Born: 8 Septmember 1981, Vadsø, Norway
Age in 2005: 24
Premier League Clubs: Blackburn Rovers (2004-2013)
What do Morten Gamst Pedersen and Arjen Robben have in common? That’s right, they both replaced Damien Duff at their respective clubs.
Graeme Souness brought Gamst to Ewood Park for £1.5m in August of 2004, a fee which would rise to £2.5m if you were to add £1m to it.
At first, Pedersen struggled to fill the Duff-shaped hole in Blackburn’s starting lineup. This was due to a plethora of reasons, not least that the man who had brought him there continued his stellar management career by being sacked only a month later. Unfortunately, new Rovers boss Mark Hughes appeared not to rate the Norwegian winger.
(Above: A young Martin Olsson in the background, hoping one day he can be as classic as the two in front of him.)
His luck began to change in the new year, though, after Pedersen started 2005 by scoring against Cardiff City. At that stage, the Welsh club were lead by Lennie Lawrence, who would famously go on to become First Team Management Consultant at Newport County. He still remembers the clash fondly, saying of Pedersen’s introduction to English football: ‘Yes, we lost to Blackburn.’
The next season he solidified his place in the starting lineup, and got into the habit of scoring exclusively extraordinary goals. His form did not go unnoticed by Hughes, and the Norwegian put pen-dersen to paper on a new deal worth something or other; he was quickly becoming a fans’ favourite and even, inexplicably, claimed to love living in Blackburn.
(Above: Yet again Gareth Bale is pictures with a Prem Classic; quite the collection of shirts he must have at home)
With that new contract firmly under his belt, a quiet season and a half ensued for ‘The Norwegian David Bentley’, but the introduction of Sam Allardyce in 2008 gave Blackburn a new lease of wine-infused life. Pedersen was no exception, and with Big Sam deploying him as more of a number 10, his 2005-07 form was beginning to return. Controversy, though, was only just round the corner.
In April 2010, Blackburn took on Everton, but the football would not dominate Sunday morning’s headlines. A gross altercation between Pedersen and Mikel Arteta is best described by the former himself: “It’s a challenge between me and Arteta and he got really angry. I was just standing still and he came into my face.
“He poked me in the eye, but there is nothing I can do now.”
This accusation only inspires speculation of a touchline grapple between Arteta and Mourinho this season, the pair of them rabidly clawing at each other’s eyes while Brian Kidd and Michael Carrick desperately try to separate them. Fortunately, Pedersen suffered no serious injury from the brutal attack, but he did send a ferocious battle cry in the Spaniard’s direction after the game: “He can keep his hands away from my face.”
(Above: Grant Holt and Morten Gamst. Just look at the pair of them.)
The backend of Morten Gamst Pedersen’s Blackburn career was plagued with frustrating injuries, but Rovers fans are still loath to forget his impact on their club. Between 2004 and 2013, the winger featured 288 times and scored 35 goals but above all else, was part of a Blackburn squad that included Tugay, Brett Emerton, Ryan Nelsen, Shefki Kuqi and Paul Dickov; they don’t come more classic than that.
Where is he now?
He has returned to the club where it all started, and has amassed 46 appearances for Tromsø since 2016. Amazingly, he also fronted boyband ‘The Players’ alongside four other men who apparently played football. Their one single – admirably, in aid of the Red Cross charity – was called ‘This Is For Real’, and it really is.
What did he say?
“Amazing how funny a fart can be.” (Gamsten via WhoAteAllThePies)