JR - John Robert Larsen - has passed away
Fortuna and Dana Cup have lost an enthusiast who, more than 50 years ago started to set the stage for women's football in Hjørring and 36 years ago initiated the International Youth Soccer Tournament - Dana Cup Hjørring - which has proved to be one of the Worlds largest and a huge asset, not only for youth football but also for Hjørring City and the whole region.
John Robert Larsen, who became known throughout the world as "JR" has passed away, 75 years old. 10 years ago he lost his wife Gerda. He is survived by his sons Jimmy and Tommy.
JR was born and raised in Toftegade, Hjørring. A lot of football was played in the street and when he reached an appropriate age it was only natural that he was registered with the football club, AIK Hjørring FREM. JR was not that old when his interest and talent for managment and leadership started to blossom. All of a sudden he was a trainer, board member and much more. Football was a huge part of his life but he also took time to do his education.
JR studied at the timber company, Møller Lee. After his studies there he wanted to try something different, so he started a job at the Hirtshals Fish Auction. It was at this time in Hirthals that JR got the idea to start the Dana Cup and the first tournament took place in 1982. This happened 20 years after he was the initiator for the women's football club, Fortuna. It was Fortuna who created the Dana Cup. The club wanted to move forward and that needed more money than could be collected by a traditional bingo game.
In the start, the Dana Cup was of a size that JR could also keep his job at the fish auction. Without the full knowledge of the auction master, he had contact with clubs all around the world. However, in 1984 there was so much Dana Cup work that JR became employed full time for the Dana Cup. JR had an amazing ability to unite people around him and his energy and initiative was infective and everything flourished. The same with the Dana Cup and it gave Fortuna the opportunity for better results. These were organizations characterized by cohesion.
Fortuna and Dana Cup became JR’s life. Here he spent most of his time - as Manager of Fortuna and Director of the Dana Cup. His engagement in Fortuna, brought him in contact with the entire Danish Football Community and he became an institution for women's football. He was honored with DBU's Silver Pin and of course and Honorary Member of Fortuna Hjørring.
JR fought to make the Dana Cup international and he succeeded. In particular, Brazilian football players were close to his heart.
Dana Cup put him in contact with the whole world. Whether they came to the Dana Cup from Brazil, Canada, Russia, Nigeria, Australia or Scandinavia it was always JR they wanted to say hello to and talk with. Just as much as the Dana Cup has become an institution within the football world, JR became the same.
When JR stopped his daily work at the Dana Cup in 2012, he remained active in Dana Cup's background, where his experience was invaluable and greatly appreciated and to such an extent that he was appointed "Honorary President".
During the busy football season in the 80's, JR had a little time for some council work. At that time it was a little too stagnant for JR's temperament. In recent years he resumed his activities in local politics and this time he was warmly welcome within his group in the city council hall. The Social Democracy and Hjørring City Council could now enjoy and benefit from his local insight.