I coached a young Erling Haaland but Newcastle United will always be my team

The face was wreathed in smiles and hand extended. A tall imposing figure with a heavy Norwegian accent, it stood him apart from the Newcastle fans milling around at a talk-in I was doing with United legend Peter Beardsley.

His enthusiasm for all black-and-white was obvious but Frode Grotteland is of a different stamp. Very different. Back home he was a coach to the young Erling Haaland during his formative years and in a city where the plundered goals of local heroes Alan Shearer and Jackie Milburn gained legendary stature helping guide the greatest scoring machine of modern-day football, an inevitable double Golden Boot winner, is a massive passport to acceptance and respect.

Yet how did a man from across the sea become a fervent Newcastle supporter making countless pilgrimages to the banks of the Tyne rather than be a recent Manchester City convert? It dates back almost 30 years to his original hero Kevin Keegan.

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From the day Grotteland flew into Newcastle to watch the Entertainers because of KK in the mid nineties he has bled black and white. Hence the reason he was at my talk-in with Beardsley and later showed up at another I did with John Anderson. However it is his links with Haaland which provides regular discussion.

Frode lives in the shadow of Stavanger at Sandnes which is a 15 minute drive from Byrne where Haaland was one of around 40 kids dreaming of stardom with his local football club.

"My best friend was coaching at Byrne and invited me to join him because he knew I was good with people," Frode told me from his home. "The year was 2014 and this young lad stood out. He wasn't the biggest - not like he is now. He shot up between the ages of 16 and 17 but he absolutely hated to lose and he scored goals for fun. Mind you, while I knew he was excellent I must admit I never suspected he would become the greatest goalscorer in the world!

"We went to a tournament in Oslo and won everything, the overall trophy, top scorer (him of course), best player, fair play award. The picture I treasure shows me on the back row with Erling sitting in the next row alongside the only young girl in the team who also went on to be a top professional footballer in the women's game."

Dad Alfie was of course a top flight player at Man City in his own right, famously clashing with Roy Keane, but according to Grotteland he was never an interfering parent.

"Alfie is a nice man who never tried to contradict what coaches were doing or saying," he added. "Some parents can't because they are so intense but Alfie let .everyone get on with their job."

Erling started in Bryne's academy at the age of five, played for their reserve team Bryne FK2 in the Norwegian fourth tier, and was promoted to the first team three months before his 16th birthday. By February 2017 still only 16 Haaland signed for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Molde.

Having been submerged in the golden goals gloriously offered us Geordies by Wor Jackie, SuperMac and Big Al and become totally addicted I am still astonished by Haaland's figures. Beginning with 16 goals in 11 appearances for Byrne FK2 as a boy he has marauded through Molde, Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund to City piling up a career record of 245 club goals from 298 appearances plus 27 more international strikes in 31 games for Norway.

At City alone he has plundered 90 in 98 outings and he is still only coming up 24 in July for goodness sake. If many look up to an awesome centre-forward then Keegan had the same effect on another Norwegian turning him into a lifelong Newcastle supporter.

"Kevin was always my hero," admitted Frode. "So when he came to manage United and built such an exciting side as the Entertainers I was hooked. I just had to go over and see them play. I could fly from Stavanger in an hour so I did. I remember it to this day - it was November 4, 1995 and we beat Liverpool 2-1 with Steve Watson scoring a last minute winner. It was the season United tragically blew a 12-point lead to finish second top.

"Kevin was truly wonderful. He actually came over to Norway to do a charity show for me raising money for Africa. He packed the place out . There were 350 to see him."

Both KK and his Norwegian host talked about Terry McDermott, United's No 2, and the next time Frode flew into Newcastle Terry Mac was waiting at the airport.

"He took me down to Ponteland and pointed out where the likes of Kevin and Alan Shearer lived. I was in paradise."

From such beginnings a long association with NUFC developed which still exists. Grotteland has regularly brought a team over to play against the coaching staff and former players at United's training ground going on to form a strong relationship with the Newcastle Foundation.

Frode revealed: "We are hosting United at two training camps in Norway this summer and will do another in the winter. I go over as often as I can. I love Newcastle and its people. They are so warm and friendly. Football is an international language and what is happening now takes me back to the Kevin Keegan days."