Posted: 5/24/2012
Title: LAST TANGO FOR CANARIES IN LILLESTROM

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        Yet another scorcher in Scandinavia about 27C....but not on the pitch unfortunately. I had a pre match cook out on the terrace of my friend Sindre Standal's wooden house, who is from Aalesund up on the west coast, while his wife and kids are lifelong LSK fans. www.aafk.no

       We enjoyed steaks, sausages, Norwegian pancakes and salad before the short trip to Aresan Stadion, home of LSK Lillestrom Sport Klub.  The Canaries, or Fugla (Birds) have the distinction of the longest run of any team in the top division. Their form has been lousy recently and they hadn't won since last September until 2 three pointers last week. Outside the stadium is a statue of Tom Lund, their most famous son.  The club had runs in Europe a few decades ago and their historic stadium has been built up to accommodate 11,000, but not tonight.

       It was a disappointing crowd of 5,100 with about 400 orange and blue dressed visiting fans of Aalesunds FK. (TANGO, for their orange colours.) A  bore draw 0-0. I had heard a lot about the 20 year old LSK  Icelandic wonderkid Bergmann Sigurdson who was featured on the match posters, and is evidently going to be sold to an English Premier League club soon.(he is now at Wolves). He is second top goalscorer in the league, but I thought that he was as cute and gentle as one of those tiny Icelandic horses, but fans that I spoke with afterwards thought he was awesome. NOT ME, though I hope the mid season EURO 2012 break will help recharge his batteries. I was given some of those posters by friendly LSK Media Chief Ole Kristian Bakkene. Not ready to sell on ebay yet, but I will hold on to them for the future.

       I had spend the last couple of nights sleeping on my friend Harald's yacht in Oslofjord, with the water rocking me to sleep, but the next few nights I am on dry land in the club hotel.

       Yesterday I watched the Norwegian National team train at LSK's expansive training site, next to the stadium, while every few minutes the super fast train FLYTOGET streaks by from Gardermoen Airport to Oslo Sentral station. I also watched the LSK U 19s train indoors at The LSK Hallen, a multi million krone indoor arena, air conditioned thankfully in this weather. The women's team also play their home matches there.

   Inside I chatted with Otto Frederikson, whose family is from here, although he plays in the Russian League for Spartak Nalchak and at the weekend flies to Salzburg to play in goal for Finland v Turkey. As you all know PFC Spartak Nalchak are from that city, the capital of the Kabardmo-Balkar Republic in the foothils of the Caucasus. 18th last season in the Premier League they were relegated to the 1st Division.

      Well here is a quiz question for you. Who was the very first Norwegian to win a Champions League Final medal?.. NO, its not Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for Man Utd, and now coach of champions FK Molde.  Actually it was Steinar Pedersen, who played for FK Start, Borussia Moenchengladbach, IFK Goteborg and in 1997 played for Dortmund Borussia in the final in Munich's Olympiastadion against Inter Milan. Well, I chatted with him and he plays for LSK as a defender and also coaches the youth teams. www.lsk.no

       His 14 year old son Emil was with him and I went to see him play on Wednesday evening in an away match against Gjerdrum with my friend Jan Roger Sannerud who is the club's youth director. His dad didn't go to watch, but I was pleased to tell him about the sheer tenacity and guts of the lad. He reminded me of the late Billy Bremner. He came on in the second half and scored twice in a come from behind 3-1 win to keep them top of their league. The boys had a slow start but have some major talent. Sander Karterud the captain and sweeper, and Henrik Kristiansen, impressed me with their skill and composure. Sander plays like Beckenbauer and Henrik like Messi. Two rising stars I believe.

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