Football in Norway

July 8, 1912
The Olympic football contest at Stockholm have given much stimulus to the game in Norway. Vincent Hayes, the Bradford full back, who coached the Norwegian team, writes: –

“I was sadly disappointed with the play and players I first saw after my arrival here in April. However, it was early in the season, and the players, so to speak, were still on their ski legs, and perhaps I expected too much. There has certainly been an improvement of late, and it is very gratifying. One has to remember that the game is young in this country, and the prevailing conditions are all against the players and good football, and no small amount of praise is due, both to officials and players, for the manner in which they overcame these difficulties.

“Their very enthusiasm, and the zest and vigour one sees displayed by the schoolboys, kicking away as only schoolboys can on every available piece of spare ground, are surely true indications for the good of the game in the future. The ground problem is the greatest difficulty they have to contend with, and it is very different to the state of affairs in England, where every little club can rent its own ground. There are four senior clubs in Kristiania, which is, of course, the largest centre, and all the matches are played on one ground.

“Play is only possible about five months, and during the winter the ground is flooded and the space used for skating. They don’t play on grass, and at present the ground is very hard and dusty and very similar to some of the grounds in South Africa. Matches are arranged alternately between the four clubs in this district.

“As for the game itself. I found some of the most elementary points neglected. Throwing in for instance, a player would never trouble to look for the line, and if by chance he did stand on it, he would surely jump off as he threw in the ball. I also found that heading was practically absent, although the Grenlands team did show some ability in this phase of the game, and were much better at it than the Kristiania teams.

“Whenever the ball was in the air, they would never look for it, but rather have a go at each other, and put up their feet in a most dangerous manner, somewhere near the spot they expected it to drop. Now I’m glad that these, and many other little failings, have almost disappeared. We have had the Hearts and the Celts here in Kristiania. The Hearts played on the 12th and 14th of May, winning 6-0 and 9-0. Last week-end we had the Celtic and on Friday, June 7 they beat a representative team 4-1. This result awakened a lot of interest, and on the 9th before a record crowd the Celts prevailed by 3 to 1.”
(Source: Athletic News: July 8, 1912)

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