As most of the european leagues were concluding their seasons during the month of may, here in Norway they are only reaching halfway. Football is a summer sport over here which is great for me as an ex-pat because my interest in football now lasts all year round. Growing up in the 80´s and 90´s, if it wasn’t a tournament year, all we had to keep our interest in football going through the summer holidays were the Australian football pools that appeared in the newspapers on a Monday morning. I guess that´s why I became so interested in cricket at a young age.
With football taking part in the summer months, those cold windy nights stood on terraces are just a distant memory. Here in Stavanger, this year in particular, it has been ´sol,sol,sol´!
Photographing a summer sport whilst living at 59 degrees north also means that even evening kick-offs are mostly played in low sunlight or under shadows. This is great at certain stadiums that have picturesque views of mountains or forests in the backgrounds, however, due to the low attendances that have became associated with league football, empty seats and half built stands are more of a norm.
The early rounds of the Norwegian Cup progressed at a rapid rate during the month of may. There was much excitement in Stavanger because FK Vidar of the third division, as a result of their giant killing of Bryne in the previous round, got a home draw against top division side Viking Stavanger, to set up another local derby. Vidar were triumphant and now hold bragging rights over their ´big brother` from the Tippeligaen. This victory was quickly followed by a plumb draw in the next round, away to another Tippeligaen side, Vålerenga of Oslo, who play their home matches at the Norwegian national stadium, Ullevaal.
I was lucky enough to be invited along by the team to cover the events of this historic day which happened to be warm, sunny. Vidar were very unlucky to lose the game 3-1, with the scores level going in to the final moments of the tie. They played a team well above their current standard and more than held their own for most of the game. Hopefully they can take this form into the league, and who’s knows, maybe they will be playing at this level more regularly in the near future.