“Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.” Buddha
Buddha had clearly never been to Parken. Football in a way is a form of self-harm. Generally, the sum of the suffering is more than the sum of the pleasure. This all sounds a bit like exercise. In fact, the pessimist in me would say it all sounds much like life. A trip to Parken has never been particularly enjoyable for me especially when FCK are in situs. But I keep coming back. Maybe my life has been lived so wisely that I fear a fate worse than death: a fate of being forced to watch interminable FCK matches in front of a half-empty Parken saluting Thomas Delaney smashing in another rebound from close range. Sartre’s Huis clos has nothing on that.
Not sure what great moment of FCK history this depicts.
So with that pretentious trite out of the way…it turns out that FCK are in the Champions’ League. Qualifiers. (Not a huge surprise given that they were champions last year.) Having missed the previous round where they dismissed the very un-21st Century sounding Crusaders of Belfast, I decided that the visit of Astra Giurgiu was not to be missed. Astra herald from the deep South of Romania from the town of Giurgiu, which lies on the border with Bulgaria. The club was founded in 1921 and (like many ex-Soviet bloc teams) has had a plethora of names including the boldly Latin name of Colombia adopted for the 1938 season. The club spent the first 88 years of its existence in Ploiesti before making the short move down land (meaning South) to Giurgiu. Despite the move, Astra keep up a close rivalry with Petrolul Ploiesti in the snappily named Fostul derbi al Ploieștiului (Former Derby of Ploiesti).
Enough wiffle waffle. The first leg ended 1-1 with Astra taking a lead inside the first ten before Thomas Delaney smashed in from close range.
Having seen a host of European games recently. Well, 1. I have been having an internal discussion as to which score in a first leg means the second leg is most finely balanced. I decided on a 2-1 home victory. Given that Astra did not win, by my own logic FCK should be favourites to take this home and move one step closer to the promised land of TV with Gazprom adverts. Hurrah.
FCK had the game wrapped up in the first half. No Thomas Delaney smashes from close range (he did miss a sitter on 25 minutes), but ex-Cardiff man Cornelius scored two proving that that Champions’ League qualifiers are no match on the bottom half of the Premier League (says the English man to anyone who listens). The Romanians offered little/nothing and once the second went in the game was over. Section 12 was better than I gave it credit, but I get the impression that FCK will never lose the image of being a manufactured club. Lose Parken. Find yourself a 22,000 stadium with a safe standing terrace. FCK and Danish football will both be better for it. Cast your eyes across the Oresund and see what Malmo do. Be Malmo. Malmo FF.
Is there a proverb about discarded pop corn boxes, cartoon lions and the male toilet?
ps. Never wear a bright yellow rain jacket into the heart of FCK.
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