Rekdal aims for a comeback

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Kjetil Rekdal, the former Norwegian football star who was fired this week as head coach for the football club in Ålesund, is already plotting a comeback. He told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Wednesday night that he could also see himself as a club administrator who could hire and nurture other coaches.

Kjetil Rekdal is known for getting emotional on the playing field. On Wednesday he appeared calm and clean-shaven on NRK, and claimed he just wanted to move forward after being fired as Ålesund’s head coach. PHOTO: NRK screen grab/newsinenglish.no

“Now I have so much experience as a coach (for clubs like Vålerenga in Oslo, Lierse in Belgium, Kaiserslautern in Germany and Ålesund),” Rekdal, age 44, told NRK. He clearly feels he has a lot to offer.

Just two days earlier he was given the brutal message by Ålesund’s management that he’d been fired, a year before his contract ran out. They claimed players lost faith in him, and he’d quarreled with the bosses who fired him. Rekdal often seems angry, impatient and condescending – he’s known for temper tantrums on the field and yelling at everyone from players to managers. He claims it’s only a means of getting the best out of people.

In Norway, he told NRK, there’s so much emphasis on everyone being treated equally, “but that doesn’t make for winners.” He apparently offended too many people in Ålesund, though. He told newspaper Aftenposten he simply accepted his firing and would move forward. Asked whether he was bitter, he said: “I’m never bitter. You can’t be bitter in this job.”

Rekdal, perhaps best known for scoring against Brazil when Norway’s national team played in the World Cup in 1998, led Ålesund to two Norwegian championships and the club’s board confirmed that “the athletic results are not the reason” for its decision to fire their head coach. It was Rekdal’s leadership style that seemed to be the issue.

“My leadership can certainly be debated,” he told Aftenposten. He claims he fought for “the best possible results. I know what’s needed to succeed. I don’t see the point of speculating on what their reason was.”

Now he’s a candidate to return to Vålerenga in Oslo as its head coach, succeeding Martin Andresen. Coincidentally or not, he showed up at Vålerenga fans’ favourite bar in Oslo Tuesday afternoon, Bohemen. He said it’s because he’s promoting his new autobiography Mitt liv som I (dialect for “My life as myself.”)

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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