Roald Jensen

Last updated

Roald Jensen
Personal information
Full nameRoald Jensen
Date of birth(1943-01-11)11 January 1943
Place of birth Bergen, Norway
Date of death 6 October 1987(1987-10-06) (aged 44)
Place of death Bergen, Norway
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Position(s) Winger
Youth career
1953–1956 Dynamo
1956–1959 Brann
Senior career*
1960–1964 Brann 82 (51 [1] )
1965–1971 Heart of Midlothian 74 (19 [2] )
1971–1973 Brann 40 (9 [3] )
National team
1959–1960 Norway U19 2 (0 [4] )
1960 Norway U21 0 (0 [4] )
1960–1971 Norway 31 (5 [4] )
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Roald Jensen (11 January 1943 – 6 October 1987), [5] nicknamed "Kniksen", of Bergen, Norway was one of that country's most celebrated association football players. He played for SK Brann and Heart of Midlothian F.C. ("Hearts"). Knicksen is a local Bergen word meaning "juggler".


Jensen was born in Bergen. From an early age, he was interested in football. He made his Brann senior-team debut in 1960, while still only 17. He made his debut on the national team the same year. Brann, with Jensen, won the league in 1961-62 and in 1963. After Brann's relegation in 1964, Jensen transferred to professional football in Scotland as Heart of Midlothian's first non-British player. While he was in Scotland, Jensen was unable to play for Norway, as the national team did not allow professional players at that time.

In 1971 Jensen returned to Brann and won the Norwegian championship (cup) with the club in 1972. Jensen retired from football after the 1973 season, when he was 30 years old. Jensen died in 1987 while playing football for Brann's old-boys' team. The Kniksen award, a prize that acclaims the best players in Norwegian football, is named after Jensen. In 1995 a statue of Jensen was erected outside Brann Stadion in Bergen.

Early life

Roald Jensen was born in Bergen and grew up at Eidsvågsneset, Bergen. He was the son of architect Karl Ingolf Jensen and Kirsten Alice Rokne. [6] His brother Kjell Jensen was also a footballer. [7] As a child, Jensen played in the garden with a football for hours on end. [6] In the SK Brann club biography, Gje meg en B - !, Boka om Brann, he describes a situation when he lost a small ball he got when he was four years old as the most unhappy time of his life. [8] When he was ten years old, he was a founding member of a football club called Dynamo. In a game Dynamo won 22–0, Jensen scored 15 goals. [6] Jensen was also a member of the buekorps ("Archery Brigade") Nordnæs Bataillon. [9]

Jensen joined Brann at age 13, and dominated on the club's youth teams. [6] Even as a youth player, he was noticed for his extreme technical skills. [8] In 1959, SK Brann's junior team won the National Championship. The final at Brann Stadion was attended by 16,000 people. [10]

Jensen finished high school and attended Bergen Technical School for two years, before he decided to concentrate on football. [6]

Senior career

SK Brann (1960–1964)

Jensen played his first senior match for Brann against Viking in April 1960. [11] Because he was only 17, the club had to get a special permit in order to use him. [10] He played all six of the remaining games of the 1959–60 league season, scoring two goals. [11] [12] Despite Roald Jensen's early success, Brann was relegated to the regional league Landsdelserien ("Regional series"). [13] Roald Jensen played all eight games in the Landsdelserien in the fall of 1960. [11] Roald Jensen soon became famous for his ball control and his accurate shots and passes. [6] He became Norway's biggest sports star and a darling of the media, and earned the moniker "Kniksen", [6] which translates into "juggler" in English.

After the 1961 spring season, Brann were promoted from Landsdelserien. The Norwegian League system was reorganized, and the autumn season was the start of a marathon campaign that lasted throughout 1962. [14] Ten out of 30 games were played that autumn, and Jensen was on the pitch in all of the games, scoring five goals. [15] Jensen also played in all of Brann's games in the Norwegian cup in 1961, which ended in October when Fredrikstad FK defeated them in the semifinal at Brann Stadion. The attendance for that game, 24,800 people, is to this day the record at Brann stadium. [16] Jensen was in and out of the national team in 1961, [8] but played seven games. [4]

In the 1961–62 season, Jensen helped Brann win their first ever League Championship. [17] In the book Godfoten, Nils Arne Eggen describes a situation where Jensen and Rolf Birger Pedersen, in the next-to-last game of the season against Rosenborg, took off their football shoes and humiliated their opponents by playing in their socks in a demonstration of superiority. [18] However, the fact is disputed, and Pedersen denied that it ever happened. [19] Brann won the game 4–1, with Jensen scoring one goal. [20] Following that season, Jensen was named "striker of the year" by the newspaper Verdens Gang , and "player of the year" in Sportsboken , a sports yearbook published in Norway. [21]

