots of Swedes might come here from across the water for cheap booze.
I used to use subtitles to helpfully divide my posts and give them a standardised feel. I am going to do the same this year, but instead of using bold, I will use ITALCISED CAPITALS. I feel like I should be charging you a fortune for this minor upgrade as if this season shirt comes with an exclusive never seen before white piping on the collar.
I have probably never seen a stadium more befitting of the town it was located in (although I can immediately think of many on a par). A small wooden stand looking like a Victorian railway station, a distant view of the sea and some cracking hedges. Very nice. Highlights included the fan bar at the top of the small stand manned by a gruff Dane who looked like he had spent much of his time at sea and had little time for the likes of me (I.e. land folk with nominal Nordicness).
Both these teams have names including Danish letters: Næ stved and Helsingø r (thanks Character Map). Both teams were promoted the previous season although played in different regional divisions so probably had not met for a while. Helsingø r came from the East League, which is where I had been watching most of my football (Frem, B93, Fremad amager etc.) and had won the league at a canter.
First goalscorer bet caused worried faces
Both teams seemed massive. That is about as far as my observations go. We all took our bets as to first scorer for both teams (winner forces losers to down drinks and buy new rounds – yes, I am 32) and away we went.
A good’un. Started at a cracking pace and definitely looked a step up from what I have seen before in Danish domestic football. This probably has six pointer written all over it so both teams seemed pretty determined to make the most of it. Helsingor goalkeeper made a couple of smart saves before my pick for first scorer exchanged nice touches in the middle of the opposition half to find himself clean through. I already spoilt the ending, but needless to say DT and JC still had their pints fully intact. The guy’s team mates looked pretty pissed off, but I had a sneaking feeling that they had seen it all before.
Helsingor eventually took the lead with Ricki Olsen snaffling a header home at the far post. Næ stved forced themselves back into the game soon after a bamboozling run from the tricky winger Samuel Adjei Junior (formally of New York Red Bull Reserves no less) was eventually poked in by a blond guy. After this the game petered out somewhat as the relative heat of the Danish summer seemed to take its toll.
That was not to stop us though as I cracked into some left over Danish pastry and DT and JC tried the local speciality (pø lse aka pig gut stuffed with mechanically recovered meat aka sausage). It was about this time that DT started chirping on about a dream he had had about Helsingor’s Number 9 firing home a last minute winner. We ignored him as all good friends do to one another. But lo and behold, what only went and happened. It felt like we were in a real life Shakespeare play (I have not read much of Shakespeare) as Andreas Riel somehow fired in from about 15 yards to send the 1,142 fans (minus travelling support of a bout 20) into raptures and home to their Roast Pork happy Danes. DT had finished his pint already.
We stumbled back into town ate some pickled fish. Helsingø r -ø r -ø r. Goes the song that I invented.
2015/2016 is on…
Helsingor’s Fortress of Dreams