In the recent (Sep. 2006) clash between Strømsgodset and Bodø/Glimt in Drammen, there was even rumours of a reward on the toothbrush among the home side fans. It wasn't a huge reward, but it was said to increase as time grew closer to the match. The toothbrush--"tannbørsten" in Norwegian--is subject to both applause, envy and ridicule from outside of Glimt's supporter crowd. There are various attributions to this; some point to that it is virtually unparalleled within Norwegian supporter tradition. Being a traditional symbol, it would contribute to the forming of identity and sense of history connected to the club, and is as such a gathering and collective show of strenght among the supporters. Others would point to the fact that any mascot, be it an item or a figure, would be subject to (any) degree of contempt and/or aggression from rival fans, as it--through it's history and the current active use of that history--constitutes a symbolic representation of the club as an entity.
The story behind the toothbrush is one that I don't personally know, so I will rely on a few other sources and translate**.
Writer and long-time Glimt supporter Torgeir Grubstad wrote to a forum member, JIP, who shares with us in this post, saying (this is an excerpt):
I would remark that according to the Wikipedia article, this must have been in 1974. The Arnulf that is referred to here, is Arnulf Bendiksen, the first "leader" of the supporters. As the article also states:At one of these games, Finn Olav Jacobsen pulled a toothbrush out from his pocket, in order for Arnulf to have something to conduct with. It wasn't yellow, but the idea was born. So, at the next game, Arnulf had a small yellow toothbrush. At the time, Finn Olav worked in a store, and knew someone with connections to Jordan (A brush manufacturer, translator's remark). (A salesman or something like that). Through that person, we attained our first big yellow. It had only one flaw. It's shaft was too thin. Of course, it broke after the first game. Someone added to it a piece of wood and nailed it all together. (...) Thus, the toothbrush was ready for it's glorious journey across the country.
Forum member Masinga wrote in this post:The first toothbrush of '74 was broken in two at Brann Stadion by an over-enthusiastic bergenser*** in connection with the quarterfinal of 1976
So there you have it. Brush with pride.This review of the history of the toothbrush is amusing. I thought that it might be interesting to add to some of the history, although it doesn't so much regard the tootbrush itself. It is more about the proud traditions of the Glimt supporters. I now and then read a bit in a book about sports I was given as a christmas present. It is titled "Øyeblikkene vi aldri glemmer" (The Moments We Never Forget, translator's remark). It is actually Arne Shcheie's**** moments that are referred to, and it is written by Otto Ulseth of Adresseavisen. I quote from page 68, for those who haven't read this earlier:
"It was Bodø/Glimt that brought the modern supporter culture to the country, with the waving toothbrush--which to this day is unique to the Glimt supporters--songs and a vast ocean of one colour, in this case yellow.
When Glimt played the cup final in 1975, all of Norway got to see for the first time how supporters of a club should look and behave. The supporters from Bodø were the first supporter crowd to become a [real] part of the team that played the games. It would soon become impossible to imagine Glimt without this yellow, singing, waving choir in the stands"
Great writing from a trønder***/RBK patriot! It was Glimt who imported modern supporter culture into Norway. Where the usual attire would be hat and coat at Bislet, Lerkendal, Åråsen or Brann stadion. Glimt fans were the first! And central to it all was the toothbrush as a symbol of the new age!
* Writing this I could not find a single other example. I would appreciate it if anyone notified me if they know of one.
** The translations are mine and mine alone. If anyone should object to anything, or find any errors, please notify me.
*** A "bergenser" is a person from Bergen. A "trønder" is a person from the counties of Nord- and Sør-Trøndelag, where Trondheim is situated in the latter.
**** Arne Scheie is a well-known football and ski jumping commentator for the Norwegian Public Broadcasting (NRK). Otto Ulseth is currently sports editor at Trondheim-based newspaper Adresseavisen, and former assistant (2004) and head coach (2005) of Tromsø IL.