He was one of a kind Nils Arne Eggen. Sad to see another fantastic football man passing away, he died this week 80 years of age.
He managed to do the unthinkable in football and had an iconic quote on Leicester vs. Lecce mixing the two clubs and getting very annoyed about it all. If you listen and are not from Scandinavia you will probably have problems understanding. This is an iconic and very special press conference in Copenhagen before a Champions League game between FC Copenhangen and Rosenborg.
Nils Arne Eggen did what people thought was impossible and in a drilled 4-3-3 system making Rosenborg a very difficult unit to defeat and they defeated AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund away and also winning big vs. Real Madrid later to be the winners of Champions League in the same season.
To be able to bring a team to the top of European football playing games in the same city and at the same time as cross country and ski jumping events were held in Trondheim. Cold weather never stopped anyone up there and during the days of Nils Arne Eggen, Rosenborg also produced talent that later had former Leicester greats as team mates or as their managers.
Steffen Iversen started his professional career as a teenager under Nils Arne Eggen at Rosenborg moved to Tottenham and he was influential in the 1999 EFL Cup final and had the assist to the goal scored by Alan Nielsen against Leicester at Wembley.
Martin O’Neill signed John Carew and Emile Heskey for Aston Villa and made a great partnership of a player that once made his name with Rosenborg (Carew) before a special move to Valencia. Stig Inge Bjørneby, Bjørn Tore Kvarme og Vegard Heggem all were signed from Rosenborg to Liverpool and had a great learning of football under the management of Nils Arne Eggen.
Kåre Ingebrigtsen made his move from Rosenborg to Manchester City. He was also a pupil of Nils Arne Eggen and scored a very special hat-trick in a EFL Cup game vs. Leicester, his only three goal for Man City.
Rosenborg are at the moment no longer the best team in Norway and despite having a few ups in the Europa League in later years, nothing can be compared with the achievements under Nils Arne Eggen.
Eggen was back at Rosenborg in 2010 in a caretaker role and his qoute on Leicester was taken out of the air as he said he did not have the same hearing as before, getting a journalist question about Mikael Lustig and a rumour about him joining Lecce. Eggen confused Lecce with Leicester and said. No, no, Lustig will not join Leicester. The last time I heard about Leicester was at La Manga, and they looked as they were signing no one, of course Martin O’Neill was not there, with Eggen and Rosenborg being at the place at the same time. Eggen described the happening as a place no one would do any signings. The journalist said; “No, no, not Leicester, Lecce”, Eggen again confused as answerred; “Lecce, even worse, they do not have a field to play on”, and again he confused Lecce with Elche as he had seen the Elche pitch on the way to La Manga and had no idea about how the grass was growing in Lecce. Eggen told the journalist that he had of course knowledge of Mikael Lustig if something would happen.
We all know what happened two years later, Mikael Lustig joined Celtic and played under previous Leicester player Neil Lennon and current Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers. Lustig build on his great time at Rosenborg winning 16 trophies during his days in Scotland, most of them under the years of Lennon and Rodgers.
Nils Arne Eggen was famously known for his work in Norwegian football and for Rosenborg, but he also managed to put Leicester on the map and had a few special relations to our club.
The only Norwegian to have played for Leicester, Kjetil Osvold, also had Nils Arne Eggen as coach during the time when Eggen was in charge of the Norwegian Olympic Team, so it all sums up.
A sad moment for Norwegian football and a nation in tears,
RIP Nils Arne Eggen!
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