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Strandli: Frank

1993-1994 (Player Details)


Born: Norway: 16-05-1972

Debut v Middlesbrough (h) (Substitute): 30-01-1993

6’1” 13st 13lb (1994)

Just eleven minutes after coming on for Rod Wallace Norwegian International Frank Strandli opened the scoring against Middlesbrough but it was to prove a false start for the big Norwegian striker. He had arrived at Elland Road just days earlier in a £350,000 transfer from IK Start, where he had scored thirty-six goals in ninety games, but he struggled to adapt to the pace of the English game and his career at both domestic and international level dipped. It had all looked so promising for a player who had first trained with Leeds in 1991 and been a fully paid up member of the Leeds United Supporters Club. He had signed for IK Start in 1989 when still not quite seventeen, but had soon made his mark with nine goals in twenty League games in the 1989 season. 1990 was not so productive with no goals in seventeen games and 1991 saw him net four in twenty-two games, but it was the 1992 season in which he scored sixteen goals in twenty-two League games that prompted Howard Wilkinson's interest. He had by then scored once in ten games for the Norwegian Under-Eighteen side and he had also first played for the Norwegian Under-Twenty-one side, initially when still not yet eighteen and had scored twelve goals in twenty-six appearances. He had also been capped for the full Norwegian team, making his debut on 7th January 1992 in a 0-0 draw with Egypt at the Cairo International Stadium adding a second a month later in another friendly in a 3-1 win over Bermuda at their National Stadium on 4th February 1992. There were then two more friendlies at the Ulleval Stadium where Faroe Islands were defeated 2-0 on 13th May 1992 and Scotland were held to a 0-0 draw on 3rd June 1992. He had brought his caps to six after coming on as a substitute for Gunnar Halle on the hour mark in a 2-1 win over the Netherlands in a World Cup qualifier at the Ulleval Stadion on 23rd September 1992 and then playing a full game in a 1-2 defeat to the People's Republic of China at the Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou on 2nd December 1992 to bring his total to six before he joined Leeds. Leeds had wanted him to come to England in October 1992 but he had to complete his National Service with the Norwegian Army and the move was delayed because of difficulties in getting a work permit. He did get half a game in a friendly against AC Milan in December, a month after collecting his sixth Norwegian cap against China. However, it all turned sour at Leeds and, suffering from homesickness, he failed to start a Premiership game in 1993-94 and in November 1994 was transferred to SK Brann for £100,000, after spending six months on loan with the Norwegian club. Even though he had languished in the Leeds Reserves he was still picked for the National squad and had scored his first international goal in his seventh international on 15th January 1994 when he opened the scoring just on half time against the USA at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium at Tempe Arizona, but Norway could not prevent being beaten 1-2 by full-time. Four days later he was on the bench against Costa Rica but was not used, but on 20th April 1994 there was a full game in a 0-0 draw with Portugal at the Ulleval Stadion in another friendly. He scored three goals in four starts after joining the Bergen club permanently in the 1994 season and he remained there until the end of the 1995 season. He scored fourteen goals in forty-two games for SK Brann before moving to Lillestrom SK in late 1995. There he found the net regularly and amassed fifteen goals in just thirty-seven starts and one game from the bench in the 1996 and 1997 seasons. His form was still good enough to warrant inclusion in the Norwegian team and he scored his second international goal when he got the fourth goal in the fifty-ninth minute of a 5-0 win over Azerbaijan in a World Cup qualifier at the Ulleval Stadion on 2nd June 1996. He added two more caps in the same competition to bring his tally to eleven with two more starts in a 3-0 win at the same venue over Hungary on 9th October 1996 in which he made way for Egil Ostenstad with seven minutes left on the clock, and the a 1-0 win over Switzerland at the Wankdorf Stadium in Bern on 10thy November 1996. He then moved to Greek club, Panathinaikos, where he scored eighteen goals in sixty appearances from 1997 to 1999. His International career was on the up as Norway went on to top Group Three of the World Cup and Strandli played in all eight games, and on 30th April 1997 he played seventy-two minutes before being replaced by Jostein Flo at the Ulleval Stadion in a 1-1 draw with Finland and on 30th May at the same venue the same player replaced him for the final minute as Norway beat Brazil 4-2 in a friendly. He prought his caps to fifteen with two full games in a 1-1 draw with Hungary at the Ferenc Puskas Stadium, Budapest on 8th June 1997 in another World Cup qualifier and a 1-0 win at the Laugardalsvollurin, Reykjavik, on 20th July 1997. Three more World Cup qualifiers brought it to eighteen as he replaced Erik Mykland for the last twenty minutes of a 4-0 win over Finland at the Olympiastadion, Helsinki, on 20th August 1997, then played the first half of a 1-0 win over Azerbaijan at the Tofiq Bahramov Stadion, Baku, before being replaced by Gunnar Halle on 6th September 1997 and four days later he was a seventy-second minute substitute for Miniu Jakobsen at the Ulleval Stadion as Switzerland were beaten 5-0. Although he added three more caps in the lead up to the World Cup Finals in France in 1998 he did not make the finall twenty-two players named in the final squad. He was a substitute for Stig Inge Bjornebye for the last seven minutes in a 0-0 draw with Colombia at the Ulleval Stadion on 8th October 1997, he then scored his third international goal, when he opened the scoring in the thirteenth minute of a 3-3 draw with France on 25th February 1998, when he was replaced by Egil Ostenstad for the final four minutes and the there was a full game on 22nd April at Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, in a 2-0 win over Denmark. His final three caps came in a 1-3 loss to Latvia at Ulleval Stadion in a European qualifier on 6th September 1998 and two friendlies, the first a 1-0 win over Israel at the Sammy Ofer Stadium, Haifa, on 20th January 1999, when he was replaced just before the final whistle by Jostein Flo and two days later at the Umm Al-Fahm Municipal Stadion, Tel Aviv, where he was replaced by the same player at the start of the second half in a 3-3 draw with Estonia. He then returned to Scandinavia to play with Danish club Aalborg Boldspilklub and in two years scored twenty-four goals in fifty-three matches, including nine in seventeen appearances in the 1998-99 season when the club won the championship, before retiring in September 2002, due to a groin injury for which he received $1m in insurance compensation. He coached in Southern Norway in 2003 but quit in early 2005 and then became coach of his first club FK Start. He attempted to resume his playing career as a central defender with FC Lund, a team who occupied Norway’s seventh division, but failed to do so.

League 5/92
F.A. Cup 10
League Cup 0/10