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F.C. Copenhagen (Danish: F.C. København, or FCK in short) is a professional Danish football club in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is part of the Parken Sport & Entertainment.
FCK plays in the Danish Superliga and is one of the most successful clubs in Danish football: it is also the highest-ranking Scandinavian club in the UEFA team rankings list, currently the 38th best club in Europe. The club is also currently ranked as the 43rd best club in the world by the IFFHS F.C. Copenhagen has won nine Danish Superliga championships, four Danish Cup trophies, and the Scandinavian tournament Royal League twice. They qualified for the 2006–07 edition of the UEFA Champions League, the first time in the club's history. Three years later they became the first Danish club to ever reach the knockout stage of the Champions League.
F.C. Copenhagen was founded in 1992, as a superstructure between 15-time Danish football champions Kjøbenhavns Boldklub (KB) and seven-time Danish football champions Boldklubben 1903. FCK plays its matches at the Parken Stadium, which also serves as the venue for Denmark national football team matches. Since its founding, F.C. Copenhagen has had a fierce rivalry with Copenhagen suburban club Brøndby IF, and the so-called "New Firm" games between the two sides have attracted some of the biggest crowds in Danish football history.
F.C. Copenhagen is, in many ways, both an old and a new club. Even though the club was established in 1992, it is rooted in more than 100 years of club tradition. The club is unique in Scandinavia because the club's first team represents two separate clubs: Kjøbenhavns Boldklub (KB) (continental Europe's oldest football club) founded in 1876 and Boldklubben 1903 founded in 1903. The two Copenhagen clubs merged their first teams to found F.C. Copenhagen on 1 July 1992. F.C. Copenhagen used B1903's club license to play in the Danish Superliga championship, while KB became the official reserve team of the club. With the rebuilding of the Parken Stadium, Denmark's national team stadium, the new club had a modern stadium to play at from the beginning. The initial ambition of the club was to continually qualify for one of the European competitions each season. To reach this goal, the club needed a solid economy, a relatively big fan base, and an "attractive and positive style of football".
The club was managed by Benny Johansen and started the club's maiden season well. FCK made its first appearance in the European tournaments when it beat Swiss team Grasshopper Zürich 2–1 in the 1992 UEFA Intertoto Cup. FCK won the Intertoto Cup that year and qualified for the UEFA Cup, where it was eliminated in the second round by French team AJ Auxerre. The club won the 1992–93 Superliga season one point ahead of Odense BK and two points ahead of third-place Brøndby IF. For the 1993–94 Superliga season, expectations were high. The season opened with a 0–6 thrashing at the hands of Italian team A.C. Milan in the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League qualification. FCK went on winter break after the first half of the Superliga season in third place. In the spring of 1994, F.C. Copenhagen gained on leading team Silkeborg IF. In the penultimate match of the season, the two teams met at the Parken Stadium. In front of a record-setting attendance of 26,679, FCK won the match 4–1. The club was one point ahead of Silkeborg, but because FCK lost 3–2 to Odense BK in the final game of the season, it had to settle for second place.
For the next three seasons, FCK had little success in the Superliga, even though it won two Danish Cup trophies. FCK won the 1995 Cup final against Akademisk Boldklub with a 7–0 win, qualifying for European football once again, despite mediocre results in the league. Kim Brink took over as manager in 1996, but despite winning the second Cup trophy for the club, the eighth-place finish in the 1996–97 Superliga season prompted another change in managers.
In February 1997, Flemming Østergaard, later given the ironic nickname "Don Ø", joined the board of the club as vice chairman and CEO. In November 1997, FCK was introduced on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange successfully IPO, generating DKK 75 million. The 1997–98 season marked the first season that FCK averaged more than 10,000 spectators at home, and the club bought their stadium Parken for DKK 138 million in June 1998. The self-acclaimed "best manager in Denmark" Christian Andersen began managing the club in January 1999. After 75 controversial days, however, Andersen was fired in March 1999, Sports Director Niels-Christian Holmstrøm explaining Andersen had created frustration among the players.
