What does Danish football have that Scottish football doesn’t?
Update: This article was written during the Euros not long after Scotland went out. Denmark went on to reach the semi-final and were very unlucky to be beaten by a Raheem Sterling dive. Celtic then went out of The Champions’ League to FC Midtjylland of Denmark, a team with a significantly smaller budget than Celtic, and Rangers went out to Sweden’s Malmø another team with a significantly smaller player budget than the Scottish team, and were managed by Jon Dahl Tomasson, a Dane.
‘You’re all clever lads, so you understand it’ Jon Dahl said during a press conference in Glasgow, clearly unaware how collectively stupid and complicit Scottish journalists are in the peddling of sectarianism, dividing society to help Oligarch controlled Westminster rule Scotland, and the shockingly poor standard of Scottish football.
In a break from tradition on this blog, I will write about something I know a bit about! I live in Denmark, I’ve lived here 25 years. As a Scot I can see significant differences between Scotland and Denmark. Although, an awful lot more is similar than different. Northern Europeans. Proud. A population of very similar size. A not dissimilar climate, which definitely affects a temperament.
Worth pointing out, this current Danish team isn’t a ‘golden generation’. ‘a fluke’, ‘a bit lucky’. This is consistent with how their teams have been the last twenty five years. Sometimes a little better, sometimes a little worse, but if you jump to the end where I list the Danes playing in assorted European leagues, that has been the case for decades now.
The 1986 World Cup was Denmark’s first time at a World Cup. Where Scotland had been to several in a row at that point. So precisely where Scotland stopped developing talent (the arrival of Souness), is where Danish football took off.
Only an excuse
My observations. I’d start with getting rid of the excuses. ‘The kids are no playing in the streets anymore’. 25 years in Copenhagen, I can’t remember ever seeing kids playing football in the street here. One of the wealthiest countries in the world. Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Holland, Croatia – elite talent development. Scientifically developed, always evolving, sharing knowledge and bringing out the talent that is already there. It doesn’t happen by accident.
Alcohol. The highest rates of underage drinking in Europe is Denmark. In Scotland we even mythologise how bad we are. When I arrived here 25 years ago children could buy alcohol in supermarkets, ‘so that their parents could send them out for the shopping’ (as my former father in law explained to me, a Danish school teacher). It’s all changed now. Now they have to be SIXTEEN to buy beer in a supermarket and have to show ID. Imagine!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone being asked for ID.
It’s because the kids are playin’ computer games? Denmark is a wealthy country. Far higher standard of living than most of Europe. Kids have computer games all over the world. It’s not a Scottish thing.
Junk food. Denmark is getting fatter. Not reached UK levels yet, but it’s getting there. McDonalds, Burger King, Coca Cola and of course Carlsberg and takeaways are everywhere. Just Eat is a Danish company.
So start by taking any of those excuses for Scotland’s inability to develop talent the last thirty years and call out the bureaucrat or coach using the excuse for the liar that they are.
Education, education, education
There is a strong cultural difference in Denmark and Danes. Education is everything. It’s one of the foundations of Danish society. To the point, in small talk with a new person, you will be asked, ‘what is your education’? That is over and above secondary school, and isn’t an ‘in’ for someone to boast about having gone to Cambridge or Glasgow School of b*stard Art or whatever. It is presumed, as it is ingrained in Danish society, that you have one. Whether it is as a plumber, nursery teacher or lawyer it is expected. And while there are arseholes here just like there are arseholes everywhere, you generally aren’t looked down upon whatever education you have. It’s just small talk, but the expectation is, you and everyone in society have one.
That level of education, is also in their football. It’s in their coaching, it’s in their TV coverage, their pundits their commentators, know about the game. It is also expected, that Danish teams play the game properly. As a result their young players are coached properly at a young age, and are hoovered up around the top leagues of Europe. Those players then come back to Danish football at the end of their careers, as very educated footballers. And spread that knowledge.
I follow Brønshøj BK my local club, recently relegated out of the Danish league, now in non league football. They still pass the ball out from the back, no long ball game, no physicality over playing the game properly, and it is the same for the opposition. It is ingrained to play the game properly, and they look down on Norwegian football for the Drillo Olsen style of football, which was successful, but ugly football.
The hidden Danes
Denmark has a secret. Something they hide. They are really hard on themselves. They graft for everything. They are furious if they lose. They analyse everything in great detail, and a Danish footballer interviewed in Danish after a defeat, is very enlightening.
