Andrew’s Rosenborg experiment is reaching an exciting finale. Nobody relishes the trip to Norway, especially in winter, but here we are in the spring and there’s the chance of European football – whether it be via league or cup…
Hello and welcome back to the final part of Viking Invaders Premier League Raiders. Last time out we had a mid-season melt down and couldn’t beg steal or borrow an away point. The whole idea of a Viking invasion was in chaos as we preferred our home comforts. But we had a late surge in form and have picked our way back to 5th place, 7 points from 2nd with Man Utd too far out of reach to be caught. *Searches for any kind of last-minute prize* at least we can say we are responsible for a third of Utd’s goals against column. A reminder of our run-in:
We begin the final third in the FA Cup vs. Newcastle United. This is important, as invaders, we need to come away with some silverware this season. We’re through to the quarter finals, but at a price.
Our star centre back is out for 15 months after being scythed down by Batty. Quite devastating. This means Hoftun, who has been asking to leave for the last 3 months will have to step in. He is nowhere near as capable.
That’s it lads, we have to win the FA Cup, for Olsen. Our reward, a trip to dirty Leeds.
That said, we’re able to go to the market for a cheap replacement centre back for 5k. Not spectacular, but steady.
And, as a side note, someone else has decided they are interested in signing for us…so why not?
We face the toon again, at home again, and make a blistering start again. Other than that, a very different outcome as Given puts in a MoM performance and the score line is reversed. We are down to 7th.
We missed numerous sitters with Dahlum and Knutsen miss-firing. At this stage, we’re the leagues top scorers by a country mile with 70 goals, its just the 50 we’ve conceded that is a slight problem. That problem, likely to be highlighted in our next game, against Man Utd. We start brightly, but fade to a tight defeat.
We have the chance to make amends in a visit to the capital to play second bottom Crystal Palace. We squander endless chances, and we’re back to failing away. We’ve now lost 3 games in the league on the bounce. Very poor.
A weeeeee ooooh eeeeeeee a win away! We do better at rock bottom Sheffield Wednesday.
Our quarter-final with dirty Leeds does not live up to the billing as Nigel steps out from behind the barrow to but in an inspired performance. We’ll have to do it all again.
We’re out on our trireme again, this time it’s a visit to the Gunners where we make a go of it in the opening minutes only to be undone by a rocket out of no-wreh (ahem). Skammelsrud gets his marching orders but we come back for another away win!
The replay in Yorkshire see’s another classic raid. And another win away from home…what is this?!?
However, we’re not fortunate enough to get the semi-final draw that Man Utd get, as we’re drawn against Liverpool. Knew something was wrong when it was Fergie doing the draw. 2nd division Notts County…
Next up we’re at home to Chelsea a place above us. We absolutely batter Kharine’s goal but it stands up to the test of time, we get a 2-2 draw. Two pointers; shots to goals ration is horrendous, and have you ever seen so many tackles in one game (with a poor success ratio also!).
It’s FA Cup semi-final day at Old Trafford and we take on Liverpool. We take the lead but get absolutely battered throughout and the equaliser was always coming. We scrape through extra-time to revisit again for a reply on Wednesday night. At least Svindal-Larsen is back for the replay.
Well, if you can’t beat them, join them. We follow in Man Utd’s footsteps and line up 4-4-f******-2. It works mostly as we keep Liverpool at bay and cause their back 3 all sorts of problems with Fermann and George pushing on with pace down the wings and Svindal-Larsen pulling the strings. In the end it takes extra-time and we win the shootout 12-11! We will go toe to toe with Man Utd on 16th of May 4-4-2 vs. 4-4-2.
Back to league action at the Lerkendal and 4-4-2 brings home the goods again. Nails gone though as Svindal-Larsen goes off with a foot injury (thankfully only a few days). Bye Anderson has gone totally off the boil. May have to give Rushfeldt his place back soon.
Pride comes before a fall but we come away from Derby County with a point. Another week, another bust-up with Liverpool. David James is a machine, we score 5, but we should have had about 10. That’s 89 (league) goals for the season with 5 games to go.
A bore draw with Blackburn follows before we knock the stuffing out of Coventry.
It’s another step towards the 100-goal marker with a 3-3 draw at the Lerkendal against Aston Villa.
And then my oh my we blow the 100-goal marker to smithereens with a 5-1 demolition job on the crazy gang…AWAY FROM HOME! On the flip side, only 20th placed Barnsley have conceded more goals than our Viking invaders!
A win and third place is pretty much guaranteed. Third place and the FA Cup…that would be a massive success. We sweep Everton aside in our final game at the Lerkendal 5-1.
The result is bittersweet as Larsen is out for a couple of weeks, a critical component of the side, missing the FA Cup final with Man Utd.
The big day arrives and ‘The Troll Children’ run out for their first FA Cup final appearance. The tension is palpable as the Viking invaders chase their treasure.
We break the deadlock in an instant as Bye Andersen breaks away to slot home past the usually impenetrable big dane. We hang on for dear life until Sheringham pops up with a header on 68 minutes. A replay it is. This time, Svindal Larsen is fit (enough) and an early Erland Johnson header settles things. Get in! Shove that up your 4-4-2 Fergie!
Needless to say, the board are delighted at a shock victory for the Troll Children. An FA Cup in our 80th season as a club. And so, here is a delayed final league table:
107 goals scored and 72 conceded. Only 20th placed Barnsley have conceded more. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get close enough to Man Utd. And now for the vital statistics:
Blessed are the goal scorers. What club wouldn’t give for that display of talent. Ree only had 8 goals as he made most of his 20 appearances from the bench, kept out by Rushfeldt, Dahlum and Bye Andersen (who is somehow yet to be capped). And supplying the goals (for himself):
Of the originals, Rushfeldt, Dahlum, Berg, Skammelsrud, Hoftun, Johnson and Bergdolmo all played a significant part. Of the ton of additional signings made, we really only rotated an additional 4 in and out. We take most of the trophies at the end of season awards, bloody Paul Scholes gets noted top scorer even though Bye Andersen had the same number of goals…
And with that ends our Viking invasion. I hope you have enjoyed the experiment. I think it shows that, to some extent, Rosenborg really did have a talented side that justified their strong European performance over the following decade.
Det er alta for na. Ha det!
You can follow Andrew on Twitter @kingoftherooks