This Supporter Needs A Friend; Americans Should Reconsider Norway

Sandefjord Fotball had one fan travel to an away match in Alesund this weekend.

Sandefjord Fotball, a member of the Norwegian Tippeligaen, had a league match this past weekend against Aalesunds FK. The dedicated Sandefjord supporter, named Tor Jørgen Svanberg, traveled to the match, expecting to meet up with some fellow supporters.

Boy, was he surprised when he sat down and he was the ONLY supporter in the away section.

The distance between Alesund and Sandefjord is 268 miles. Not the easiest trip, but one would think that a top-level European soccer club would have loyal supporters to get make the trek across the country. What a disgrace.

Mr. Svanberg had a couple of security personnel in the area. Since they probably didn’t have much to do, I hope they sat down next to him and kept him company. That is a bit of a hike to go see a match and not get a little bit of interaction in the stadium.

Regardless, Svanberg is officially Sandefjord’s biggest supporter. To be the only person to make the effort to travel — you sir, are a champion.

After doing some research, there are flights from the Sandefjord area to Alesund. They are commuter flights, so the prices aren’t too bad.

But one fan? This is almost too ridiculous to be true. The Norwegian Tippeligaen is 25th in the UEFA coefficient ranking, just behind the Slovak SuperLiga and just ahead of the Serbian SuperLiga. Certainly not the best league by any stretch, but Norway isn’t that bad of a football nation.

Clarence Goodson, along with the other eight Americans in Norway, should look to play football in a country that views the game with more interest.

If there is such a lack of interest from supporters (making the assumption that some Norwegians have enough disposable income to travel for their club), should American players be targeting Norway as a footballing destination?

Currently, nine Americans are playing in Norway. Six of them in the top division, including Clarence Goodson, who has 18 caps and two goals for the USMNT. Goodson is a good player (excuse the pun), but should he continue to play in a country that the supporters don’t make an effort to get to matches?

While there is no proof presented here that other clubs, including IK Start (where Goodson plays), have this problem, the fact that a club in the Tippeligaen cannot produce fans really puts the legitimacy of the league in question. Do supporters of the USMNT want their players to play in a league that doesn’t have adequate support?

My verdict is: Clarence, ship off to greener pastures. You have the talent, go get noticed in a league where the supporters show up.


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