If you have the Delorean to hand, set the clock to 1964 and accelerate to 88 miles per hour and drive into Denmark. You'll see a very different footballing landscape than that which you see today. The biggest clubs back then were the likes of Esbjerg, AB, KB and B1909 – hardly names that set the pulse racing.
However, while the Beatles were conquering America, the modern Danish league started to take shape when the club known today as IF Brøndby were formed after a merger of a number of local clubs. The club received heavy investment over the next few years, eventually reaching the top division for the first time in 1981.
In their first game of that season they beat B1909 7-1 with two goals from Michael Laudrup, who would go on to be one of Denmark’s best ever players. Four years later they won the league for the first time and became the first fully professional team in Denmark.
Despite winning the league no fewer than five times in the next six seasons, and developing such talent as Michael’s younger brother Brian Laudrup, Peter Schmeichel and John Jensen, they couldn't put Danish football on the European map – although in 1991 under current national coach Morten Olsen they were minutes away from a continental final when AS Roma beat them in the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup.
The club were listed on the Danish stock exchange in 1987 but ran into trouble after a controversial decision to purchase a bank left them seriously in debt. Things got worse before they got better: across Copenhagen, 15-time champions KB merged with B1903, immediately assuming the latter's place in the top flight and rapidly being given permission to pay at the brand new 38,000-seat national stadium Parken. Brøndby fans were best described as unhappy but they now had some serious competition.
A fierce rivalry was born, especially after FCK won their first title in 1993, and Brøndby had to fight for the trio of championships they won in the mid-1990s. Since then, though, they've mainly played second fiddle to the new kids: since 1998, Brøndby have won only two championship to FCK's eight.
The 29,000-seat Brøndby stadium was originally used in 1965, although at the time was no more than a field with raised embankments. It's amazing to think that until 1980 the ground featured only one stand (with just 1,200 seats) and a couple of rudimentary floodlights.
A new 5,000-seater stand was built in 1982, and as the team became more successful further stands were added, taking the capacity to just under 20,000 in 1990. The latest redevelopment work started in 1999 and was completed in October 2000 when 28,000 crammed into the stadium for the first time to watch the Copenhagen derby.
The end result is a stadium that is almost identical in look and feel to Derby’s Pride Park, St Mary’s in Southampton and Coventry's Ricoh Arena: all four stands are two-tiered, with a complete wraparound roof. The hardcore fans tend to congregate in the Faxe Tribune, which literally bounces on a match day.
The stadium is a 30-minute journey from Copenhagen central station. The easiest way to get there is to catch a Line B S-tog train to Glostrup or a Line A one to Brøndby Strand Station and then catch bus either 131 or 500S. Extra buses run on a match day. Alternatively you can catch the 500S bus from Ørestad metro station. Be warned, the buses do get very busy and “boisterous” before and after the games.
The easiest way is with a ticket-and-plane package from the FourFourTwo Travel Shop. If you want to go it alone, it's almost unheard of for any domestic games to sell out, except those against FC Copenhagen, and so you'll be able to turn up on the day to buy tickets. If you insist on getting them in advance then you can from the Brøndby shop at the stadium or online here. For normal matches tickets cost between 150Kr and 200Kr. For the derby matches they rise to 250Kr and 350Kr. If you have any queries then the ticket office can be contacted at email@example.com.
AROUND THE STADIUM
The stadium is located in the western suburbs of the city and sits in a nice residential area. However, the club has a great supporters' bar-cum-restaurant, 19964, which is open for fans to go and have a few beers and a Danish sausage or two. Danish fans are some of the most hospitable in the world and any fans coming to visit the club on a weekend trip will get a very warm welcome, especially if they bring a few souvenirs from their clubs in England.
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Guide written by Stuart Fuller, editor of The Ball Is Round football travel website
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