Palace’s 2018/19 pre-season campaign will kick off in the small Danish city of Helsingør on 12th July, and many supporters will be keen to hop on a swift flight to watch Roy Hodgson’s Eagles in action. Before then, here is everything you need to know about our first pre-season opponents.
What is their history?
The trip to Denmark will be the Eagles’ first game in the country since they played two games against a Copenhagen Select XI in May 1914, but back then FC Helsingør didn’t even exist.
In August 2005 five clubs from the city decided to merge under the name Elite 3000, before switching to FC Helsingør in 2012.
The club’s rapid rise through the Danish footballing pyramid really began in 2009/10 when they were promoted to the third tier. After five seasons at that level, they won the Eastern Division in 2014/15 to gain promotion to the First Division, and just two seasons later they made it into the top-flight via the play-offs.
However, they found life in the Superliga tough going and were relegated in May after finishing bottom of the 14-team table, but they did record a notable early-season 2-1 victory over eventual champions FC Midtjylland, who had Alexander Sørloth in their starting line-up.
Where do they play?
Set just 200 metres from the beach, Helsingør Stadium is a 5,500 capacity venue which has been used since 1923. It was the smallest ground to host Superliga football last season, and had to have special dispensation to hold top-flight matches after the addition of temporary stands and TV facilities.
That brought the capacity up to his current number, of which 532 are seats and an away section of 1,500. It didn’t take them long to smash their attendance record last season, when 5,348 fans watched them play Danish giants FC Copenhagen.
Helsingør will soon be on the move to a new stadium, which is currently being built to second-tier standards and is hoped to be opened during 2018/19. Should they then be promoted back to the top-flight, then it will be expanded again to meet Superliga requirements.
Who’s in charge?
Christian Lønstrup will be well-known to Roy Hodgson, having played under the Eagles boss during his time at FC Copenhagen in the 2000/01 season.
Having spent four seasons there in the mid-1990s, Lønstrup had two years in Italy with Cagliari before returning to the Danish capital, where he helped Hodgson’s team win the 2001 Superliga title. The former Denmark under-21 international would eventually win four league titles with the club before hanging up his boots in 2006.
In 2010, he took his first steps into management as assistant manager at Helsingør, and after a short stint in the same role at AB, he was handed the top job at Helsingør in 2013, where he has overseen two promotions.
Who are their notable players?
Striker Nicolas Mortensen finished the 2017/18 campaign as the team’s top scorer with nine goals, while Brazilian Douglas netted three times towards the end of the season following his January arrival.
Goalkeeper Mikkel Bruhn has been a regular between the posts since 2015, while centre-back Pascal Gregor played for Denmark in the 2016 Rio Olympics. His defensive partner Soren Henriksen (above) played in 36 of the team’s 39 games last term, while central midfielder Patrick Olsson was once on the books of Inter Milan, Lens and Grasshopper Zurich.
What about the city?
Helsingør, also known as Elsinore, is on the eastern coast of Denmark about 30 miles from Copenhagen, and just seven miles away from Helsingborg on the west coast of Sweden.
In fact, the name Helsingor is derived from the word “hals” meaning "narrow strait", referring to the narrowest point of the Øresund which separates the two cities. The car ferry route between them is the busiest in the world, with over 140 crossings made every day.
The city’s population is just over 60,000, and its most notable landmark is the Kronborg Castle which was apparently William Shakespeare’s inspiration for the castle in Hamlet. The UNESCO World Heritage site is part of the Kulturhavn Kronborg, a cultural hub based in the city’s old harbour.