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Sportsklubben Brann (most often called Brann, sometimes (incorrectly) Brann Bergen internationally) is a Norwegianmarker football club, founded September 26 1908, from Bergenmarker. Brann has been in the Norwegian Premier League since 1987 and play their home matches at Brann Stadionmarker where they had a record-breaking 17,310 in average attendance in the 2007 season. In October 2007, Brann won their first championship since the 1963 season.

Overview

Brann is historically one of the biggest clubs in Norway in terms of public interest, and hence there are high expectations for the club every season, expectations that notoriously have been let down. Brann won their first Norwegian Premier League titles in 1961/62 and 1963, but after this Brann was involved in the race for the league title only in seasons 1974-76, 1990 and 2006. In 2007, they reclaimed the league title and thus ended an 44 year long waiting period.

Despite the limited success, the club has never failed to spark considerable interest from the Norwegian media and keeping an epidemics of football hysteria continuously running in Bergenmarker. Moreover, Brann have regularly been winners and runners-up of the Norwegian Cup. The club reached the Quarter Finals of the Cup Winners' Cup in the 1996/97 season.

Formation and early years

On 26 September 1908 Christen K. Gran and Birger Gjestland together with eight other men, met in a local cafe in Bergenmarker. Due to dissatisfaction of the current state of the local football clubs in Bergen, they decided to form a new football club. They called the it Ski- og Fodboldklubben Brann (Ski and Football Club Brann). This was later changed to Sportsklubben Brann (Sport Club Brann).

Brann played their first match against a local Bergen team on New Year's Day 1909, drawing 1-1. During the first years Brann struggled with poor results. Then in 1917,considered the breakthrough year for Brann, they managed to qualify for the Cup final. Brann lost the match 1-4 against Sarpsborgmarker, but was now among the top teams of Norway. In 1917 the club bought an area south of Bergen City. Two years later on 25 May,with funding contributed from fans and investors, Brann stadiummarker was opened. The opening match was against the Norwegian national team, losing 2-6. In 1923 Brann won their first title when they defeated Lyn 2-1 in the Cup final. Two years later Brann claimed their second title this time defeating Sarpsborgmarker 3-0 in the cup final!

The following years Brann entered a recession. Brann had to wait until 1947 before again qualifying for the top league that was now called Norgesligaen (Norwegian league). In 1950 Brann once again managed to qualify for the Cup final, losing 0-3 to Fredrikstad.
Brann Stadion, the stadium where SK Brann plays their home matches


1960's and 1970s: Glory and relegation

In the 1960s Brann produced two of Norway's most profiled players. With Roald Jensen and Rolf Birger Pedersen on the team, Brann won their first League Championship in 1961/1962 and in the consecutive season in 1963. During the 1963 season, Brann had an average attendance at 15 486, which was the league record until 2003, when Rosenborgmarker did better. The following year, due to many injured players, the same team surprisingly was relegated from the top league. With Roald Jensen departing to the Scottish team Hearts, Brann didn't manage to keep up the good play. They were promoted back into the top league in 1967.

In the 1970s, Brann won the Cup Championship two times. Once in 1972 defeating Rosenborgmarker 1-0. And again in 1976 defeating Sogndal IL 2-1. In each of the seasons 1974-1976, Brann narrowly missed out on the league title, attracting an average attendance that was unheard of in Norway at the time.

1980's: The "yo-yo" years

With the 1980s came Brann's "yo-yo" era. Brann were relegated in 1979 and won the 2nd division in 1980, and the team continued to alternate between the 1st and 2nd division until they finally avoided relegation in 1987. This is the world record for consecutive relegations-promotions. Brann have remained in the top flight ever since. In 1982, Brann again won the Cup Championship, beating Molde 3-2. Neil MacLeod scored the winning goal in the 57th minute.

Brann hadn't had any real challenge from local rivals at least since the 1950s. In 1989, however, the Bergen based Fyllingen IL were promoted to the Norwegian Premier League for the first time.

