Jan Åge Fjørtoft
Fjørtoft in 2008
|Full name||Jan Åge Fjørtoft|
|Date of birth||10 January 1967|
|Place of birth||Gursken, Møre og Romsdal, Norway|
|Height||2.01 m (6 ft 7 in)|
|Playing position||Centre forward|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Jan Åge Fjørtoft (born 10 January 1967 in Gursken) is a former Norwegian footballer. A powerful centre forward with goalscoring ability, he played professionally in Norway, Austria, England and Germany. He appeared in 71 international matches (15 as captain) and scored 20 goals for Norway. His nickname was Fjøra, meaning The Feather in Norwegian.
Fjørtoft started his senior-career at Hødd (2. league Norway) as 17-year old, scoring 9 league goals in 17 matches in the 1984 season. In the 1985 season he scored 25 league goals in 22 games.
After starting in Norway with Hødd, HamKam and Lillestrøm and spending four seasons in the Austrian Bundesliga with Rapid Wien – where he became only the second foreigner to be Player of the Year in 1989 – Fjørtoft spent several seasons in England during the 1990s. He joined Swindon Town in the summer of 1993 following their promotion to the Premiership, costing the Wiltshire club a record £500,000. He had a slow start to his career at Swindon endured a terrible start to their first ever top division campaign, failing to win any of their first 16 games. Fjørtoft failed to find the net until after Christmas, but scored 13 goals from his final 17 games, including a hat-trick in a 3–1 win against Coventry City on 5 February 1994. However, it was not enough to prevent Swindon from going down in bottom place with a mere five league wins having conceded 100 league goals.
Fjørtoft continued to score frequently during 1994–95 and helped Swindon reach the League Cup semi-finals, but their league form was disastrous once more and he transferred to Middlesbrough on 23 March 1995 for £1.3million. By this stage, he had scored 25 goals in all competitions for the Robins and was one of the highest scorers in the English league that season.
Meanwhile, Fjørtoft was a regular player for Middlesbrough as soon as he joined the club, and helped them finish the season as Division One champions. Due to a restructuring of the league, they were the only team to gain automatic promotion to the Premiership in 1995. He was a regular player throughout the 1995–96 campaign and, as the Norwegian partnered Brazilian playmaker Juninho, Boro finished in a respectable 12th place; although they had occupied fourth place in late autumn, a disastrous run of form coinciding with an injury crisis during mid season sabotaged their hopes of European qualification or a title challenge. Fjørtoft had scored six goals from 26 Premier League games.
But the arrival of Italian striker Fabrizio Ravanelli pushed him down the pecking order for 1996–97, and he was sold to Division One promotion chasers Sheffield United for £700,000 on 31 January 1997. In his final game for Middlesbrough Fjørtoft scored a crucial goal against Hednesford Town in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Boro would go on to reach the final after his departure.
After the Blades lost to Crystal Palace in the playoff final, he played at United until 15 January 1998, when he joined newly promoted Barnsley to have another crack at the Premiership. He was unable though, to prevent Barnsley's only season at Premier League level ending in relegation, although scoring six goals in 15 Premiership games. He left Barnsley in November 1998 to join Eintracht Frankfurt, calling time on his five-year spell in England.
Fjørtoft's next stop came in Germany with Eintracht Frankfurt, where he spent three years (25 November 1998 – 31 May 2001). He became a cult hero for the club, scoring a decisive 89th-minute goal in the final game of the 1998–99 season, saying to himself melancholically: "probably the best goal this season", keeping Eintracht up. He returned home to Norway with Stabæk, and finished his career with Lillestrøm in 2002, retiring at the age of 35.
|Fjørtoft – goals for Norway|
|1||28 July 1988||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway||Brazil||1–0||1–1||Friendly|
|2||14 September 1988||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway||Scotland||1–1||1–2||1990 World Cup qualifier|
|3||31 May 1989||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway||Austria||2–0||4–1||Friendly|
|4||14 June 1989||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway||Yugoslavia||1–2||1–2||1990 World Cup qualifier|
|5||25 October 1989||Mohammed Al-Hamad Stadium, Kuwait City||Kuwait||2–2||2–2||Friendly|
|6||7 February 1990||Ta' Qali National Stadium, Attard, Malta||Malta||0–1||1–1||Rothmans tournament|
|7||31 October 1990||Bislett Stadion, Oslo, Norway||Cameroon||4–0||6–1||Friendly|
|9||23 May 1991||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway||Romania||1–0||1–0||Friendly|
|10||25 September 1991||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway||Czechoslovakia||2–2||2–3||Friendly|
|11||30 March 1993||Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar||Qatar||0–3||1–6||Friendly|
|14||28 April 1993||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway||Turkey||2–0||3–1||1994 World Cup qualifier|
|15||13 October 1993||Stadion Miejski, Poznań, Poland||Poland||0–2||0–3||1994 World Cup qualifier|
|16||14 December 1994||Ta' Qali National Stadium, Attard, Malta||Malta||0–1||0–1||Euro 1996 qualifier|
|17||26 April 1995||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway||Luxembourg||2–0||5–0||Euro 1996 qualifier|
|18||25 May 1995||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway||Ghana||2–1||3–2||Friendly|
|20||7 June 1995||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway||Malta||1–0||2–0||Euro 1996 qualifier|
- 1. divisjon top scorer: 1988
- Player of the year in Austria (Krone-Fußballerwahl): 1989
- Football League First Division Team of The year: 1994–95
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other[n 1]||Total|
|1993–94||Swindon Town||Premier League||36||12||2||1||1||0||–||39||13|
|1996–97||Sheffield United||Division One||17||10||0||0||0||0||3||1||20||11|
|Norway national team|
After his retirement, Fjørtoft worked as a football commentator for NRK and did his coaching badges, but resigned when he took over the Director of Football role at Lillestrøm (LSK). After four and a half years as the director of football, he quit his job at LSK at the end of the 2008 season.
Since 2004 he has also worked as a pundit at Viasat. First as an anchor, but the last year you meet him around Europe doing his interviews with the players/coaches/leaders of the Champions League teams. He runs his own "Strategic Consultant – company"[clarification needed] with customers in Norway and internationally.
He was chairman of MTG's foundation "MTG United for Peace" and later had the same role at Millicom.
2011-2014 he worked as a football pundit on Sky Germany.
Since 2008 Fjørtoft has worked as an advisor for the Norwegian Football Association. In that job being at "Handshake for Peace" from the start when the founder, Kjetil Siem; came up with the idea. April 2014 Fjørtoft was named Team manager of the National Team, working close with the national coach, Per-Mathias Høgmo.
In January 2015 Fjørtoft was chosen by the Minister for Sport of Norway to lead a Strategic Group that will advise the government how to use the sport in the best possible way for the society.
Fjørtoft's son, Markus, played for the Duke Blue Devils soccer team and was drafted in 2018 by Seattle Sounders FC in Major League Soccer. After a spell with Southern United in New Zealand, Markus signed for Scottish club Hamilton Academical in April 2019. Markus has also worked as Fjørtoft's personal assistant at Viasat.
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- "Jan-Aage Fjortoft". Soccerbase. Archived from the original on 16 November 2006. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- "Jan Åge Fjørtoft". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- "Jan-Aage Fjörtoft". Fussballdaten.de (in German). Archived from the original on 6 October 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- Søfting, Thomas. "Jan Åge Fjørtoft". Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Hamilton Accies: Markus Fjortoft, son of Jan Age, to sign in summer". BBC Sport. 18 April 2019. Archived from the original on 20 April 2019. Retrieved 18 April 2019.