Brann repeated their success and won the Norwegian First Division in 1963. [22]

Hearts (1965–1970)

Jensen transferred to Hearts after the 1964 season, while SK Brann was relegated, and debuted as the Maroons' first overseas international on 2 January 1965. [2] [23] He stayed with Hearts until 1971. His Hearts career was plagued by injuries, but he still played 170 games and scored 31 goals.[ citation needed ] An important goal was the extra-time winner against Morton in the 1968 Scottish Cup semifinal; however, the Maroons lost the resultant final 1–3 to Dunfermline Athletic. [23]

Back in Brann (1971–1973)

Jensen returned to Brann in the summer of 1971. He played the final nine games in the league that season, scoring two goals. [24] Despite Jensen's return, Brann ended ninth—second from the bottom in the league. Usually this would mean relegation, but the league was expanded to 12 teams in 1972, and only one team was relegated. [24]

Controversy started in the pre-season during 1972, when Jensen ended up in a fight with the referee during an indoor tournament in Haukelandshallen. [25] Jensen was suspended for six months, unable to play half the season. Jensen returned after the summer break, and Brann ended up in the cup final, beating Rosenborg 1–0, 47 years after Brann's last cup triumph. [25] Despite his long suspension, Jensen was named "footballer of the year" in Norway [25] after playing a total of ten games and scoring three goals in league and cup. [26]

Jensen played regularly through the 1973 season, and at age 30, he was expected to play for many years to come. After a quarrel on the pitch, manager Ray Freeman took away Jensen's status as team captain. However, the club's board insisted that Jensen was to remain captain. When Jensen also ended up in conflict with new manager Billy Elliott, he and his brother Kjell chose to retire. [27] His last game as a Brann player was in the European Cup Winners Cup, against Glentoran F.C., on 7 November 1973. [28]

In total, Jensen played 244 games for Brann, and is regarded as the club's greatest player ever. [27]

National team

Jensen made his international debut for Norway in a friendly against Austria on 22 June 1960, [4] aged just 17 years and 161 days, which makes him the third-youngest player to have appeared for Norway's senior national team. Although the selection committee was skeptical of him, due to his young age, Jensen earned excellent reviews for his performance against Austria, and kept his place in the team. [10] Jensen scored his first international goal, becoming the Norway team's youngest-ever goalscorer, in his second game, against Finland on 28 August 1960 – a game Norway won 6–3. [6] [29] However, his breakthrough for Norway was in a game against Sweden on 18 September 1960, where Jensen and his Brann teammate Rolf Birger Pedersen, charmed the entire country with their magnificent football and shy appearance. [30] Norway won the game 3–1. [31]

Jensen remained a regular in the Norway side throughout the early 1960s, and on 7 November 1963, following a game against Scotland, he became the youngest-ever player to receive the Gold Watch for having played 25 senior international games. However, due to the Norwegian FA's self-imposed "amateur rule", Jensen became ineligible for the national team when he joined Hearts in 1964, and did not play for his country again until 1969, when the amateur rule was lifted. In total, Jensen played 31 international games for Norway, and scored five goals, earning his 31st and final cap in a match against Hungary on 27 October 1971.

Outside football

Roald Jensen married Eva Sofie Jetmundsen on 15 July 1967. [6] Before his comeback for Brann in 1971, Jensen worked for Fiskernes Bank in Bergen. [10] After he retired from football, he continued to work in Bergen's banking and insurance sector. [6]

Jensen played for Brann's various old-boys' teams. He died of heart failure on 6 October 1987, while on the football field training with Brann's old-boys' team Gamlekara. [17] Thousands attended his funeral in Fyllingsdalen's church. [10] In 1990 and 1991, Jensen's son Sondre Jensen made five appearances for SK Brann. [32]

A bronze statue of Kniksen made by the Norwegian sculptor Per Ung was installed outside Brann Stadion in 1995. [33] In 2008, a large area outside the two new stands at Brann Stadion was named "Kniksens plass" after Roald Jensen. [34] This also became SK Brann's new address. [35]

The Kniksen award

In Roald Jensen's honour, the Kniksen award is given to Norwegian football players after each football season. The award is handed out by Norsk Toppfotball, and has been awarded annually since 1990. [36] There are separate awards for best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, striker, manager, and referee. [37] It is recognized as Norwegian football's most prestigious award. [6]

