Season Review - 2012
Norwegian Second Division Group 4 - 2nd place
League - 57 points from 26 games isn't a bad haul at all, especially with a 23 game unbeaten run in the middle! Unfortunately we came up against Moss who were fantastic. They were undefeated and only drew 4 games (2 of which were with us) so they won the league by some distance. But 2nd place was a good finish given we were predicted 8th. A goal difference of +45 suggests we are too good for this league so expecting more of the same next year - promotion will depend on how good the teams are that drop down into our league.
Cup - A cup run we can be proud of, making the 4th round and earning £100k much needed prize money. The highlight was a fantastic 3-2 win over EL side Odd, featuring a stunning hattrick from Christian Stiesen. We also knocked out two AL teams, and we were unlucky to lose out 4-3 away to AL side Ranheim, who won the AL and were promoted to the EL. Christian Stiesen was the competition's top scorer with 8 goals.
Overview - Some cracking signings mainly on free transfers, with Stiesen and Middtun Lie providing the majority of our attacking thrust. Jukka Vanninen was a bargain at only £50 too! Yes, not £50k, £50! A 35 y/o player/coach, he anchored the midfield well and also scored 8 goals. All the players released weren't good enough. My strategy is to have a small squad (only 19 players this year) but to have quality instead.
Christian Stiesen - Signed on a free transfer from Viborg in the Danish First Division, he is perfect for this level. Decent pace, decent finishing, some good height and an excellent work rate, he scored 21 in 28 goals, including 3 hat tricks. Average 7.39.
Jon Middtun Lie - Signed on a free transfer with previous EL experience, he turned in some great performances on the left wing and returned 12 goals and 17 assists in 29 games, averaging 7.66, and was named Fans Player of the Season. Technically he is nothing amazing but he has very strong teamwork, fitness and work rate.
Martin Vethe - A beast at this level, he is only 25 and had played at this level before, signed on a free transfer. Very commanding centre back with good tackling, heading, strength, bravery and concentration, he is also my vice-captain. Returned 9 goals in 29 games as he towers at corners and averaged 7.29. Interestingly for a centre back he received only 2 yellow cards and was fouled more than he fouled.
Jukka Vanninen - The previously mentioned player/coach who was also my captain, and with his mental attributes it's easy to see why. Determined, fit, brave, a hard worker and a natural leader, he epitomises the spirit of this team. Averaged 7.24 and 8 goals in 29 games: not bad for a 35 year old.
Krenar Badivuku - Didn't look much on paper, but average mental and physical attributes meant on the right wing he provided some great performances. 7 goals and 12 assists in 24 games averaging 7.34
I signed a new 2 year deal in the close season. They left it a bit late but nothing better presented itself so I'll stay here for a bit. Hopefully we'll take the title this year. Junior Coaching has been increased so I am hoping for some better youth intake in October 2013. The next season will depend on how good the teams are coming down. The frustrating thing about this league is if you have one team who are unbeatable and heads and shoulders above everyone there is nothing you can do. Fingers crossed.