þriðjudagur, maí 15, 2007

opening day

Last night was the opening game for KR, my local soccer team in the Icelandic premier league (Landsbankadeildin). The opponent was red-shirted Keflavík, those airport-service mofoes from Reykjanes. They may know about changing a tire on a 757, but they don't know too much about kicking a soccer ball.

By comparison, my local team is the most hated (and historically the most skilled) in Icelandic soccer. It's the original Reykjavík football club, established just a few years before another famous Olde Towne Team. Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur inspires fierce and lifetime loyalty in the 'hood and has a collection of KR-themed merchandise on sale to slake the fans' thirst for all things KR.

The game was an experience in local sportswatching color. Fans packed the KR side of the stands, with a small drumming contingent in the very front. Throughout the game there was almost always a team chant going on, or sustained singing of one of the KR team songs. Down at the Gestir (visitor) end of the stands, Keflavík seemed to have brought an entire DCI drumline that at times cranked out phat beats for the lava-field peeps. Packs of little kids wove their way through standing adults and gum-chewing high school girls followed each other around the stands in little linear cliques.

And then next to me there were a couple of guys yelling angrily at their own KR boys. One was so passionate that his spittle, lit up by the low nine-o'clock sun, was repeatedly launched into the hair of the guys standing in front of and below us. I didn't catch all of it, but some of his one-liners had me laughing away to myself, trying not to let the guy see me. H-bombs were flying liberally, and then at one point he extolled, "Þetta er ekki kerlingabolti!" - "This is not old-woman-ball!"

Maybe his anger wasn't misplaced. Last night wasn't a very promising start for the opening of the 18-game season. Despite ferocious fan support, the Yankees of the North lost 2-1 to the baggage handlers from KEF.


Blogger Unknown said...

What kind of attendance do league matches in Iceland get? I know the national team gets a crazy amount of spectators (compared to the nations population) Do you go to any of the Euro qualifiers?

Blogger JB said...

Keith, you want to take this one? Or some Icelander? I feel un-"qualified" to answer.

Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

The league matches last season had just under a 100k spectators total.

This season's goal (pardon the pun), is to break that 100k wall.

Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

Average attendance ranges from 2000 spectators per game (KR and recently FH) down to 5-600 (e.g. last seasons ÍBV which where relegated).

Big games, usually between KR and ÍA or FH, can attract 3-5000 spectators.

Until recently the European match between Valur and Benfica in 1968 was the game with most spectators, 18000. However a friendly match between Iceland and Italy broke that record a few years back with around 20000 spectators (7% of the nations population), even though the official capacity of Laugardalsvöllur was only 7000 at the time (seating regulations don't apply to friendly matches).


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