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Tromsø IL

Tromsø IL is a football (soccer) club from Norway.

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About Tromsø IL

Tromsø Idrettslag is a Norway professional association football team founded in 1920, and based in Tromsø. They play their home games at Alfheim Stadion. Tromsø IL currently play in the Norwegian Premier League, and holds the position as the northernmost top-level football club in the world.


1920–39: The pre-war years

The club was founded on 15 September 1920, and given the name Tromsø Turnforenings Fotballag (Tromsø Gymnastics Association's Football Team), or Turn for short. The first match after the formal foundation was against cross-town rivals IF Skarp, a match which ended in a draw, 0–0. It would not take long before success came to Turn, though, and in 1927, the club won its first district championship.

In 1930, the club changed its name to Tromsø Idrettslag, because the Norwegian Sports Association thought the club's name was too close to the name of Tromsø Gymnastics Association. This was only temporary, though, and the club changed its name to Tor in 1931. 1931 would also be the year the club won its first Northern Norwegian Cup, the highest possible achievement for a Northern Norwegian club at the time. The club beat Mo IL 3-1 in the final. The year after, the Norwegian Sports Association ruled that the club could not be named Tor, and so Tromsø Idrettslag was again chosen, this time permanently. Tromsø IL also won its second district championship in 1932, but was knocked out in the semi final of the Northern Norwegian cup. The thirties proved to be a good decade for Tromsø IL, as the club won district championships in 1933, 1936, and 1937, as well. However, sports activities came to an end in 1940, because of World War II, and so the club did not play again before 1945.

1945–1969: Two Northern-Norwegian cup championships

Tromsø IL started the post-war years in a good fashion, winning the club's sixth district championship in 1946. In 1949, Tromsø IL won its second Northern Norwegian cup. This time, the final match was played at Harstad Stadium, and Tromsø IL were to play FK Bodø/Glimt. Tromsø IL won 3–1, just like in 1931.

Tromsø IL then won 5 consecutive district championships in the years between 1950 and 1954, before the club was introduced into the Norwegian league system (Northern Norwegian clubs could still not be promoted to the top division, however). The club's third and last Northern Norwegian cup came in 1956. Tromsø IL met Harstad IL – the champions of the previous three years – in Harstad, making Harstad IL big favorites. However, Tromsø IL won the match 2–0.

Clubs from Northern Norway were allowed into the Norwegian Norwegian football cup in 1963, and Tromsø IL participated for the first time in 1964, advancing to the second round after beating FK Mjølner. The club was knocked out in the second round by Nidelv IL. The sixties were also a period of stadium expansions for the club, with both Valhall Stadium and Alfheim Stadium getting grass fields. Because of the inclusion of Northern Norwegian clubs in the Norwegian cup, the Northern Norwegian cup was eventually dropped. Tromsø IL played its last Northern Norwegian cup match in 1969.

1970–1985: Build-up for the top division

With Northern Norwegian clubs accepted in the cup, the only thing left to be included in was the top division. This happened in 1972, when FK Mjølner was moved to the Norwegian Premier League. At the time, however, Tromsø IL was fighting in the bottom of the Northern Norwegian 2nd division (Until 1979, the 2nd division was divided in three different groups, two southern and one northern – with the winners of the southern groups being promoted to the top division, while the winner of the northern group would have to face the 2nd placed teams of the two southern groups), and was eventually relegation. In 1975, Tromsø IL would be back in the 2nd division, after having won promotion (sports) the year before. However, the club was once more relegated, this time after only one season in the second highest level of the league system. Tromsø was back in the 2nd division in 1978, and won it this time. However, the qualification matches against the two southern teams Hamarkameratene and Fredrikstad FK were lost 3–0 and 1–0 respectively. The next year, 1979, marked the first year with an all-Norwegian 2nd division, giving equal chances for all teams, regardless of geographical position. Tromsø IL did not do too well, however, and was once more relegated.

Tromsø IL was immediately promoted back to the 2nd division after not losing a single match in the 3rd division in 1980. Then followed relegation in 1981 and promotion in 1982, before the club finally managed to establish itself in the 2nd division. Two decent seasons in 1983 and 1984 were followed by a 2nd place in 1985, which meant the club would again play qualification matches for the top division. First, Sogndal IL were beaten 1–0. Then, Tromsø IL won the decisive match against Moss FK 1–0, after a legendary penalty kick save by goalkeeper Bjarte Flem. Tromsø IL became the third and, for the time being, latest Northern Norwegian team to qualify for the top division, the other two being FK Mjølner and FK Bodø/Glimt.

