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Long-distance fan keeps hope alive

PUBLISHED: 23:00 01 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:50 03 March 2010

WE wuz robbed!

That was the belief of devoted Norwegian fan Haakoen Oterhals who flew to Britain to watch his first Ipswich Town match on home ground.

WE wuz robbed!

That was the belief of devoted Norwegian fan Haakoen Oterhals who flew to Britain to watch his first Ipswich Town match on home ground.

Haakoen has seen the Tractor Boys go from Third Division (south) to the top flight of football.

But despite the cheering of the retired teacher from the terraces the crunch match against Manchester United became even more crucial when they went down 0-1 to Man-U.

Explaining his interest in the Super Blues Haakoen, 64, said: "In 1961 Ipswich were promoted to the top division and in 1962 won the league championship in the first ever season in the top flight.

"Ever since then I have been an Ipswich supporter. When they joined the Premier League I became more proud of them.

"Some English think it's crazy to come Norway to see football. But Norwegians have a big interest in English football because they play very well."

Haakoen, who flew to Britain with his wife Ellinor, 54, backed Town from his homeland but since his retirement aims to see more matches live at Portman Road.

"This is the first time I have been to Ipswich but everyone has been very kind to me.

"I love Ipswich and Ipswich football and hope to come back here."

Haakoen lives 60 km away from fellow Norwegian and Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

"I was confident Town would win," said Haakoen, who cites Titus Bramble among one of his favourite players. "I hope they stay in the Premier League."

Haakoen enjoyed his first holiday in Britain in 1978 – the year Town won the FA cup. In 1998 he visited York but stayed in Bradford. Learning Town were playing in Stockport he took a train to watch the match.

"I remember it was raining. It was the worst weather in about 70 years and I left Bradford at 9.30am and didn't get back into 9.30pm. In the end someone gave me a lift."

Haakoen stayed at a guest house in Ipswich and travelled back to Norway on Sunday.


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