Beijing Vikings' history:
1996-2003 Entering IFFC, promotion and Summer CL winners.
The Beijing Vikings was established in 1996 by Danish expatriate Kim and has since worked as a common battleground for Vikings - Danes, Finns, Norwegians and an occasional Swede - in Beijing. In addition, the Vikings have had a strong base of Chinese nationals that have been part of the team since the very beginning.
Beijing Vikings 2002
In 2002 Beijing Vikings, at that time headed coach Markku C., joined the International Friendship Football Club's (IFFC) 11-aside league in 3rd Division. The Vikings ended this debut season in 3rd spot, and after securing promotion to 2nd Division, successful coach Markku handed over re-sponsibilities to Michael Jorgensen. In the summer of 2003 Beijing Vikings enjoyed their biggest triumph to date going all the way in the Summer Champions League. After defeating a number of strong foreign and Chinese teams the Vikings had to go through a penalty shootout against final opponents Hengdong before the team headed by new coach Michael could lift the cup.
2003-2004: 2nd Division silver, Vikings Cup debut.
After having more than levelled with several of the best amateur teams in Beijing during the Summer Champions League, Beijing Vikings had no intentions of spending more than one season in the highly competitive IFFC 2nd Division in which only a 1st spot would give promotion. After a con-vincing autumn the team spent winter break in 2nd spot. Determined on promotion the Vikings showed no mercy during spring and without loosing a single match the team came very close to claiming first spot though finally trailing a few points behind the otherwise unbeatable Russia Utd. In addition to securing the silver medals, the Beijing Vikings also laid claim to the title as league top scorer personalised by Viking hit-man Nikolaj Hansen with 25 goals.
Beijing VIkings in Summer CL 2003
A few months prior to the 2nd Division silver, Beijing Vikings had their debut in the Vikings Cup (an annual Easter Holiday competition between FE/SE Asian Viking Teams). In Kuala Lumpur first timers Beijing Vikings qualified from the group stage by defeating archrivals Shanghai Vikings and levelling with compatriots from Ho Chi Minh and Jakarta before loosing to home-favourites and later cup-winners Kuala Lumpur Vikings in the semi-final.
Beijing Vikings used the Summer Champions League as a warm-up for the upcoming challenges in the IFFC 2nd Division and came very close to repeating the 2003 triumph. In a closely fought battle the Vikings lost the final 1-2 to Sexy FC.
2004-2005: Historic sponsorship deal, promotion to 1st Division
The Vikings were soon to learn that on-pitch success and good management can lead to more than medals. In pre-season Beijing Vikings entered into a historic sponsorship agreement with popular Beijing bar and restaurant (and for many years favourite Vikings hang-out) THE DEN. The deal granted exclusive sponsor status to THE DEN who reciprocated with a substantial cash injection, onsite discounts and a team bus carrying the infamous 'RAPE & PILLAGE' slogan. The deal has lead to mutual satisfaction and has since been renewed on a year-to-year basis. At just about the same time as the Den deal was signed, Beijing Vikings started talks with Danish sports gear manufacturer HUMMEL who, after the termination of the legendary arrangement with the Danish national side, was on the lookout for a new attractive team to promote fantastic football worldwide. The talks lead to an arrangement in which HUMMEL would provide team gear for Beijing Vikings as the first team in China.
The Beijing Vikings Bus sponsored by the DEN
Proudly sponsored and well equipped the Vikings were ready to claim the 2nd Division championship. However, the combination of good sponsor deals and the addition of some new great personalities added an extra social aspect to the team and a lot of great nights were spent at THE DEN - apparently at the expense of next morning on-pitch efforts. At end-season the Vikings were on 3rd spot. Nevertheless, due to a change in the IFFC rules and the pull-out of a 1st Division team, Beijing Vikings were finally promoted to 1st Division. Vikings Cup 2005 was held in Saigon during Easter. Again, most efforts were allocated to the late-night social activities and football-wise the Beijing side ended as 7th out of 8 teams.
2005-2006: 1st Division consolidation, Vikings Cup Beer Champions
This first season in the top-tier showed to be one long struggle for survival. With only 9 points at winter break, Vikings lifted the performance in second half of the season and finished on 8th spot with 22 points, 4 points clear of relegation. The great efforts both on and off-pitch were not left unnoticed as Beijing Vikings coach, Michael Jorgensen, was elected as 1st Division manager of the year - a well-deserved recognition! Alongside with the tough 1st Division struggle, the Beijing Vikings were en-gaged in a number of minor 5-aside tournaments and finished as runners-up in the autumn season and summer season league winners. In the 2006 Vikings Cup in Shanghai the Beijing Vikings faced tough competition in the group stage. While losing two tight games to later finalists Shanghai and Hong Kong, the Beijing side trashed Jakarta Vikings 5-0, and after a 3-1 victory against Shanghai's reserves and yet another 5-0 Jakarta humiliation, the Beijing Vikings finished at 5th spot. Off-pitch the Beijing side enjoyed their second biggest triumph to date (some would say the biggest) winning the highly regarded 'Saturday Night Beer Drinking Competition'. The distinguished Beijing beer team (below) proved that the many late-night training sessions at THE DEN had not been in vain.
2006-2007: New coach, new players, Vikings Cup success
After an impressive 11-aside autumn season, Vikings were 4th in 1st Division at winter break. Winter break also marked a time for change as no less than 7 of the most stabile players were to leave Beijing. Among those was successful coach, Michael Jorgensen, who had been the driving force behind the Beijing Vikings' development for the past 4 seasons. The remaining Vikings were facing the challenge of building a strong squad under the leadership of a new coach. The latter was taken care of in late 2006: After an election process in which the proud democratic traditions of the PRC were diligently observed, Vikings veteran, Eskil Berg Kappel, was... ehmm... 'selected' as Michael's successor.
Eskil Berg Kappel the successor
The loss of core players struck the Vikings hard and the team suffered an abysmal 11-aside spring season sliding down the table collecting only 3 points in 8 matches. In the 9th and last match the Vikings fought their way to a 1-0 victory against French LE and ended the season in 8th spot 3 points shy of relegation. In the 5-aside tournament the Vikings had quite an elevator ride being relegated to 2nd Division in autumn, promoted back into 1st Division in spring just to suffer relegation again after the summer tournament. With disappointing local results the Vikings had to travel far away from Beijing to have their taste of success that season. On the lovely island of Bali the team gathered to participate in the annual Vikings Cup. Reinforced with legends flown in from Denmark, Shanghai and Singapore the Beijing Vikings played some of their finest football ever winning their group in front of the usual favourites from Kuala Lumpur. Due to some very creative match planning that nobody will probably ever fully understand, KL and Beijing were to meet again in the semi-final. After 90 closely fought minutes ending 1-1 and goalless extra time the KL team won on penalties and went on to later win the cup leaving the Beijing team to enjoy an easy victory against Singapore Vikings in the bronze final. Needless to say, the Beijing boys defended the prestigious 'Saturday Night Beer Drinking Cup' in style proving that when it comes to beer drinking there is only one team in Asia: The Beijing Vikings.
Beijing Vikings celebrating Beer Cup