1986–2001: 16 years in the top division

The first season in the Premier League would be very hard for Tromsø IL, the club eventually had to play qualification to survive. The club was highly successful in the Norwegian football cup the same year, however, beating Premier Division champions Lillestrøm SK 4–1 in the final match, a match that had been thought to be a walk in the park for Lillestrøm SK before it was played.

An experiment in the 1987 season proved valuable to Tromsø IL Tied matches would be decided on penalty shootouts, giving 3 points for a win, 2 for a shootout win, 1 for a shootout loss, and 0 for a loss. Thanks to Bjarte Flem's exceptional penalty saves, Tromsø IL won 7 out of 9 shootouts this year. The experiment was dropped after the season. However, the system with 3 points for a victory was kept. In 1988, Tromsø IL ended 5th in the league, the season of Bjarte Flems' infamous own goal.

The 1989 and 1990 seasons would become the two most successful Premier Division seasons to date, with Tromsø IL winning a bronze and a silver respectively. The club's coach during this time, Tommy Svensson, would later move on to coach Swedish national football team to a bronze medal in the Football World Cup 1994.

The following seasons saw Tromsø IL end 6th, 8th, 6th, and 7th (all safe mid-table positions), before the expansion of the Norwegian Premier League from 12 to 14 teams in 1995, when Tromsø IL again ended 6th.

In 1996, ten years after the club's first cup championship, Tromsø IL would again qualify for a cup final. This time, the opponents were FK Bodø/Glimt, which made the final match historical, the first time in history two Northern Norwegian clubs would play each other in a cup final. This also meant that the club winning the match would have bragging rights as the best club in Northern Norway. Tromsø IL eventually won the match, after a late 2–1 goal by Sigurd Rushfeldt in his last match before leaving for Rosenborg BK. The 1996 cup championship was the club's last championship to date. Tromsø IL also ended 5th in the league.

1997 did not go too well for Tromsø IL, and after getting only 2 points during the last 7 matches of the season, the club ended 12th in the league, and had to play qualification matches to survive. The opponents were Eik-Tønsberg, and Tromsø IL won 4–0 and 2–1, which meant Tromsø IL would still be in the top division. Another poor season followed in 1998, but Tromsø IL avoided qualification matches this time, ending 11th in the league. 1999 saw Tromsø back in the mid-table sections when the club won 6th place, scored 70 goals, and became the first (and only) Northern Norwegian club to have the Norwegian top scorers with Rune Lange's 23 goals. Tromsø IL then had one of its best seasons ever in 2000, finishing 4th in the league.

In 2001, Tromsø IL was relegated from the Premier Division for the first time in history. After two very strong opening wins, the club went on a 7-matches-long losing streak, where not a single goal was scored. Tromsø IL eventually ended last, scoring only 23 goals in 26 matches.

2002–present: 2nd time in the top division

Tromsø IL won the Adeccoligaen in 2002, and was thus immediately re-introduced into the Premier League.

The Norwegian Premier League 2003 season looked as if it would send Tromsø IL back to the first division, but they rescued their place in the Premier League by scoring a winning goal three minutes into injury time in the season's final match against league champions Rosenborg BK. The arrival of Per Mathias Høgmo before the Norwegian Premier League 2004 season proved to be a success. Tromsø IL had another good season, and finished 4th in the league, which qualified them for the Royal League and, as a result of 3rd placed team SK Brann's victory in the cup that year, the UEFA Cup. After his first successful year Høgmo decided not to extend his contract and his former assistant Otto Ulseth was moved up as head coach.

The Norwegian Premier League 2005 season started disappointingly and Ulseth was sacked after only 15 league matches, when Tromsø IL was struggling to avoid relegation. The head coach for the remainder of the season became Ulseth's former assistant Steinar Nilsen, who managed to turn Tromsø IL's poor form around. After a club record five consecutive victories, Tromsø IL secured its place in the Premier League with a 1–0 home win over Viking FK in the second-to-last round of the season. Tromsø IL also had the top scorer of the Premier League for the second time in history, as Ole Martin Årst finished the season with 16 goals. The club finished the season in 8th place.

The relegation of FK Bodø/Glimt meant that Tromsø IL were the only team from Northern Norway in the Norwegian Premier League 2006 season. Before the 2006 season, following Steinar Nilsen's resignation, Ivar Morten Normark was made the new Tromsø IL manager. After a rather unsatisfactory start to the season Tromsø IL started negotiating to terminate the contract with Normark on 26 July 2006; until a new coach could be found former assistant Agnar Christensen acted as head coach. On 4 August Normark and Tromsø IL reached an agreement, meaning Normark would leave the club. On 11 August Steinar Nilsen was appointed coach signing a three and a half year contract with the club. Nilsen managed to save Tromsø IL from relegation once more, leading the club to a 10th place.

