I Do Like a Norwegian Party
Saturday 6th August 2016
Last night was only the second time I have seen us play in Norway, an eventful trip to Trondhem a few years back being the first. And the way I feel writing these notes on my short flight from Stavanger to Copenhagen, our latest host city certainly delivered! Friday night I guess.
Following our team I have made many friends down the years, one of the dozens of positives in doing what we do. And our team’s globetrotting mean those acquaintances are from far and wide.
Norway is very much one such country and it has been good friends living just south of Stavanger who have looked after our travelling party on this occasion. Our first meet in the ‘Blue Room’ in Bad Waltersdorf, Austria seems a long time ago!
Arriving Thursday evening, great food, beer and company made sure this leg of the pre-season tour got off to a relaxing start before we headed into our host city yesterday morning.
I have been lucky enough to visit on a previous occasion and I recall it being a small, pretty and quiet place. The beauty certainly hasn’t disappeared but 2 huge cruise ships being moored up in the harbour took away any chance of it not being busy this time!
Having taken a stroll we took advantage of hospitality at its very best provided by a fanatical Norwegian Gooner living in the city’s suburbs.
Having converted his double garage into an ‘Arsenal room’ with full bar and huge amounts of memorabilia, his beloved Gooners being in town meant he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to hold a party all afternoon pre-match.
And with great food, beer, company and transport to the stadium, it could not possibly have been a better way to enjoy the build up.
I can’t pass up this opportunity to mention one amusing moment. Deciding to get the Maidstone Gooners flag out at the party, there was a little difficulty in finding where to hang it. Our host however, as hospitable as always, came up with an instant solution. Armed with a power drill he proceeded to wack two 6 inch screws into the side of his house!! Hilarious.
All in all it meant we arrived at the Viking Stadium ‘refreshed’ to say the least, a factor that always leads to us grown ups doing things like purchasing merchandise you would never buy in a million years on a day without a party in a crazy Norwegian Gooner’s garden!
So far this has been a trip of ‘firsts’ and winning 8 nil is another. It is always fantastic to see a few goals……but Viking probably didn’t quite provide the test we would be looking for in an ideal world. The first half was slightly tougher than the second of course but with a missed penalty and the goalkeeper making a string of great saves, the one nil half time scoreline didn’t reflect our dominance.
Not that I would want anyone to think the above means I am moaning! I’ll take 1 nil if it means a win. And fitness and good finishing made last night a thoroughly worthwhile exercise.
Post match events continued in the same way as those earlier in the day, Stavanger’s Friday night life proving thoroughly entertaining well into the wee small hours.
Hence the headache and nausea on this flight.
Talking of which, we have begun our descent on our first flight of 2 today so it’s time to sign off.
Sweden and Gothenburg on a Saturday night await as the party continues.
And if the Swedish Gooners prove as hospitable as their counterparts from Norway it will be another fine couple of days.
Our friends from Norway, thank you once again. You have been awesome.
Ole Gunnar Solsjaer, Henning Berg, Morten Harket, Erik Thorsvedt, Miss Norway(!)……your boys took one helluva beating!! 😉