As the world watched Denmark implode during the recent Olympic Games in London, Mikkel Hansen and many of his colleagues were worrying about their futures after suddenly finding themselves without a club following AG København’s bankruptcy.
There were signs of trouble when AGK's owner, Jesper ‘Kasi’ Nielsen, stepped down from his position at the club in July in the midst of a tax scandal. When AGK's sporting director – and former Danish national team right back – Søren Colding followed suit later in the month, the writing was on the wall.
On July 31, AGK handball club ceased to exist after seven years of triumphs domestically and on the European stage.
It was a sad moment for Danish handball, and many speculated how a team could go from reaching the final four in the European Champions League only months earlier to going suddenly bust.
The hopes, dreams and futures of an entire handball club disintegrated into thin air, leaving players and staff alike without a job. Seven of AGK’s players were in London representing their respective countries: Mikkel Hansen for Denmark; Arnor Atlasson, Snorri Gudjonsson and Olafur Stefansson for Iceland; and the Swedish trio of Niclas Ekberg, Fredrik Petersen and Kim Andersson, who had only just signed for the club.
It was a dark time for the Danish handball community with many realising that a star-studded team like AGK may never again return to the fair shores of the Scandinavian handball-mad country.
And then something crazy happened, and it wasn’t Tajikistan winning an Olympic bronze in London.
Another Danish handball team, Kolding IF from Jutland, decided to merge with the defunct AGK, assuming many of their sponsors.
Granted, Mikkel Hansen signed for Paris CH, while others went elsewhere, but Joachim Boldsen, Lars Jørgensen and legendary keeper Kasper Hvidt have already signed with KIF, while Swedish star Kim Andersson is also rumoured to be on his way.
And KIF knew that there was no way that they could attract to the kind of sponsors required to afford the stars while still being located in Kolding. So, they moved. Sort of.
Changing their name to KIF København, the club will play some of their home games in Kolding and some in Copenhagen.
But the fan club of KIF is rather sceptical over the project.
“I’m a bit worried for the fans and the members of the fan club. They are frustrated over what’s happening and what we’re going to do with our home stadium,” Anita Holtehuus, the head of KIF’s fan club, told Ekstra Bladet tabloid. “It’ll be tough. The distance from Kolding to Copenhagen is considerable if you have to make the trip twice a month. It takes time and money.”
KIF København, as they’re now called, played HSV Hamburg in a friendly Monday night and lost their first game under their new name 25-31. Their season starts on September 5.
A list of the former AGK players and where they have transferred to:
Henrik Toft Hansen: BSV
Mikkel Hansen: Paris Handball
Lars Jørgensen: KIF København
Joachim Boldsen: KIF København
Christian Malmagro: Montpellier
Rene Toft Hansen: THW Kiel
Fredrik Petersen: HSV Hamburg
Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson: THW Kiel
Mads Mensah Larsen: Aalborg
Carlos Prieto: Kadetten Schaffhausen
Yet to find a club:
Kim Andersson (rumoured to KIF København)