Tromsø IL is the Norwegian Premier Division club which has had the most coaches since 2000. Terje Skarsfjord (who also coached the club during its 1996 cup championship), Tommy Svensson (who made a brief return to the club to attempt to save it from relegation in 2001, ten years after having left the club for the Swedish national team), Trond Johansen, Per Mathias Høgmo, Otto Ulseth, Steinar Nilsen, and Ivar Morten Normark have all coached the club at some time after the year 2000.


- Northern Norwegian Cup:
- - Winners (3): 1931, 1949, 1956
- - Runners-up (2): 1937, 1952
- Norwegian Football Cup:
- - Winners (2): 1986, 1996
- Norwegian Premier League:
- - Runners-up (2): 1990, 2011
- - Third (3): 1989, 2008, 2010

Recent history

side St Mirren F.C in the first round of the Cup Winners' Cup. St Mirren F.C. won 1–0 in Scotland, and the match in Tromsø ended 0–0.


In 1991, Tromsø IL would try their luck in Europe again, this time in the UEFA Cup. Tromsø IL met Austrian side FC Tirol Innsbruck in the first round. A 2–1 loss in Austria (after Stein Berg Johansen had given Tromsø IL a very early lead after 30 seconds) and a 1–1 tie at home (after a goal by Bjørn Johansen) were the results, meaning Tromsø IL were again knocked out early.


In 1995, Tromsø IL participated in the UEFA Intertoto Cup, which is played during the summer before the European season starts and gives qualification to the UEFA Cup for the best teams of the tournament. Tromsø IL played in Group 3, along with Switzerland team FC Aarau, Belgium team K.F.C. Germinal Beerschot, Faroe Islands team Havnar Bóltfelag, and Romanian team U Cluj. The first match was an away match against FC Aarau, which ended 2–2. Tromsø IL then proceeded to beat Havnar Bóltfelag 10–0 at home and F.C. Universitatea Cluj 1–0 away. Before the last group match, which was at home to K.F.C. Germinal Ekeren, Tromsø IL were on top of the group, and a victory would ensure Tromsø IL's advancement to the knockout-stage of the UEFA Intertoto Cup. However, Tromsø IL lost 2–0, and eventually ended 3rd in the group.


In 1997, the club would again play in the Cup Winners' Cup. In the first round, the Croatian side NK Zagreb won 3–2 at home. Tromsø IL were down 3–0, but goals by Bjørn Johansen and Ole Martin Årst, gave Tromsø IL a good result before the home game. The return match in Tromsø ended 3–2, as well, but this time in favour of Tromsø IL Rune Lange scored the first goal, but NK Zagreb equalized before half time. The score was 2–2 after 90 minutes (Ole Martin Årst scored the second goal for Tromsø IL), and NK Zagreb looked like they would advance to the second round. However, one minute into injury time, Svein Morten Johansen scored, and extra time would have to be played. 5 minutes into the second period, Rune Lange scored the winning goal for Tromsø IL A historic win, as it was not only the first time Tromsø IL managed to win a match in a European cup, but also the first time Tromsø managed to qualify for the second round of a European cup. In the second round of the Cup Winners' Cup, Tromsø IL would play the English side Chelsea F.C. Tromsø IL beat Chelsea F.C. 3–2 in the home game (after goals by Steinar Nilsen, Frode Fermann, and Ole Martin Årst), which became infamous for the heavy amounts of snow that fell during the match. The return match did not go too well for Tromsø IL, though, who eventually lost 7–1 (9–4 on aggregate). Bjørn Johansen scored Tromsø IL's goal in London.


In 2005, Tromsø IL would again play in the UEFA Cup, following their 4th place in the Norwegian Premier League the year before. Tromsø IL won the first qualification match against Esbjerg with 1–0 away after a goal by Lars Iver Strand, the club's first ever win in an away match in a European cup. Esbjerg fB won the return leg in Tromsø 1–0, and penalty shootout (football) were needed to decide a winner. Tromsø IL only converted 2 of their 5 initial penalties (Runar Normann and Ole Andreas Nilsen scored), but since Esbjerg fB also missed 3 penalties, the teams had to shoot a 6th penalty. Stephen Ademolu scored, while Lars Hirschfeld saved Esbjerg fB's penalty, and Tromsø IL advanced.

