The forgotten story of … Ray Freeman, the ‘madman’ manager and trailblazer

The British coach enjoyed such success in Norway with Brann in the 1970s that he was awarded honorary citizen status

Paul Doyle

Paul Doyle @Paul_Doyle

Fri 19 Jul 2019 14.00 BSTLast modified on Mon 22 Jul 201910.58 BST

Ray Freeman, described as ‘a hard coach but a nice man’, in the dugout and on the cover of a 1972 publication for Brann members.
 Ray Freeman, described as ‘a hard coach but a nice man’, in the dugout and on the cover of a 1972 publication for Brann members.

SK Brann’s Europa League campaign ended on Thursday with a 2-1 defeat by Shamrock Rovers in Dublin, just down the road from where their very first continental adventure foundered 46 years ago at the hands of the Belfast side Glentoran. Decades of competition in Europe for the Norwegian club began under the guidance of an intrepid Englishman, Ray Freeman, who died this year and is remembered with great fondness.

Brann fans used to call him the Madman of Bergen because of his touchline gesticulations and hollering. But his method and personality won such admiration that within two years of his arrival he became the first person to be awarded honorary citizen status in Norway’s second-biggest city. He inspired Brann to their first Norwegian Cup triumph for 47 years. Which was some going for a man who took the job when he was only 27 and just after Brann’s star player, Roald Jensen, had been banned for kicking a referee up the backside.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/jul/19/forgotten-story-ray-freeman-british-manager-brann-norway?fbclid=IwAR18ITD31-S_KQUEuUtwR9gebRzTUkjn0LI1dC

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