NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Football washed up in Norway returned to Aberdeen

Football being returned
Image caption Johnny Mikalsen (left) returned the ball to Banks o' Dee FC secretary Tom Ewan (right)

A football that ended up in Norway after being lost in the River Dee has been returned to Aberdeen.

The ball, belonging to the U-19s at Banks o' Dee FC, was found more than 1,000 miles away after it went over a fence at the ground.

It is thought to have been swept into the North Sea and drifted around the coast of Norway to the island of Vanna.

Johnny Mikalsen, who emailed the club when the ball was found in April, flew to Aberdeen to return it.

His friend Nils Hugo had found the ball, which had the name of the team written on it.

Mr Mikalsen, who is a shopkeeper, told BBC Scotland: "The ball was found on a beach after we'd had a couple of weeks of south winds and then for two days we had north-west winds and then the ball was found as a friend was looking for driftwood.

"It had travelled over 1,000 miles. It's a long way, a long way.

Image copyright Johnny Mikalsen
Image caption The ball was found by Nils Hugo while he was looking for driftwood

"There was media from all over the world calling and emailing. I had to disconnect the phone.

"It was just football, football, football and I have a small shop. Wednesday is one of our busiest days. But looking back it was quite funny."

He sad the trip to Aberdeen was a birthday present from his wife and friends.

"I thought maybe we could visit the club when we are on holiday," he said. "It's been very nice."

Banks o' Dee FC secretary Tom Ewan said that, despite its epic journey, the ball was in remarkable condition.

"It's virtually playable," he told BBC Scotland. "It needs a wee bit of air but basically it's kept inflated over the period. We don't know when it went, but considering the distance, and saltwater, it's a credit to the makers.

"We received a new match ball from Mitre, saying 'don't lose this one'."

He added: "There seems to have been a worldwide reaction to this. Even the Washington Post did an article on it. But locally every person I meet seems to ask "Have you got the ball back yet?"

"It's one of these stories that catches people's imagination.

"It's been great to see Johnny and his friend here. We've given him a Banks o' Dee football top, a pennant and a bottle of malt whisky.

"I'm sure the football top will take pride of place in his shop when he gets back home."

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