– FFK is our sanity

JUBILEE IN PLANKEBYEN: The FFK players applaud after the victory over Bryne. From left: Boubou Konte, Philip Sandvik Aukland, Håvar Grøntvedt Jenssen, Oscar Aga and Joannes Bjartalid

FREDRIKSTAD (VG) (Fredrikstad-Bryne 2–1) Fredrikstad are confident that “it will be close to the year” this fall. Finally, the pride of the city, FFK, will go to the best company. Sondre Sørløkk (26) rocked the game against Bryne on Wednesday night.


Thus, FFK is always at the top of the table.

– FFK is more important to the city than most people realize, says Fredrikstad review profile Pål Nielsen.

We stand outside Fredrikstad Stadium, where the flagship Fredrikstad Mekaniske Verksted was once located.

– There is a lot of discussion about what we should spend money on. If we want to make the city happy, then the municipality and everyone else should spend money on the club. FFK is our sanity, continues Pål Nielsen.

Fredrikstad is, or rather was, the city of the plank – with its countless sawmills along the Glomma.

Fredrikstad was, and still is, the city of football. At least if there is promotion this year.

FAROES SUCCESS: Jóannes Bjartalíd celebrates after scoring against Skeid.

FFK, also called the Red Pants, has nine league championships and 11 gold cups.

Only Rosenborg has more league gold since 1937.

In contrast, the FFK has no league championships after Football-Norway was united into one kingdom in 1963 (and Northern Norway only in the 1970s). The last cup championship took place in 2006. In 2008 there was silver in the Eliteserien.

After that, it mostly went downhill. The “aristocrats” of Norwegian football have definitely been in a dip.

Review profile of Fredrikstad Pål Nielsen in front of Fredrikstad Stadium.

– We, the ancients, still speak of “aristocrats”. Young people don’t even know what this word means, says Pål Nielsen.

– Is FFK, like you, part of the Fredrikstad culture?

– Yes! We do a lot of the same. We try to make people believe that it’s a city where it’s good to live. The only problem is that the sport is measurable, and the 2nd division or the Obos league will not suffice. It’s good to be in Eliteserien.

Already in 2009, FFK moved – and what hurt the most was that the final blow came from “the other town”, also called Sarpsborg.

Mads Nielsen thanks the fans for the game after the win over Bryne.

Admittedly, it was a quick step back, but since 2012 the FFK have not played at the highest level of Norwegian football.

The bottom was reached when FFK moved to level three in November 2017 – after a qualifying game against Notodden.

Three years after the painful relegation, Fredrikstad finally managed to climb the slope. Even Per-Mathias Høgmo couldn’t do it the first time around. He eventually gave the responsibility to his assistant Bjørn Johansen, who handled it on the second attempt. ‘Bummen’ was fired as the club had no promotion at hand in September 2022.

People cross the center walkway and go to Fredrikstad stadium to watch an FFK game.

The new head coach was Mikkkjal Thomassen, who had been successful with KÍ Klaksvík and settled in well at the old Østfold.

Last weekend was all the way to the top for Fredrikstad after Kongsvinger lost to Raufoss.

– Now it could explode in Fredrikstad, says Erik André Pedersen. He is a commentator in Fredriksstad Blad (which, yes, is spelled with two s).

– The belief in the promotion is growing round by round, the atmosphere is completely different among the townspeople now.

Mikkjal Thomassen from the Faroe Islands is Fredrikstad’s new coach. Like Klaksvik, he is successful.

– How much for the city?

– FFK has two promotions to Eliteserien in the past 40 years. We are far from the golden years of Knut Torbjørn Eggen in 2002 and the first rise in the elite series in 2003 in terms of atmosphere in the city, it was a unique time. But it’s starting to look like 2010 and the promotion after.

Erik André Pedersen observed a new fan culture:

– The FFK is attracting more and more people to the matches, a new big group of supporters has grown up with younger boys, there has been a generational change there, and you can see from the newspaper’s readership that there is great interest. I think it could explode in Fredrikstad this fall if FFK gets fully involved. And they will be!

FFK supporters gathered in Båthuset before the FFK game. From left to right: Knut Jacobsen, Marius Jacobsen, Marius Hoff Pettersen, Linda Amundsen (fan coordinator in FFK), Flemming Johansen, Martin Bo Johansen.

– For what?

– The team have built a strong base under Mikkkjal Thomassen and also achieved a solid summer window so far. As more and more people are starting to believe it, it’s no surprise, though many here in the city are downright mentally wrecked when it comes to football after so many setbacks with FFK.

Pål Nielsen is afraid that Fredrikstad can’t stand being outside the noblest company, ie the Eliteserien, any longer.

– We elders know the names of the heroes of the 1960s, “Lækken” and “Snæbbus” and Bjørn Borgen. This knowledge is about to disappear. We still have an audience, but I’m afraid that if there were another ten years in the Obos championship, it would die out. The younger generation does not have the same relationship to this.

Fans gather at Båthuset before the FFK game.

At “Båthuset”, the fans prepare for the match.

– It’s time now. There will be promotion this year, says supporters coordinator Linda Amundsen.

– We hope we will end up where we belong. Where we ourselves think we belong, says Marius Hoff Pettersen.

– But we don’t belong there when we haven’t played well enough, says Flemming Johansen.

– Do you agree that FFK is important for the mental health of the city?

– Yes, if FFK is fine, then the whole city is fine. When FFK loses, you notice it all over town the following Monday, says Marius Hoff Pettersen.

Pal Nielsen then? Isn’t he going to the game tonight?

– No. I pretend that I am not FFK. But I do. I know the table inside out!

The Fredrikstad crowd were a bit shocked when Bryne stepped in and took the lead early in the 2nd half. The ball eventually fell to Pål Aamodt, who shot through an FFK leg and into the goal. Goalkeeper Håvar Grøntvedt Jenssen was overtaken and had to watch the ball drop into the goal.

Sondre Sørløkk, who came from Ull/Kisa this summer, equalized 1-1 with a fine individual performance and then completed the turnaround by sending FFK in the lead 2-1.

Kongsvinger came back strong after the loss to Raufoss. Good old Adem Güven was of course central. He assisted in the goals that gave Kongsvinger a 2-0 halftime lead. Martin Andersen, Ludvig Langrekken, Vegard Leikvoll Moberg and Elias Myrlid scored for KIL.


Ranheim-Kongsvinger 1–4, Raufoss-Jerv 2–3, Moss-KFUM Oslo 0–1, Fredrikstad-Bryne 2–1, Start-Skeid 3–0, Åsane-Mjøndalen 3–2.

The matches between Sogndal and Kristiansund and between Hødd and Sandnes/Ulf have been postponed due to storm “Hans”.


Darell Ferguson

"Tv guru. Analyst. Lifelong alcohol junkie. Friendly bacon specialist. Twitter nerd."

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