Posted: 9/21/2016
Title: LOCAL DERBY: MY WAY

Blog:                                                                                                                         

       Actually most football matches in Iceland are local derbies. Of the 5 Premier League matches that I attended all but one were between Reykjavic area clubs and the last one at Stjarman the visitors were IA from Akranes, less than 45 minutes away.  IBV are furthest away in The Westman Islands off the south coast, about 3 hours by road and then ferry from Reykjavic. (www.ibv.is).

       On Sunday my friend Halldor picked me up just before noon and drove me to a pub called OL HUSID (Old House I guess) within walking distance of FH - Fimleikafelag Hafnarfjardar  (Hafnarfjardar Gymnastics Club) at Kaplakriki stadium. The top league is called URVALSDEILD and FH was founded in 1929. Halldor and his VALUR ( www.valur.is ) mates, including Gunnar, had a small table in the large 2 room pub with about 15 or more large screens. FH fans wearing white and black T shirts, and some with scarves and a giant flag, had a larger table as we drank local Icelandic beer and watched Manchester Unite lose at Watford. One of the FH fans was so happy at the 2nd and 3rd Watford goals that he ran around the room and onto the stage.

      We all lined up for a bowl of meat and vegetable soup provided by our gracious hosts( I went back for seconds)  and then a waiter brought a huge plate of lamb cutlets.to our table....maybe half a lamb altogether!  I was then invited on stage where a couple of musicians were playing and one handed me the microphone.  He said he was a clown and made jokes that I didn't understand. Anyway, I gave a short history of Sheffield FC Where Football Kicked Off in 1857 and also explained the story behind the nicknames of Sheffield Utd -The Blades, and Sheffield Wednesday -The Owls. Halldor then got on stage and sung MY WAY, a little like Frank Sinatra, and even sang an encore.

     I was told that there was NEVER any hooliganism at Icelandic football.  "FOR 90 MINUTES  AT THE STADIUM WE ARE RIVALS-THE REST OF THE TIME WE ARE GOOD FRIENDS". Very well put indeed Halldor. (I could not imagine large armed Icelandic policemen in full riot gear astride tiny Icelandic horses). I asked and was told they are never on horseback, only motor bikes and cars. He and his fellow VALUR FC pals walked with me to the stadium. It's two sided but only one is used. A good crowd of about 1,800 today.  FH like most clubs, have multi sport sections with a huge team handball indoor hall next door. Lots of young fans and presumably club members wore their team shirts and woolly hats and scarves and the car park was actually overflowing with tiny bicycles. Most fans live nearby. 

     There were long lines at half time with only two openings available for the refreshments, although I noticed an outdoor grill doing a thriving business. The match finished 1-1 with FH retaining their league title with only about 3 matches to go and a secured place in European competition once again..(www.fh.is). Fifteen matches in the Champions League and 23 in Europa League in their history, this year losing on aggregate 1-1 and 2-2 on away goals to Dundalk of Ireland in The Champions League. Mostly Icelandic players on the squad plus a couple from The Faroe Islands, 2 Belgians and one each from England, Scotland and Mali. Never any programmes for sale so not sure of the line ups.

     FH lead the 12 team league with 42 points and as champions once again play in the Champions League qualifiers next year. Second are Breidablik with 35, Fjolnir - 34, Stjarnan - 33. Valut -  32, KR - 32...all fighting for lucrative Europa League places. 

     Not long until the season wraps up on another campaign. One more match to go for me between Stjarnan and IA- Akranes.

 

 

    

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