An Arsenal fan in lockdown in Denmark – Even Vikings get sick too…

Vikings can get sick too by AndersS

I am told break-ins in private homes have fallen dramatically in Denmark over the last couple of weeks, as people now are much more at home due to the lock-down. Unfortunately, domestic disturbance is nearly as dramatically on the rise, as couples and families get on each others nerves when they have to be so close together for so much time.

A friend of mine has the theory that as people have temporarily lost many of their everyday activities, like watching football on TV, we will see a baby boom in about 9 months’ time 😊.

So there you have it, just a few of the many consequences the Corona Virus is causing.

Pat has asked to me write an article for the site. He has set-up no particular demands or limits, only for it to maybe be “from the heart” about everyday life etc. for me as an Arsenal fan living in Denmark.

Some of you may have read one or two of my recent articles, where I tried to forecast the virus’ impact on the economy and the resulting impact on football in general and on Arsenal in particular. I guess they are still to be found somewhere on the site, and I think they cover current events in the football world quite well, and I will take the liberty not to be so focused on those events. That may come again at a later stage, if anyone cares to read it.

I wouldn’t blame you, if you don’t know much about Denmark, so I will give you some trivia, mainly for those in the UK:

– UK and Denmark are “neighbours”. If you sail due east on the North Sea from the English East Coast, the land you run into is Denmark.

– William the Conqueror and the Vikings came from Denmark

– Maybe you have had bacon, Lurpak butter or even a Carlsberg without knowing where it’s from?

– John Jensen and Nicklas Bendtner are Danish (the former, I have played golf with, and the latter is not our biggest pride 😊)

– We are a small country, but one of the wealthiest nations in the world, and for some incomprehensible reason, we have often come out on top in rankings of the “happiest nations”.

– Unfortunately we also have the highest use of antidepressants per capita. Maybe that has something to do with the point above?

– We are forever in debt to Great Britain and other allies for freeing us from the Nazi occupation during WW2 – I thank you.

– Denmark saw the UK as a great ally to help keeping the EU from expanding its powers, and we will miss you for that fight.

– Shakespeare’s Hamlet actually takes place in the castle in my hometown; Elsinore, or Helsingor.

– Most Danes speak English, and we love English humour. Many still watch Monty Python, Fawlty Towers etc.

– But we are known to be somewhat reserved and not so sociable. But we are working on it, I promise.

1971 when Charlie George scored THAT GOAL, was the moment I fell in love with Arsenal. I was a 9-year-old boy playing football in the local football club. We were playing in red shirts and blue shorts, and not long after, my father gave me an Arsenal shirt. How I loved that red shirt with white sleeves and a white canon on the chest. I begged our coach to be allowed to play in the Arsenal shirt instead of the club shirt, but to no avail.

Football betting here was restricted to the English and Danish First divisions, and each Saturday afternoon an English game was televised. That is how a Danish boy came to be a fan of Arsenal back in 1971.

Growing up I studied law and then had a professional sports career, which took me around the world several times. I visited UK maybe 7-8 times a year during that period and after that, I have visited many times on business and as a tourist. Sometimes combining with watching a game at Highbury or at the Emirates. I have always felt at home in the UK, and I truly love London and the British. I am still hoping for a Xmas shopping trip to London and for it to be combined with going to a game.

It breaks my heart to see what is happening in the UK and in other countries that I love, like Spain and Italy. Countries with such beauty, wonderful people and culture now suffering so much. It is nearly unbearable.

In Denmark we had our first Coronavirus patient hospitalized on March 9th. On March 12th our prime minister announced the lock-down which has now been in force for around 3 weeks. Schools and universities are closed. Most public offices too, and all private companies have been urged to keep as many people working from home as possible. All organized sports activities, indoor and outdoor, are postponed indefinitely, etc. etc. You get the picture.

At the moment it looks like the quick and resolute action from our government just might save us from the horror, we are seeing in Italy and Spain and which I fear several other countries are on the road to.

