Slots are everywhere

Central Northern Sjælland is best known (possibly) for its Royal Palace, Fredericksborg Slot where the Danish Royal family retreat to in Spring and Autumn. I assume they go to the Royal Palace of anywhere in South East Asia for the nine month winter.  Frederiksborg Slot should not be confused with Fredensborg (as I may have done when I first wrote this paragraph), which is a very small town some 10km to the North.  Neither is known for being a footballing hotspot of Denmark.  This, in effect, is like an away day to King’s Lynn and taking in Sandringham on the way (Sandringham being the equivalent for the British Royal Family for those of you who like me to state the freaking obvious).

IMG_3597

This is my bike (sung as if you were Kim Larsen).  Not my house.

Frederiksborg Slot (or Frederiksborg Palace) is a big house. A really big house.  Strange how even in this most of equal of countries, the Royal family still live in (several) big houses and not in a cramped flat in Brøndby.  Just saying.  At this point, it may be worth pointing out that Frederiksborg Slot is not to be confused with Frederiksberg Slot which is also a palace located in downtown Fredericksberg, a town formally independent from but surrounded by the city of Copenhagen.  Fredericksberg is nonetheless, the fifth most populated city of Denmark.

So if there is Frederiksborg Slot and Fredericksberg Slot, then what is in Fredensborg? Great question.  The ‘exciting’ thing to see if you like buildings in Fredensborg are the Fredensborg Houses for Danish pensioners who had worked for long periods abroad and inspired by housing in Beijing’s Forbidden City.  Built in 1963, the houses were designed by Jan Utzon who was also the architect behind the Sydney Opera House.  Yikes, a look at the map also reveals that there is a Fredensborg Slot as well.  There is no way Gy is doing the navigating to this game.

So why are we here apart from to admire a home for old people? So many great questions.  Frem are back in what will likely be my last away day (although life always has a twist or two in store).  Having stumbled short of the finish line last season, Frem are looking to put some of the youthful naivety of last season behind them and get promotion to the second tier.  This is the second game of the season.  Frem lost the first at home to Avarta (who had spent the second half of last season in the relegation group, but picked up a fair bit of momentum through the Spring) before squeaking through the Danish Cup after nearly throwing away a four goal lead.  It looks like Frem have decide to invest in more youthful naivety so it could be an interesting season ahead.

5* Beer.  5* Prices.

The opponents for this game are Fredensborg who won the Denmark Series (fourth tier) last year and now find themselves at their highest level ever and registered a win the week before. That is pretty much all I can tell you (you can see why there was so much Slot chat at the beginning of this now).

The 13.00 Saturday kick-off was a slight pain, but we took the S-Tog out to Hillerød to see (I think I mentioned it above) Fredericksborg Slot. Very nice it was too.  We decided not to go in, but if you are into regal furniture then it might be right up your Fredericksberg Allé.

Bike action.  It is no Sydney Opera House.

From Hillerød, it is a sort 10km bike ride to Fredensborg. We had not counted on any sort of hills or flat tyres to make the journey slightly more taxing than anticipated.  Gy does not like hills: I think primarily due to the fact that she comes from a part of the world that had the geographical features of a pancake.  We made it in the end, despite a wrong turn and the ensuing earache.  The stadium was underwhelming, but amazing.  By many standards, this could not be called a stadium.  We were very kindly given two free tickets by one of our fellow Frem fans (just another example of what a great bunch they are), made our way through the surprisingly strict security and into the arena.  In simple terms, it was a pitch with a weird athletic track, a small fence, a couple of club houses and the greatest bar ever seen.  The bar itself was not great, but it was topped by some sort of VIP/Commentary box.  I assume that the match was live on NordSjælland FM.  Heading straight to the bar, Gy was shocked to see a 5* beer available for DKK 130 a pop.  I had to explain that this in all certainty meant five beers (a standard measure in stadiums across the land).

Frem were pretty much unchanged from last season as far as I could tell with all the familiar faces and the return of Daniel Pedersen after his short time away at Helsingør. Coming to Fredensborg for the first away trip was probably a sharp reminder of what the club has been battling to escape.  These lower reaches of the Danish league system is not where Frem wants to be or should be.  A windswept pitch with limited facilities is a long way from the second tier.  Anyway, it is what it is and will remain so until the team can put together a sustained run of form.

I want to be a fisherman.

Unfortunately, today seems unlikely to be the start of that run. Neither team took the game by the neck and the match seemed bogged down in midfield.  Most of the action centred around the opposition goalkeeper who decided to create his own highlight package by dramatically claiming he was elbowed before handling outside the box (on the blindside of both referee and linesman).  0-0 was a fitting half-time score.

 If I were an ant…

The game was ‘lit up’ on the hour when a crunching tackle just after the heavens open saw Andreas Lungberg sent off for Frem. The challenge did not look that pretty from where I was standing and the referee took his time to deliberate and talk to the linesman before showing the red.  It was probably a fair decision.  What I did not like was the opposing linesman barking at the Frem bench to sit down (some 50 yards from the action) as if he was a drill sergeant.  Noone looks bad for living life with a dose of humility. We had had a couple of beers by this time so we explained this to him in slightly fruitier terms.

Frem actually improved with ten men and looked more likely to go on and win the game. However, they never really looked like scoring and although they built some good pressure deep in the Fredensborg half, I struggle to recall a decent opportunity.  It seems like the same old story for Frem.  Hopefully, Pedersen refinds the form he had before he left to add some goals to the side otherwise it might be a similarly frustrating season to the last.  Alexander Back is looking increasingly assured at this level and in this team.

World’s only combined bar, scoreboard and commentary box?

We made our way back to CPH. One advantage of the 13.00 kick-off time is that you have the whole evening ahead.

Previous – No Carlsberg or Tuborg?

Next – Son of Thor

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