“Heia” is an encouraging shout in Norwegian, and “Heia Brann!” is of course what any decent citizen of Bergen shouts at a home football (soccer, to you leftpondians) match. Bergen’s pride and joy and disappointment (a team for all eventualities) has just added a whole new section to their aging stadium, and it has turned out gorgeous.
My labor union treats local members to a monthly dinner and this time the venue was Brann Stadion (lit. Fire Stadium, fire being the bane of Bergen), referred to as “stadda’en” by the truly local. Its northern side now sports a brand-new section of choice seats, lounges, and the city’s largest restaurant. The photo shows a bunch of insurance and banking people entering throught the new section. I’m the one with the camera. (Made you look, didn’t I.)
Inside on the luxury side, we viewed the existing bleachers. If the team is to keep making money, and also have room for the regular folks, a similar expansion needs to be done on the opposite side. This will also mean closing the open corner. When that’s done, our stadium will seat 30,000. As we stood looking down on the brilliant green grass contrasting with the red seats, we all felt like attending a game. The mood was there to sit in the bleachers and scream ourselves hoarse. And hopefully see our team win. (This year, they’re actually doing well before summer! They usually don’t pick up speed until the autumn.)
True supporters can purchase a 10-year lease on their very own seat and get their name or nickname stamped on the back of said seat. I spotted one named “Bench warmer” next to one named “Honey”. I am not a true supporter, because as we stood outside waiting to go in for our tour, several team members walked by and were recognized and named in hushed but admiring voices by those around me. I, who never reads the sports pages and does not often watch the games on TV, had no clue who the nice, young (and tall) men were who walked past us. I do, however, recognize the team uniform, here recreated as an artistically folded napkin. That’s the main sponsor’s name you can read so well, by the way.
For the record, I have attended a few Brann matches, enjoying getting caught up in the moment. So when we left after the tour to go home, I knew the way to the bus stop. The stadium sits in a section of Bergen that experienced a huge housing boom right after the war (expanding the city center), which makes the surrounding neighborhood look rather charming today. Towering above the stadium is Bergen’s highest mountain, Ulriken. Just thought you’d like to know. And see.