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The Amazing Story of Follo FK

This weekend something incredible will happen. Whilst the British media will have their eyes trained on goings-on at Goodison Park and Stamford Bridge, one thousand kilometres away, at Oslo’s Ullevaal Stadion, tiny Follo FK will play the biggest game of their short history.

Founded only ten years ago, and hailing from a town with a population of just over 25,000, Follo FK have written one of the greatest sporting underdog stories of recent years. The culmination of their journey will be played out this Sunday at the home of Norwegian football, as they come up against the mighty Strømsgodset for the Norgesmesterskap, the national cup of Norway, the country’s defining football prize.

Follo’s achievements in the Cup this year are already astonishing. Despite being a provincial side, which spent the season battling against relegation from the Adeccoligaen, the second tier of Norwegian football, they have already eliminated top-flight opposition in Lillestrøm SK on route to the final. Even more miraculously, Follo FK defeated Rosenborg BK, the powerhouse of Norwegian football and current Tippeligaen champions, 3-2 in the semi-final. Hallvar Thoresen, Norway’s leading football commentator, called the victory ‘the greatest Norwegian Cup shock of all time’.

There were jubilant scenes as Follo FK eliminated the mighty Rosenborg in the semi-final in September

You would be forgiven for thinking that it had been a season of unparalleled joy for Follo FK. Tipped for relegation from the Adeccoligaen, and routed to the bottom of the table at the time of their triumph over Rosenborg, Follo rallied following their unlikely victory, and battled back to finish twelfth, escaping relegation by a single point. There was to be a heartbreaking twist however, as the failure to submit their application for the required licenses to operate within the deadline meant that Follo FK were demoted to the third tier for the 2011/12 campaign.

For Follo FK then this Sunday represents something of a swan song. Victory would land the club an unprecedented Europa League third qualifying round place, but the future of the club remains far from certain. A planned appeal to the Norwegian Football Association (NFF) against their forced relegation seems unlikely to be successful, further increasing the significance of the Cup final. All but the most romantic of pundits are predicting a resounding Strømsgodset victory, but a fairytale ending to this amazing tale is not beyond the reaches of Follo FK.



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