The history of EIK

Formation and early years
Being a Pottery-town since 1847, football was first introduced in Egersund by English Pottery-workers in the late 19th century. A forerunner to EIK, the Egersund Football Club, was formed in 1910, playing their games at a field at Slettebø, 3 miles out of town. No league existed at that time so the club only played friendlies. The Norwegian FA Cup had started in 1902, but the Egersund club never participated in it. Already in its early days, the club was established with yellow and black striped shirts, thus starting a tradition still maintained by EIK.

During WW 1 most organized sport ceased as all arable spots had to be used for food-production, and it seems like Egersund Football Club folded in 1915 although few records remain. When the war was over, the Egersund Turnforening (Athetic & Gymnastics Club) formed a football-team, and in September 1919 the football-party broke out to form it’s own club, the Egersunds Idrettsklubb. On the 26th that month the newly formed club joined the Norwegian Football Association, by then it had allready played it’s first match as an independent club, a 4-4 draw against Vidar Stavanger at Slettebø.

In 1920, the club’s first full season, they joined the Rogaland County League Second division. Two years later they won promotion to the first division, being relegated again in 1926. Instant promotion was gained in 1927, and EIK was to keep their place in the County’s top division until 1936, finishing 3rd both in 1931 and 1932.

The club’s top player in those years was Magnus Salvesen who made 327 first team appearances between 1927-52. In 1933 he played for Rogaland County against a Welsh FA Select XI, and also took part in a test match in Trondheim, but failed to qualify for the full Norwegian International team.

His younger brother Johan was a much feared centre-forward who posessed a lethal shot with his left foot. When Vålerengen Oslo visited Egersund for a friendly in the summer of 1932, he put a hat-trick behind the visitor’s famous goalkeeper Henry «Tippen» Johansen in a 3-3 draw, making the latter quote that he (Johan) was on of the best forwards he had ever faced.

EIK entered the FA-Cup for the first time in 1925, when they were soundly beaten 3-0 by Viking Stavanger. The second round proper was reached on three occasions up until WW2, the opposition in 1931 being the famous Brann Bergen, one of Norway’s top sides and Cup winners in 1923 and 1925. The tie was played at Sandnes, 40 miles north of Egersund as EIK’s narrow ground was still not approved for cupties, with hundreds of Egersundians making the journey north, establishing a ground attendance record. However, the Tigers lost 6-1 to a Brann team with several full-internationals on their side.

The League is introduced
Plans to form an All-Norwegian League had been discussed since the mid 1920s, and in the 1938-39 season, EIK won promotion to the newly formed National 1st Division. It was organized as regional groups with the group-winners playing a knock-out tournament for the Championship. When the winter-break came in October 1939, EIK found themselves in third spot, 5 points behind run-away leaders Viking Stavanger. However, the outbreak of war put an end to organized football until 1945, and by then the FA’s plans for a National League had been changed, as many clubs previously members of the now merged «Labourer’s FA» had to be accomodated within the League.

The 1946-47 season acted as a qualifying campaign for this new league, with EIK ending the season in the lower half of the table, thus having to start the 1947-48 season in Division 2. Although finishing in mid-table, another re-organization of the league meant that the club had to start the 1948-49 season on Level 3. Apart from a record 13-0 League win over Saif in September 1948, there was little joy, and in 1951 EIK was relegated to Level 4.

Better days lay ahead though , as promotions in 1953 and 1957 saw the club back in Division 2, the highest of the regional divisions. In the 1958-59 season they competed against Bryne and Haugar to reach the 1st Division, but a 2-2 draw at home to Bryne near the end of the season ended the club’s dream.

Attendances were quite large to a town of Egersund’s size in the early post-war years. Figures of around 1000 were common, and on big-match-days twice that number could be present. Both in 1957 and 1960 the club was paired against 1st Division Viking in the FA Cup, the Stavanger side needing a replay on both occasions to overcome the minnows from Egersund. The replay in Stavanger in 1960 was seen by 4269 people, a record attendance for EIK-games.

Dropping down the ladder
The standard of the late 50ies could not be maintained though, and by 1964 the club again found themselves in Division 4, following another re-structure of the League-pyramid. Now the seasons again followed the Calender-year, with the top division consisting of one league, as opposed to the two groups established until 1962.

In 1961 the club reached the FA Cup 3rd round for the only time in it’s history. Following wins against Flekkefjord and Start, they bowed out to first division Skeid at Bislett Stadium in Oslo, losing 3-0.

Even though EIK bowed out of the country’s finest in the early 60ies, Norway’s top clubs were frequent visitors to the town. The Bakkebø Home for the Mentally Disabled had been established at the former German Army Camp Grounds at Slettebø after the war. By the early sixties it had it’s own football-ground and as it often was the first grass-pitch to open up in Norway after the long winters, first division giants like Fredrikstad, Skeid and Viking Stavanger would often play close-season friendlies at the ground, the record attendance being close to 4000 for a match between Viking and Fredrikstad in the early 1960ies.

Our first International player
In the 1968 season EIK won 11 of their 14 League matches, securing promotion back to Division 3. By then, Leif Nygaard was established in midfield. He was the first EIK player to win international honours when he was capped at juniors-level in 1967, playing alongside the famous Tom Lund of Lillestrøm who 14 years later would orchestrate Norway’s shock win over England in a WC-Qualifyer in Oslo.

