Copenhagen 2000 – War and Peace

The Uefa Cup final between Arsenal and Galatasaray is better remembered for the violence that went on around the game than for the football itself. These are my memories of a very eventful few days in May 2000:

We flew out to Copenhagen a day before the Uefa Cup Final. We travelled with high hopes considering we had a great side at the time, but we knew the team were missing a killer instinct. Following the double of ’98 we had thrown away a number of opportunities of silverware. In my opinion we should have won the double again in ’99 but Fergie had different ideas.

When we arrived there were thousands of Galatasaray fans already in Copenhagen and the atmosphere was very hostile. Next to our hotel some Gala fans had decided to get onto the roof with drums to make sure everybody knew they were there.

We kept a low profile in the city centre and headed to the quieter dock area. We had some beers in a bar and chuckled as a Danish Robert Redford look-a-like sang Arsenal songs to a bemused restaurant full of Gala fans.

While we were sampling the local hospitality the Arsenal team walked past the bar. They must have decided to stretch their legs. It was a bit surreal. We chatted to David Seaman and a few of the players. They were in a good mood and confident.

On the way back to our hotel we stopped at another bar. More Arsenal fans were arriving and it was clear there were many others who had come along looking for trouble. We chatted to members of the British armed forces, Chelsea hooligans, Leeds hooligans, Swansea hooligans: all were there for a fight with the Turks to avenge the murder of the Leeds fans in Istanbul at the semi-final a few weeks before. Outside the bar an Arsenal fan was stabbed by Gala hooligans. It was getting nasty.

On the day of the match there were thousands more Arsenal fans in the city. We managed to avoid the worst of the violence and made it to the stadium without too much bother.

The game was very disappointing.  Arsenal didn’t show up. The main culprits for me were Henry, Overmars & Kanu (when he came on). Gala lost their best player, Hagi, to a red card in extra time, so we played with a man advantage for almost 30 minutes. We didn’t put enough pressure on them when the game was there to be won. I was gutted after losing the penalty shoot-out. I wanted to rip up my season ticket and flush it down the loo. Luckily I didn’t as the next 5 years were among the best Arsenal have ever had.

That evening we decided to avoid the city centre instead staying in a bar near our hotel. It turned out to be a great night despite having the misfortune to meet up with the DIF Stockholm hooligan firm. They were a complete bunch of idiots that had been there for the trouble too. The bar owner threw them out before they could mug us (Thanks Sven!)

We stayed in Copenhagen for a few more days. Once the trouble had died down we enjoyed the mini heat-wave that the city was experiencing. If you haven’t visited it is a fantastic place. The local were very friendly and the bars stayed open until the early hours of the morning.

On the last day we encountered a small crowd surrounding who we thought was a local pop star. We managed to move through the group to be right in front of this mysterious character. It turns out it wasn’t a Danish pop star it was the Dalai Lama! ‘Hello’ he said as we stood there open mouthed.

A peaceful end to very violent few days that will live long in the memory.

Pete the Thirst



45 Responses to Copenhagen 2000 – War and Peace

  1. Thank you Pete the Thirst for the post. When I was looking for a pic to pop into the post I found loads of images of the violence ……… it must’ve been pretty scary.

    I remember pacing up and down the kitchen while the penalties were being taken and my young daughter was very disappointed that we’d lost 😦

  2. RockyLives says:

    Nice one Pete.

    I flew over on the day with my crowd of mates (six or seven of us).

    We went to the city centre for a while but, as you say, it was clear that there were hundreds (if not thousands) of British hooligans there who were not Arsenal fans. There were more England flags than Arsenal flags. We met one bunch of Leeds fans who had come looking to get revenge on any Turks they could find for the earlier stabbing of a Leeds fan.

    It infuriated me afterwards how the press wrote it up as rioting between Arsenal and Galatasaray hooligans. The Arsenal fans were there for the game – the other British fans were there for the fight.

    We saw the way things were going and quickly got to a bar well out of town where we spent the day enjoying a few pints, chatting to the locals and avoiding hassle.

    I don’t remember a great deal about the match (probably the result of the amount of beer consumed) except that it was all a bit flat and that we never seemed to hit our stride. The penalty shoot-out defeat felt inevitable when it happened.

    Post match we headed for a bar we’d previously scouted out – again well away from the city centre. We drowned our sorrows without encountering any trouble.

    As you say, Copenhagen is a lovely city and the Danes are really welcoming people. I felt sorry for them for the way the visiting thugs from Turkey and the UK behaved.

    It’s the only European final I’ve been to, sadly, so it’s a shame it turned out to be a damp squib.

  3. Rasp says:

    Great read, thank you Pete.

    Like peaches, the game has no fond memories for me.

