A fan’s guide – the club from early doors to today
Coming from the sleepy suburb of Farum at the northern end of the local train line, playing in red and yellow kits – 2012 Danish champions FC Nordsjaelland could be seen as a Danish version of Watford. Though, perhaps another comparison might be in order: MK Dons.
Like Milton Keynes, Farum has never been a football hotbed in any way, and while FC Nordsjaelland (FCN) didn’t have to import an entire club, they rose to Superliga prominence by the back door. By then still using their old name Farum Boldklub, they arrived in the top flight for the first time in 2002, with a new stadium and top facilities paid for by the local taxpayers, thanks to mayor and fan Peter Brixtofte, who would later be jailed in a great corruption scandal.
The club survived and became a regular presence in the Superliga, usually placed mid-table, sometimes fighting off relegation. Something started to change, though, when ex-Celtic player Morten Wieghorst took over as coach. The team was as lovably erratic as always, selling off players willy-nilly, but managed to stick to a philosophy inspired by Barcelona’s short-passing game. FCN won back-to-back Danish Cups in 2010 and 2011.
Wieghorst left to coach the Danish Under-21s but the hand-over to his former assistant Kasper Hjulmand was smooth. The ex-B93 player managed the unthinkable – stopping FC Copenhagen from taking their fourth straight title and walking straight into the group stages of the Champions League.
Nordsjaelland’s dogmatic tiki-taka was impressive on a domestic level, but came up short on the big stage. Stomped out of sight by Chelsea, Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk, FCN at least made a runners-up spot in the 2013 Superliga, and thus the Champions League third qualifying round in 2013-14. Thrashed by Zenit St Petersburg, and having sold Jores Okore (for a record fee to Aston Villa), Mikkel Beckmann and Tobias Mikkelsen, FCN slipped right down the league.
For 2014-15, after a mid-table finish and the departure of Hjulmand for Mainz, incoming Icelandic coach Olafur Kristjansson brought a more direct style to the artificial pitch in Farum. With a team based on young talent, personified by goalkeeper David Jensen, struggling against the bigger boys, Hjulmand was brought back before the spring campaign of 2016.
The field of dreams – and the stands around it
FCN won the 2012 title with average gates of just 5,800, even that a generous official count. Nonetheless, Farum Park has proved an intimidating place to visit for away sides. An artificial pitch, installed in the summer of 2012 to suit FCN’s passing game, also helps.
Around it, FCN’s hard-drinking supporters prefer the comfy seats in the A Stand. D stand is for the small contingent of standing ones, and the B end provides ample space for the invariably modest visiting support.
Going to the stadium – tips and timings
Get the local S-train line H from any major station such as Nørreport, Østerport or Central. Farum is at the end of line about 30mins away. From there, walk over the platform to the adjacent bus stop and jump on the 333 bus, direction Farum Vest, to Idraetsvaenget right outside the ground – or walk about a mile down Ryttergardsvej.
Buying tickets – when, where, how and how much
The turnstiles are self-service scanning affairs, and you can’t pay at the entrance. Tickets (a flat 145kr) are available on match days at booths outside the ground. The club shop also sells them a few days beforehand. You could buy online but there’s no printing option – and mailing abroad would be tricky.
what to buy
Shirts, kits, merchandise and gifts
The FC Nordsjaelland Fan Shop (Tue & Thur 4.30pm-7pm, Sat 10am-1pm, before and after home games) is outside the home D end. It offers very friendly and enthusiastic service, if not always lightning fast.
Where to Drink
Pre-match beers for fans and casual visitors
At the ground, you’ll find the FCN Baren inside the A Stand, up a tower of stairs, serving up pre-match drinks for the locals. They’re a friendly bunch, and you should feel no qualms about settling in for a pint. Also attached to the club is the Café Sepp at the D end of the ground by the club shop, named after ex-Denmark coach Sepp Piontek, accessible from outside. For some reason, it features a huge painting of Björk. On warmer days, there are seats outside and meat on the barbecue.
In Farum, there are plenty of eating and drinking options on the main street of Hovedgade. Close to the station, the Brdr (‘Bros’) Ox is Farum’s only steakhouse, pricy but tasty. Tante Maren at No.51 offers old-fashioned Danish meat and potatoes in generous helpings. For a real bar, Farum Kro at No.42 is rough and ready.