Thank you. A better bunch of people, you’ll struggle to find 🙂
This was a trip that I had been looking forward to for the six or weeks or so since we were first invited to join Paulis Rødder to accompany Frem on their return to Jutland for the first time in five years. It has been even longer since I was in Jutland (not that this is a competition). 25 years to be exact (well as exact as I can be based on my terrible memory). That time, I had had a great time visiting Legoland and singing only to the theme tune to Gummi Bears in Danish (Bubbibjørnene if you didn’t know). If you remember the Gummi Bears theme tune being particularly upbeat, then I recommend that you do not click on the link and rely on your memories for happiness.
We met at the clubhouse at a little before ten. Gy was tired and grumpy after the bike ride leading to her moaning about the hills. If you have been to Copenhagen, you will understand the incredulity that I met her complaints. Her complaints became even more vocal as the other supporter group’s fan bus pulled away and she gave a short chase shouting ‘We want to go to Jylland too.’ Upon pointing out that there were about ten other Frem fans loitering around, she thought that they must have come to wave off the others. Bless. Turns out that those other Fremmers had not decided to spend their Saturday morning wishing people a pleasant journey, but instead where members of the Paulis Rødder, which is the younger supporter group as opposed to the older group who had set off on the earlier bus.
Who needs the Camp Nou?
There is always a slight awkwardness when you join a group of good friends who clearly know each other well and are all speaking in Danish. That awkwardness disappears midway through the second beer, which happened at somewhere shortly after 10.30am. I was reflecting on this and came to realize that some of my best days have started with morning drinking (Christmas Day, football away days, Thursdays etc.). In fact, I do not think I have ever had a bad day when I started with a drink in the morning. I should probably stop this train of thought before it leads me into an inevitable descent into alcoholism. One of my top takeaways from this trip is to not let someone poor smabuca into your mouth on a moving bus. Sambuca stings the eye (I mean stings like someone has poked a lemon juice drenched pointy stick into your eye) and is horribly sticky.
It took what seemed like two hours to get to Sjaellands Odde. Odde is Danish for isthmus. From my knowledge of schoolboy geography, an isthmus is a narrow strip of land surrounded on two sides by water that connects two larger bodies of land (for example, Panama) whereas a peninsula (anagram of Luna Penis) is a narrow strip of land surrounded on almost all strips of land by water (for example, Jutland). So anyone living in Sjaellands Odde, clearly a peninsula, is likely to be confused by geographical terms (maybe Bubbibjørnene could stop bouncing here and there and everywhere and start some educational bear based programmes.)
Could I have painted this?
At Sjaellands Odde, there is a port from where one can take the catamaran to Aarhus (the city previously known as Århus). This would be my first ever trip on a catamaran. I am not sure if this day could get any more exciting to be honest. Once on board though it quickly became clear that a catamaran is just a quick ferry where all the vehicles parked in a strange circle formation. We headed to the top deck and had a good sing song and a bit of a dance. It is hard to state how incredibly friendly these folk were to me and Gy with everyone taking the time to talk to us and welcome us whilst we basked in some pretty weak early April sunlight.
Not enough hands
From port to stadium was a short hop. Upon arrival at the stadium, it became immediately apparent that the definition of stadium did not apply to this place. A series of changing rooms ran along one length of the pitch together with a small grass bank. One end had the side of an indoor sport hall and the other some trees. The far side was an open space of nothingness. I liked it. The local Braband folk had decided to allow free entry. Potentially to encourage beer sales, but I am surprised they did not take the opportunity to collect a couple of DKK from the attendees (almost solely Frem fans), but gesture very much appreciated.
I will confess it is from about this point onwards that my memory becomes less than complete. I suspect it was all that fresh sea air. I do remember that we sang and we drank and we had a huge amount of fun. Frem scored pretty early in the first half and Braband equalized shortly thereafter. The game was very scrappy. To be honest for two teams chasing promotion, the quality was not amazing. The second half saw a distinct lack of chances and I think both teams would have been happy to take the draw, which does not derail either side’s hope of promotion.
The journey back was a long one. I remember a combination of sleep and whisky. Possibly not in that order. Great day. Probably my best in Denmark so far (ignoring Legoland back in 1991). Thanks everyone for making it so much fun. Onwards and upwards for Frem.
I’ll always be bad at streaking