Englishman in Nyhavn: A Definitive Guide To Danish Sport
Jack Gardner Vaa
In my nearly three years in this country, I have attended nearly five sporting venues across a total of nearly three sports.
Some people might think this insufficient experience to offer a definitive guide to Danish sport. Then again, those people might not have a column deadline approaching.
Therefore, I present to you my ‘Definitive Guide To Danish Sport’.
1/ There will be drums
Regardless of whether you are at the national Parken stadium or the women’s handball league at Frederiksberghallen, your time attending Danish sport will be accompanied by the melodic sounds of percussion. Said drummer will usually be surrounded by a group of people dressed identically with suspected tinnitus.
I once asked them to incorporate a jazz solo into their repertoire, but this request fell on deaf ears. Badum-dum-chh.
2/ There will be megaphones
As if the noise wasn’t cacophonous enough, it is augmented by a topless gentleman screaming into a megaphone. This man has his back turned on the game and appears not to view any of the action, at any point. He instead focuses on directing the crowd in a series of well-rehearsed chants.
It’s like a church choir, if said church choir was led by a topless man screaming into a megaphone. And they are always topless, come rain, come shine, come sub-zero temperatures. As a result, their nipples double as diamond cutters, though (take it from me) do ask for permission first.
3/ There will be hotdogs
It would be frivolous to suggest that the best clubs to support are those that have the best hotdogs.
Fremad Amager’s hotdog stand is run by a company called Ronaldo’s. My initial thrill of excitement was quickly doused after realising the proprietor was not, in fact, Cristiano and that the sausages were sub-par. The best hotdogs, and therefore the best club in Copenhagen, can be found in Valby at BK Frem. Up the Frem.
4/ There may be hooliganism
Before moving here I was warned of the ‘hooliganism’ in Danish football, whereupon I was surprised to sense a stirring of British … pride?
I thought it was adorable that Scandinavians, with their equitable society, fair wages and on-time buses, could think themselves capable of hooliganism on a par with the Brits who throw chairs and pensioners through every McDonalds on the continent as a means of celebrating a victory. Conversely, I pictured Danish hooliganism as giving the stadium a two-star Google review, or deliberately flicking cigarette ash onto the floor.
The worst offenders of hooliganism were said to come from Brøndby IF. I went to their derby match against FC Copenhagen to watch the sparks fly and experience first-hand the Danish hooliganism of rude hand gestures and withering remarks.
As the game began, an entire stand unfurled an enormous banner depicting Copenhagen fans being hanged. No sooner could I make it out than a fireworks display took place. I did a quick count and estimated there were over 12 billion individual fireworks – the smoke of which caused the game to be suspended for several minutes.
The Copenhagen fans, for their part, spent little of the match watching the game, partly due to their balaclavas, and partly because their attention was focused instead on climbing the railings of their literal enclosure to make slitting gestures across their throats at every Brøndby fan in a 100-foot radius.
The fan next to me suggested this was ‘tame’ and that a few years back the Copenhagen players spent the derby being pelted with dead rats thrown by Brøndby fans.
I apologise to all Danes for doubting your hooliganism potential. You are all mental. I am now a season ticket holder at Brøndby IF … purely for the chaos.
Jack Gardner Vaa
Jack escaped Brexit Britain in October 2019 to forge a new life in Copenhagen. In this column, he outlines the challenges expats face when integrating into Danish life. Jack (firstname.lastname@example.org) co-hosts the comedy podcast ‘Butterflies on the Wheel’, which is available on all major podcasting platforms