Long distance love from Norway

NEWS & STAR COLUMN 23.09.21

A few Carlisle fans got together recently to watch the Blues in action on iFollow. Nothing unusual about that, you may think – except they were across the North Sea in Norway.

It was the first meeting of United’s Scandinavian supporters club since the outbreak of the pandemic.

And, although United were held to a 1-1 draw by Leyton Orient, they have lost none of their enthusiasm and are looking forward to their next visit to Cumbria.

Paal Meier edits the ‘Cumbrian Norsemen’ magazine that follows the Blues fortunes. He said: “We are proud to be CUFC supporters and hopefully in spring 2022 we will be travelling to Brunton Park again.

“We usually try to visit two or three times a season but Covid has made things very difficult.

“We enjoyed our get together for the Leyton Orient game but were disappointed we didn’t get all three points. It is always fun to watch the Blues on TV. They played well in periods and we are hoping they have a good season.”

The Scandinavian branch has around 35 members and is based in Flekkefjord in south Norway about 260 miles from Oslo. They have regular meetings with the next one due later this autumn. Their last visit to Carlisle was in April 2019 for the 4-2 victory over Crawley.

Paal added: “It started in 2004 when a group of us watched the 1-1 draw with Cheltenham, the result that saw Carlisle drop out of the league. It didn’t put us off and since then we have visited about 50 times. We have many friends in Carlisle now and can’t wait to go back again.”

The branch takes its involvement seriously and Paal’s dental practice – Meier and Kydland – sponsor the match-ball plinth. In the past they have also donated money to help with Academy projects.

Back home, the ‘My Club, My Shirt’ initiative took a major step forward last week with a photo shoot on the Brunton Park pitch.

Sixteen United supporters, who asked to be part of it, were able to join other club sponsors and the first team squad for the annual photo session.

The club is working with CUOSC and other supporter groups with the aim of highlighting the diversity in the supporter base, and making it clear the club is an open, welcoming and safe place for everyone to come along and watch league football. Some of the photos will feature in an exhibition at Tullie House in the city.

If any fans would like to be part of this on-going project they should email info@cuosc.org.uk

Norwegian Branch members
Paal Meier (right) and Arne Hobbesland with the match-ball plinth they sponsored on their visit to Brunton Park in April 2019
Norwegian Branch meeting
Back row (from the left) Pål B. Meier, Alf Flikka, Ivar Eigeland, Steve Træland, Arne Hobbesland, Svein Rune Larsen, Svein Skarpenes. Front row Yngve Sirnes, Yngve Fodnestøl, Stian Formoe.