– Bodø/Glimt has now become a major power in Norwegian football. There is no rich uncle behind this, they have created this themselves. It’s an adventure.
Discovery’s football expert Kenneth Fredheim is clear when describing Bodø/Glimt’s success in recent years. This week, the expert guested on the Discovery podcast Indre bane together with Avisa Nordland journalist – and Glimt expert – Freddy Toresen, where the conversation naturally revolved around the Helgules’ third league gold in four years.
– It’s really hard to believe. When we sit here a few days after the third gold in four years has been secured, it is still the case that one cannot quite believe it. It is simply completely wild, says Toresen.
Knutsen taken to bed by the Glimt striker’s outfit: – I had to ask
Kjetil Knutsen and Bodø/Glimt have put some phenomenal years behind them.
It started with a warning four seasons ago, when Glimt out of nowhere climbed from 11th place in 2018 to a silver medal in 2019. In 2020 they broke record after record, lost only one game in the Eliteserien and won the series with 19 points .
The superior gold in 2020, which was the club’s first series championship in the all-Norwegian series, came only three years after the Helgeluen fought for promotion from the OBOS league.
Glimt were relegated in the 2016 season after a nightmare end to the year, where they were relegated by a one-point margin.
– It is easy to draw the lines back to 2016, when things looked very dark. In 2018, this new coaching team came in (Kjetil Knutsen and Morten Kalveness among others), and from 2019 the system began to settle properly. That’s when they started to excite us, says Discovery’s Kenneth Fredheim in the podcast.
– The clear playing style and clarity are paired with good club management, which has been the formula for success in the north.
Listen to the entire Indre bane episode here:
Extends to 2021
Football expert Fredheim believes that the year that followed, when Glimt was able to defend the league championship in 2021, remains the strongest performance from the Nordland band in recent years.
– One of the most difficult things in football is to reproduce success. That’s why the series gold in 2021 was very, very impressive, because they were able to play on what worked in the cannon season the year before, he announces
AN journalist Toresen approves.
– There were many who were skeptical after the 2020 season, when both Philip Zinckernagel, Kasper Junker and Jens Petter Hauge disappeared after delivering astronomical goal points. Then a few months passed before there was a new tip in place at Aspmyra. That was when Erik Botheim started in earnest, recalls the Bodø/Glimt expert.
DANISH DYNAMITE: Kasper Junker and Philip Zinckernagel delivered a combined 72 (!) goal points in the 2020 season.
– While all other Norwegian teams stayed in Norway that winter, Bodø/Glimt chose to travel to Spain for a training camp. I got to follow their stay there, and there I got to see the development and the way they worked with my own eyes. They had an enormous advantage with that charging there, Toresen continues.
Precisely the fact that the club has managed to maintain the momentum despite the replacement of the player material, is something that Kenneth Fredheim points to as one of several keys.
– The fact that they have had so many replacements in recent years, and that the train still manages to thunder on, is absolutely crazy. It has hardly looked like there have been any replacements, and besides, they are willing to spend money.
– What they have achieved is unparalleled in Norwegian football, at least during the time I have worked with the Eliteserien, states the Discovery expert.
Midfielder Brede Moe has been on the whole adventurous journey to Bodø/Glimt. Trønder was brought from Rosenborg back in January 2015.
– Now that we’ve been at the top since 2019, it’s a bit like the years before that are almost a forgotten era for me, says the Glimt player to Discovery.
– What has been the key for you?
– We have focused on ourselves throughout. We have lost many players. We are, after all, a selling club, but we have put ourselves in a good financial situation every single year. At the same time, we constantly focus on developing good players all the time. It shows that the club is run in a very good way, Moe replies.
THE BREAKTHROUGH: Erik Botheim was never able to copy the numbers of predecessor Kasper Junker, but nevertheless became a very important piece for Glimt in 2021.
– A Guardiola in Bodø
Bodø/Glimt was toppled from the throne in 2022, but the vessel rose again the following year.
But what now for Kjetil Knutsen and Bodø/Glimt?
Since their “breakthrough” in 2019, Glimt has also been allowed to play on the big European stages. The Nordics have tried their hand in both the Conference League and the Europa League, but never reached a group stage in the biggest tournament of them all.
The duo in Indre bane believes a group stage in the Champions League is now the success coach’s next big goal.
– The ambition of the Champions League is probably in the back of everyone’s mind in Glimt. Knutsen is the team leader. He has become a kind of Guardiola in Bodø, who is now chasing an entrance ticket to the Champions League, says Kenneth Fredheim.
– I think that football has changed too much for us to ever get a new Norwegian team in the Champions League quarter-finals, but a group stage is the realistic goal, continues the expert, referring to when Rosenborg played in the quarter-finals against Juventus back in 1997.
Gull-Moumbagna to Discovery: – I have sacrificed a lot
Achieving that goal depends on the new stadium in Bodø, Knutsen himself believes.
– We have had enormous growth and development as a club and as a whole since I came here in 2017. We have taken it as far as we can at Aspmyra. If we are to develop further in terms of sport, we must get started with the realization of a new arena. We cannot take the next steps in an arena where parts of it were built in 1966, the coach told Avisa Nordland earlier in November.
Being sent off by a teammate: – He seems to be in good shape
Bodø/Glimt plans to build a new large living room on Thalleveiåkeren at the entrance to Bodø city.
The cost is estimated to be around NOK 500 million, but it has not been clarified when the first sod roof will be put in the ground.
– Aspmyra is starting to expire. You have to remove existing buildings in the area to expand where you are now, and that is not possible. The new stadium will be very important. Kjetil Knutsen is also clear about that. If Bodø/Glimt were to get to the Champions League, I don’t know how great it is for Nordland if Glimt has to leave the county to play matches, emphasizes Freddy Toresen in Indre bane.
Bodø/Glimt were close to reaching the top European club when they got all the way into extra time against Croatian Dinamo Zagreb in the decisive playoff match last autumn. Two quick home goals in extra time ensured Glimt’s exit, and the dream of the Champions League burst through the fingers of the All Yellows.
This season, Knutsen and co. well in the Conference League group stage, where they are second in the group – three points behind leader Club Brugge. In the last round, they delivered a strong performance against Besiktas in Istanbul and won 2-0.
These are Glimt’s remaining matches in 2023:
26 November: Brann – Bodø/Glimt (Eliteserien)
30 November: Bodø/Glimt – Lugano (Conference League)
3 December: Bodø/Glimt – Sarpsborg 08 (Eliteserien)
9 December: Bodø/Glimt – Molde (Cup final)
14 December: Club Brugge – Bodø/Glimt (Conference League)
TURKISH PEPPER: Glimt delivered a strong match against Besiktas in Istanbul earlier in November. The visitors won 2-0 after scores by the fiery Faris Pemi Moumbagna.
Photo: Getty Images