In 1999, FCK made its impact so far on the European tournaments when the club faced Chelsea F.C. in the second round UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. In the first leg at Stamford Bridge, Bjarne Goldbæk gave FCK the lead, nine minutes before the end, but Chelsea scored in the last minute of the game. Chelsea won the second game at Parken with a goal by the Dane Brian Laudrup. At the post-match press conference, it was announced that Chelsea's Brian Laudrup was signing with FCK from January 1999, with Bjarne Goldbæk signing for Chelsea. A four-time Danish Player of the Year award winner, Brian Laudrup could not help FCK improve their league position, and the season ended with the club at seventh place in the 1998–99 Superliga season. Laudrup only stayed for six months at the club before signing for Ajax Amsterdam at the end of the season. In the 1999–2000 season, F.C. Copenhagen struggled to make any significant impact and finished eighth in the league.
In the winter 2000 transfer window, South African striker Sibusiso Zuma was signed from South African side Orlando Pirates, and in May 2000, English manager Roy Hodgson became the new manager. From the 2000–01 season, the club started to improve. The club won its second Superliga championship, winning 3–1 in the last New Firm match of the season, at the Parken Stadium. The 2–0 goal was a bicycle kick by Zuma, who received the ball at his chest, where he bounced it in the air, and in the same motion executed the overhead kick, volleying the ball into the far corner, out of Brøndby keeper Mogens Krogh's reach. This was voted the Danish goal of the year, and was voted the best Superliga goal of the decade in December 2009. Hodgson broke his contract with FCK a few weeks after having won the championship, signing with Italian team Udinese Calcio, and he was replaced by Swede Kent Karlsson
FCK faced Italian team S.S. Lazio in the UEFA Champions League qualification, but a 2–1 win in the first game was not enough, as Lazio won with a 5–3 aggregate score. FCK entered the UEFA Cup, where it defeated Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam 1–0 on a goal by left back Niclas Jensen. In the next round, German team Borussia Dortmund eliminated FCK. The 2001–02 Superliga season ended in disappointment for FCK. Brøndby won the championship on goal difference, after FCK had caught up with Brøndby's 10-point lead after the first half of the season. In the second-to-last round of the 2002–03 Superliga season, FCK faced Brøndby at Brøndby Stadium. In extra time, Hjalte Nørregaard scored his first goal for FCK and brought the championship back to Parken. In the Champions League second qualifying round in 2004–05, FCK won the first match against ND Gorica 2–1 but later lost at Parken 0–5. Under Backe, FCK went on to win the 2004 and 2006 Danish championships and the 2004 Danish Cup. F.C. Copenhagen also won the inaugural 2004–05 edition of the Royal League tournament, beating Swedish team IFK Göteborg on penalty shootout in the 2005 final. FCK repeated the achievement in the 2006 edition of the tournament, this time beating Norwegian team Lillestrøm S.K. 1–0 in the 2006 final. Backe became the longest-serving coach for FCK, before leaving the club in December 2005. Former FCK player Ståle Solbakken took over as manager.
For the 2006–07 season, FCK was reinforced by Danish national team player Jesper Grønkjær. FCK looked forward to the 2006 UEFA Champions League qualifiers, where it beat Ajax Amsterdam. For the first time in the club's history, FCK entered the group stage of the Champions League, being grouped with Scottish club Celtic F.C., Portuguese club S.L. Benfica and Manchester United from England. Despite not losing a game at home in Parken (Benfica 0–0, Man Utd. 1–0 and Celtic 3–1), FCK failed to qualify from the Champions League group stage after losing all its away games. On 9 May FCK beat Brøndby 1–0 and won its fifth Danish championship in seven years with four games to go in the tournament.
In the 2007–08 season FCK lost the third qualification round of the Champions League with a 1–3 aggregate score to Benfica. After beating RC Lens (France) 3–2, FCK qualified for the group stages of the UEFA Cup, where it played Panathinaikos FC (H), FC Lokomotiv Moscow (A), Atlético Madrid (H) and Aberdeen. FCK lost to Panathinaikos and Madrid, but a win against Moscow meant that the club needed only a draw against Aberdeen to qualify for the next round. However a 0–4 defeat to Aberdeen put them out of the tournament. FCK finished a third in the league, with AaB taking the title.
