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“the proudest moment of my career”: brian deane & sarpsborg 08 safe in norway

“the proudest moment of my career”: brian deane & sarpsborg 08 safe in norway

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Brian Deane’s first season in management ended with mission accomplished, thanks to two goals from a player who had missed a big chance to settle nerves a week earlier.

Mohammed Elyounoussi’s two goals at Ranheim on Saturday gave Sarpsborg 08 a 3-0 aggregate victory in the playoff to secure their future in the Norwegian Tippeligaen. 

Against Viking the week before Elyounoussi had somehow failed to score the goal that would have avoided any need for a playoff, despite having the ball at his feet just inches from the goal – twice. But with the security of a 1-0 lead from the first leg, Elyounoussi pounced on a defensive mistake from a long punt upfield to put Sarpsborg firmly in charge of the second leg, then scored a brilliant solo goal to cap a memorable season for Deane and his squad.

Sarpsborg 08 had the smallest budget of any side in the Norwegian top division, and gave Brian Deane and his assistant Ian Burchnall the job of simply keeping the team in the Tippeligaen. The attractive passing style Deane and Burchnall put in place drew admirers but results were harder to come by; after losing only 2 of their first ten games, Sarpsborg went on an alarming run of eight consecutive defeats that left with them bottom of the table, two points adrift of IK Start.

A home win over FK Haugesund broke the losing streak, and in their last nine games Sarpsborg won four and drew two, including a 1-0 win over Olle Gunnar Solksjaer’s highly rated Molde, only robbed of safety in the last moments of the last game at Viking, when a 1-0 lead turned into a 2-1 defeat and put them in to a playoff against Ranheim from the division below, for the right to play in next season’s Tippeligaen.

Sarpsborg dominated the first leg at home but secured just a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Aaron Olanare, before the trip to Ranheim and Elyounoussi’s two goals gave them a 3-0 win.

That the tension had told on Brian Deane was obvious from his first post game tweet:

I have locked myself in the changing room toilet to savour thisI always believed we would stay up.Very proud of the players
#08sarpsborg

— Brian Deane (@deanobri1968) November 16, 2013

 

An hour later he added:

Thank you everyone out there who has been following things this season with Sarpsborg.I learnt a lot from some disappointments and dark

— Brian Deane (@deanobri1968) November 16, 2013

Times while playing,it has been fantastic being able to correct some mistakes and never giving up on believing in myself and what is

— Brian Deane (@deanobri1968) November 16, 2013

possible to achieve,that was for you Macca Deane

— Brian Deane (@deanobri1968) November 16, 2013

The last tweet was in memory of Brian’s father, Cedric, who died last year, and the pride Brian took in his achievement was clear from his post-match comments, once he’d emerged from the toilets at Ranheim. Speaking to NRK.no, Deane said, “It’s probably the proudest moment of my football career. Football came easy to me, it was something I was born to do. To train this team makes me proud.”

The players seemed happy too; Mohammed Elyounoussi said, "This tastes much better than when we moved up from 1 Division. I can not wait to celebrate with everyone in Sarpsborg when we get home"; and some of the celebrations in Sarpsborg marketplace have made it to YouTube. Whether Deano joined in with the karaoke later isn’t yet clear…

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