I was assured that Helsingor v Fremad Amager, on a damp Sunday lunchtime, would be much better fare than the trip to Vanløse. Right from the off, that was evident, for Fremad Amager brought a coachload or two or enthusiastic supporters who looked suspiciously like extras from the Lord of the Rings trilogy – all beards, funny hats and flagpoles, not to mention copious amounts of Carlsberg or Tuborg lager. There was a bit of an atmosphere building at the Helsingor Idraetspark, nestling as it does at the foot of a large wooded area and just in sight of the sea. You felt like something was about to take place close to Kronborg Castle, the setting of Shakespeare’s classic work, Hamlet.
Sure enough, when the two teams ran out, to Helsingor’s clap-along theme tune, the Fremad Amager fans set off a couple of smoke bombs, one of which exploded in a refuse bin, engulfing part of the pitch in thick, dark blue smoke. Roughly translated, the supporters, who had parked their huge flagpoles along the side of the pitch, were warned that such behavior would incur a DKK 5,000 (£600) fine and get them ejected from the ground. It was all good natured stuff and added to the occasion. The smoke cleared and Helsingor, top of the table with a 100% record, set about pulling Fremad Amager apart.
Just four minutes had gone when Peter Benjaminsen nodded Helsingor in front and seconds after that, Martin Junior Christiansen shot like a full back wide of the target when presented with an easy chance. Then Morten Smidt, always in the thick of the action, was clean through and shot straight at the keeper.
Meanwhile, every attack was greeted with throaty, cheers of encouragement. One elderly red-faced, cigar-toting supporter – who became increasingly irritating as the game wore on – started to sing “we are on our way to the Superliga”, only to be reminded that it will “take a year or two”, in best Danish, of course.
Helsingor scored a second from the penalty spot in the 29th minute through Daniel Udsen and then three minutes later, the Amager defence opened up to allow Udsen the chance to round the keeper and slide the ball into the net. 3-0.
Six minutes from the lager and sausage interval, Rune Friis pulled a goal back for Amager, a nicely crafted goal that underlined that they were a little unlucky to be three goals down.
The game died a little , but then came some unwelcome comments from our friend behind us. One of Amager’s black players received the ball close to the main stand and for the first time in years, I heard the sort of catcall that was common in 1980s English football. It was then I knew we were not in cosmopolitan Copenhagen. But it was isolated and I noticed several disapproving glances from the people around him, but it was still a surprise to hear in 2013.
The game came to life in the right way in the 64th minute, clever footwork by Anders Holst – no relation to Gustav, the English composer – created another goal for Benjaminsen who finished from six yards.
Ten minutes from time, Mads Laudrup, son of Michael, sent a centimeter-perfect pass (we are in continental Europe, after all) through to the onrushing Udsen who finished well. It must be tough being a Laudrup sometimes, having to live-up to the reputation of Brian and Michael, but the short, stocky Mads had a good game, showing some good vision when he had possession.
Holst finished Fremad Amager off with the sixth goal, another penalty, after an unlucky handball incident. The bright blue flags from Amager were now at half mast and some of their gregarious fans were already heading for the car park. Alas poor Fremad, I knew them well…
As for Helsingor, after missing out on promotion last season, they look in good shape and they have a vibrant young side that plays fast, entertaining football. There was a good feel about the place and they look like they are going places. Probably 1.Division in 2014-15.
We were not really in the shadow of Kronborg Castle, but we were alongside the hotel where the beleaguered Danish national team hang out before games. They also use Helsingor as a training ground. Denmark’s World Cup hopes hang by a thread with the recent 0-4 home defeat at the hands of Armenia underlining that coach Morten Olsen needs a miracle to get his team to Brazil.