Tromsø IL drew Galatasaray S.K. (football team) in the first round of the UEFA Cup. Former champions Galatasaray, became the second major UEFA club to fall victim to Tromsø's cold Arctic climate. Tromsø IL won 1–0 at home after a goal by Tamas Szekeres in the 77th minute, in a match filled with mud, rain, and snow. Tromsø IL tied Galatasaray 1–1 at the feared Ali Sami Yen Stadium, thanks to many important saves by Lars Hirschfeld and a goal in the first half from a fluke shot by Patrice Bernier via Stephen Ademolu which was an obvious offside. Tromsø IL thus advanced to the group stage of the cup. This result was seen by many as a huge upset, and some Tromsø IL fans and players immediately declared it a historic win, likening it to the 1996 Norwegian football cup championship and the 1985 promotion (sports).

Tromsø IL lost the first group match, a home game against A.S. Roma. The final score was 2–1, and Ole Martin Årst scored Tromsø IL's goal. The second match saw Tromsø IL lose again, 2–0 away to RC Strasbourg. Tromsø IL won their third match, 3–1 at home against Red Star Belgrade. Benjamin Kibebe scored the first goal, while Ole Martin Årst scored the two last goals. Tromsø IL lost the last match, against FC Basel, 4–3, and were subsequently knocked out of the UEFA Cup. Lars Iver Strand scored twice, and Ole Martin Årst once. The club ended last in its group.


Tromsø got off to a good start in the 2009-10 UEFA Europa League, playing 0–0 away to FC Dinamo Minsk from Belarus and then winning 4–1 at home (after two goals by Tommy Knarvik, one by Morten Moldskred, and one own goal) in the second qualifying round. Tromsø played NK Slaven Belupo in the third qualifying round, marking the second time in history that Tromsø plays a Croatian team in a European cup. They won 2–1 at Alfheim, after Slaven scored late in the first half. Two goals in the second half within two minutes, the second by a lightly hurt Sigurd Rushfeldt, they won at home, and after 0–2 away, at a tricky home stadium, two goals by Rushfeldt (14,81) won their way and win into the third and last qualifying round of the European league 2009. Now, they will play against one of the best teams in Spanish football history, the Basque Country national football team Athletic Club Bilbao (of Bilbao). Sigurd Rushfeldt has played in the Spanish league as a first targeter. Athletic Bilbao won the first leg in Bilbao 3–2, including one goal from a controversial penalty when the Bilbao player appeared to dive. Another controversial penalty, this time awarded by French referee Tony Chapron, ended Tromsø IL's chances, as they drew the home leg 1–1 and lost 3–4 on aggregate – two of the four goals coming from controversial penalty decisions.


Following the 3rd place finish in the 2010 Norwegian Premier League Tippeligaen season, Tromsø will again participate in the Europa League, entering in the 2011-12_UEFA_Europa_League First_qualifying_round of the 2011–12 season. Tromsø's first tie was against FC Daugava of Latvia, which was won comfortably 7–1 on aggregate after winning 5–0 away and 2–1 at home. In the second round, Tromsø were knocked out by Paksi SE of Hungary.


Tromsø will participate in the 2012-13 UEFA Europa League for the second consecutive year, after having finished second in the league in 2011 Norwegian Premier League. Tromsø will enter in the second qualifying round.

Royal League

Tromsø IL also participated in the very first Royal League, which was played in late 2004 and early 2005. Despite playing fairly well, Tromsø IL ended last in their group, and were knocked out of the cup early.

European matches

Tromsø's goals are listed first.

On loan

Reserve Squad

As of 2 July 2011

All-time player stats

As of 2 July 2011
- Most goals total: Sigurd Rushfeldt, 140
- Most league goals total: Sigurd Rushfeldt, 95
- Most matches total: Bjørn Johansen, 405
- Most league matches total: Bjørn Johansen, 326


Coaching staff

{, and organizes trips to Tromsø IL's away matches in the Østlandet and Sørlandet regions.

Tromsø IL has a number of songs, with the more famous ones being Heia TIL and the 1996 cup final song, both by Sverre Kjelsberg. The 1996 cup final song is played at Alfheim stadion when Tromsø IL scores a goal. A club fanfare used to be played while the teams entered the pitch during home matches. However, before the 2008 season the Football Association of Norway decided that all clubs should play Tippeligafanfaren (The Tippeliga Fanfare) when the teams entered the pitch. Tromsø now plays its fanfare before Tippeligafanfaren.

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