They played at The Showgrounds: Peter Løvenkrands
colerainefc.com’s ‘They played at The Showgrounds’ series continues as we recap on Peter Løvenkrands’ appearance on the Ballycastle Road back in July 2000…
Løvenkrands started his career in his native Denmark but would spend the majority of his playing days in the United Kingdom, with Rangers, Newcastle United and Birmingham City.
The striker/winger would also be on the books of Schalke and represented his country on 22 occasions, before entering a coaching career and a spell in charge of a Danish first division club. He is the younger brother of fellow footballer Tommy Løvenkrands and started a charity appeal to fund research into a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, from which his father suffered during the final five years of his life.
Born in Hørsholm on January 29, 1980, Løvenkrands signed his first professional contract with Danish Superliga club Akademisk Boldklub (AB) in February 1998. He made his Superliga debut in July 1998, and was quickly touted as a future Danish national team player by his manager Christian Andersen. He was a part of the 1999 Danish Cup-winning AB team, though he did not play in the final against Aalborg BK.
Løvenkrands joined Scottish club Rangers for £1.3 million in June 2000. He went on to play 182 games for Rangers, winning two Scottish Premier League championships. He scored 54 goals for Rangers, including a last-minute winner against Old Firm rivals Celtic in the 2002 Scottish Cup Final. During his time at Rangers, he was often played out of position as a left winger instead of his natural position of centre forward. He played the 2005–06 season in the centre forward position, as well as on the left wing, and had his highest-scoring season at Rangers.
He started the 2005–06 season still with Rangers and played an important role in Rangers’ run to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, scoring four goals during the 2005–06 campaign. In the group stage, he opened the scoring in the 3–2 win against Porto, and with his goal in the 1–1 draw against Inter Milan he secured Rangers’ progression to the knock-out round. In the round of 16, he scored in both the home and away game, though Rangers were eventually eliminated by Villarreal on the away goals rule. He netted a total of fourteen goals during the 2005–06 SPL season, the highest tally of his Ibrox career.
After six years at Rangers, his contract expired in summer 2006 and he left the club on a free transfer. Løvenkrands was reportedly in talks with a number of clubs, including Spanish club Osasuna, Roma from Italy and English side Newcastle United. He eventually signed for German club Schalke 04 on 23 May 2006, joining fellow Danish international Søren Larsen.
Løvenkrands enjoyed a successful first season at Schalke, playing as a left winger and contributing six goals and four assists. In the decisive part of the season, however, he picked up an injury and was side-lined as Schalke missed out on the Bundesliga title. Løvenkrands’ second season proved less successful. After a series of unfortunate performances without any goal, partly due to injuries, he lost his place in the starting line-up. Although fit again in February 2008, Løvenkrands did not start for Schalke under interim coaches Mike Büskens and Youri Mulder. New coach Fred Rutten chose not to employ Løvenkrands, even as Schalke struggled to remain in the race for the Bundesliga and were eliminated from the 2008–09 UEFA Cup group stage. During the winter break, Schalke announced that Løvenkrands was one of the players the club would seek to sell, and moved the player to the club’s reserve team, along with Albert Streit and Carlos Grossmüller. Having played only nine minutes for the first team in the 2008–09 season, he was finally released by the club in January 2009.
Løvenkrands joined Newcastle United on a two-week trial and soon signed a contract on 23 January 2009, with a duration until the end of the season. He made his first appearance coming on as a substitute in the 2–1 loss to Manchester City. On 4 March, he scored the opening goal against Manchester United. This was the first goal that goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar had conceded in 1,311 minutes of football, dating back to 8 November 2008. On 11 May 2009, Løvenkrands scored Newcastle’s third goal in a 3–1 victory over Middlesbrough with two games left to play. Despite the victory, Newcastle lost those last two games of the season against Fulham and Aston Villa, thus relegating them to the Championship for the 2009–10 season. He left Newcastle on 1 July 2009 after his contract with the club expired.
However, Løvenkrands joined Newcastle for a second spell on 1 September 2009 on a three-year contract. He was handed the number 11 shirt, formerly occupied by Damien Duff, as his previous number, 24, from his first spell at the club had been taken by Andy Carroll. After his return to St James’ Park, Løvenkrands did not start as well as he did in his first spell and played only few games. His few appearances were on the left wing, a position he felt less comfortable in. He featured in Newcastle’s 2–0 defeat against Peterborough United in the League Cup, starting on the right wing. He later admitted to having “personal problems” and that was the reason for his frequent absence, he claimed that they were behind him and he was to fully concentrate on football. From January onwards, Løvenkrands’ Newcastle career picked up and he formed a strong forward partnership with Andy Carroll. He scored the winning goal for Newcastle in their last game of their successful season against Queens Park Rangers finishing off a successful season for both Løvenkrands and Newcastle. He did not start Newcastle’s opening Premier League games, starting on the bench. With Carroll injured throughout January, Løvenkrands had a successful month, scoring once in a 5–0 win over West Ham and playing well a week earlier against Wigan Athletic. After the sale of Carroll to Liverpool in January, Løvenkrands gained more opportunities up front along with the likes of Leon Best and Nile Ranger. He rekindled his partnership with Best upon the injury of Ameobi in February, and Løvenkrands scored in a 2–0 victory over Birmingham City on 15 February. He continued as a regular striker until the end of the season as Best picked up an ankle injury. He ended his season by scoring in a 3–3 draw with West Bromwich Albion.
