“And then dance and drink and screw
Because there’s nothing else to do.”
– Pulp, Common People
The nineties gave birth to both the Britpop scene with bands such as Blur, Oasis and Pulp as well as Premier League Football – a sublime mixture of partying and playing. Before the nineties, things were completely different; it was another world. To illustrate how and why things changed so drastically, I will recall to mind, football memories where the stadium plays a crucial role in both tying a strong ritualistic community together and hosting a collective tragedy.
At the beginning of the eighties, as a little boy, I moved from Copenhagen in Denmark to a small provincial town called Næstved. The same year, I was supposed to begin playing football in KB (now named F.C. Copenhagen), but instead I ended up in the smaller club of Næstved. A few months later, 16 November 1980 to be exact, fate had it that those two cities were playing against each other in the last game of the season. The game was called “the gold match” because it would decide who would win the league. Næstved and KB were equal in the standings on points, but KB were ahead due to a better aggregate goal score. I went to see the match in the stadium, together with 20,315 other people – almost half of Næstved’s population. The home side scored at the beginning of the second half and with fifteen minutes left, one of KB’s players received a red card. I remember the intensity of so many people holding their breath as they tasted the approaching victory, and then with only two minutes left, KB equalised to result in 1-1 – enough to make them win the league. It was my first time witnessing how silence could tie people together.
Read the rest of the essay in The Football Pink