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Norge army heads over for Gills clash

11 September 2013

The Sky Blues will gain six honorary supporters when Gillingham visit Sixfields this weekend...

The Sky Blues will gain six honorary supporters when Gillingham visit Sixfields this weekend.

The club has agreed a match sponsorship deal with six friends from Norway, who are big fans of English football and travel over once a year to watch a match.

The friends, from the village of Lindaas – one hour north of the city of Bergen – will get a tour of the stadium, pre-match photos and the full corporate treatment.

Sigve Hodneland, one of the founding members of the Gutta på Englandstur group (which translates to ‘The Boys Travelling to England’) 11 years ago, said Coventry City had a special place in their heart. 

He said: “We travel every autumn and, over the last 11 years, we have seen more than 30 matches – mainly in the Premier League and the Championship – but any British football match is an adventure!

“There are eight of us in the group but only six can make it on this occasion.

“This time we are coming over to see Coventry against Gillingham. For us, in Norway, Coventry is a well-known club with a long history.

“One of our local heroes from Bergen and the Norwegian club SK Brann is Trong Egil Soltvedt, who played for Coventry City from 1997 to 1999.

“We are fully aware, however, that he might be a bigger hero for us than he is for you!”

The boys’ adventures in England started in the early 1990s when there were just six members of the group. 

That has since grown to eight with ages ranging from 25 to 44.

“Amazingly, those of us who have wives get permission to travel over to England once a year,” added Sigve. “We come to watch football and sample the British beer.”

This year’s trip has partly been financed by the friends’ betting exploits.

“Every week, two of us bet £10 on some matches and the winnings are saved and put towards the trip,” said Sigve.

“We use the money for food and drink and, this year, we’ve put some towards the sponsorship of the game.

“If we had chosen to save the money we bet each week, we would probably have more money in the pot – but that is a different story!”

Tynan Scope, the club’s corporate sales manager, said: “This is definitely one of the more unusual sponsorship deals we have done but I am delighted to be welcoming the group over to watch our match against Gillingham.

“Also, having been at the club when Trond Egil Soltvedt was here, I can testify that he is an all-round good guy who was very popular with Sky Blues fans.”

A range of sponsorship and hospitality packages are available for each game. For more information or to book, email or call 07808 760809.

Pictured: The six original members from the start (from left: Jo-Einar Vaboe, Kenneth Hodneland, Sigve Hodneland, Per-Arne Pedersen, Jørgen Bjorsvik, Ronny Bjorsvik)

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