1. Stabæk Fotball – Alltid. Uansett

Kappitel En – Introduksjoner
Chapter OneIntroductions

All images courtesy of the clubs Instagram account.

Before I dive too far into the background of the club I just wanted to share a little insight about why I chose them for my save on Football Manager this year. Not only that, but also how they’ve managed to suck me back into the world of blogging.

So, for the last three or four years my main saves have been of the multiplayer variety with my good friend Chuck and on Football Manager 2021 he introduced me to the beauty of Norway.

The plan for the save was pretty simple, find a club you like the look of in a lower tier and then proceed to work your way up the leagues. Simple, right? Sounds just like the many other Football Manager saves that have come before it. In this particular instance we started in the PostNord-ligaen or more simply, the third tier of the Norwegian football pyramid. I made my way to Alta IF while Chuck got comfortable at IL Hødd.

Now fast forward a few seasons to the end of the 2025 season and I’ve just been relegated out of the Eliteserien (first tier) and then sacked by Raufoss IL after an absolute horror show of season and the less said about that, the better. Let it be known though that “A Raufoss” is now a running joke that Chuck and I still reference to this day.

That led to my discovery of Stabæk Fotball who had just missed out on promotion from the OBOS-ligaen (second tier). They passed the initial eye test by having a “cool” badge and kits. Then after digging a little deeper through the game I could see the fantastic facilities the club had. Particularly the youth facilities, which as we all know is any FM players absolute dream. It also turns out that Stabæk’s academy is actually one of the best in Norway but more on that in a later blog.

I attended the interview and absolutely overpromised, a common trait among FM players, right? Regardless, I wanted the job so I said what I needed to get it over the line and get myself in the door.

What followed next was 10 years or so of absolute brilliance. We lifted the OBOS-ligaen title in our first season carried almost exclusively by the goal scoring exploits of Herman Geelmuyden. We then went on to win 2x Eliteserien title, 1x OBOS-ligaen title, 3x NM Cup, 2x Mesterfinalen and the list goes on.

One of my favourite milestones from this save was having Nicolas Pignatel Jenssen go on to break the club record for 1st team appearances with 358 games played. I would love to make this happen again but the guy is far too talented and I’ll be lucky to keep him on my books at all. Had that save gone on any longer I might possibly have broken that appearance record again with my favourite regen of the save.

Meet Espen Mikalsen, a product of the clubs youth academy in game and a Bærum local too. I wish now that I had kept more information about the save as my memory is a little patchy by this time. If only I’d known then how fond I’d become of this club.

From what I can remember though, I recall him not initially being in my plans when I first arrived due to him not really being suitable to the 442 that I was playing at the time and it caused some friction with him as we’re all well aware of in Football Manager. As time went on and the tactic evolved he became one of the key cogs of the wheels that drove the Stabæk machine. This guy become so important to my success’ in that save that when the time came to hang it up and transition to the new edition of Football Manager (22) I took his profile with me so that he could become my manager in our next multiplayer save.

Now I have a habit of trying not to repeat saves year on year as there’s a whole world inside of Football Manager to explore, but as the months passed by I found myself unable to enjoy any of my solo saves to the same extent. So before long I ended up back in Norway, back with my new found loves in Stabæk and this time I had Mikalsen at the helm of his boyhood club.

Unfortunately for me I was unable to reach anything even close to the heights of that initial save on FM21 due to starting the save so late into the FM22 game cycle. The bonus this time though was getting to start the file from the beginning and I really got to enjoy what the academy had to offer, leaning on it heavily for the 4 seasons that I was able to get through. In that time I handed out something like 17 academy debuts and received approximately £16,000,000 in transfer fees as a result of developing the youth on hand. £5,000,000 from OL Lyon for Nicolas Pignatel Jenssen, £2,000,000 for Kaloyan Kostadinov to Borussia Mönchengladbach and £3,000,000 for Marius Berg Fossum which saw him head off to Empoli after a season in which he was awarded Norwegian Young Player of the Year.

As much as I hated having to watch some of my favourite players leave it brought a strange sense of pride having been the one to nurture these talents and get them moves of that magnitude. It was in this moment that I knew that the club had me hook, line and sinker and I proceeded to consume as much content as I could, which I’m telling you (even in the internet age) is a very hard thing to do from a world away where I live in little old New Zealand.

I’ve sought out every highlight and statistic that I can get my hands on, have researched for hours into the history of the club, hell I’ve even started learning to speak Norwegian.

I’m still trying to get my hands on a shirt so if somebody reading this (or the club themselves) could help me facilitate that it would be greatly appreciated. It would seem that international shipping isn’t always the easiest thing to navigate. I hope someday that I might be able to see this magnificent club and country with my own eyes.

My mate Gordon says it best.

It is rather convenient timing that I have just watched the club get promoted back to the Eliteserien in rather spectacular fashion. There’s also a brilliant series of videos on the club Youtube page which documents the last few weeks of the season. There are no subtitles though, so if like me your Norwegian is lacking then you won’t understand a word of what is said. You don’t need to though as you can feel what it means to the club, the players and more importantly the fans.

It was also in this moment that I knew I would once again be heading back to reunite with De Blaa (The Blues) when it came time to transition to Football Manager 2023 and that brings us to now. The reason that I want to document it is simply down to the love that I have found for this club and I want to share that with as many who will want to read it. Maybe you’ll love Stabæk too or perhaps it will inspire you to find your own Stabæk.

Firstly, I have to thank Adam for welcoming me back to the site and hosting this journey. I also want to say a massive thank you to FM Veteran who has been a secret weapon in my research about the club and finally, I probably owe the biggest thank you to my mate Chuck, without him choosing Norway for our save I’d never have discovered this wonderful club.

I had planned to get into some information about the club and surrounding area in this post but we’re already pretty in depth so lets hold off on that and save it for the next one.

If you’ve got this far then I want to say a huge thank you to you for your time and I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I’ll try and make sure it isn’t too long before the next one is out. If you want to get hold of me and let me know how good (or bad) this was then you can find me on twitter at Chris_ANZFM.

And remember Stabæk is back.

One thought on “1. Stabæk Fotball – Alltid. Uansett

  1. Pingback: 2. Stabæk Fotball – Alltid. Uansett | On the Break

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