1990's: Derbies, medals and brief European success

Unlike for example the English Premier League, the top three teams of the Norwegian Premier League are awarded medals. Silver and bronze medals are sometimes received with a shrug, but Brann's dismal league history made them top priority for the club in the 1990s. In 1990, Brann were involved in a decisive last match where they had the chance of clinching the league title, but lost and ended fourth. They lost out on their first medals since 1976 as local rivals Fyllingen IL conceded two vital goals against Molde FK in stoppage time. Only weeks prior to this, Fyllingen IL had beat Brann in the Cup semi finals, and their outspoken ambitions to take over the football hegemony in Bergenmarker by now had become a major annoyance for Brann.

In 1991, after a shock resignation of manager Teitur Thordarson, Brann once again struggled, and needed a win in their last game against Strømsgodset in order save play-off against two first division teams. Losing the game would send Brann down, while securing play-off for equally struggling local rivals Fyllingen IL. Also, there were fears that a relegation would spawn another long-term "elevator era". A panic-stricken crowd saw Brann win the game 2-0. In the play-offs, though beating Strindheim IL at home, Brann still needed to beat Bryne F.K. away in a deciding match. A goal by Sten Glenn Håberg gave Brann a 1-0 win over Bryne, however, in a dramatic match where former Brann manager Mons Ivar Mjelde, then at the opposition side, hit the post.

Fyllingen IL were promoted back into the Norwegian Premier League in 1992. In 1993 Brann got their two first-ever wins against their local rivals. A 6-1 thrashing in the penultimate league round sent Fyllingen down, while securing continued Premier League status for Brann. After the season, Brann purchased Fyllingen's key player Per Ove Ludvigsen, and this put an end to Fyllingen and the derby matches. Fyllingen are now a mediocre second division side without top flight ambitions.

Brann were notorious for lacking a regular goal scorer ever since the 1970s, but this ended with Trond Egil Soltvedt's many goals in 1993 and 1994. His extremely dedicated style, his innocent and somewhat naïve personality and the fact that many of his goals were scored as a midfielder made him immensely popular. Just before the start of the 1995 season, however, he was sacked by Brann's board for "illoyality", the board refusing to elaborate on this. Disciplinary action was also taken against stars Frank Strandli, Inge Ludvigsen and Claus Lundekvam. This caused a public outcry, the issue was all over the national media, there were demonstrations in the centre of Bergen, and the fans were split in their support to Soltvedt or to the board and manager Hallvar Thoresen. Attendances and the atmosphere on Brann Stadionmarker initially plummeted as a result of this. The team spirit amongst players also seemed broken, and the first game against Molde F.K. was lost 6-0 at home, resulting in the entire crowd yelling for the board to resign. With Brann at bottom position halfway through the league season, Hallvar Thoresen was sacked and Kjell Tennfjord, the manager behind Fyllingen IL's success, was appointed. He saved Brann into an eventual mid-table position and led them to the Norwegian Cup finals, again sparking immense optimism around the club.

In 1996, as in 1990, Brann were denied bronze medals in injury time of the last game, after a terrible blunder by keeper Birkir Kristinsson. Only days later, however, Brann beat PSV Eindhoven of Hollandmarker to advance to the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners' Cup, ironically thanks to world-class goalkeeping by the same Birkir Kristinsson. This was the second time a Norwegian team had qualified for the last eight in Europe. In the quarter-finals, Brann first drew 1-1 at home against Liverpool FC, before losing the away match 3-0 and thus being knocked out.

In 1997, Brann finally won league silver medals after a solitary last-match goal by present manager Mons Ivar Mjelde. Later, Brann have also won league medals after finishing second in the 2000 season and third in 1999 and 2004.

In 1998, as in 1995, Brann found themselves at the bottom of the table halfway through the season. The manager Kjell Tennfjord was replaced by Harald Aabrekk, and a host of quality players were purchased. This saved Brann from relegation, but combined with the construction of a new stand on Brann Stadionmarker it gave them grave financial problems that only recently were resolved.

2000's: First title in decades

Teitur Thordarson was named new manager in 2000, when Harald Aabrekk left the job. For the second time in four seasons Brann won silver medals, secured after defeating Molde 4-0 in the last game of the season. Thorstein Helstad became the top goal scorer in the league in 2000 and 2001.

The 2002 season was the worst season for Brann in twelve seasons. Brann finished third from the bottom and had to play play-off to stay in the top league. Fortunately for Brann (equally unfortunately for Sandefjord, their opponent) the matches ended 0-0 (away), 2-1 (home), and Brann narrowly avoided relegation after a Sandefjord shot went less than a foot wide in injury time.