Career statistics

SeasonClubDivisionLeagueNational CupLeague CupEuropeTotal
1959–60 Brann Hovedserien 14821169
1960–61 Landsdelsserien 1212431615
1961–62 Hovedserien 30241074031
1963 1. divisjon 1810462216
1964 16345208
1964–65 Hearts Division One 15330183
1965–66 50004090
1966–67 7051121
1967–68 1556311229
1968–69 2272020267
1969–70 530053
1970–71 511041102
1971 Brann 1. divisjon 920092
1972 10340143
1973 2145141306
Career total20485502711241269115


  1. Nielsen, pp. 213–217
  2. 1 2 "Roald Jensen". London Hearts Supporter Club. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  3. Nielsen, pp. 224–226
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "Roald Jensen, 13.1.1943". Football Association of Norway. Archived from the original on 27 May 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  5. Roald Jensen's headstone, Gravminner i Norge
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Skreien, Norvall (2002). "Roald Jensen" [Roald, Jensen - elaboration (NBL Article)]. Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian) (2 ed.). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  7. Vaksdal, Birgitte (9 July 2008). "Kjell Jensen er død" [Kjell Jensen is dead]. Bergensavisen . Retrieved 1 June 2009.
  8. 1 2 3 Sæter & Øiestad, p. 167
  9. Milde, Helge (17 September 1993). "Nordnæs minnes Kniksen". Bergens Tidende (in Norwegian).
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 "Roald "Kniksen" Jensen (1943–1987)". Bergensavisen (in Norwegian). 27 July 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2009.
  11. 1 2 3 Nielsen, p. 213
  12. "Roald "Kniksen" Jensen". Sesonger i Eliteserien (in Norwegian). Aftenposten . Retrieved 30 May 2009.
  13. Nielsen, p. 73
  14. Nielsen, pp. 76–77
  15. Nielsen, p. 214
  16. Nielsen, p. 76
  17. 1 2 Ånesen, Reidar. "Roald "Kniksen" Jensen". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  18. Eggen, Nils Arne; Nyrønning, Sverre M. (1999). Godfoten: samhandling—veien til suksess (in Norwegian). Oslo: Aschehoug. ISBN   82-03-22395-8.
  19. Nielsen, p. 77
  20. Nielsen, p. 215
  21. Sæter & Øiestad, p. 166
  22. Sæter & Øiestad, p. 168
  23. 1 2 David Speed; Alex Knight. "Hearts History 1964-1974". Heart of Midlothian F.C. Archived from the original on 10 March 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  24. 1 2 Nielsen, p. 89
  25. 1 2 3 Nielsen, p. 90
  26. Nielsen, p. 225
  27. 1 2 Nielsen, p. 93
  28. Nielsen, p. 93, 226
  29. "Norge – Finland 6–3 (2–1)". (in Norwegian). Football Association of Norway. Archived from the original on 23 November 2005. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
  30. Staalesen, Gunnar (23 October 2007). "Vi som husker Kniksen". Gullmagasinet 2007 (in Norwegian). Bergen: Bergens Tidende. pp. 66–67. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011.
  31. "Norge – Sverige 3–1 (2–1)". Football Association of Norway. Archived from the original on 27 November 2005. Retrieved 18 June 2009.
  32. Nielsen, pp. 124, 243–244
  33. Hartvedt, Gunnar Hagen (1999). "Offentlige minnesmerker og prydskulpturer" [Public monuments and decorative sculptures]. Bergen Byleksikon (in Norwegian) (3 ed.). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. p. 560. ISBN   82-573-0485-9.
  34. Berntsen, Tale Nesmann (4 December 2008). "Årstad bydel får Kniksens plass" [Årstad district receives Kniksen space] (in Norwegian). Bergen Kommune . Retrieved 29 May 2009.[ permanent dead link ]
  35. Olsen, Bjørn Thomas (3 December 2009). "Her er Kniksens plass" (in Norwegian). Bergensavisen. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  36. "Hvem blir årets Kniksen?" (in Norwegian). Norsk Toppfotball. 31 October 2007. Retrieved 8 November 2009.[ dead link ]
  37. Trym Oust Sonstad (26 October 2005). "Hvem er Tippeligaens beste? - Tippeligaen" (in Norwegian). Dagbladet . Retrieved 8 November 2009.

Related Research Articles

Sportsklubben Brann is a Norwegian professional football club, founded 26 September 1908, from Bergen. Brann has been in the Eliteserien, Norway's Premier Division of Football, since 1987, bar one season spent in the 1. divisjon in 2015. They play their home matches at Brann Stadion where they had a record-breaking 17,310 in average attendance in the 2007 season. In October 2007, Brann won the Norwegian league title for the first time since 1963.

