Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Viking Ready for a Fight

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Viking Ready for a Fight

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SMITH

ERIK NEVLAND has already realised the dream of every Manchester Unitedsupporter by scoring a goal at Old Trafford.

But the 30-year-old maintains that moment of glory will be eclipsed if hemanages to net for Fulham in their relegation showdown at home to BirminghamCity tomorrow.

Nevland's magical strike happened nearly a decade ago when Sir Alex Fergusoncalled him off the bench to help dump Neil Warnock's Bury out of theWorthington Cup.

Although it's a memory he still treasures, the Norway striker said: "If scoringagainst Birmingham gives us a chance of staying up it would probably be thehighlight of my career.

"I didn't come to Fulham to play in the Championship, so if I can contribute tous staying up then it would be brilliant." Nevland is committed to Fulham but apart of him will forever belong to United, who he will be cheering for in theChampions League Final against Chelsea.

He smiled when reminded of the two goals he scored for Norwegian minnows VikingStavanger that helped embarrass the Blues, then led by Claudio Ranieri, in thefirst round of the UEFA Cup in October 2002.

Nevland spent two seasons in Manchester after moving there from Viking as a19-year-old, but he failed to establish himself as first-team regular.

"There is no resentment about that," he said.

"I had a few chances but it didn't happen for me so I just got on with mycareer back with Viking."

It was with them in 2004 that Nevland first encountered Roy Hodgson, who hadbeen hired, in a preview of his current role at Craven Cottage, to save theside from relegation.

Nevland recalled: "In a way you can compare Viking's situation then to whatwe're going through at Fulham.

We had the fear of going down and I think we might have done if it hadn't beenfor Roy.

"We were really struggling. …

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