The club’s stay in Division 3 was to last for only 2 seasons, as by the start of the 1971-season EIK found themselves back in Division 4. Although challenging for promotions in most seasons during the 1970ies, the club stood firm in the division. By now Bryne, situated 30 miles north of Egersund, had won promotion to the Norwegian 1st Division, and EIK talents Kjell Iversen and Jan K Skulstad tried their luck at that level , both playing major parts when Bryne finished runners-up to Start in the 1980-Championship.

Iversen was the first Egersundian to win a full-cap when he played for his country against Kuwait in 1982. Erik Thorstvedt, later with Spurs, also made his debut in that game. Also, by 1978, town rival Eiger, formed in 1961, had won promotion to the 4th Division, making the fierce rivalry between the two club’s even hotter. The first league-derby between the two club’s drew a 1200+ crowd to Idrettsparken, the biggest attendance for nearly 20 years. They witnessed a 5-0 win for EIK.

The Golden Era
Following a near escape from relegation in 1980, the fans were pessimistic at the start of the 1981 season. Many established players had retired, and the season started with teenagers forming half the EIK team. Following a poor start, with only two draws from the first four games, the club signed Northern Irish forward David Gordon from Lisburn Distillery. He soon established himself as a crowd-favourite and when EIK travelled to Randaberg for the last game of the season, they knew that a victory would garantee promotion. 3-1 down at half-time after two penalty-misses, the 600 travelling fans thought the chance had gone, but three second half goals ensured a 4-3 win and wild scenes on and around the Randaberg pitch.

Allthough David Gordon left after only one season, Jan K Skulstad returned from Bryne prior to the next season, the first in Division 3 for 12 years. Challenging Djerv 1919 Haugesund for much of the season, EIK had to settle for 6th spot following a poor end to the season, but with crowds of 500+, easily the best in the division, it had been a great season.

Even better was the next two campaigns, with only the goalpost standing between EIK and promotion in 1983 when they needed to beat Varegg Bergen in their last homematch of the season. 1100 disappointed fans watched the 0-0 draw, meaning the Tigers finished 3rd in their group. The 1984 season saw Knut Skjæveland of nearby Bjerkreim being signed to the club. His 10 leaguegoals were influential in the push for promotion, but inconsistant away-form with 5 defeats out of 11 made it difficult to go for top spot, and in the end Vard Haugesund finished above EIK, even though EIK beat them 1-0 in front of more than 1000 fans near the end of the season.

Success meant that some of the players got attracted to bigger clubs and after the 1984 season, Knut Skjæveland went to Viking Stavanger and goalkeeper Olaf Hovland to Brann Bergen. An injury-crisis during the 1985 close season influenced a disastrous start with seven of the first nine leaguegames ending in defeats. The team never managed to pull itself together, and a record 9-0 home defeat to Ny Krohnborg on the last day of the season signalled the end of the club’s brief flirtation with Division 3.

Inconcistancy and declining interest
The supporters expected an instant return to Division 3, but it was not to be as EIK struggled to make an impact in the Division. Former Leeds-coach Brian Green, who in 1980 guided Bryne to runners-up spot in the first division, was appointed manager for two seasons in the late 80ies, but could not bring promotion to the club. As many fans got satelite-dishes and could watch international quality football in their own living-rooms , the attendances at EIK matches declined around 1990 and the poor financial situation for the club got even worse with no reliable gate-receipts.

In 1990, runners-up position was acchieved, and in 1992 player-manager Per Arne Berge, an import from the east of Norway, guided his team to a long awaited promotion back to level 3, now called Division 2. However, the team was much dependant on just a few key-players, like Hans J Skåtøy, Asle Sunde and young striker Bengt Sæternes, now with Bruges in Belgium, so an instant drop back to Division 3 was inevitable. There were a few highlights though. On May 16th, traditionally Norway’s equivalent of Boxing-Day, Local rival Flekkefjord were beaten 1-0 on their own ground in front of 1302 people, many of them travelling supporters from Egersund.

A dreadful 1994-campaign saw EIK drop into division 4 for the first time in their history. Even though they bounced straight back, another drop in 1998 virtually made the club play their games in front of an empty ground. Winning promotion again in 1999, 3rd place was acchieved in the 2000 season, making the club consolidate the position in Norwegian football it has held for the major part of the last three decades.

Despite having to sell some of our best players, the squad showed progress over the next three seasons and after losing only one leaguegame throughout the whole season EIK won promotion back to division two in October 2004.

Unfortunately, we were relegated again after only one season, and have since been a steady division 3. side. In 2006, we appointed former Northern Ireland international Jimmy Quinn as our manager, but despite a 100 % record in the league, Quinn resigned due to personal reasons after only 8 leaguegames.

A new revival?
In 2009, we finished third in our regional group, going one better to finish as runners-up behind Viking Stavangers reserves in 2010. Finally, promotion back to level three was achieved in 2012, after a nail-biting finish in our last game of the season. Needing a point away to fellow promotion chasers Klepp, Espen Skogen managed to level the score with only seconds remaining, leaving the huge number of travelling supporters in rapture.

And for the first time in nearly 30 years we managed to survive our first season back in division two, even though we had to dig in after a promising start. In the FA-Cup, we managed to get to the third round for only the second time in our history, bowing out to Haugesund.

And in general the last few years have been succesful both on and off the pitch. The ground facilities have been vastly updated, installing an artificial practice pitch in 2009, and building a cover over the main stand in 2011.