After Norwegian Premier League club Kongsvinger last week admitted that they are “technically bankrupt”, an aid concert was hastily arranged this weekend. The concert needed to attract a crowd of 200 to break even, but only a profoundly depressing 20 people showed up, making matters even worse for the reasonably doomed club. Now Kongsvinger are hoping for more public support for their next fund-raising initiative, the annual duck race.
Kongsvinger, who are second from bottom in the Norwegian Premier League with one win in their last eleven games, desperately need cash in order to fulfill their fixture list for this season, and after that rather demoralizing aid concert-attempt the club now hope the public will show more support for the annual duck race. Yes, the annual duck race.
For the prize of 12 euros members of the public can have a duck in the race, where up to 1500 rubber duckies will be released into the river Glomma. The owners of the first ten ducks to reach the finishing line further down the river will receive prizes.
Kongsvinger facing doom and devastation both on an off the pitch will come as a particularly harsh blow to winger Adem Güven, who has had a difficult few years. In 2007 his then club Raufoss were demoted to the third tier of Norwegian football after failing to renew their pro-license. Güven moved to HamKam, at the time playing in the Premier Leauge, but HamKam then suffered consecutive relegations in 2008 and 2009, and Güven again found hismelf facing the prospect of life in the much dreaded Norwegian second division. Seeking a fresh start he moved to Kongsvinger, who now look likely to both be relegated and go bankrupt. A demotion, three straight relegations and a bankruptcy in just four seasons is an almost morbidly impressive haul.
Poverty-stricken Kongsvinger attracted a lot of sympathy from neutrals before the season because of their tiny operating budget of some 3 million euros (compared to, say, Rosenborg’s 25 million euros), but then lost much of that sympathy by using what little excess money they had to sign sensationally inept striker Mame Niang, fresh off a free-scoring 2009-season with Viking in which he bagged 2 in 22 and headbutted a teammate. After a barnstorming 3 goals in 21 appearances it still looks like a dunderheaded deal, and along with the Kongsvinger players’ refusal to take a 25% wage-cut it serves to undermine some of the sympathy the struggling club should be due.
Still, rubber duckies make no such harsh judgments and will be floating wholeheartedly down the river Glomma in an attempt to keep the car running, as it were. Go duckies go.