A Danish footballer interviewed in English after a defeat, completely different person. ‘Just happy to be here’. ‘We are little Denmark…’. I have a theory it is to do with them ‘selling’ their country. They are all ambassadors when speaking in English. Whether that be footballers, athletes or just Danes in general.
So if you think such ‘nice people’, so lovely, yeah they are good people. But in sport they are nasty, competitive, fighting bastards, who’ve been coached properly. Seriously f*cking scarey when it all comes together. And always looking to improve.
(Incidentally Kasper Schmeichel is the anomaly. Brought up largely in England, but pæredansk (pure Danish) as he is properly bilingual his Danish personality comes through in English. Hence the reply to ‘Is football coming home?’ ‘Has it ever been home?’)
The Happiest in the world
There’s the weird survey that comes out each year. The ‘happiest in the world’. An odd measurement (probably ‘most satisfied’ is a better term), but Danes are always up there. Well, education, standard of living, and they have a superb ability to not concentrate on the negative. Handball is Denmark’s game, they invented it. The Danish women’s team won world championships and Olympic gold and all sorts of other things in my first few years in Denmark (the Anja Andersen years). I lived here 15 years before I found out there was a Mens’ handball team. Because they always lost. When Danes lose, they move on quickly, they concentrate on positivity and success. Who knows maybe one day Scotland will get over the 1978 World Cup.
I lived in Denmark when Ebbe Skovdahl was manager of Aberdeen. I didn’t see all of the coverage, but as far as I am aware he was never asked about what Denmark was doing with talent development, that Scotland clearly were not. At the time there were players all over Europe he had a hand in development at Brøndby.
If you ever listen to any of his former Aberdeen players being interviewed, they always get hit with leading questions designed to get them to ridicule him, then they will say something revealing. ‘It’s weird because he introduced weight training, and now everyone does that…’ So lacking in awareness his former players still don’t know they had a state of the art European coach. And Milne completely wasted the opportunity.
And that is a huge key to why Scottish football is so bad. Scottish journalists are dreadful. They were so busy w*nking themselves off to Henrik Larsson, (earning 42k per week destroying Aberdeen players on about 2k per week) they didn’t think to find out how a Larsson or a Laudrup* had been developed. Or why so many of both their countrymen were (and still are) playing in so many big leagues around Europe. They lack curiosity, they are too busy promoting or choosing to ignore sectarianism in football, there’s the outrageous Glasgow bias, and have enormous chips on their shoulder as they really want to be in London working with the ‘big media’. *Ebbe was Brian and Michael Laudrup’s uncle by marriage.
I could say Scotland needs to do X, Y or Z to improve. But actually after this time, Scotland is f*cked forever. The sectarian peddling, neoliberal Glasgow c*nt show (artist formerly known as The Old Firm) and the media that promote it, are beyond repair. It also means another Dalglish, Law, Bremner, a Laudrup, Zlatan, or a Haaland, are being born in Scotland, they are just being stifled by ineptitude.
This is just some stuff on Denmark. There will be far more I don’t know about, plus other reasons in Belgium, Holland, Portugal, Croatia, Czech Republic… countless other countries learning, developing, improving. And no Scottish journalists will ever make an attempt to find out what they are doing.
Danes playing outside of Denmark. Italy (Serie A): 13, (Serie B) 5, La Liga: 3, Dutch Æresdivisionen: 10, German Bundesligaen: 16, Bundesliga 2: 6, EPL: 11, Championship: 16. More in countless other leagues.
Brøndby and FC Copenhagen regularly in the Champions League. When they play each other it’s usually a sell out.
Updated update: Scotland lost 2-0 to Denmark in Parken and it could have been significantly more. I’d say Denmark’s third team could beat Scotland’s first. There are very deep problems in Scottish football, going back decades, none of which is Steve Clarke’s fault.
Two sectarian peddling businesses have been allowed to dominate by a complicit media. The Colt Teams thing, is just the engineering of more sectarian derbies. Only a question of time before ‘the biggest Colt team derby in the world’ has 20k at a game and centre spread coverage in the Glasgow media. How on earth it is normalised that teams with a budget 20 times bigger than the opposition get to play semi-finals and finals effectively at home, is beyond sick. Both teams have put out teams with zero of their own academy players in it, and on occasion zero Scots. They have met no criticism from the Scottish media for this, which is unlikely to happen anywhere else in the world.
Don’t sack Steve Clarke, sack the Scottish/Glasgow media. All of them.