In the 2011–12 season, Løvenkrands scored twice (a goal and a penalty) in a League Cup victory over Nottingham Forest. He added one more in the next League Cup fixture, a 4–3 extra time loss to Blackburn Rovers, scoring from the spot to push the game into its latter stages. He was sidelined for much of the season with a knee injury. He was released by Newcastle on 1 June 2012.
On 9 July 2012, Løvenkrands signed a two-year deal with Championship club Birmingham City, with an option for a further year. He was given squad number 11. Løvenkrands scored his first goal for his new club on his competitive debut on 14 August, making the score 4–1 in the 5–1 defeat of Barnet in the League Cup, and kept his place for the opening match of the 2012–13 Football League season, a 1–1 draw at home to Charlton Athletic.
Birmingham confirmed he would be released when his contract expired at the end of the 2013–14 season. He finished his Birmingham career having scored 8 goals from 42 appearances in all competitions. Løvenkrands confirmed his retirement on 19 November 2014.
Alongside Akademisk Boldklub teammate and later Danish international Martin Albrechtsen, Løvenkrands made his debut with the Denmark under-19 national team in September 1997. He scored five goals in eight matches for the Danish under-19 national team, and was named 1998 Danish under-19 Player of the Year. He was called up for the under-21 side in March 1999, and played 12 games and scored 7 goals for the under-21s until October 2001.
While at Rangers, Løvenkrands made his senior international debut under national team coach Morten Olsen, in the 13 February 2002 friendly match 1–0 win against Saudi Arabia. Having played a total four international games, he was a part of the Danish squad at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and played one minute in the 1–1 group stage draw with Senegal. He also participated at UEFA Euro 2004, playing five minutes in the 0–3 quarter-final defeat against the Czech Republic. In his 17th national team game on 15 November 2006, he scored his first international goal in a 1–1 friendly match draw with the Czech Republic. On 10 September 2008, he played his 21st national team game in the 3–2 2010 World Cup qualification win against Portugal, whereafter his international career went on hiatus.
His effort in the Portugal game was praised by Morten Olsen, but following the turmoil in his Schalke career, Løvenkrands had fallen out of contention for a place in the national team by September 2009. Although talks of a recall surfaced in 2010 following his impressive form at Newcastle, Løvenkrands stated that his mind was not on the recall, and he prioritized aiding the club back to the Premier League. After Newcastle’s return to the Premier League, Løvenkrands played his first game for Denmark in over two years, coincidentally against Portugal, as part of a 1–3 defeat.
Løvenkrands returned to Rangers in May 2017 as a part-time coach in the clubs Academy. On 13 June 2018, Løvenkrands announced he would be taking on the role of Reserve Team Coach at Rangers. He left Rangers in June 2020 with the intention of taking a coaching position in Japan, but COVID-19 travel restrictions meant that he had not moved there as of December 2020. On 18 June 2021, he was announced as manager of Danish 1st Division side Fremad Amager. After a mixed season in which Fremad Amager finished in 10th place, it was confirmed in June 2022 that Løvenkrands wouldn’t continue at the club.
The match was played at The Showgrounds on Thursday, July 27, 2000, on the evening after the Milk Cup tournament finished on the North Coast.
Despite the Scottish giants bringing a largely inexperienced squad across the Irish Sea, the Teddy Bears were still able to field four players with first-team experience – Robert Malcolm, Barry Nicholson, Marco Negri and a certain Stephen Carson, as well as new boy Peter Lovenkrands who joined from Akademisk Boldklub for £1.3 million.
Coleraine were rewarded for their early pressing in the 17th minute. Jody Tolan’s crisp pass set up Stuart Clanachan’s excellent right wing cross and Dessie Loughery rose well to glance a perfect header into the corner of the net. The home side continued to impress and both Mark Picking and Loughery squandered glaring chances to put the result beyond doubt. Marty Quinn handed home debuts to former Linfield duo Ryan McLaughlin and Ian McCoosh, and ex-Cliftonville front man Jody Tolan – and all impressed.
However it was a different Rangers after half time, although Coleraine’s flow was interrupted greatly by six substitutions. Former Linfield marksman Lee Feeney pounced in the 68th minute to sweep home a well-taken equaliser from the edge of the box. Mark Picking went close immediately after this and Joe Gray also hit a post with
a bizarre shot.
It looked as if Coleraine had shot themselves in the foot when Feeney scrambled home Rangers’ second goal in injury time but John Devine’s last gasp header from a Joe Gray cross restored parity.
COLERAINE: McKeown, Clanachan, Smyth (Dallas ’81 mins), Gaston (Stewart ’57 mins), Devine, McLaughlin, Loughery (Gray ’57 mins), McCoosh (McAuley ’65 mins), Tolan (Kerr ’65 mins), McAllister, Picking (McCann ’73 mins).
RANGERS U21: Smith, Maloclm, Reid, Willoughby, Nicholson, Dobbie (Russell ’81 mins), Lovenkrands (Hughes ’46 mins), Gibson (Russell ’62 mins), Negri, Feeney, Carson.
Subs Not Used: Dowie, Nugent, Leven, Duffy, Brown.
Referee: George McKay