From Norway to Wealdstone: the story behind the noise at The Vale on Saturday
Updated: Nov 29, 2022
It would’ve been impossible to attend the Scunthorpe game on Saturday without seeing or hearing the Norwegian contingent in the Bulla.
All dressed in Stones hats and scarves (thanks to the £25 Black Friday offer!), the atmosphere at The Vale was boosted significantly by a Norwegian contingent behind the goal at the bottom end. But why chose a trip to Ruislip on a wet late November afternoon?
Sunde I.L is a football team from Stavanger, Norway. They play their matches at the aptly named Santiago Kvernabeu, named because the team is based in Kverenvik.
“We played in the fifth tier this year but were relegated in the last seconds of the last game unfortunately,” said team captain Ole Soma Hjelle. “Every season the players have to pay money to an internal fine system. This money goes to a yearly trip for the players and staff. In earlier years, we have been to Southampton, Copenhagen, Berlin and Rotterdam, and we always watch a football game.
"This one was a bit random, actually. We decided some months ago that we were going to London after this season, that ended early in November. Because of the World Cup, we had to choose a game in the lower tiers. We looked at pictures of your stadium, and we thought that it looked nice to watch Wealdstone. The game on Saturday was probably the best of our trips.”
Stone's club president Paul Rumens welcomed the 25-strong group into the club's hospitality suite.
“Over the years we’ve had quite a few Scandinavians over – it’s something I’ve been working on with fellow Stone Emin Alibey who sells hospitality at all the London based Premier League clubs and we’ve been trying to get traction with a large group of Scandinavians that he deals with that come over for long weekends," said Rumens.
“Kjartan Hauge [the one with the sunglasses] contacted me a couple of months ago as Norway were out of the World Cup and they needed a football weekend. It wouldn’t surprise me if they’ve also taken in an FA Cup game, too.”
Their presence helped raise more than £2,000 for the club through hospitality, beer sales and club merchandise.
“It was a brilliant day for everyone involved at the club and the group from Sunde I.L really added to the experience," said Stones General Manager Richard Hopwood. "We were delighted they chose to come and watch a game at The Vale and they were a pleasure to host. A special thanks to Sarah, Evie and all the staff in the Vale club who worked so hard to ensure Sunde I.L received such good hospitality.”
So, will Sunde I.L be back? Rumens seems to think so.
“They will be back for sure," he said. "They are without doubt the biggest group we’ve had to date.”
Added Hjelle: “We are already talking about coming back because we loved the place, people and your hospitality."
The Stones are next in action on Boxing Day at home to Maidenhead United. Come and sample what the Norwegians did by booking your ticket HERE