Saturday, December 1, 2012

Allan Simonsen was rapidly becoming big European star. There were few more Danes of increasingly high profiles, playing in West Germany, Holland, Belgium. So, Danish football was on the rise? Hardly … Danish stars played successfully abroad since the 1950s without making Danish football stronger. It stayed the same – lame league, lame national team. Nothing new in 1977, except for one thing – the Danes were moving towards professionalism. It was quite obvious that there was no other way – amateurism was no longer possible even on relatively weak league. It was more than just the players: the clubs' survival depended on that. Yet, a small country not exceptionally crazy about football it was difficult to find money. Efforts were made already – with sponsorship. Shirt advertisement was permitted, but it was also kind of amateurish, almost like donations. Some teams had to use more than one sponsor, making their jerseys very strange: few players with one add, others – with another. Players were already very suspect amateurs: under the cover of 'employment' in a firm, they were full-time footballers. By mid-1970s it was impossible to train a little after work. But it was difficult to introduce professional league too, for the clubs had small means. 1977 was practically the last year of amateur football in Denmark, at least on paper. At large, the Danish football remained the same: better players dispersed in many teams, the best quick to go abroad, no dominant clubs, fairly equal, but weak championship, lacking dominant clubs. To keep 'classic' 16-team league was already problematic. Yes, by the record, Danes played attacking game – only three clubs ended with 10 ties the season and scoring was pleasantly high – only one club finished with less than 40 goals – but all that was more due to the weakness of the clubs, rather than improvement. Most of the Danish clubs meant nothing outside the country so the relegated bottom three had indifferent sound – AaB (Aalborg), B 1909 (Odense), and Holbaek B&I.

AaB – entirely unknown in the 1970s, they finished 14th and went down. Aalborg had to wait until 21st century to become familiar name outside Denmark.

Holbaek B&I – last place. They rarely played first-division football anyway: a total of 4 years (since foundation in 1931 to 2010).

Promotions won clubs equally modest:
Naestved IF, who eventually became more familiar name in 21st century, but were nothing in the 1970s.

IK Skovbakken (Aarhus), already the 'smaller' club in their hometown, and just lucky to play top flight, which happened as rarely as Holbaek B&I's.

Slagelse BI, one more club of the ilk of Skovbakken. Not really a big addition to the First Division – may be the opposite rather, for one lowly club, Holbaek, was replaced by two of the kind for the next season.