Miscommunication and a lost coach

If you ask Liss Kristensen, leader of the Viborg HK team for the past 18 years, whether she has any interesting EHF stories to tell, a broad smile appears on her face.

She has been with the team throughout the past two decades and experienced all of the club’s ups and downs.

Actually when asked, she did not know where to start, her memory banks filled to the brim with stories, from the serious to the nail-bitingly tense and some so funny that your stomach hurts just thinking about them.

But after some persuasion, Liss comes up with a story that we will call ‘miscommunication’.

“One year we were playing in the Champions League in Romania against Valcea,” said Liss, “I don’t remember the year or the importance of the match but I do remember that the head coach Thomas Ryde almost missed the second half.”

Liss remembers the situation as if it were yesterday and laughs now about how a simple miscommunication almost forced the team to play the second half without their coach.

“I always sat on the bench for all the matches, at the end closest to timekeeper and Thomas Ryde and his assistant, Jakob Vestergaard, usually started the match at either end of the bench,” she said. 

With all the players back on the court ready for the second half, Liss discovered that Ryde had not returned to the bench and it was only when Vestergaard came to ask where he was that they realised that he had not returned. Liss decided to go back to the locker room to find out where he might be.

The agreement within the team was that the locker room would be locked when not in use and Liss had to be told if somebody wanted to take a toilet break so that she could keep track of the team. 

In the heat and excitement surrounding the match, Ryde had returned to the locker room without telling anybody and had been locked in.

When Liss unlocked the locker room door, Ryde crashed through the door and headed for the hall, fuming at the fact that he had been locked in. But the story of miscommunication does not stop there.

While he had been locked in the room, the Swedish coach had sent a text message to Viborg HK’s former sports director, Michael Skjern, in Swedish saying 'I’m locked in'.

Skjern, who only read the message after the match had been lost, had misunderstood the message and thought the coach was upset by the defeat, replying that they could have a chat about the situation in the hotel once he returned. Actually Ryde only wanted to tell him that he had been locked in but his emergency call was in vain.

Fortunately, Ryde was found before the start of the second half, and the story is now told with a big smile.

about me
Viborg HK has been one of Denmark’s and indeed Europe’s most successful women’s clubs over the past two decades. They have won the Danish title a record 14 times and the Danish Cup 10 times. Their European record is no less impressive, having won the EHF Champions League title in 2006, 2009 and 2010, the EHF Cup in 1994, 1999 and 2004 and the Cup Winners’ Cup in 2014.