Danish legend Michael Laudrup is working wonders in Wales with Swansea this season. Since taking over in the summer, Swansea have been one of the surprise packages of this years campaign, with superb performances against Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, leaving the Welsh club sitting comfortably in 10th place in the league. Added into this, only Chelsea stand between Swansea and a league Cup final place making it a great 6 months for Laudrup. Unfortunately the same can not be said for one of Laudrup’s first clubs, Brondby who find themselves rooted to the bottom of the Danish Superliga after 20 games, with the realistic possibility of relegation if they are unable to turn their season around. It is indeed dark days for the former Danish champions and there is no sign as yet of a revival for this great club.
Brøndbyernes Idrætsforening, or Brondby IF as they are more commonly known are one of the most successful clubs in Danish history. Since gaining promotion to the Danish Superliga in 1981, the boys from western outskirts have won a remarkable 10 titles and 6 cups and has seen some of Denmark’s greatest players pull on the famous yellow jersey – Peter Schmeichel, Ebbe Sand, Daniel Agger and Allan Nielsen as well as two of Denmark’s most famous sons – Brian and Michael Laudrup. The Laudrup brothers arrived at Brondby in the late 70’s when their father, a former Danish International striker Finn Laudrup, was brought in to manage to club but it wasn’t until the early 80’s that the duo started to make their own names at the club. They would go on to become legends for both club and country, before leaving to move to larger clubs across Europe. Michael returned to Brondby as manager after his playing career had finished and led the team to three titles in four years before leaving for pastures new. Brondby haven’t won the league since Laudrup’s departure in the summer of 2006.
In the past 7 years, 5 different managers have tried to recapture the form that Brondby showed under Laudrup but with little success. Some strange purchases, bad injuries to key players and major infrastructural issues have blighted the club in its efforts to rebuild. But its the club’s finances that put its future in peril. Brondby’s debts are climbing by the day, with liquidation a distinct possibility as creditors chase debts owed rumoured to be as high as $45million. The club feels confident that they have enough money to make it through to the end of the current season and have paid off some outstanding fines they had hanging over them for crowd trouble issues at a league game this season. But their future looks bleak, with Brondby’s future likely to mirror that of fallen Scottish giants Rangers, who now play in Scotland’s lowest division after going into administration themselves. Brondby have followed a similar path in order to try to shake the outstanding debt – refinancing the club, selling key assets like striker Michael Krohn-Dehli and searching for new sources of revenue in sponsors or investors but with little success.
With the Superliga now on shutdown for the scheduled winter break until 1st March, the Brondby board have one focus – to find a buyer for the club who can pull them out of their current situation. So far none have come forward but like Rangers, the vultures are circling overhead ready to pick the meat off of the bones if the club is to fall. If they are unable to find a wealthy investor, the board will need to take firm action and try to offload the clubs higher earners such as ex-internationals Dennis Rommedahl and Martin Albrechtsen. By doing so they may give themselves enough cash to survive but ironically are likely to decrease their chances of escaping relegation to the lower leagues. If they are relegated, the club is affected again as it is likely to generate less commercial revenues than before, only adding to their financial troubles. If Brondby fail to refinance and break even financially, they will join a growing lists of clubs across the globe that end up on football’s scrap heap.