Last season’s 11th place finish was beaten by a very respectable 7th, delivering tangible on-field progress under tight financial constraints. Some big wins contributed to that, including a 1-7 thumping of Haugesund, a 3-0 win over Sarpsborg, and a 4-1 win over Tromo on the final day of the season.
I’ve been on a mission to gradually reduce the number of foreign imports within the squad, replacing them for home-grown players. There’s a foreign player registration limit of 9 in Norway’s top flight, which we were right on the edge of, giving us little wiggle room in the transfer market. I’ve knocked our count down to 7, with a number of those being temporary loanees. Our under 19’s won the Norwegian Under 19’s Championship this season, which gives hope that the next generation of home grown talents can step up from within the ranks.
Some notable points for this season:
- Right wing-back, Vegar Hedenstad, wins fans’ player of the season
- New goalkeeper, Håvard Hetle wins Bryne and Norwegian Premier Division young player of the season
- Peder Oterhals Bachmann scoops Norwegian Second Division Group 2 Top Goalscorer Award with 21, leading the line as Sotra SK gained promotion via the playoffs
- 15 of our goals were scored by non-strikers
- New record attendance: 2,775 (part of the reason for our lack of financial muscle)
Interestingly, winning the Norwegian cup provides a route into the Europa League, with 8th place Stabæk reaping those rewards this season. We’re still some way off the top spots, so that’s something to perhaps treat more seriously now that we’re an established top half side. I’ve certainly been guilty of rotating the squad for those cup ties. Some European football would do wonders for our finances.
Pre-season begins with a trip to the sunny Atlantic beaches and golf resorts of The Algarve in Portugal. The players deserve it after a really good season!