Sigurd Rushfeldt

Sigurd Rushfeldt is a Norwegian football coach and former player. He is working as an assistant coach for Tromsø. During his playing career, he played for Tromsø, Birmingham City, Rosenborg, Racing de Santander, and Austria Wien. As a forward, he is well known for his strength and for being a prolific goalscorer. Rushfeldt is the all-time top goal scorer of Eliteserien.

Thorstein Helstad Norwegian footballer

Thorstein Helstad is a retired Norwegian footballer who played as a forward.

Mons Ivar Mjelde

Mons Ivar Mjelde is a former footballer and is currently head coach for the Norwegian club Øygarden.

The Kniksen Award, established in 1990, honors the best players in the Norwegian football premiership. The award is named after the legendary Norwegian football player Roald Jensen, nicknamed "Kniksen".

Erik Huseklepp Norwegian footballer

Erik André Huseklepp is a Norwegian professional footballer who plays for Fyllingsdalen. A forward, he previously played for Fyllingen and Brann in Norway, for Bari in Italy, and for Portsmouth and Birmingham City in England.

Håkon Opdal Norwegian footballer

Håkon Eikemo Opdal is a Norwegian professional footballer who plays for Brann in the Eliteserien, as a goalkeeper. He has previously played for Brann and Start, where he won Tippeligaen in 2007 and the Norwegian Cup in 2004.

Per-Ove Ludvigsen is a Norwegian former footballer. He played for SK Brann, after joining from local rivals Fyllingen Fotball after the latter club's relegation from the Norwegian Premier League in the 1993 season. In the 1990 season he won the first ever Kniksen award as a defender. He sent Brann to the cup final in 1999 with a goal in extra time in the semi-finals against Molde FK. Ludvigsen was injured but had to play since Brann had used all its substitutes. He earned one cap for Norway in 1990.

Hassan El Fakiri Norwegian footballer

Hassan El Fakiri is a Norwegian former professional footballer, and the current head coach of 3. Divisjon club Os TF.

Bjørn Tronstad is a retired Norwegian football player. Tronstad played at SK Brann from 1974 to 1979. During his 5 years at Brann Tronstad scored a total of 127 goals during 222 matches, and became one of the top-scoring players in the history of the club. Tronstad was looked upon by many as the new Roald 'Kniksen' Jensen. Tronstad retired when he was only 25 years old because he wanted to study in the United States. It is told that he was a major scorer in the local football teams and college teams.

The 2009 season was SK Brann's 101st season and their 23rd consecutive season in the Norwegian Premier League. Steinar Nilsen took over as head coach after the six-year tenure of Mons Ivar Mjelde. The club didn't see the big signings or sales in the January transferwindow. Local-lad Erlend Hanstveit left the club after 10 years, while thought-to-be star striker Njogu Demba-Nyrén was sold only one year after signing with the club following a season where his performance was below expectations.

Sondre Jensen is a retired Norwegian football player.

The 2010 season is SK Brann's 102nd season and their 24th consecutive season in the Norwegian Premier League.

Asbjørn Tenden is a Norwegian footballer.

Steinar Tenden is a Norwegian footballer who played as a striker for several teams in Norway and Iceland. He played one game in the Norwegian Premier League when he was in SK Brann.

Roger Helland is a Norwegian former professional footballer who spent the bulk of his career with SK Brann. A midfielder, played two games for the Norway national football team in 1997.

Anthony Ohikhuaeme Omoijuanfo is a Norwegian footballer who plays as a forward for Eliteserien club Molde.

Bård Finne is a Norwegian professional footballer who plays as a forward for SønderjyskE.

The 1965 2. divisjon was a Norwegian second-tier football league season. The league was contested by 16 teams in two groups, with 8 teams in each group. The two group-winners, Lisleby and IL Hødd, won promotion to the 1966 1. divisjon, while the two bottom teams from each group, Østsiden, Ørn, Årstad and Kvik, were relegated to the third tier.


Mesterfinalen, also known as UNICEF Mesterfinalen due to its cooperation with UNICEF, is a Norwegian association football competition contested between the champions of the previous Eliteserien season and the holders of the Norwegian Football Cup. If the same team is both reigning League and Cup champions, the silver medalist from the league provide the opposition. The competition was founded in 2009, then known as Superfinalen. Superfinalen was not arranged between 2011 and 2016 before it was rebranded and again arranged in 2017. The fixture is a recognised competitive football super cup.