Because it is all about math, as it turns out. If you can’t contain the virus like some countries in Asia have managed to do with impressive use of Big Data, then you can maybe slow down the spread of the virus, so that the number of people needing hospital care never exceeds the number of hospital beds etc. And although we are still on an upward curve in number of new cases, and indeed number of deaths, at the moment it looks like the increase is slowing down so much, we will be OK in relation to capacity. We hold our breath not just for Denmark but for the rest of the world too. Because if you get past the point of the capacity, it really spins out of control.

The side effect of the swift and resolute action has been something close to a knock-out for the economy. Thousands have already lost their jobs and unfortunately this is going to get much worse. Our central bank issued a statement yesterday, saying this could get worse than the crisis after the financial meltdown in 2008. I think they are wrong. It is already worse. No matter where you are, we are in the same boat here, and as stated in my earlier articles, I have been surprised to see how slow the football world has been to understand the enormity of the problem. This has been on the cards for more than a couple of weeks now, and it seems only in the last couple of days that the majority in the football media are also beginning to understand.

Here in Denmark they say that the journalists with the least ability (intellectual ability), are the ones that get to write about sports. Before I found this to be highly condescending. Now I am not so sure.

Anyway, Denmark’s biggest football club FC Copenhagen announced yesterday the players are taking a united pay-cut of 30% for March and April to help the club. Don’t know what to think about that, except that I fear it really is just another sign of a football world not quite coming to terms with the consequences. This will never be enough to save the club. Professional sports, including football, is without a doubt one of the industries to be hit the quickest and the hardest, and it could mean lasting fundamental changes as to how this particular part of the entertainment industry will look in the future.

But that is actually only of little concern at the moment.

I have no doubt our societies will recover from this. But it will take time. I also trust Arsenal’s management to somehow keep the club above water, because that is how serious it could be very soon. A big challenge lies ahead there as well.

My own regret is so far I don’t know how to contribute in any significant way. I am used to taking action, trying to find solutions, but so far, I can’t get my head around any ideas, which are worth putting forward.

My wife and I were supposed to go on a 10-day holiday to Spain last Friday It was obviously cancelled, and we could have gotten our money back from the Spanish hotel we have booked. We decided not to, and instead asked them to change our booking to October. I have bought a gift card for £200 to our local restaurant, which is closed. I have asked my hairdresser to take payment for a haircut to be done, once they are allowed to operate again. I am not a very rich man, but I hope I help a little, and I also hope I don’t lose all the money. The risk that they go out of business is obvious, but even so.

My local golf club has asked me for advice on how to get through this economically. I am flattered and happy to offer it, but I honestly can’t say I think my advice so far has been a significant factor.

Sometimes, out of the worst situations the most ingenious solutions are born. Maybe, if we all try hard enough, something can come up? Just a thought.

I wish all of you the very best, and let’s look forward to the day, when we again see our beloved Arsenal playing. I apologize for not directly raising points to discuss or to comment on. But feel free express, whatever you like.

Med venlig hilsen/kind regards

Anders Sørensen


  1. Hello Anders.
    Yes I have noticed your sensible postings and am not surprised you are Danish 🙂
    I followed Arsenal a long time too and went to Highbury in 1977 and 1982.
    Your country is similar to mine in population and social democracy and wealth but we are much younger. Your country’s corona virus policy is similar to ours but we are two weeks behind but are much further away so had more time to prepare. Yes lock down is good for health but bad for the economy.
    Arsenal will not be spending big on any players this summer. Maybe FIFA will need the oil countries so Man City might stay in the CL.
    Cheers from way down under.

    1. Hi Stevo,
      I love Australia – and Aussies.
      I had the pleasure of visiting there a few times, and it was some of the happiest times of my life.
      I wish you all the best.

        1. Of course – I think you are right. I apologize. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the pleasure to visit New Zealand (yet?)

    1. Thank you – as mentioned I still hope to make maybe a November/December trip to watch a game, and enjoy London.

  2. Another excellent article AndersS and many on here will be hoping for many more from you.

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