The story of Stavanger’s biggest football club.
Shortly before the turn of the century in Stavanger Norway, a new football team emerged: they called it Viking. For the first few decades it was, like many of its ilk, a regional team; playing games against other local clubs. But by the 1930’s the club had started to establish itself at the national level, and in 1933 played in its first ever Norwegian Cup final.
After the Second World War, Viking cemented itself as a dominant side in Norwegian football. The club won two Norwegian Cup titles in 1953 and 1959, as well as its first league title in 1958. The following decade was fairly uneventful in Stavanger. A number of mid and lower-table finishes, and even a two-year stint in the second division, left everyone at the club hungry for some success.
While during the 1960s Viking was kept somewhat quiet in national football, the club returned to the top of the tables in Norwegian football during the 1970s. Viking won four straight league titles from 1972 to 1975, including completing the double in 1979. This success is often attributed to innovative manager Kjell Schou-Andreassen, who led the club in 1972. His ideas on cooperative behavior and his revolutionary use of pacey, attacking full backs Sigbjørn Slinning and Anbjørn Ekeland was a needed shakeup in the Norwegian style of play. But Viking cycled through managers at the rate of one per season during this decade of success.
The next decade was sung in a different note for Viking. The first years started out well, with a league win and a number of runner-ups finishes, but the success didn’t last. By the mid 1980’s Viking found itself relegated into the second division. This situation reached its zenith in 1987, considered to be the worst season in the club’s history, when they barely held on to an eight place finish in the second division.
The miracle in Haugesund
The club didn’t stay down for long however, a new manager and a number of new players were brought in to try and rejuvenate the team. This gamble paid off when striker Alf Kåre Tveit knocked in a controversial penalty during extra time in the final league game of the 1988 season. This gave Viking the victory, secured the club’s promotion back to the top division, and was soon dubbed “the miracle in Haugesund”. This signalled the start of a new era in Stavanger, and the club won the Norwegian Cup in 1989 and were crowned league champions in 1991.
For the remainder of the decade no one was able to challenge Rosenborg BK for the top of the table. But there were still a number of memorable moments for Viking: such as nearly knocking out FC Barcelona out of the UEFA Cup, and the nurturing of star players like Egil Østenstad, Thomas Mhyre, and many others that went on to have stand out careers in English football and elsewhere in Europe.
A memorable win over Chelsea
As 1999 turned into 2000, Viking rang in the new century with several third place finishes, a Norwegian Cup title, and a memorable European Cup victory over English football club Chelsea. At the beginning of the 2004 season, the club moved to its new stadium in Jåttåvågen (a coastal area of Stavanger), named Viking Stadion.
Since then Viking has enjoyed little outstanding success. A third place finish in the league during the 2007 season stands out amongst the flurry of mid and lower-table finishes. But Viking will weather the storm as it has done in its more than 100 years of history and will remain one of the most storied and successful football clubs in Norway.