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Jammerbugt FC creates football miracle against all odds

Jammerbugt FC is the club of the little fishing village of Blokhus in the North of Denmark, 500 inhabitants and counting. However, the club coached by Bo Zinck manages its way in the third tier of Denmark football, hoping for a promotion in the second tier. Let us tell you the story of this regional team.

Jammerbugt FC in action

Svend Bertil Frandsen
From Denmark

If you make a journey all the way up to the western coast of Northern Jutland, you may find a small piece of heaven in the cosy little fishing village of Blokhus, a city with merely 500 inhabitants. With enormous sandy beaches, restaurants, bars and the perfect place to rent a cottage for the summer, this is the ideal place to kick back and take a rest from busy big city lives. Consequently this is the last place in which people would think about football… well up until now.

Against all odds, Jammerbugt FC, the local club in the area, was only one step short of gaining promotion into the Danish 1st Division at the end of the 2017/2018 season. The 1. Division is the second highest level of men’s club football in Denmark, with the Superliga the top tier. Jammerbugt narrowly missed out on advancing , finishing third in the promotional round, with just two clubs going up to the 1st Division...

But bearing in mind Jammerbugt FC was battling against relegation the year before, finishing third was quite a football miracle. Until the very end, they challenged the financially superior Næstved FC for a spot amongst the big boys in the 1 .Division. Truly a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale for a side which in football terms does not have as many resources as others.

Hard work, continuity and stern belief

Located in a less affluent part of the country with a small population and a tiny stadium, Jammerbugt FC (who were given their name as Blokhus FC wanted to become the team for the whole commune) has neither the financial attraction of big sponsors nor the name or history to attract well-established players.

However, they still manage to challenge some of the major clubs in the 2nd.Division thanks to hard work, continuity and a stern belief in themselves, says Chairman of the Board Bøje Holmsgaard Lundtoft to mycujoo. “There are only 40.000 people living in our commune, so there are not a lot of players to pick from. At the same time we are always struggling to make ends meet, so I can’t go out and sign seven players on monthly wages of around 20.000 Danish Kronor (approx. €2700).”

“Therefore continuity is the key word for us”, he continues. “We make sure that the organization runs smoothly so the players only have to think about delivering on the pitch. And it also works in our favor that unlike in Copenhagen, we don’t have a lot of big clubs in a ten-mile radius who will steal our biggest talents. We have the time and the space to develop them”.

Drastic turnaround

The team is built up around a tough defensive rearguard, whilst the midfield is organized around captain Christian Rye and Sead Gavranovic, the latter previously playing under the guidance of coach Bo Zinck at Thisted, and who was brought in to add guile and creativity to the link between midfield and attack. There is a strong work ethic in the side which is well-organized and able to counter quickly when chances arise.

Things all turned for the better when Zinck came back to the club last summer after having steered Thisted FC into the 1st Division. “When I returned here they were a bottom club low on confidence and some of the key players (Martin Thomsen and Michael Nielsen) had left. So we started a number of routines like how to train properly, watch videos of the opponents, eat healthily, how to keep your body well-tuned and rested, and for many of the players it was a shock but they have coped well”, say Zinck, whose side are four points adrift of Næstved in third place.

Bo Zinck, coach of Jammerbugt FC

And should Jammerbugt secure promotion to the 1. Division next season, the club can then follow a list of teams from Northern Jutland: former Champions League contestants AaB Aalborg and Vendsyssel, Thisted and Hobro, who have achieved success against the odds. That has been possible thanks to collaboration between these sides.

“Everyone gets to work up here and nobody complains. There is a great cooperation between the clubs here and everyone knows their role. We seek to cooperate with the big clubs to see what we can gain from them and what they can gain from us. There is no sense in fighting in between us. We know we are a feeder club for mainly Aalborg but we are proud of it”, ends Bo Zinck.

Let’s see if the progression continues this season, which starts on 4 August on mycujoo !

All photos courtesy of Jammerbugt FC