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Contemplating the road ahead
By Thomas Myren, 4 August 2006, 14:25

While the coaching staff is planning the on-pitch turnaround, the Rosenborg board of directors are making new, long-term plans.

"At Rosenborg we need to keep two thoughts in our head at the same time. One is the short-term results the coaches are responsible for, the other the long-term objectives the board is responsible for," club president Terje Svendsen (pictured) says.

In connection with the incipient professionalization of the club in the autumn of 1987, a fitting level of ambitions was decided: Rosenborg were to establish themselves at the top of the league in Norway and play a European Cup quarterfinal within ten years. Both aims were fulfilled.

The decline started in 2000
In 1999 the strategical aims were revised.

"The plans from back then had a strong focus on facilities. Amongst other things, funds were allocated to the construction of a new stadium and training pitches. In hindsight we're seeing that we should have invested more in the athletic side," Svendsen says.

This winter and spring he and the other board members in cooperation with the administration and the coaching staff have worked on establishing new objectives for the club. Earlier this summer the club's members were informed on the preliminary status of this process.

"If we use the UEFA coefficient as a measure, we are able to see the team's performance decline started in 2000," Svendsen explains.

Several expensive and failed signings is one of the explanations.

"At the same time we've now had four coaches in four years. The continuity disappeared when Nils Arne Eggen retired," he states.

Top 30 in Europe
Rosenborg have elected to divide the strategical work in to four areas:

Team performance

"We want to be ranked in the top 30 among European clubs on said ranking. If we achieve this, the chances of being seeded in the Champions League qualifiers are good. This objective might seem to be lacking in ambition, but at the end of the 2005/06 season we were ranked 65th. I 2007 we wil have dropped 74th or 75th," Svendsen maintains.

Despite that UEFA after an initiative from Rosenborg in 2004 reduced the significance of joint national points from 50% to 33% in the club rankings, the other Norwegian teams' European Cup efforts still play a big role.

"Our ranking is dependent on how well other Norwegian teams are doing. Thus it was, to put it mildly, unfortunate that [Vålerenga coach] Kjetil Rekdal fielded a team of juniors against Steua Bucuresti in the UEFA Cup last year," a dejected president states.

Obtaining increased income
The political and marketing side of things are closely related. Rosenborg have been demanding a larger share of the TV and marketing income of the Tippeliga.

"We need to fight for our rightful share of the income of Norwegian football," Svendsen states.

In that context, it might become pertinent to work towards getting our own people voted into the various bodies.

"I really don't know why we haven't made our stakes in this area the last few years. Not since Eldar Hansen was president of the FA in the 1980s have any of our own had a seat on the board of the FA."

At the same time there is no doubt Rosenborg have great room for improvement on their own.

"We have to improve our earning potential surrounding our product, the matches. The aim of 20,000 spectators at every match will be an important one to realize, and we're well on our way to reach this average. The dream is for a shortage of tickets for every home fixture."

"We are looking to increase our match-day income. We're hoping for every spectator to leave behind a couple of Euros at the kiosks. At the same time we're seeing that there is a lot of money within the 'new mediums' such as mobile telephone services and web-TV. In that connection we might need to bring in new expertise, so we will most likely expand the marketing department," Svendsen says.

The landed property surrounding the stadium which today are used as parking lots, is also a potential income generator.

"Property development at Lerkendal will be important for Rosenborg in the years to come. Bigger ambitions demand bigger resources and means," Svendsen says in summing up.

"Must be patient"
In this context several hundred thousands of Euros have been spent on improving the players' physical fitness.

"We have expanded the coaching team and opened a laboratorium to test the players. The physical training works: the team is in much better shape than last year," Svendsen notes.

Despite improved physical condition, the on-pitch improvements are lacking. The turnaround might be a prolonged one.

"Several of us thought things would turn around when Per-Mathias [Høgmo] took over last autumn, but we're seeing that things are taking longer than we would have liked, and the media are willing to give us," Svendsen adds in closing.

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