I am not sure why I wanted to do it to myself. Parken. A football stadium that drags the life from your soul. But I find myself here again for a fourth time; however, I was hoping for something more. This was going to be my first ever Klæsiket (Tim Danish for ‘El Classico’) between FC København and arch-cross town rivals, Brøndby.
No pyro no party
So a little bit of history. Football in Copenhagen used to be (and somewhat still is) split between a multitude of amateur and semi-professional clubs (BK Frem, B93, B1908, B1903, ABC123 etc.). In 1992, some money grabbing businessman came up with the idea of creating a Copenhagen superclub and invited the various factions to participate. Only two joined: B1903 and KB to create FCK (the Republic), who moved into the newly built Parken (aka the Death Star). Across town, Brøndby (aka the Federation) had been enjoying almost total dominance from the mid 80s until 1992 when an ill-fated diversification into financial services (via the purchase of Danish bank, Interbank) saw the club teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. So under these less than incredible auspices, the so-called ‘New Firm’ (not to be confused with the old New Firm between Aberdeen and Dundee United) was born.
FCK has had the better of things both in this game and in overall performance in recent years. (FCK winning 9 titles to Brøndby’s 2 since the turn of the century). Brøndby counter any crowing from FCK by highlighting the fact that FCK are in fact no more than a corporate creation designed to make money. Paying DKK 65 (GBP 6.5) for a beer makes me inclined to believe them.
Today’s game sees the first leg of the Danish Cup semi-final with the winner in all likelihood progressing to face AaB of Aalborg or AGF of Aarhus in the final on 5 May .
Pre-game I was particularly excited about the choreography on display as these two clubs seem to save something special for Klæsiket. I was just hoping that that would not be diluted by the fact that this will be the first of three meetings between the sides in a couple of weeks.
Other methods of transport to Malmo are not available
As it turned out, I missed out on the choreography because I was stuck in a queue for 35 minutes because they only put two security guards on the gate to search a couple of thousand people. Nice work.
Once in it felt very much like I had gone for a friend’s birthday and ended up at ‘mega dance event’ when all I wanted was to sit around a kitchen table drinking a bottle of voddy with some friends. Everyone else was up for a big one and I just wanted to mellow into the night. To be fair, the atmosphere was great although I suspect had the game kicked off at 20.00, it might have been tastier (thanks UEFA for persuading local FAs to schedule games not to clash with the God have mercy on us Champions League).
The atmosphere got tastier when Brondby took a deserved lead through Pukki (sounds like the mess a baby makes). Their fans went mental and for one moment looked like they were invading the pitch having torn down the fairly meek netting. Brondby were good for their lead at half-time. A half-time that was greeted by boos from the home team fans. Really, guys?
The second half saw the visitors sit back and hope to hit on the counter. Frederico Santander (he has his own song despite sounding and looking like your typical Johnny Foreigner) made no difference. But FCK’s pressure eventually told as a bit of a scramble led to Thomas Delaney (half Dane half Yank) forcing home and then jumping to celebrate with the FCK ultras. Delaney who had already been booked avoided a second yellow. If I were a Brondby fan, then this would have annoyed me (the lack of red as well as the late equaliser).
Some circles. Why not
Brondby held on. Game on for the return leg in two weeks. I enjoyed the game, but struggle to stomach the inability to sit where I want and drink when I want.