2. Stabæk Fotball – Alltid. Uansett

Kappitel To – Bakhistorien
Chapter TwoThe Back Story

Location, Location, Location.

Twenty minutes west of Oslo’s busy city centre lies the Nadderud Stadion, home of Stabæk Fotball and the home of my blog this year. In real life Stabæk are already well into the process of building a new Nadderud and at some point in this save I would expect that we will build our own version too, not that it will be anywhere near as beautiful though I’m sure. The stadium is located in an area called Bærum which Wikipedia tells me has become a suburb on the west coast of Oslo forming what is known officially as a conurbation, again Wikipedia, which I realise isn’t the most accurate of sources so if I’ve made some sort of mistake then please don’t be afraid to correct me as I want to learn this stuff.

The name for the area roughly translates to “Mountain Farm” which is fitting due to its history of being both an agricultural and industrial hub at different points in time. Ïn its more modern years Bærum has become more of a residential hub for commuters heading into downtown Oslo. I’m going to quote Wikipedia again here but they call that a “bedroom community” and this has seen it become one of Norway’s priciest residential areas while also once being voted the best Norwegian place to live during the 2010s.

Nadderud wasn’t always Stabæk’s home ground. They were once based at the Telenor Arena during the early 2010s but due to financial reasons it only lasted 3 years before they were fored to return to Nadderud. That is it’s own story entirely though and one that I don’t yet have a good enough understanding of to tell the story accurately.

Again though, if somebody wants to or is able to fill me in then I will gladly accept whatever knowledge you are able to pass on to me. It will all aid the progress this blog as the months roll on.

It might not be the prettiest but it’s home. (Picture from StadiumDB.com)

As you can imagine with Oslo being the capital city there must be a whole host of football clubs in the area and you’d be right, according to a graphic released in February 2020 it states that there were 3.921 teams in the county of Oslo. Football Manager lists four of these clubs as Stabæk’s rivals for both the geographical reasons but also the competitive history. Vålerenga Fotball is named the fiercest while Lillestrøm SK; Bærum SK and Lyn Fotball are just noted as local rivals of the club.

To get a better idea of how this looked I decided to create myself a map with the locations of these clubs but obviously I had to narrow it down somehow. So for the purpose of this map I have only selected the clubs that Wikipedia deemed to be based in the Oslo Region but also limited it to clubs that would have been competing in the top 3 divisions at the beginning of the 2022 season which is where this save begins. At one point I had attempted to plot the entire county but not only would that have been 70 something clubs it also seems that there are some political differences surrounding the counties around Oslo.

You may notice that despite Lyn Fotball being listed as a rival they are in fact missing due to being in the 4th tier.

As for the split of these clubs among the divisions we have Vålerenga Fotball and Lillestrøm SK in the Eliteserien. Stabæk begin things a tier down in the OBOS-ligaen along with Grorud IL, KFUM-Kameratene Oslo and Skeid Fotball. Rounding out the third and final tier is Bærum SK, Frigg Oslo FK, Kjelsås Fotball, Strømmen IF, Ullern IF and Asker Fotball.

Asker (pictured bottom left) and Stabæk are alleged to have some sort of recruitment agreement in the real world but I am yet to find any credible information that I can use to flesh that statement out anymore. To be honest, I’m now struggling to remember where I even read it in the first place. Once I do though. I will endeavour to make sure it is reflected within the game world.

That should just about sum up the geography lesson, how about some history?

The Story So Far.

Despite the club being formed in 1912 there doesn’t seem to be a lot of history about the early years readily available. Even the club website begins its story from 1990 when the club won promotion to what was then known as the 3rd division. That’s what we now know as the 2.divisjon or PostNord-ligaen (shout out the sponsors). The story begins with the formation of a group known as Ullevall ’95. I believe it can be likened to a fan led investment group based on this excerpt from the clubs website.

“Ullevaal ’95 was established as an independant community outside the football department’s football bodies. The purpose was to raise money and players for a proper sporting venture in Stabæk”

https://www.stabak.no/om-klubben/historien

The club website states that the group who formed Ullevall ’95 were brought together by club legend Ingebrigt Steen Jensen, or Ingo as he is more affectionately known around the club. A man who in recent times was inducted into the Stabæk hall of fame with an emotional tribute that took place during Stabæk’s final game of the 2022 season. A moment beautifully captured in Episode 4 of the youtube series I linked in part one of this blog where Stabæk also secured their return to the Eliteserien.

Armed with the love for his former club and this mission in mind Stabæk began the journey up the rest of the Norwegian pryamid earning them the relevance and respect that comes along with it. Stabæk would prove that point by finishing in 2nd place during the very next season behind local rivals Bærum SK. The 1992 season saw De Blaa finish in 3rd place just a win away from the promotion playoff. Only to carry that momentum into the 1993 season where they went on to win the division outright and secure promotion into the OBOS-ligaen (2nd Tier) for the first time in their history. At the time the OBOS-ligaen was divided into 2 groups and Stabæk managed a 2nd place finish at the first time of asking. Due to a planned expansion in the Eliteserien there were now four promotion spots rather than the two the league awarded historically.

This promotion would mean that within 5 years of the formation of Ullevall ’95 the club had made it to the top flight in Norwegian football and were showing no signs of slowing down. In that first season they ended up finishing in 9th place and never looked back going on to record 6th and 5th placed league finishes and quarter final appearances in the Norwegian Football Cup.

