Bury Fans in Exile #1: Norway Fan Club!

Away from the tumult on (and off) the pitch at Gigg Lane, I recently decided to do a new series of interviews with fellow Bury FC fans ‘in exile’, be they originally from the area and have since moved well away from the market town or came to support the club from afar, even abroad. The first of these focuses on a set of followers across the North Sea (and bear in mind that the questions and answers written before the transfer deadline…)

Firstly, who are you?

My name is Martin Teddy, the president of Bury official supporters club of Norway. I run the supporter club with my friends, vice-president Simen Huseby and executive director Dino Islamagic.

How did you come to support Bury?

Our interest about Bury started in 2006, when the video game FIFA 07 was released and Bury was one of the poorest teams in the game.  For us Bury were an underdog, and we started to follow Bury in League Two. We did some research around the club; players, home-grown, history.  Andy Bishop was the big star! David Flitcroft and Chris Brass were also in that team. We were really fascinated about the history of Bury that was one of the best teams in England for over a hundred years with two FA-Cup titles and some amazing records.  At that time we talked about to visit Gigg Lane one time in the future.

How did the Bury FC Norway Supporters’ Club come about?

I got some ideas about launching Bury FC Norway in the autumn 2015. When I was studying Social and Sport Sciences in Trondheim I met the leader of the Norwegian supporter club to Peterborough. We had the same interest about lower English football leagues and we became good friends. I saw that fantastic work he did for his team and that was a big inspiration for me to start up the Norwegian supporter club to Bury in the winter of 2016.  My childhood friends loved the idea and we developed a partnership.  We were given a lot of tips and advice and then we started up a Twitter-page.  Last fall of 2016 we got the status as the official supporters club of Bury FC in Norway, as we were accepted into the Supporter Union for British Football in Norway together with 54 other supporters clubs of teams in United Kingdom. Before this season we launched our own website www.bury.no and passed 300 followers on Twitter. We have 14 members residing in several places in Norway and Barcelona.

How would you describe the experience of your first live match at Gigg Lane?

Our supporters club had our first visit to the club in February 2016. The overall experience was phenomenal – the atmosphere in and around the club was more than what we expected and we really felt like home from the beginning to the end. We started our visit by meeting John Raftery, a big Bury fan who firstly took us to an awesome dinner followed by a visit to Gigg Lane where we met Ben Miles who showed us around at the stadium with a guided trip through all the facilities including the fan shop. Later that Tuesday we attended the game against MK Dons. Prior to the game we went to the social pre-game event at the Bury club-house and met many other Bury fans. The game itself was not as good as we hoped, a 0-0 draw was disappointing, but the atmosphere at the stadium was a good compensation.

How have you found the international version of iFollow? Does it make you feel ‘closer’ to the club now that you can watch all the non-televised matches in full?

iFollow is an fantastic gift to all football fans who love lower football league and I know a lot of football fans in Norway who have bought  season-pass. Now it is possible to reach our own opinion about the players and how we play, instead of basing our opinions on the few matches that have been shown on TV and information from our friends in Bury. The quality of iFollow is not very good. The reason of that is the audio is lagging behind the video and Bury Football Club said to us at Twitter that they do not have the technology to marry the two together, something which is very disappointing from our perspective as supporters.

Who have been your favourite Bury players, past or present and why?

This is a very difficult question but from the first day we began to follow Bury, Andy Bishop was the big star. In recent times when we have followed the club regularly its difficult because it’s a lot of replacements every season but I have to say Ryan Lowe. What a man and a fantastic song.

What do you think the realistic aim is for this season?

Indeed, we´ve had a slow start, but we are confident that we can make the play-offs. We have a good squad, and we hope that we will be able to get a few new signings before the deadline as well.

If you were the manager (and all the players were available for selection), who would be in your starting XI and how would they set out?

A lot of new signings and injury problems had led to that we haven’t seen all players in action, but I can try:

Murphy; Jones, Aldred, Cameron, Leigh; Mayor, Dawson, Tutte, O´Shea; Beckford, Maguire

Do you watch much domestic football in Norway? Scott Burgess seemed to excel at Bergsøy during his loan spell in 2016.

I watch a lot of Norwegian football. The biggest team is Rosenborg with 24 league-and 11 cup-titles. The club have a great history and have been several times in Champions League, where they have won against big teams like Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Porto, PSG, AC Milan. This autumn Rosenborg will play Europa League after they beat Ajax in both matches in the last qualifying round. The other teams in Norway hold a much lower level. Scott Burgess loan to Bergsøy in 2016 were of the special type.  Bergsøy is a small club at the fifth level, which equals a lower non-league club in England. There were maybe a few special reasons why the club chose to send him there, but I don’t know. But anyway, Burgess got a Norwegian holiday and I guess he loved it.

Was too much pressure placed too soon on the shoulders of Martin Ødegaard?

First of all it’s a lot of different opinions about Ødegaard, but I will try to present some of my thoughts. First time I saw he in action was when I, together with Simen and Dino played against him in 2012.  We were leading 2-1 until the last 5 min… But enough about that.  The hype around Ødegaard was created by the media, and the Norwegian media have been an extreme example in this manner. However, there is no doubt that the boy has loads of talent, and don’t forget that he is still only 18 years old and playing good football for Herenveen in the Netherlands. I think that Ødegaard will flourish to his full potential in the future if he continues the same path as he is currently at the club.

What would you say the state of the men’s national team is like

They have been somewhat overshadowed by Iceland as of late! The Norwegian national team has been in a crisis since early 2000, and they’ve not qualified for a major tournament in ages. When it comes to Iceland – they are one of many that overshadows the Norwegian national team.