Where Are They Now...Stig Inge Bjørnebye
Date of Birth: 11th December 1969, Elverum
Position: Left Back
Internationals: 75 caps for Norway, 1 goal
Signed: 2000 (from Liverpool)
Left: 2002 (Retired/went into Management)
Clubs (Prior to Rovers): Strømmen, Kongsvinger, Rosenborg, Liverpool, Brøndby (Loan)
Clubs (After Rovers): I.K. Start (Head Coach)
Stig Inge Bjørnebye was one of the first Norwegian based footballers with the 'funny name' to be a success in England. Stig was one of the more successful Norwegian players of his generation in the English Premier League.
Stig had somewhat of a swansong at Rovers, playing 56 games, scoring just the once and winning a League Cup winners medal during his time at Blackburn. Not always to everyone's taste, there was no doubting Bjørnebye's effort. How did Stig end up at Rovers though? and what has he done since? Stay tuned!
Prior to joining Liverpool in 1992, Bjørnebye was based in Norway, starting his career with Strømmen in 1988, making 10 appearances before a move to Kongsvinger came along in 1989. Bjørnebye played there for 2 seasons before the Norwegian powerhouse that is Rosenborg snapped him up in 1992.
Stig only spent one season there before Liverpool and Graeme Souness and the greener pastures of the newly formed Premier League came calling.
Bjørnebye did not get off to the greatest of starts at Anfield and in 1994 was loaned back to his previous club, Rosenborg.
He returned to Anfield and began to impose himself on the first team, before long making the left back position his own.
Stig had a good run at Liverpool but with Roy Evans and Gerrard Houllier and later just Houllier in the Liverpool hot seat, he found games more and more difficult to come by, this resulted in a loan move to Danish outfit Brøndby IF in 2000.
No sooner had Bjørnebye's loan spell finished with Brøndby when former Liverpool manager and then current Blackburn Rovers manager, Graeme Souness made a move for him, securing his services for the Lancashire based outfit.
It did not take long for Bjørnebye to make the left back spot his own and impressed even this author, as I did not think much of the signing but was happy to be proved wrong.
Stig provided some much needed solidity at the position as Rovers had struggled to replace Graeme Le Saux in 1996 and in all fairness, when Bjørnebye left in 2002, Blackburn went through a host of players in an attempt to find a suitable replacement, Gresko, McEveley, Gray and even right back Lucas Neill before finding one in another Anfield exile, namely Stephen Warnock. That, to me, was a testament to how under rated Bjørnebye was.
Stig then took up a position with the Norway National Team as Assistant Manager and also as an informal scout for Souness. Stig left his post with the national team in 2006 to take the reigns at I.K. Start for his very first managerial position where he remains in charge as of the time of writing having finished a resepctable 6th in the domestic league and reaching the semi final of the domestic cup competition.
The above information is as accurate to my knowledge as possible, up to and including 19th June 2007.