AB…one of the looooong list of footballing acronyms in these parts. Anyone who wants to be taken seriously in these parts needs to complete a University course (free of course over here) in learning your AB from your AaB. In the top league alone we have AaB, AGF, FCK, FCM, FCN and OB. Let’s not even get started on KB, B93, B1901 and B1909 all of whom can lay claim to being league champions in these parts at some point. Tonight is all about Akademisk Boldklub, or the “The Academic Football club”. One would expect the likes of Wenger to one day arrive here, or that there isn’t a boot room rather a library containing works by Jean Paul Sartre, Søren Kierkegaard and Fyodor Dostoyevsky (of course Dostoyevsky). In fact there are few teams in the world that can claim a Nobel Prize winners as former players but AB can, with nuclear scientist Niels Bohr having played between the sticks on numerous occasions when his atom-busting research allowed.
The club were formed with the intent of giving Danish students a sporting outlet back in 1889. But they proved they weren’t all brains by winning the Danish title on no less than 9 (nine!) occasions, only bettered by the current foes Brondby IF and FC Copenhagen. Oh, and KB who of course were part of the merger back in 1991 to create FC Copenhagen. So they have a fair pedigree although their last title was back in the days when Mrs Robinson was the original MILF, Sergeant Pepper decided Match.com wasn’t for him and formed a band and Che Guevara made a fatal mistake by holidaying in Bolivia (that’s 1967 for those who can’t be bothered to look up those events!). They did of course win the 1999 Danish Super Cup on penalties, beating AaB in the most confusing titled game ever, as if you needed reminding.
More recently times have been tough for the Academics. In 2007 the AB board announced that AB would be back in the Superliga by 2010 and to help with that they built a decent squad to grace the very decent 13,800 capacity Gladsaxe Stadium which would put many top flight teams across Europe to shame. They built it, but nobody really came, with crowds falling to below the 1,000 mark. In June 2012 the football club was saved from bankruptcy by the majority vote of the city council. Hard times indeed.
But who cares about all that? It’s all about the magic of the cup, right? And with fellow Copenhagen fringes Lyngby making the sort S-Tog trip to the Gladsaxe for the last game in Round One of this season’s competition, there was bound to be a hop in the step of all AB fans, especially with the winners facing a mouth-watering trip to play BGA (remember lesson one about your acronyms) next week in Round Two.
Of course I wasn’t making this pilgrimage alone. The thought of it! Ben and FCK Ivar would be my guides – Ben for his ability to sniff out a sausage or two, and Ivar for his fine array of Danish-cum-English swear words. What better company could a man wish for on such an auspicious occasion…well, apart from a beer or two but that would come I am sure.
AB 0 Lyngby BK 3 – Gladsaxe Stadion – Wednesday 21st August 2013
My claim to fame for the evening is spotting Kim Milton Nielsen, the referee that sent Beckham off in the World Cup finals in 1998. Well, when I say, spotted, I meant Ivar spotted him after quite a few beers. It could have been another tall Dane simply having a quiet night out watching the magic of the Danish Cup but I like to believe the romance of such a key figure in our national footballing history being one of the few hundred watching this game.
But back to the game. Four Carlsberg specials, two bread rolls and a rather large sausage accompanied three Lyngby goals, two of which were top drawer, scored by Andreas Granskov with a great lobbed volley and Patrick Mortensen with a sweet side-foot (Pat scored a third to wrap things up a few minutes later) summed up the action quite well. The hundred or so away fans tried to whip up an atmosphere but in truth everyone was happy to sit back and relax, including the AB defence who tried as hard as they could to gift Lyngby a goal in the opening twenty minutes.
The talk on the terraces was about the surreal start to the Super Liga season with FCK and FCN showing the kind of form that got coaches sacked even this early in the season. In fact that was exactly what happened at Parken today with the messiah, the special one, the man with the midas touch, Solbakken returning to the hot seat after his successful spell in relegating Wolves. But that is what Danish football is all about – one team dominating the media.
The final whistle was greeted with muted disapproval for the result. The few hundred AB fans knew they were never in the races and that a cup dream would stay just that for another season. Lyngby, on the other, would prepare for the trip into Brondby territory next week to face BGA. And for us, hungry, thirsty Brits (and Expats), the night was young which can only mean a serious headache and a serious dent in the finances in the morning. Copenhagen – I bloody love you.