It’d be difficult to find a more picturesque stadium in Europe. At the foothills of Mount Ulrika in the beautiful city of Bergen, nestled on the western coast of Norway, the “Gateway to the Fjords” is the home of Brann, a top flight Norwegian soccer team.
This past Sunday, I got a chance to experience what a top flight Norwegian football match is like. Brann, who are fighting to avoid relegation (the season runs from March to November), played Molde — perhaps best known as the team that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer once managed to2 Norwegian Premier League trophies. Molde was top of the table, so it was truly a battle between two teams at opposite ends of the table.
I took the “light railway” (essentially a tram) from the city center to the Brann Stadion. The carriage was standing room only with seemingly no room to add any more passengers. But as we stopped at each station on the way to the ground, the oncoming passengers seemed to find a way to squeeze and snake their way on to the train to make an already tight squeeze that much tighter.
When we arrived at the Brann Stadion stop, the doors of the train opened to allow the fans in red (Brann) and blue (Molde) streamed across the platform and breathe in the cool air.
The walk from the station to the stadium was less than half a mile, through a residential neighborhood complete with children playing with their toys in the front yard. The fans filled the lanes as we descended down the hill toward the stadium.
Brann Stadion, built in 1919 but modernized in recent years, is a quaint stadium with covered seating on all four sides. The red seats are close to the field, and the low-level roof, adorned with bright bulbs, offer spectators a chance to see the mountains that flank the valley where the stadium is nestled in.
Arriving at the stadium 15 minutes before kick-off, most of the fans were already inside the stadium, so I walked around to the west end to buy a ticket. After waiting 5 minutes in line, I was able to buy a ticket for the south stand with no problems.
Before entering the south stand with five minutes to go before kickoff, every fan had to undergo a brief body search. I then walked up the incline and into the south stand.