    Looking at that team photo, it seems they should have vanquished every side they played such was the quality in every position … I’d almost forgotten Sylvinho.

    Hopefully we can right that wrong and win the EL this season … we can but dream.

  4. Pete the Thirst says:

    Thanks for posting Peaches. I can’t believe this was 20 years ago!

    Just look at the players in that picture. They should have won that game and a lot more to boot. Sure we won some big trophies 2002-2005, but I feel we should have won more. 2006 CL Final was a big disappointment, but in 2004 we threw away a golden opportunity losing to Chelsea in the 1/4 finals when Porto went on to win.

  5. Pete the Thirst says:

    @Rocky that’s bad luck. I was lucky enough to get to the Cup Winners Cup final in Copenhagen ’94. We haven’t got the best record in European finals…

  6. RockyLives says:

    I watched that one at home in London. Get in Smudger!

    For the Champions League final I was in a bar in LA where I was living at the time. Another big disappointment.

    I agree that both the 2000 team and the Invincibles in some way underachieved. The Invincibles should have added a European Cup to our trophy cabinet.

  7. RA says:

    Thank you for recounting your travails with the yobs while following Arsenal in Denmark – and I too agree that it is a very pleasant city.

  8. RA says:

    Morning Peaches,

    I am sorry that between myself and my computer we proved conclusively that Polyglots we are not!

    My only excuse is that it has been a long time since I worked in Japan, and I never really got to grips with the language, other than the essential civilities.

    Machigai o o a bishimasu. 😳

  9. LBG says:

    Good post Pete, thank you.
    The Vines Fraternity went out to Copenhagen the day before the match. Three brothers and my son. We stayed in a hotel on the main square so watched much of the post match plastic chair throwing from above. No problems before for us. Remember a packed bar and sitting on some spiral steps singing about Silvinho. We also had an enjoyable walk to the ground trying to pass/ juggle a discarded grapefruit between us.
    Put the details of the game out of mind as soon as final whistle blew. Stayed on until following day. Bit of pool and 10-pin bowling I seem to remember before flight home. European finals werent ever lucky for me, even missed Smudger. But nice to relive. Thanks again, Pete.

  10. RC78 says:

    great post and storytelling…awful game to watch 😦

  11. kelsey says:

    Good Morning

    Just to refer to the last post I know one of the players who went to Dubai(peaches knows who I mean) and Guendouzzi had an almighty row with Arteta over training so as punishment he was left out of the squad against Newcastle. Pepe has been told to up his game and it’s beginning to show.The most expensive completely one footed player in our history. as has Ozil who by nature doesn’t like training.

    Our fitness levels have improved and now we need a run of wins. I believe there will be a huge clear out in the Summer but training hard and lasting the full ninety minutes and winning have to be combined together
    .Beacause of the loan system we lose a few but I understand we have reached agreement with two new players subject to this that and the other.

    Arteta already has a good idea who he wants IMO and pleased to see the club offering Saka a new deal.

  12. RockyLives says:

    Thanks Kelsey – so you have first hand information that the Gwen bust up was real then. Interesting.

    He’s 20 years old and a bit of a bolshy character by all accounts. I suspect it will be good for him in the long run to be firmly dealt with by MA, provided he learns a lesson and knuckles down.

    It also won’t do any harm to Arteta’s standing with the squad as a whole. If they can see he won’t take any s-hit, we can hopefully avoid the drift of the Emery period.

  13. RockyLives says:

    I can’t quite make my mind up about Guendouzi’s ceiling.

    At times I feel he could grow into a Vieira/Yaya type of player. At other times (when he’s running round like a headless chicken), not so much.

    I would rank our young up-and-comers in this order based on their potential:

    1. Martinelli
    2. Saka
    3. Willock
    4. Guendouzi
    5. Nelson
    6. AMN
    7. Nketieh

    I know that seems harsh on Eddie, but it’s tough to make it as a central striker and we’ve seen many promising candidates over the years burn brightly for a short while before fading away. I hope Eddie is an exception.

    I don’t feel I’ve seen enough of Smith-Rowe to include him at this stage but I know many fans rate him very highly.

  14. Rasp says:

    8 youngsters with first team experience and potential to be top quality is a pretty good position to be in Rocky. Others would reel off a couple more names in the academy I know.

  15. That looks like a post for tomorrow Rocky ………….

  16. fred1266 says:

    Great read pete , did a Leeds fan really get killed

  17. RockyLives says:

    Not at our game, but two Leeds fans were stabbed to death when Leeds played Galatasaray in the semi final a few weeks previously in Istanbul.

  18. LB says:

    Bloody Overmars is still in Copenhagen airport waiting to enter the country through passport control.

    Got home about 8 in the morning, nackered, horrible day out.

