UPDATED: Just days before two rival Oslo-area football clubs were to face off in a match on Sunday, a statue of one of the club’s most-loved players was beheaded outside their home stadium in Lillestrøm. Hooligans from rival club Vålerenga were immediate suspects as police launched an investigation into the vandalism.
The statue of Tom Lund, legendary player for Lillestrøm Fotball Klubb (LSK), continued to stand in full view where LSK met Vålerenga on Sunday afternoon. The vandalism was duly condemned by Vålerenga’s official supporter club, but suspicions that other Vålerenga fans were behind it remained and LSK was deeply shaken.
“Some of the supporters’ stunts have been funny,” LSK operations chief Kjell Holby told newspaper Dagsavisen. “But when someone cuts off the head of the statue, they’ve crossed a line.” The statue earlier has been painted and dressed in farmers’ clothing, but last week’s vandalism was much more serious, bothering the man who sculpted the statue in 1990 as well. “This was a shock,” sculptor Bjørn Sørvang Hansen told Dagsavisen.
LSK responded with full-page ads in local newspapers featuring board member and former slalom skiing star Lasse Kjus among others, calling for a return to “the joy of football.” The team organized a rally before the match as they mounted a campaign against hooligans and vandalism. “LSK won’t let a few persons destroy our good football experiences,” the ads read. “No one can take genuine football joy away from us.”
Their spirits weren’t so high when the match was over. Vålerenga won by a score of 1-0, and police had to keep Vålerenga and LSK fans from clashing with each other outside the stadium.