Sunday, April 12, 2009

Soccer Hooligans

After seeing a post from the Camel discussing soccer hooligans, the memories came flooding back from the one European game I attended. About 6 years ago, while on vacation in Denmark, I was fortunate enough to be able to get my hands on a highly coveted ticket to see FC København (that's Copenhagen to you English speaking chumps) play cross town rivals Brøndby. I knew I was in for a good show when, after receiving a full pat down entering the stadium, I found out that beer came in handy 5 packs. They had a very conveniently designed carrying container which allows you to carry all 5 beers in one hand. This innovation has yet to make it's way across the Atlantic to US sporting events, but I imagine MADD might have something to say about it. Luckily the 2 guys I went to the game with purchased 2 of these, and being a teetotaler I didn't partake. This led to one of the gentlemen consuming, I believe, 7 of them himself.

**Note - picture doesn't seem to be showing all the time but can be found here.

Unlike in other parts of the world, I was never in any real danger, but unfortunately the same couldn't be said for the Brøndby goal keeper. At one point a fan threw....I was going to say a fire cracker, but perhaps explosive would be more accurate....on the field. At the time the action was at the other end of the field, but from a good 60 - 70 yards away I could hear the explosion in a sold out stadium which I would guess seats about 40,000 screaming fans. The goalee didn't hear anything for a while after that. When I looked over I could see a cloud of black smoke about 10 yards away from the poor guy who was now doubled over in pain with his hands covering his ears.

This was the only violence that I witnessed, however I did witness several ejections by security. At domestic sporting events this is typically a pretty uninteresting event - a couple security guards will tap someone on the shoulder and say, "come with me please" and off the person will go (although in my years with the Mariners I've witnessed a couple guys mouthing off to police and that leads to a more interesting confrontation). Well, in Copenhagen when they eject someone, a swat team consisting of about 10 guys in riot gear descend on the unsuspecting fan when he's not looking and literally drag him kicking and screaming from the stadium. That, my friends, is a much more interesting event to view.

There were half a dozen ejections in the game I was at, and that constituted most of the excitement, however I must also mention the half time entertainment. A Danish rap group performed in what was one of the most laughable things I saw there. There were 4 pale blond guys who looked like they belonged in the mall food court rapping in Danish and trying their best to look like bad asses. Had this taken place in Oakland, Detroit, or Philly, I think that the beating they would have received would have landed them in the hospital. If I weren't so lazy I'd look up some Danish rap videos on youtube for a good laugh.

I think FCK ended up winning, but honestly I don't really remember anymore. What I do remember is that after the game, my inebriated friend insisted on singing a song he had written, and teaching said song, about the other team's fans. I don't know the lyrics, but the sober friend informed me that, among other things, it had to do with the other fans having limp d!cks and so on... It was quite inflammatory and despite my lack of knowledge of the song, it was clear that the other team didn't care for it and I got to help calm a couple guys who meant him harm. Oh, and he also got a pretty good scolding from a lady whose front yard he decided to pee in since there weren't any nearby restrooms. A good time was had by all. As luck would have it, I still have my souvenir from the game - the ticket stub. Finally my hobby of collecting ticket stubs paid off! And as you can see from the handy seating chart on the back, I had some pretty good seats. Section C6!

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