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– Brann will challenge for the gold

Dag-Eilev Fagermo calls for higher ambitions in the Eliteserien.

OUTSIDE: For the first time since 2008, Dag-Eilev Fagermo is not coaching a club in the elite series. Photo: Line Møller / VG

Akkerhaugen, Telemark Monday 1 April at 16:11

The short version

  • Dag-Eilev Fagermo criticizes a lack of ambition in the Eliteserien and thinks Brann and other Norwegian football clubs are aiming too low.
  • Fagermo points out that Bodø/Glimt and Molde are far ahead of other teams, even though they are from smaller towns in Norway.
  • It is as if Brighton and Bournemouth should have dominated the Premier League, says Fagermo
  • Fagermo is calling for more football managers who dare to say that “we will win gold”.
  • The elite series starts with Odd-Haugesund on Easter Sunday. Brann meets Tromsø away from home the following day.

Sea view

The former Vålerenga coach believes that Brann, and several other Norwegian clubs, are setting their sights too low.

– When Brann took silver last year, then Brann will challenge for the series gold this year, Fagermo believes.

For the first time in 16 years, the elite series opens without the high-profile coach on the sidelines. He is not impressed by the ambitions dressed in red and white.

– As of now, both Bodø/Glimt and Molde are light years ahead of everyone else in the Norwegian elite series, Eirik Horneland has told VG.

Brann has been cautious in the gaming market.

Danish Emil Kornvig has entered. But the Brann coach is definitely not humming the supporters’ “Gullet ska hem” before the elite series premiere.

– Brann comes from Norway’s second largest city with a completely different income potential than Bodø and Molde. You can of course say that they get a lot of money by playing in Europe. But now you see that almost all Norwegian football managers defend themselves by saying that Glimt and Molde “run their own sport” because of this, says Fagermo.

He points out that Bodø is considered Norway’s 15th largest city and that Molde is in 23rd place in terms of population.

– It is as if Brighton and Bournemouth should have dominated the Premier League, says Fagermo and continues:

– It has become an acceptance that no one can compete with Glimt and Molde.

The series opener

March 31 (Easter Sunday):

Odd – Haugesund (6 p.m.)

1 April (2nd Easter Sunday):

Fredrikstad – Bodø/Glimt (at 2.30 p.m.)

Tromsø – Fire (5 p.m.)

Molde – Strømsgodset (at 17.00)

Rosenborg – Sandefjord (at 17.00)

Lillestrøm – Kristiansund (at 17.00)

Viking – Sarpsborg (at 19.15)

2. april:

YMCA – HamKam (7pm)

Sea view

It has been a long time since there was cheering for league gold in the biggest Norwegian cities. Rosenborg won its last league gold in 2018, Brann in 2007, Vålerenga in 2005 and Viking all the way back in 1991.

– It is an exciting coaching appointment at RBK. But no matter how good they are, they don’t get two years to build up the team. Because it is Rosenborg. You can have an intermediate season in Odd, but not in RBK, Vålerenga or Brann, says Fagermo with 12 years’ experience from Odd.

The income from player sales has skyrocketed following the success of Norwegian-made players such as Erling Braut Haaland and Martin Ødegaard. Norwegian clubs sold players for almost one billion kroner in 2023.

– I think the increased player sales have become a sleeping pillow for a number of Norwegian managers in the elite series. Many clubs receive NOK 10–15 million for a player. Instead of working even harder to generate revenue from the public and the market, the money is often spent on operations. They should rather have been reinvested in sport, believes Fagermo.

GOLD AND SILVER: Eirik Horneland and Brann won cup gold and series silver during 2023. Photo: Bjørn S. Delebekk / VG

He lacks ambitions for something bigger.

– There are so few football managers who dare to say that “we will win gold”. I believe almost no one, says the veteran coach.

– In my opinion, it is a defensive attitude because they do not want pressure themselves. Can you tell me which clubs in Norway have ambitions to take up the game? Now Rosenborg will have to spend time. But you don’t get time. The clubs from the biggest cities must have completely different ambitions. It is clear that Brann and Viking will have ambitions to challenge Molde, who finished fifth in the series last season, he says.

Even Dag-Eilev Fagermo was unable to lift Vålerenga further up from the bronze in 2020. It ended with his dismissal three years later.

– We were unable to take advantage of the momentum and the financial surplus we had at the time, he acknowledges.

Fagermo believes that Bodø/Glimt has shown completely different qualities. The club took very surprising league silver five years ago and has continued to rise to European level.

He is unsure whether Brann and Tromsø will manage last season’s silver and bronze medals in the same way.

– Bodø/Glimt has managed to keep the momentum and has continued to develop. Brann and Tromsø have been very good at bringing in players, and have built themselves up. So the question is can they take it further?

The first part of the answer will come on Easter Monday. Then TIL and Brann meet at Romssa Arena.

Do you want to read more about Norwegian football? VG’s large club magazine about Tromsø IL contains 100 pages of reports, good stories and facts about the club. The magazine can be purchased in our online store (free shipping!)

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