By Massimiliano Cristina
"Shalalalalalala... ohhh Rosenborg": if that tune has become stuck in your head, do not worry, that is normal. Rosenborg defender Mikael Dorsin is to blame, as he celebrated the Norwegians' 23rd title after a five-year drought. He took on the role of 'ultra' leader and made a video with supporters that has spread across Europe, putting the team in all of our minds.
It is an incredible scene, almost unimaginable in Italian football, due to the perfect precision and coordination of all involved in the song and for that infuriatingly catchy chorus. Now Lazio visit the Lerkendal Stadion seeking a repeat of that strange 3-1 result in the Olimpico earlier in the Europa League. The Rome club should pay close attention: the Ovre Ost stand is not merely another section in Trondheim. It is an explosion of incessant colours and chants, a show within the main show - Dorsin's video is just a small example of that fanaticism.
But what else awaits Lazio in the Lerkendal? Above all an ecstatic atmosphere after the league win following five years of failed attempts. The celebration has been going on all week and the stands will be freezing. But they never let their team down, however; Rosenborg's supporters consider themselves the loudest voices in the entire country, even in the bad times. The support and original chants are day-to-day occurrences, as is the impressive choreography at home and away, it creates a backdrop to games which is completely independent of the club while in certain aspects a certain rivalry is maintained.
The Kjernen, as the organised fans are known, emerged in 2006 and decided to adopt a flat organisational structure in which there is no set hierarchy. The actions in the stands are decided in a horizontal manner and with a council that ensures that commitments are fulfilled, without interference from the club itself. The objective - according to the manifesto published on the group's official website - is to defend Rosenberg's history, community, belonging and local identity, love, joy and even the desperation of a devastating defeat.
Under these conditions the link between the team and its fans becomes a pact of honour, a two-way love shown clearly by Dorsin's video. "The idea came from the entire team," Espen Viken, the Kjernen's spokesman told Goal. "Due to the strong feeling there is a bond between us and the players. It was a gesture to celebrate Rosenborg's first great season in years."
The Kjernen currently boasts 2115 paying members, of which some 2000 are never missing from the Ovre Ost stand. As Viken points out, "a council of five people plus the commissioner organises and plans all our initiatives through the year, such as buses for transport, the meetings and a charity dinner." As an act of solidarity, unlike many other similar groups across Europe, they have founded the Trondheim 05 group, which thanks to donations from other fans choreograph some of the biggest pyrotechnics displays in all Scandanavia. "It is a job which requires a whole day of passion, usually four to five hours before the big match, where 20-30 people take case of the staging and details of the show."
Lights, letters and designs in hand, the Rosenberg fans' show - as can be seen with a quick scan across the web - is an unconditional support inside the stadium with original, often funny songs even just by appearance. "We have different sections inside the stand," Viken tells Goal. "Divided by age, association and friendship groups as it normally happens. During the game, however, we think about the Kjernen and we all usually support the team without divisions, following the chorus from the megaphone. The most active groups are the FN 13 and the Ultras Nidaros (the city's former name) which are usually made up of the youngest kids. We want to be the 12th man on the field and we often are. Lazio's players will realise that. We always give our all, even when things are going badly, and we sing for 90 minutes in every match."
As often happens for big matches like this one in northern Europe, the fearsome Biancocelesti supporters who have decided to cross the continent will bring with them their own show within the show in the stadium, and without any great tensions. After years of conflict, in fact, Norwegian fans have decided to move on and keep supporters' passions out of the dynamics of politics. "It is a basic rule of our group," Viken confirms.
"Our community is open to all and we will not allow political issues inside the stadium. In their own time any man is free to think what he wishes, but as part of Kjernen we will not allow it."
There is only one rule for those who buy a ticket and make their way to the stand: they must be on their feet and singing for the entire game, without exceptions. The prices are the lowest in the stadium, but they also include the chance to enter the Kjernen pub, a meeting place for fans before games with live music and plenty of beer. It might be a good idea to leave the Lazio shirt at home if trying to enter, but it is an unmissable spot to visit undercover. The show really starts right there.