1998 would mark the clubs first major honours as Stabæk would lift the Norwegian Football Cup with a 3-1 victory over a Rosenborg side who at the time were absolutely dominating Norwegian football. For the sake of clarity, that season was Rosenborg’s 7th straight Eliteserien title (they would go on to win it for another 6 years after this). Stabæk also supplemented the Cup victory with a 3rd place league finish securing themselves their first appearance in the UEFA Cup, which you now know as the Europa League. This comes after having made back to back appearances in the previous seasons now defunct Intertoto Cup. That UEFA Cup campaign was cut short as they bowed out in the 1st round after defeat at the hands of Spanish side Deportivo de La Coruña over two hard fought legs.

The next few years would see Stabæk make serious headway into achieving that mission set by Ingo and his other Ullevall ’95 members with continued appearances in both the Intertoto and UEFA Cups alongside 5th and 4th place Eliteserien finishes. Stabæk achieved their second domestic medal with another 3rd place finish in the 2003 season before disaster struck and the club was relegated at the conclusion of the 2004 Eliteserien season after finishing 1 place behind Bodø/Glimt on goal difference.
(Amazing how times change, isn’t it).

The sign says it all, he’s idolised in these parts. (Picture from Stabæk website).

The 2005 OBOS-ligaen season brought a change of management to Nadderud and an immediate promotion back to the Eliteserien followed. This time they won their first 1.divisjon title on the back of 27 goals from Swedish striker Daniel Nannskog who lit Norwegian football alight following a move from China. Nannskog would then go on to lead the team in scoring for the next four seasons, also winning himself two Eliteserien Golden Boots in the process. It would be criminal of me not to mention his Icelandic strike partner Veigar Páll Gunnarsson who was hot on his heels in the scoring charts as they would go on to form one of the nations deadliest strike duos over this period. (Best believe I’ll be seeing if either are available in game to bring back to the club in some sort of staff role). Even Alanziho if I can find him.

During the 2007 season Stabæk achieved their highest placed finish in the Eliteserien so far achieving 2nd, six points behind champions Brann. As a result of this finish Stabæk would once again return to the UEFA Cup for the upcoming 2008 season.

Little did anybody know at the time but that 2008 season was about to become the landmark season in Stabæk’s history because they would go on to lift their first ever Eliteserien trophy and interrupt Brann’s attempt at a 3rd straight league title in the process. Remarkably the club fell narrowly short of a domestic double after losing 4-1 to fierce rivals Vålerenga Fotball in the final of the Norwegian Cup. I guess you could call that revenge for the 6-2 victory that Stabæk inflicted on them during the game which also saw the players awarded their gold medals for the title win. This victory has been forever immortalised by the club/fans in musical form to the tune of a song aptly named Seks-To, Seks-To. You can find lyrics and a video on the Stabæk website.

2008 was also the year that Daniel Nannskog won his second Golden Boot and where the club would finally say goodbye to Nadderud Stadion ahead of their move to the Telenor Arena. The timing couldn’t have been better really as the club would welcome the new stadium with their first ever taste of Champions League football. They recorded a victory over Alabanian side Tirana in the 2nd qualifying round but would lose out to Denmark’s F.C. Copenhagen in the following round of the competition. To this day it’s still their only appearance in this competition and I would love nothing more than to make a return to it.

The long awaited but short lived, Telenor Arena.
(By Hogne – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74551117)

Three seasons of Eliteserien football were to follow at the Telenor Arena in which the club recorded 3rd, 12th and 10th placed finishes but would soon begin to encounter financial difficulties around the situation with the Telenor Arena. De Blaa were forced to return to Nadderud for the 2012 season but as a result of the damage done financially they would once again be relegated at the end of what can only be described as a horror season. It was so bad that Stabæk managed to occupy the bottom spot of the table for 28 of the 30 match weeks that year. This is one of those things that Chuck and I would call “A Raufoss”.

As the club website states, Stabæk always comes back (Alltid. Uansett) and that is exactly what they did. Once again earning promotion back to the Eliteserien where they would remain until another relegation at the end of the 2021 season. This period wasn’t quite as fruitful as years gone by as the club only managed to finish higher than 8th on one occasion during the 2015 season which saw the club earn their 4th bronze medal and only make one further appearance on the continental stage.

That brings us to today. As you already know Stabæk have once again have earned themselves a place in the Eliteserien for 2022 after this season’s 2nd place finish in the Obos-ligaen. Unfortunately for us though, due to the difference in league calendars our save begins at the start of 2022 season where we’ll be tasked with earning that same promotion. I’d love to add another OBOS-ligaen title to the trophy cabinet while we have the opportunity as I don’t intend on being relegated again.

That’s as good a segue as any to take us into my goals for the save.

The Objectives.

  1. Fulfill Ingo’s mission and make Stabæk the greatest team in the country. It’s highly unlikely this save runs long enough to beat out the massive 26 Eliteserien titles that Rosenborg have managed to achieve but I’ll give it a shot.
  2. Bring the European nights back to town. I say town because Nadderud isn’t UEFA approved so we’ll be forced to play those games elsewhere. Historically its been the national stadium, Ullevaal, which both Lyn and Vålerenga have called their home at different points in time.
  3. Reach and maintain the status of having the best youth academy in Norway.

I think that about sums it up, I know there’s nothing particularly ground breaking there but those are just some things that I can aim towards for the sake of blogging more than anything. It gives me a direction of sorts. Ultimately I’m just a guy who has fallen in love with a football club and enjoys writing about my escapades within the game.

If you’ve found yourself making it all the way through this one then thanks very much. I genuinely appreciate your time. Feel free to leave me a comment on here, either good or bad, or you can find me on twitter @Chris_ANZFM and I’ll see you in the next one where I’ll start to dig into some tactical bits and pieces that I’ve managed to accumulate. Shapes, player combinations etc.

And remember

Stabæk Fotball – Alltid. Uansett

Always. No matter what

2 thoughts on “2. Stabæk Fotball – Alltid. Uansett

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