Norway: The Classic Clash

Derby’s are something special. Especially when there is more to play for than just beating your rivals. Despite the fact that The Classic of Norway isn’t really a derby, it has every aspect of it. And this edition, it is the league decider! So I was stoked to be there right in the middle. Looking behind the Norwegian modesty and experience their football passion. A proper Classic Clash.

BGG Ultras

I was invited by the BGG Ultras to join them on this important match day. Experiencing their love for SK Brann first hand and see what such an important match does to them. They gather in an enormous football pub. Live music and a fantastic atmosphere. I could see the tension on their faces. This is day!

I got a warm welcome by the top guys. For a country that isn’t known for their football fanatism, the BGG proves to have a decent group who truely live for their club. I can only admire them, because being an ultra in Norway isn’t that easy. Because of the distances and relatively small road network, it is difficult and very expensive to follow the club around. For matches in Bodø, Tromsø or Trondheim it’s a three day trip easy.

The pub is their warming up. Getting ready for the match of the season. Rosenborg is mainly a sportive rival, but it is slowly changing to be a rivalry on the stands as well. There had been small clashes in the streets and some of the loot was proudly shown.

The BGG gathered for a corteo to the stadium. A bit different as it was split in two by a light rail ride. I had never seen one dance on its tracks. BGG jumped up and down so hard it wouldn’t suprise me if it derailed. A couple of regular travelers definitely shit themselves at that moment looking at their frightened faces. Despite small numbers, they make a lot of noise and with some proper pyro as well everyone knew BGG was coming to the stadium.

Legal pyro

I was told quite some time ago that the pyro in Norwegian football stadiums was organized and legalized. People say it shouldn’t be like that, pyro by ultras shouldn’t be controlled. I wanted to see for myself what it would be like. I must say, I have huge respect for the way it is organized.

Not only do they have high quality pyro, the cooperation between club and supporters is just great. SK Brann realizes the club exists on its supporters. If you work together, you can come to great things. In this case, a proper tifo combined with pyro. No whining, no bitching about safety, no stadium bans. No, all working together to come to something great. It is something to be said for.

Great tifo and pyro

The Classic

The last couple of weeks both SK Brann as Rosenborg weren’t performing that well. So tensity remain. Before The Classic, Rosenborg had a 2 point lead over SK Brann with four matches left to play. So everything to play for still. Would SK Brann be able to take the top position in the league and finally become Champions again? Their last league title is from 2007.

But after 15 minutes disbelief on everyones faces, except the 600 in the away end. Bad defending by SK Brann helps Rosenborg on a cheap 2-0 lead. Two quick goals. Until that moment SK Brann had nothing to fear. From that point on it became mission impossible. It’s wasn’t quality football, a lot went wrong, SK Brann was pushing but was lucky Rosenborg didn’t score more.

Undeserved

Right after halftime hope came back as SK Brann scores the 1-2. Great goal. The second half Rosenborg was only defending. The home team had several major changes to equalize, but the ball just wouldn’t go in. As time ticked away, hope became desparation. The last chance on the league title faded away. All or nothing, but somehow believe was gone.

Dismay and dissapointment. In theory, still everything is possible. But despite the fact SK Brann is still battling for second place, you could see that this was the end of the season for everyone. It’s a peoples club, similar to mine. Same situation. Being through some rough years with bad results. Still standing strong, with a loyal support. Hoping for the league title again after so many years of struggling. My club managed to do that in 2017 after 18 years without a Championship. Hopefully a miracle will happen. If not, I hope they will celebrate one very soon.

I thank the BGG for their hospitality and showing me their love for SK Brann. Very much appreciated to be able to be part of it.

To be honest, I was dissapointed by the Rosenborg support. Yes they had a full away section. Respect for them traveling for a couple of days to support your team. But if you are there, make something out of it. Just a bit of singing, waving a flag now and then. Missed the real noise, missed some action, maybe a bit of spontaneous pyro to celebrate the victory. You are a top team, why not presenting yourself like one, especially at The Classic?

RBK celebrating the victory
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