OBOS League, YMCA | YMCA leader: – We will continue in Oslo. I can’t imagine anything else

OBOS League, YMCA |  YMCA leader: – We will continue in Oslo.  I can’t imagine anything else

Ekeberg (Netafsen): In poor autumn weather, more than 1,223 spectators made the trip to the Ekeberg Arena. It’s not bad for this part of town. The day the match between Lillestrom and Valerenga stole most of the focus.

Those in attendance at Ekeberg probably got little return for the intense match which ended in a 0-0 draw. The club’s general manager, Thor Erik Stenberg, could not hide a smile at the corners of his mouth:

– For me, one point was the goal here today. We’ve looked at the calculations, and the way things look now, we can go up in the match against Skid, Stenberg tells Netafsen.

The YMCA increased the lead to Kongsvinger to five points. If the Oslo club win away to Sogndal on Saturday, Kongsvinger will have to do the same against Sandnes the following day to maintain theoretical hope.

In the next round, with the match against relegation-ready Skade on November 5, everything is set to move to the Intility Arena. The reason for this was that the floodlights in Ekeberg did not meet the guild’s requirements in the autumn darkness.

Urgent to clarify the scene next year

Modifying the Oslo club’s lighting system will cost approximately NOK 10 million. It is a financial challenge, but the club believes that the most important thing is also the ability to play any of the elite matches at home in Ekebergslita.

– It is very sad to now know that Skid’s match could be absolutely decisive. That we can no longer play here, but we mainly play away from home. We’ve done good work at Intelility before, so that’s not all there is to it. I think the players will handle it well, but for the club and the rest of us, there is a lot of hassle in postponing everything, as Stenberg points out.

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But what is most important now is securing the promotion ticket, in addition to developing a good plan for how the club will solve the 2024 season.

– We agree that we will not work on anything concrete now until it becomes clear (possible promotion, our memo). Signals from the union indicate that they are interested in finding a solution to get something done at Ekeberg. We want to be able to sit down quickly. Steinberg points out that it’s time to get something done.

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If the current facility in Ekeberg is not approved, there are no good alternatives yet.

Within Oslo, it is mainly the Intility Arena or the Ullevaal Stadium. The main challenge with the latter is that next summer the cover there will be changed, which means football matches will stop for 12-16 weeks, in addition to the national teams playing and training there.

Stenberg doubts that Bislett Stadium will be approved, and that could send neighbors from west Oslo, Len Vobol, into the same problem. This makes the YMCA director more optimistic on his own behalf:

What is the most appropriate solution in the Oslo area in your opinion?

– I don’t know. And then I’m dead honest. But as difficult as it is likely to be, there is also positivity to be found about Ekeberg as a solution. Setting up a temporary stadium will cost a few kroner.

He could stand strolling on the sidewalk in Ekeberg

Head coach “Johs” Mosgaard wants to stay out of on-field discussions for as long as possible.

He doesn’t seem too keen on getting out to Nadderud in Bærum or the UKI Arena in Jessheim to play on an approved surface with approved facilities around it.

-I think we’ll stay here. It definitely confirms.

– Can you imagine that you would play in Åråsen or Nadderud?

– We will continue in Oslo. I can’t imagine anything else. Playing away from home in all directions if it eventually becomes Eliteserien, it seems difficult. We have to get them up here and get them into the wooden wardrobe and let them wander around on the sidewalk for periods of time. “I think they can withstand this for a few months,” Mosgaard tells Netafcen.

He laughs and begins with an anecdote from the time when Ranheim was at Elitserien in 2019, himself an assistant coach at FC Oslo.

– There were holes in the field and there was no irrigation system. He confirmed that we had to wait for people to leave SATS to get into the dressing room, so I wouldn’t hear anything about that stuff in there at all.

Hopefully construction will begin in May 2024

Another process that took a long time was the construction of the club’s new main hall. I mentioned last week Nordstrandsblad in Oslo City Hall They decided to put forward a resolution granting a municipal guarantee to the YMCA Arena.

The matter will be dealt with further in the City Council – when it is ready. Stenberg believes politicians along with outgoing city council president Raymond Johansen and sports consultant Omar Sami Jamal wanted to run the operation through the paper mill this side of Christmas.

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– I think it was important to redirect this issue. If they hadn’t done that, Steinberg points out, it would have taken half a year to a year before the new city council had enough time to deal with the whole thing, because it’s complicated.

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If the municipal guarantee comes before Christmas, the club’s general manager believes construction of the new facility could start in April/May next year. The construction period is expected to be approximately one and a half to two years, depending on how quickly the construction process goes.

“Now it looks like we’re going to build very quickly,” says Steinberg, ready for the upgrade, smiling.

He inserted himself into the stadium debate

For the players, the focus is on the next three points against Sogndal.

The promo will be special for Robin Rush. The club veteran has been dreaming of playing for Eliteserien for years, and now he is about to contribute to the club along with his friends.

Many point to the fact that Cava’s success has given local politicians in the Oslo municipality the final push to support the stadium project.

– If we were at the bottom of the table, I don’t think we would have received media attention. Without this media attention, we wouldn’t have been able to put the club and the issue on the map either. And no one cared either. Now suddenly a precedent is being created by the fact that the Elite Series is close by, and then a precedent is also being created that the quality of infrastructure has to be there. Then we can raise that ball to others. I simply believe that our results were so good that they put pressure on the city council and the municipality. “I think we would have been right where we were if we had been in eighth or ninth place,” says coach Mosgaard to Netafsen.

Midfield maestro Rush seemed more interested in the upcoming Formula 1 round from Austin, Texas, after the match against Raufus. Waiting for the new stadium is something he’s tired of:

– In the long term, I hope there is a path here. I actually saw these floor plans back in 2016 before I signed here. This track should have been ready a long time ago according to the plans I was shown. Let’s hope it finally eases up and we can get started.

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The fact that you are all looking to upgrade, what do you think this has to do with politicians choosing development plans again?

– I don’t know how politicians deal with this, but in general I can say that it helps to do it well. Then a little publicity trickles down to others who add goodwill, and then they get people on their side. “At least I think a new stadium was a positive thing if I relied on people voting for me,” Rush says.

– The next match in Intelity, what do you think of it?

– Futility It’s a really cool course. There are ideal conditions, so there’s nothing to complain about, says Rush.

– Crucial to the Oslo YMCA

The new YMCA Family Arena will contain, among other things, two full-size soccer fields, an indoor soccer facility, a training center, a swimming pool, a preschool, a conference hall, and a 3,000-seat mini-field.

The club also envisions that the stadium could be used to play age-specific national teams. And perhaps also provide the opportunity for other Oslo clubs to rent training time.

In the previous round, an application was submitted for a municipal guarantee of NOK 710 million. Thor-Erik Stenberg believes that this is a unique opportunity that Oslo football and the municipality must now exploit.

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– Skeid, Grorud and Kåffa have all been playing under an exemption for years and have traveled to play at other venues. Grorud traveled to Jessheim. We have leased Intility for a total of NOK 5-600,000 in recent years. To get a facility where you can play the Oslo games, and it’s not these big stadiums, when you know how hard it is, you just have to do it now.

– This is an opportunity to achieve something. We must be able to bring in some partners who can raise this problem in cooperation with the municipality. For us, it can be absolutely decisive, explains Steinberg.

The Oslo YMCA has had plans to build a new stadium for 12 years. It’s much longer than they planned to upgrade to Eliteserien.

Najuma Ojukwu

Najuma Ojukwu

"Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner."

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