Ending third in 2004 season of the league qualified Brann for the Scandinavian Royal League.

In their impatient but unfruitful struggle to reclaim the glory of the 1960s, Brann over the years gained a reputation for inept leadership, unfounded enthusiasm or optimism and almost continuous internal unrest, deservedly or not. Since Mons Ivar Mjelde took over as manager in 2003, however, this image has changed, as the leadership has embraced continuity and extremely down-to-earth principles. Brann are now considered one of the best-run and harmonic clubs in the Norwegian Premier League.

Being one of the biggest clubs in Norway in terms of public interest, it is generally agreed that Brann have underperformed compared to their potential at least since the mid-1970s. However, on 7 November 2004, Brann won their first title in 22 years defeating F.C. Lyn Oslo 4-1 in the Norwegian Cup. Bengt Sæternes was man of the match scoring three goals within the first 35 minutes.

For most of the 2006 season Brann were top of the league and by many considered to be favourites to win the title. However, a poor run of form after the summer break, coupled with a correspondingly good run of form from archrivals Rosenborg meant that the Brann hopefuls were disappointed once again.

Brann won the league in 2007. In the end they finished 6 points ahead of its nearest rival, Stabæk. The team did cause a small sensation, and bitter disappointment among tens of thousands of Brann-supporters who had gathered in Bergen to watch the game live, on 20 October by losing to Ålesund 1-2 in the 24th of 26 rounds, a match where a draw would have set aside all doubt about Brann's league win. However two days later, Viking defeated Brann's last rival to the gold medals Stabæk with a 2-1 result, thereby securing Brann the first league championship since 1963 anyway. The same season Brann also qualified for the group stage of the UEFA Cup, and advanced from the group with a win and a draw. Brann faced a tough test against Everton F.C. with the aggregated score an 8-1 loss after two games.

The 2008 season was a major disappointment for all the fans hoping to repeat the success of the 2007 season. In the league Brann finished 8th (of 14 teams) and in the national cup they reached the final 16 but was eliminated after a 8-0 loss away to Molde FK). Brann also participated in the UEFA Champions League qualifer, but was elimnated from the contest in the third qualifying round after losing both matches (home 0-1, away 1-2) against Olympique de Marseille from Francemarker. After this they played against the Spanish team Deportivo de La Coruña in the first round of the 2008-2009 edition of UEFA Cup but was eliminated on penalties after an aggregate result of 2-2. On October 7 2008 Brann and their head coach Mons Ivar Mjelde announced that he would resign from the club at the end of the season.
Brann supporters cheer before the start of a UEFA Cup match against Deportivo.


Achievements



  • Norwegian Football Cup:
    • Winners (6): 1923, 1925, 1972, 1976, 1982, 2004
    • Runners-up (8): 1917, 1918, 1950, 1978, 1987, 1988, 1995, 1999






Recent history

{|class="wikitable"




Records



Current squad

Out on loan

Player of the year



Managers since 1980

References

External links



Season
Pos.
Pl.
W
D
L
GS
GA
P
Cup
Europe
Notes
1998
ES
6
26 9 8 9
44 39 35
semi-final
UC 1st round
1999
ES
3
26 16 1 9
45 40 49
final
2000
ES
2
26 14 5 7
53 40 47
last 16
UC 1st round
2001
ES
7
26 12 5 9
63 48 41
quarter-final
CL 2nd qual. round
2002
ES
12
26 8 3 15
35 52 27
last 16
UC Qual. round
Fair play
2003
ES
6
26 10 7 9
45 47 37
last 16
2004
ES
3
26 12 4 10
46 40 40
winner
2005
ES
6
26 10 7 9
43 32 37
quarter-final
UC 1st round
2006
ES
2
26 14 4 8
39 36 46
last 16
UC 2nd qual. round
Fair play
2007
ES
1
26 17 3 6
59 39 54
last 16
UC Last 32
2008
ES
8
26 8 9 9
36 36 33
last 16 CLUC
3rd qual. round1st round
2009
ES
5
30 12 8 10
51 49 44
quarter-final

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