Football in a Norwegian Key

It’s unseasonably hot for August at the moment (or at least for me!) and yesterday evening I spent the late sunshine at Heming sports arena, on the western fringes of Oslo. I was out there to watch Fotball Klubb Lyn play against Kjelsås 2.

I’m back where I was over a year ago when I first lived in Prague and had to find a team to call my own. The differences between Prague and Oslo are many but one of the intriguing differences is that for all the football clubs to be found in Norway’s capital, the big teams are from elsewhere: think FK Brann from Bergen, or Molde currently managed by Manchester United great Ole Gunnar Solkjær. Or Rosenborg for instance. Oslo’s biggest club, Vålerenga who share their home with the Norwegian national team at Ullevål stadion (recently the host of a Tottenham Hotspur Inter Milan friendly), are going through a dry spell. They haven’t won the top division since 2005 and currently sit tenth in the league. Not that I’m especially a glory hunter, but Vålerenga are certainly the obvious option in terms of picking a club for someone living within range of Oslo.

While looking up which clubs were in the city, I came across Lyn. Lyn is Norwegian for lightning, and that could certainly describe the kind of season they are currently having. Lyn are top of their division. They play in the second group of the Norwegian 3rd division (at 3rd division level there are a dizzying twelve seperate groups). En route to secure promotion to 2nd division football (in which there are four groups) in 2017, I decided to take a look at Lyn, who’s tagline is ‘Ekte fotball, Ekte fans’: Real football, real fans.

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And they certainly do have real fans. At this quiet and otherwise unremarkable set of astroturf pitches and community gym – the club’s home is Bislett stadium but it was unavailable for this game – at the Gramåkken T-bane stop, a good show of around 200+ fans showed up to shout on their team in what was certainly an unusually one-sided affair. It was 100 NOK (about 10 euro) to watch and for another 50, I bought two issues of the Lyn magazine to peruse. Even at this small ground, in front of an exclusively Lyn crowd (it seemed), banners were unfurled and some in the crowd were in vociferous humour.

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Lyn took the lead on 15 minutes and by half time were three goals to the good. The second half was fairly dull in all truth, until towards the end when there two late red cards (one for each team) and an unfortunate own goal from the Lyn captain, meaning that all four goals came from a Lyn boot.

Once the final whistle blew, I made my way back to Oslo S before getting the Gjøvikbanen home to Harestua. It was a strange game of football – for one thing the sun lingered for almost three quarters of the game and was incredibly hot, it can’t have been easy to play in. On top of that, with Lyn leading so strongly from halftime, you felt Kjelsås were very much playing the damage limitation game. Nonetheless it was enjoyable if understated affair. It not really being Lyn’s home, and the awkward kick off time on a  Tuesday night may have compounded the occasionally muted atmosphere that every so often exploded into a roar, may also have had some bearing on things. But they look a good team, playing with confidence, and the fans seem good. I’ll certainly take another look at Lyn.

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