The Danish state-owned gambling operator, Danske Spil, will take over as the official sponsor of the Danish national football side sparking a trip down memory lane for Lee Davy.
I would pretend to snore. Not loudly, but softly – like a real snorer. Then, after 30-minutes, I would slowly slip out of my bed, crawl along the bedroom floor like some army recruit, and then sneak downstairs to watch the 1986 World Cup with my Mum.
I fell in love with football during that tournament. If I close my eyes I can see the referee sending off Ray Wilkins, Bryan Robson nursing a dislocated shoulder and Gary Lineker scoring three goals against Poland to send us through to the knockout stages.
I see Diego Maradona.
The man who broke my heart when he punched the ball into the net and then weaved his way through the English defence to score one of the greatest goals in history. He looked like an avatar in a video game.
And then I see the Danes.
Michael Laudrup, Jesper Olsen and Jan Molby were something special. When they thumped Uruguay 6-1, they became everyone’s cult side. We all wanted to be Danish in the school playground. We all wanted their Panini stickers.
Years later, my uncle took me to watch Wales v Denmark. I still remember the noise, the friendliness, and most of all – the colour.
I had a soft spot for the Danes, a spot that’s callous-like today. There is no Laudrup. There is no Olsen. There is no Molby. All we get today is pure mediocrity.
But that hasn’t stopped the Danish state-owned gambling operator, Danske Spil, agreeing to sponsor the Danish Football Association (DBU). Danske Spil takes over from the German betting operator Tipico Sportswetten, who has been the brand sponsor since 2015.
The new deal – the first of its kind since Danske Spil drafted in Susanne Mørch Koch as their new Chief Executive Officer in October – runs until the end of the 2020 European Championships. They will sponsor the male national and U21 sides. It seems Danske Spil has no time for the ladies.
Other DBU sponsors include Hummel, Carlsberg and Sportmaster.
And I close my eyes again.
The Danes were only one of two sides who made the knockout stages with a 100% record (Brazil were the other). Not only did the Danes hammer Uruguay, but they also beat Scotland by a goal to nil, before beating the highly fancied Germans by 2-0.
Replica Danish shirts bearing the DBU patch sprung up on the chests of the school’s richest kids. And then it was all over. Spain’s Emilio Butrageuno put four past them in a 5-1 mauling, and I crept back upstairs into my bed dreaming of one day becoming a professional footballer.
As you can tell, it didn’t quite work out.