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      Palace Norway: The story of the world’s oldest Eagles’ fanzine


      When Kai Lindseth began to follow Crystal Palace in the 1970s, the rest of his school had familiar afflictions. There were Liverpool and Manchester United fans everywhere, but fellow Glaziers? Not so much.

      In fact, it would take almost a decade before he encountered another Palace fan – but since then, he hasn’t stopped building new members of the community.

      Now, as Palace prepare to take on Norwegian champions Bodø/Glimt, Crystal Palace Norway – of which Kai is a board member – have almost 130 members who make the regular pilgrimage to London, and whose fanzine ‘Ørneblikket’ (The Eagle Eye) has been running since 1991, making it the world’s longest-running Palace magazine.

      “These football cards came in bubblegum packs in the 1970s,” Kai remembers. “When I was a little kid, we used to play with them in the schoolyard.

      “One day I got hold of one with Dave Swindlehurst wearing the old red and blue sash, and I just fell in love with the shirt. I was about six or seven, and I decided there and then that this was going to be my team.

      Quote Icons

      I didn’t meet a fellow Palace fan until many, many years later – probably a good 10 years after that.

      Kai Lindseth

      “I have stuck with them ever since. There was never a doubt in my mind that I was going to keep that promise to myself to keep on supporting the Palace.

      “I didn’t meet a fellow Palace fan until many, many years later – probably a good 10 years after that. That’s when our supporters club got started.

      “It was fantastic because I had never really been able to talk Palace with people around me. I have been involved for the past 32 years now!”

      In this day and age, supporting a club from abroad is not so unusual. The Premier League is one of the UK’s biggest exports, and whether you are in Azerbaijan or Angola, Tanzania or Tahiti, you will find a bar showing the games with a series of die-hard fans to boot.

      It requires huge dedication, but it is at the very least accessible. Worldwide kick-off times pose difficulties for sleep patterns, but one can at least follow their team from anywhere in the world.

      It wasn’t always like this. In its earliest days, Kai and co. ran Ørneblikket as much as a newspaper as a traditional fanzine. They were the clearest purveyors of Palace news across Norway.

      “In the beginning it served us as a news outlet, because if you lived here in Norway before the internet, none of the papers would write about Palace,” Kai explains. “It was a source for Palace fans to get to know more about the club and get to know some of the players and results.

      “Even things like lineups wouldn’t be available back then. A few of us would have the Croydon Advertiser sports pages sent to us here in Norway, and we would use that for pictures and information.

      “We would subscribe to the matchday programme and we would translate stuff and put it in our fanzine, because most people would have nothing [to read] about Palace.

      “It’s been going for 32 years now. It’s the oldest running Palace fanzine anywhere in the world.”

      Soon enough, it became more than a source of information; it was the basis for a growing community.

      “Our fanzine has always served a twofold purpose,” Kai explains. “It’s one thing telling people about Palace and the players and everything, but it’s also a way of connecting with other Palace fans across all of Scandinavia.

      Quote Icons

      Even things like lineups wouldn’t be available back then. A few of us would have the Croydon Advertiser sports pages sent to us here in Norway, and we would use that for pictures and information.

      Kai Lindseth

      “You’ll be hard pressed to run in to one, but we print a members list. You can see: ‘Alright, there is a guy who lives down the road who is actually a Palace fan – and there is a guy in the city. Maybe I should give him a call and we can go and watch a match together’.

      “So it's always been a way of getting people to know each other as well. Of course, these days, it's a bit different because everything's available online and every single game is on TV, so you don't have the news bit anymore.

      “It's about opinions. Our fanzine has always been a bit out of the ordinary. We might do articles on non-league clubs. We could do articles on fan culture.

      “We could do things with what relates Palace to ourselves, personal opinions. Of course, people who go on trips and write their stories and such is always, always very interesting.”

      Although Palace will be his focus on Thursday, Kai is witnessing a renaissance in Norwegian football, with the country producing its finest players since the days of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and John Arne Riise.

      Now, Oscar Bobb at Manchester City and Antonio Nusa at Club Brugge are leading a talented new generation – plus the more obvious names.

      “It seems like there is a golden generation coming through in Norway,” he says. “Hopefully it can translate to the national team, but Norway now have players who are top internationals.

      “There is no striker better than [Erling] Haaland, there are not many who are on a level with [Martin] Ødegaard.

      “It’s a fun time to be a Norwegian fan because it seems for the first time that we might actually be heading somewhere.”

      But it also serves as a warning to Palace, before meeting Bodø/Glimt on Thursday afternoon – a side that took Ajax to extra-time in Europe this season, leading 2-0 in Amsterdam before a late comeback.

      “They haven’t got a lot of household names, but they are a very good team and they play very nice people – I think Palace fans might be in for a bit of a surprise in that regard,” he says.

      “People tend to think: ‘All right, they are from far up north above the Arctic Circle. Should we take them seriously?’

      “Yes, you should take them very seriously.”

      At kick-off tomorrow – and for the rest of the season, and for every season after that – there won’t merely be a few interested spectators in Norway, but an entire growing and ever-more dedicated community.


      • Thursday 14th March
      • 15:00 GMT
      • Live on Palace TV+

      The match will be played behind-closed-doors, with no supporters admitted – but will be broadcast LIVE on Palace TV+ for fans to enjoy.

      Click here to find out more about Palace TV+.