In the 2008–09 season FCK started well. The team qualified for the UEFA Cup group stage by eliminating Cliftonville (NI), Lillestrøm SK (NO) and FC Moscow (RU). FCK lost at home to St. Etienne and drew 1–1 against Valencia. With a 1–1 draw against Rosenborg BK (NO) and a win over Club Bruges (BE), FCK qualified for spring 2009 playoffs where it drew 2–2 in the first leg of the Round of 32 against Manchester City on 19 February 2009. The club lost 1–2 in the second leg, a loss that ended its European season. In the domestic league, FCK battled for first place with Brøndby and Odense BK. Eventually FCK won the Cup final against AaB and claimed the league title with only one game left in the tournament, thus securing the Double for the second time in the club's history. 2010 proved to be yet another European success. Even though the team lost the 2009–2010 Champions League playoff match to APOEL Nicosia with a 2–3 aggregate score, the team had already qualified to the Europa League group stage by eliminating FK Mogren (MO) and Stabæk (NO). FCK lost away to CFR Cluj (RO), won 1–0 at home against AC Sparta Prague, 0–1 away loss against PSV (NE), and by beating CFR Cluj at home 2–0 and 3–0 away over AC Sparta Prague, FCK qualified for spring 2010 Europa League Round of 32 to face Olympique Marseilles. The match-up, however, resulted in two 1–3 losses for Copenhagen, thus eliminating them from the 2009–2010 Europa League.
The qualification for the 2010-11 UEFA Champions League was secured by beating BATE Borisov (0-0 / 3-2) and Rosenborg BK (1-2 / 1-0). The team entered the group stage in Group D and met FC Barcelona, Panathinaikos and Rubin Kazan. After a 3-1 win against Panathinaikos in their last group stage match, it qualified for the 1/8 finals and then became the first Danish club through to the last 16 in the UEFA Champions League, where they were defeated by 2008 runners-up Chelsea.
F.C. Copenhagen owns its stadium, the national arena Parken. It was built in 1992—the same year FCK was founded. Until Parken opened, the club played its home matches at the smaller Østerbro Stadion, which is located adjacent to Parken.
Parken has 38,065 seats, 4,000 fewer seats than the original capacity of 42,305.
F.C. Copenhagen is the most supported club in Denmark, and it has the biggest fan base in Scandinavia. The official fan club, F.C. København Fan Club (FCKFC), has, of March 2009, more than 20,000 members, which is fewer than in March 2007, the time the fan club had 21,399. FCKFC was founded on 24 October 1991, approximately half a year before FCK played its first match. Furthermore, there are many unofficial "fractions" connected to FCK, and the biggest are Urban Crew, Copenhagen Cooligans and Copenhagen Casuals.. These are also reported to have friendships with fractions from Hamburger SV and Helsingborgs IF. For the 2006–07 season there were 23,795 spectators on average.
For many years the lower part of the "C-stand" at Parken Stadium, Nedre C, has been the main stand for the supporters of FCK. In 2006 a part of the lower "B-stand" was made a fan section and named Sektion 12 and Stemningstribunen (translates to "atmosphere stand").
(In brackets debut year)
Biggest victory in the Superliga
Biggest defeat in the Superliga
Biggest victory in European cups
Biggest defeat in European cups
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
There have been eight different permanent and two caretaker managers of FCK since 1992. One of the caretakers (Kim Brink) has managed the club in three separate times. The longest-running manager is Ståle Solbakken (2006-2011), who also managed the most games for FCK. The only non-Scandinavian to manage FCK was Roy Hodgson. The most successful permanent manager, using win percentage, was also Ståle Solbakken at 58.47 percent, and Christian Andersen is FCK's least successful (0 percent). Andersen is also the shortest-running permanent manager of FCK and received only a single match before he was fired.