SOUTHGATE REVERSE VIKINGS TOUR OF COPENHAGEN AND ODENSE
10-13 JUNE 2022
It is some centuries since the shores of our green and pleasant land were disturbed by the arrival of Viking marauders bearing Lurpak butter, barrels of Carlsberg and unsatisfactory bacon. Our Chef de Mission, Alastair Whatley, decided that it was time to pay the Danes back with a return match or two.
With that in mind, a select tour party of Reverse Vikings comprising of Southgate players with interesting behavioural problems set of on Friday 10 June to Copenhagen…readers of a sensitive disposition may wish to stop here.
The action of our play takes place in Denmark, specifically Copenhagen and Odense; any other resemblance to a work of Shakespeare is entirely coincidental.
Dramatis Personae: Dickie Beechener (President), Will Hargrove (Sommelier), Lucca Bilyard (Captain), Justin Edwards (Doctor/Physio/Cat), James Findlay (Balladeer), Wiz (Vice-Captain), Rory Willmott (Magistrate), Alastair Whatley (Chef de Mission), Simon Holmes (Transport Chief), Jez Lavy (Deputy Magistrate), Charles Hamilton (Player/Coach), Raj Saha (Treasurer), Neil Prior “the Chablis Kid” (Travelling Umpire), Stroller d’Souza (Motivational Speaker).
Friday 10 June: Match against KOBENHAVNS HOCKEYCLUB
A tight match against a very good Kobenhavns masters outfit on a fine blue astroturf. Goals from Charles and Simon put us 2-1 up and then, in the very last play of the game, the opposition were awarded a penalty corner. With spectators on the edge of their seats, Will Hargrove pulled off a save on the line.
Phew! We then proceeded to enjoy a fine BBQ, lots of beer and then visited the delights of downtown Copenhagen. The first stop was to a venerable establishment having eschewed the Treasurers desire to go to the first (beastly) olde English pub he saw, was behind the main drag and with a nod to the north called BeeronTappen or the equivalent. CDM ordered a glass of wine and promptly bailed with the Vice Captain to a finer establishment next door which caught Wiz’ eye along with the Moldovan bar tender. The lure of the wine and the lady in question saw the rest of the team eventually join where fines and ceremonies were conducted. Balladeer won MOM for a fine performance on the pitch and to PC for some reason that has been lost in the sands of time.
The Sommelier promptly strode into his role procuring the finest wines in Denmark which were consumed with brio and thirst (and much Krone/funnymoney) and then delight as we toasted the arrival of the deputy Magistrate fresh from the depths of the inner ear canals and Copenhagen aeroport.
The merry entourage then wended their way home but a continent who shall remain nameless (magistrate, treasurer, vice captain, captain, deputy magistrate, PC and transport chief) then made hay while the sun didn’t shine and roared their way into fraternisation with Danish folk in the same olde English pub the treasurer had so easily spied some 4 hours earlier. They continued their revelry until an ungodly hour. A member who shall remain nameless was accused of spending more of his attention on the female bar person than on next mornings transport arrangements.
The night ended with early morning beers in the 2* hotel that sat astride a main thoroughfare just 5 minutes walk to the train station and travelling umpires favourite beerhallen.
Saturday 11 June: HOCKEYKLUB ODIN 7 A SIDE TOURNAMENT
Friend of the Club, Chris Thornhill, a long time Danish resident before returning to the UK, and to whom we owe a great debt of thanks for making the Danish connections, ensured we got safely aboard the Lightning Train to Odense on Saturday morning. As behoves men of their calibre, the President and the Motivational Speaker, enjoyed the first class compartment, as neither could walk any further up the train, while the remainder made the best of it in standard. We arrived at the club just in time for our first game, but it is fair to say the exigencies of Copenhagen nightlife had taken their toll as we barely scraped a 2-2 draw with goals from James and Alastair. The surface was also an interesting one – of unknown provenance but probably 2G or 3G with several tonnes of sand added just to make it even more challenging. We needed to adapt quickly rather than moan about it – and we did.
But before moving on, we must mention one of the most intriguing episodes of self-harm ever seen on a hockey pitch. The opposition striker having lobbed Dickie in goal, the ball still in flight fell invitingly for Rory to become a hero by making a regulation stop on the line. With great ingenuity, however, Rory chose to whirl the stick around his head before bringing it down onto his nut causing him to fall on his back. Subsequently becalmed like an inverted beetle, he proceeded to drag the ball backwards with his foot into the goal. No need for Dick of the Day debate.
Having worked the pitch out, we then won the next five games on Saturday but our real victory came at the evening club banquet where the Balladeer charmed the wild Scandinavians and the morose Germans with his squeeze box and lilting ballads, accompanied by Jez on guitar and Alastair on vocals, while Justin, refreshed with strong lager, led a highly charged version of the Wild Rover, which had grown adults weeping and music lovers rushing for their taxis. Feedback from the club was that this was the best Saturday night they had ever had in the clubhouse. But for the Reverse Vikings it was merely the starting point. So, on we went to Club Boogie, Odense’s hottest night spot. Only three interactions with the security team there: (1) Justin was advised that the club did not encourage sleeping and the DJ in particular found it quite wounding; (2) Charles for dancing on a chair and (3) Raj or “Pablo” as he is now known was frisked although not as intensively as some of his team mates would have liked. Special mention in despatches for Justin’s unique dancing and Neil’s Eel dance. I hope never to see them again.
Sunday 12 June: Final day of the tournament
Attempted sabotage by the hosts in giving us a ten o’clock start against one of the morose German sides. Despite nursing their half pints all Saturday evening and warming up an hour before the game, the morose Germans could only draw with us as we made our customary slow start to the day. That meant we were in the final. We despatched another bunch of morose Germans 2 – 0 with goals from Will and Charles. After the President made a gracious speech of thanks to our hosts, the Gods smiled further on us, and free beer and sausages were made available.
At this point, one would like to say that we celebrated modestly at the elegant Gorilla restaurant and retired to bed in good order. But this is not possible, and it pains me to say that a senior club official was responsible. Dickie’s Malt Whisky Horror as it will come to be known by future generations, saw our beloved leader, along with the usual suspects Rory and Wiz, retire unsteadily in the general direction of his bed just past 6.30 am on Monday morning. Is this a man to set the tone for the next generation one asks? Yes! says Rory Willmott.
Monday 13 June: Return of the Heroes
A few incidents of note on the return home. First, the extraordinarily long queue at Copenhagen airport to get through security, around an hour had not our Chef de Mission played the stroke of the day by getting us onto the fast track. Secondly, I was blamed by the Danish passport control officer for Brexit. I pointed
out that whilst I had had some little influence in Whitehall when working, I was not actually able to sway the voting intentions of the entire British populace. My remarks sadly fell a little flat. Thirdly, Wiz upset a Danish man. That’s not really an incident of note though I hear you say. And you have a point. Finally, and to crown a belly-achingly funny tour off on a high, the ticket inspector on the Gatwick Express refused to accept my suggested resemblance to Ming the Magnificent. There is a video clip.
Alastair Whatley – our thanks go to you for making it happen and for producing the world’s finest tour itinerary (which nobody read). A la prochaine!
Stroller (Ming in waiting) d’Souza
14 June 2022
MAN OF THE TOUR: RORY WILLMOTT
MAN OF THE TOURNAMENT: WILL HARGROVE
MAN OF THE MATCH (Friday): JAMES FINDLAY
TOP GOAL SCORER: CHARLES HAMILTON
DICK OF THE TOURNAMENT: RORY WILLMOTT