Eirik Bakke’s journey back to his native Norway was a long and eventful one, with the Sogndal coach among a group of staff and players who hastily abandoned their pre-season training camp in Marbella to head back to Scandinavia at short notice.
Bakke had only been in Spain for a short time after linking up with the Sogndal party after attending Liverpool’s Champions League second leg with Atletico Madrid on March 11 after being a guest of sponsors at Anfield.
The former Leeds United midfielder, now 42, said: “It was very hard to get a flight back. We took a bus to Portugal for nine hours.
“We had to just rush back and take a bus to Portugal as it was chaos in Spain.
“We were supposed to be there for another 10 days, but had to go home. Then we were in a quarantine because if you go abroad, you have to stay two weeks in quarantine.
“We just got out as they were shutting down everything (in Spain).”
The Covid-19 crisis has ensured that the start to the league season in Norway has been put on hold, with Bakke waiting for football to get the green light to resume.
The former Whites favourite is also keeping his fingers crossed that the campaign can also resume for his old club, who are well placed to secure promotion back to the Premier League with nine games remaining.
Bakke continued: “Norway is strict, but we are from a small village with 7,000 people and it is easier here. You stay with your family, but keep away from other people. The boys have individual training and we’ll have to see what the government says. No-one cares about football at the minute, but when there is no football, then we will see how important it is.
“Fingers crossed, hopefully we will be back and Leeds will go back up again. It (season suspension) was a shame for Leeds as they were finding their form. Hopefully, it will be okay.”
Bakke has followed the fortunes of Leeds from Norway this season and had been due to play in the centenary game with Bayern Munich legends which was scheduled for late last month at Elland Road, only to be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“It is a shame what happened with the match as I had been training as well,” he added.
“I still speak with Mark Viduka and Lucas Radebe. I have also spoken to Dominic (Matteo) and hopefully he will be okay and we are praying for him. I also keep in touch with Alfie Haaland, we were looking forward to coming over. Hopefully, the club will be back in the Premier League soon. Leeds supporters are the best in England and they are still showing that with everything that they have suffered.”
Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.
Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.
And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.
Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.
If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.
Sincerely. Thank you.