Home Hall of Fame – Ole Bjørn Edner (English)

Hall of Fame – Ole Bjørn Edner (English)

Everything begins with Ole Bjørn Edner. He took his daughter and her friends to Røa’s pitch to practise in 1984 even though women’s football was not accepted in Røa at the time. However, while it makes for a dramatic opening, it is a relatively common start. What makes Ole Bjørn Edner special is that he continued. He fought for the rights of the girls to play, and took what he got, including the kits that were too small for the boys, the time slots on the pitch when no one else wanted to train and so on. Suddenly there was an alternative to gymnastics and cross country skiing for girls, and it took on.

Having won the battle of accept in Røa, his concern was for the girls and their development as footballers. Suggestions on quitting while ahead, complaints that the girls took more and more time on the pitches and  fathers of palyers from opposing teams shouting that «we will crush these uptown girls» was also part of the package.

Røa-Zvezda

Ole Bjørn where he belongs.

Edner soon understood that in order to keep the players together, he needed guidelines that both appealed to the development of the girls as footballers and still keep the glue that kept them together, friendship off the pitch. Edner constructed his masterpiece: «GLAD-RØA» (Happy-Røa). It was an anagram of the seven values: joy, long-term thinking, thinking outside the box, daring, fairness, practise and acceptance. These are to this day spread, both in practise, verbally and in written form, to new players.

What signified Røa was that they wanted to be among the best, yet not at the cost of the social, and on the other hand the most social, but not at the cost of being among the best. Lead by his daughter Kristine, Røa became a team with a winning mentality and a group of friends who got attention out of their league.

Ole Bjørn Edner had a past in the top tier club Vålerenga, and was not a stranger to tactics.  Always a believer in both modernization and learning from others (among them legendary Norwegian coach Nils Arne Eggen) and creating a style of one’s own, he to he developed Røa’s trademarks. These were double runs on the sides (side backs and wings), he developed the now cemented 4-3-3 and created the quick passes, speedy attackers and an attack-oriented football.

The combination of all of the above made Ole Bjørn Edner’s girls go through four tiers in eight years, having made their senior debut in the fourth tier in 1993 and being promoted to Toppserien in 2000 (debuting in 2001). Three years later, Ole Bjørn Edner crowned his project by winning the league and the cup. Ole Bjørn has created diamonds from coal, and polished these diamonds. He made new solutions to old problems, organized and reorganized and created a modern miracle.

With the possible exception of his daughter Kristine Edner Wæhler, no one was more obvious when creating the Hall of Fame. He was the second inductee after Kristine, but on a coin toss.