  19. Pete the Thirst says:

    @Fred yes unfortunately in Istanbul as Rocky mentions.

    Luckily nobody killed at this game, but there were stabbings etc. As usual the majority of the Arsenal fans steered well clear of the trouble, but a number did get involved.

    It was a real shame for Copenhagen because it’s such a lovely city.

  20. Pete the Thirst says:

    @Kelsey that’s interesting coming from the horses mouth (Neigh)

    I really rate Guendouzi, but he clearly has an attitude. If that can’t be honed in the right direction then the Club will always win.

    Let’s hope a good kick up the backside works.

  21. RockyLives says:

    That’s a big loss for them Rasp. He’s a quality player (annoyingly).

  22. Rasp says:

    I agree Rocky … I think they play better with Son when ‘arry is out injured.

  23. RC78 says:

    Shame for Son. I really like him but I think Mourinho will find a way. Bergwin, Lucas and Alli have goals in them so maybe they ll play with Alli behind Bergwin and Lucas

    And they ll play Lo Celso, Winks, Ndombele in midfield.

    They ll gain in pace and movement but will lose out on incisivess and aerial threaf

  24. fred1266 says:

    Rocky my mind already made up about guendouzi and he is nothing special

    Hope am wrong and your rice, I often wonder what would be his actual position in the team

  25. RockyLives says:


    It may come down to whether he’ll listen to his coaches, who will be keen to help him become the best player he can be.

    If he does listen, he could be a high energy box to box player, capable of picking up the ball deep in MF and driving into the opposition danger area.

    It would help a lot if he could start to add goals to his game.

  26. fred1266 says:

    Yea the goals is need, I don’t see him as a holding so u should more box to box which I find willock is way ahead of him in that Department

  27. fred1266 says:

    How long is son out for rc78, he in my fantasy team

  28. LB says:


    I think he is out for the whole season……..bummer.

  29. Expecting a collection of baby spuds here any minute ….. cue very long faces 😂😂😂

  30. LBG says:

    Long spuds make good chips…….or perhaps they’ve had them!

  31. RC78 says:

    @Sue – PSG sets up in an unlikely 343 leaving Icardi, Cavani and Sarabia on the bench…
    Navas – Marquinhos, T. Silva, Kimpembe – Meunier, Gueye, Verratti, Kurzawa – Di Maria, Mbappe, Neymar

    Am shaking

  32. Sue says:

    Mouth-watering front 3’s for both sides RC 👌
    Going to be a cracker!!

  33. jjgsol says:

    The scum will have to find someone else to do the diving for their penalties now that Kane and Son are out, although they still have one expert, Alli,

  34. Sue says:

    Well, RC.. was a slow burner in the first half, then boy did it burst into life!! Neymar was so unlucky not to have equalised… but Haaland… wow….. that boy is a machine! 2-1 isn’t the end of the world, but… those 2 yellows could prove to be very costly ☹ Nicely poised for the neutrals though….

    Oh and Liverpool lost!! Woohoo!! All their fans moaning saying Atletico are a Spanish West Brom – score a goal then shut up shop!! Pour souls, can’t stand losing can they?! Hang on where’s my violin 🤣🤣

  35. Sue says:

    And one thing I never thought we’d see – Klopp being booked!! It’s only in the PL all the officials are on your side 🙄

  36. RockyLives says:

    Only watched the first half of Dortmund-PSG. I thought it was really good.

    High tempo, really slick passing from BD, great pressing from both teams.

    I hate to say this, but I thought they both looked better than us. But if our Arteta upturn continues it won’t take long…

  37. RC78 says:

    I think this PSG defeat has a few rootz:
    1. Thiago Silva and Gueye are not ready for these games yet. They re struggling with their match fitness level
    2. Kurzawa can’t defend
    3. Dortmund had more intensity and purpose than us both offensively and defensively so congrats to them
    4. Our coach messed up with his system and line up.
    5. Haaland is new Ibra and may even surpass him. Bring him to Arsenal and sell Auba and Laca if needed. That guy is a future powerhouse.

  38. Sue says:

    I agree, Rocky, won’t take long at all! Hopefully we’ll be playing in it next season… can’t wait to be amongst Europe’s elite once more.

  39. Sue says:

    Imagine how much he’ll cost, RC?!!

  40. allezkev says:

    I think that Haaland is out of our price range now RC, for Arsenal, with our limited spending power we need to get players with his potential a lot sooner, as we did with Saliba. What was it Raul said ‘we have to be smarter in the market’ or something like that.

    Poor old Scousers, I bet you was devastated just like me Sue… 😉

  41. Sue says:

    Kev.. 🤣🤣👍

  42. […] RockyLives says: February 18, 2020 at 1:23 pm   (Edit) […]

  43. Morning all

    There’s a New Post ………….

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