Baggies tales from a Norwegian fan
WELCOME back to “My Albion”, our weekly feature dedicated to weird, wonderful and fascinating Baggies tales from our supporters across the globe.
Our world tour began in New Hampshire, USA, when Andy Caulton became the first fan to recount his experiences of following the Club (click here to view).
This week, we have flown into Scandinavia to listen to the story of one Baggies-mad fan who enjoys, in his own words, “being the minority among Liverpool and Manchester United supporters.”
Stian Bøe’s recollections can be found below. Do your own experiences relate to his in any way?
Stian, firstly thanks for taking part. Where are you from and how long have you supported us for?
I live in a place called Vennesla, which is near the southern tip of Norway. My earliest memory of supporting the Baggies is from very early in 1979.
What made you support the Baggies? Do you have any family that supported us or is there a special story?
As a six-year-old in the 1978/79 season, I was really interested in reading and numbers and that is probably why I enjoyed going through the sports pages in the newspaper. We had live matches on the television on Saturdays so I probably watched some of that as well, but I am quite sure I just picked a team to support from the league table. Albion was always West Bromw over here, so the strange name with the uncommon W probably helped.
Have you ever been to The Hawthorns? If so, can you remember your last visit?
My last match at The Hawthorns was the 1-1 draw against Liverpool in the 2013/14 season when Victor Anichebe scored the equaliser. It wasn’t the best game and nothing really stands out, however I think that was my first time in the Brummie Road for almost 20 years.
Who is your favourite all-time Albion player?
That’s a very difficult question. Different players stand out from different eras. John Wile was a favourite of mine when all I knew about the players was from the bubblegum cards I had. Don Goodman also stands out, as do Bob Taylor and Richard Sneekes from when I got to see the players up close on pre-season trips. In the Premier League era, I would have to say Zoltan Gera.
You live quite a distance away from The Hawthorns Stian, so how do you follow our matches?
The Premier League is never too far away and almost every match is available to watch somewhere. I watch the games on television and follow the coverage on social media too. Back in the 1990s, I used to listen to BBC Radio and follow the games that way.
Are there many other Albion fans with you in Vennesla?
Other than my wife and son who I have cleverly converted into Baggies fans, there are probably only five others who I know about within a 30-mile radius.
Do you have any interesting stories from your time as an Albion fan?
Where do I start? Almost 40 years as a fan have brought me much joy and some sorrow. I specifically remember the FA Cup semi-final in 1982 when we played QPR. I was nine. The match was first on our pools coupon over here. I quite clearly remember coming in after playing outside and asking my dad to confirm that we had won. Obviously I was a bit too confident because we had lost 1-0. I must have forgotten about that in May 1993 though, because I booked plane tickets for the play-off final weekend before we had even played Swansea in the semi-final!
Have you ever met any Albion players?
I think the first player I met was Steve Parkin in the Moat House while looking for the pick-up point for the supporters’ coaches for an away match in Preston. That was also the first time I had seen The Hawthorns. I was fortunate enough to meet Jeff Astle, Tony Brown and Cyrille Regis, although he was at Villa at that time, when on a stadium tour with Alan Cleverley.
Finally Stian, can you try and put into words what West Bromwich Albion means to you?
Being an Albion fan has had a huge influence on my life. Following an English team over here in Norway is not uncommon, but supporting Albion has made me feel a bit special. I have enjoyed being in a minority among all the Liverpool and Manchester United fans. Every week I know there is a new chance for my team to bring me joy with a surprise win, although I have learned over the years that if you expect nothing, everything else will feel positive. I have also made many friends who are connected with the Club. It has given me many opportunities to enjoy the small pleasures of collecting memorabilia and jotting down all kind of stats over the years. The Club will stay with me for the rest of my life, even if I want it to or not.
Thanks for joining us again. Want to get involved? Get in touch via social media and tell us where you follow from!