On May 19, 1917, a bunch of rag-tag youths came together in Trondheim and founded Sportsklubben Odd. The name was inspired by the best football team in Norway at the time; Odd Skien.
The name didn´t stick very long though, mainly because the Norwegian Football Association (Norges Fotballforbund) did not like the idea of two teams having the same name. On October 26, 1928 they named themselves after the part of Trondheim they came from, and Rosenborg Ballklub was born. In daily parlance, the name is usually just Rosenborg or RBK.
Trondheim, the third largest city in Norway with 136,000 inhabitants is home to Rosenborg BK. Home matches are played on Lerkendal Stadion with a maximum seating capacity of 22,000. It is purely a football club and has no teams for minors or women. Recruiting is done with the help of smaller local clubs as well as the usual buying and selling of professional players.
Their first FA Cup championship came in 1960, simultaneously advancing to the 1st division, the premier league of its day. Curiously, they defeated Odd Skien 3-2 in the cup finals, the club they originally lent their name from.
Their second FA Cup was taken to Trondheim in 1964, but they had to wait until 1967 before they won the national league. The same year they also lost the FA Cup finals. 1967 was Odd Iversen and Harald Sunde's year. Together the two forwards scored 27 goals in the 18 match league, giving rise to the humourous legend of Rosenborg BK having "eight backs and two forwards".
In 1971 Rosenborg won "The Double"; the national league and the FA Cup in the same season. Their leading player that season was Bjørn Wirkola, a celebrated ski jumper with several national and world championships, world records and olympic medals under his belt.
Another player on the team during the 1971 season was Nils Arne Eggen. He was later to become their legendary main coach and take the team and himself to legend status in Norway. He retired after the 2002 season and was replaced by Åge Hareide.
1985 saw Rosenborg - affectionately nicknamed Troillongan* - winning their fourth league championship, gathering a crowd of almost 29,000 for the final match against Lillestrøm SK. 29,000 people out of a population of 136,000. If nothing else, it is a telltale sign of the football interest in the tiny - on a European scale - city of Trondheim. This match currently holds the record attendance for a non-international football match in Norway.
Rosenborg won "The Double" again in both 1988 and 1990, and their hegemony of Norwegian football had begun. From 1991 onwards, they've won the league for 13 consecutive years, adding an FA Cup to their trophy cupboard every now and then. Their domination of Norwegian football is total. After their 10th league championship a golden star was added to their jerseys above the club badge.
Winning the national league means playing qualifiers for UEFA Champions League. Rosenborg was in the playoffs nine years in a row (1995-2004), reaching a quarter final in the 1996/1997 season as their best result. Their 2-1 win against AC Milan on european football shrine San Siro Stadium December 4, 1996, has together with September 9, 1981 gone down as one of Norwegian football history's finest moments.
No writeup on Rosenborg is complete without mentioning their less-than snobby way of running their club. At any time during the day (during normal business hours anyway), you can pretty much walk into their clubhouse (an old barrack built by the Germans during WWII), have yourself some coffee and have a chat with any of the players, coaches or retired stars who sometimes pop in. Foreign journalists used to the corporate antics of AC Milan, Manchester United or Bayern München usually do not believe their own eyes when they come to cover Rosenborg's international matches.
- Norwegian league champions 19 times: 1967, 1969, 1971, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
- Norwegian FA Cup champions 9 times: 1960, 1964, 1971, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1999, 2003
- Quarter finals UEFA Champions League: 1996/1997
- Norwegian Five-a-side champions two times: 1992, 1993
- Pre-season national indoor tournament champions two times: 1995, 1997
*Troillongan roughly translates to "Unruly kids".
Rosenborg Ballklub's homepage <http://www.rbk.no>