Last updated : 09 January 2002 By
Oli`s first club was Keflavik FC where he stayed for 4 seasons. Keflavik has a tradition for producing top keepers and Oli was understudy to the national team`s first choice. To achieve first team football Oli moved to Akranes FC, probably the most successful team in the country, where he spent 2 years. Oli then moved onto KR for 4 seasons, the main team in Reykjavik, before returning to Keflavik. After 4 seasons back at his original club Oli moved to Hibernian for £250,000. We take up Oli`s story at this point -

HEY JUDE: How did your move to Hibs come about?
OLI: It was through an agent who saw me playing for Iceland. He contacted me and asked if I would go and have a trial at Motherwell, which I did. While I was on trial there, Hibs heard about me and they invited me to go there for a trial after I arrived back in Iceland. So I had two options, two offers. Alex McLeish was the manager of Motherwell and Jim Duffy (now No2 at Portsmouth) was in charge at Hibs. Hibs offered me a longer contract so I joined them. But 6 months later Jim Duffy was sacked and Alex McLeish from Motherwell got the Hibs job!

Not an ideal scenario!
No, it wasn't the best! I had kept him waiting while I was negotiating, but Motherwell had offered me a 1 year contract and Hibs offered 3 years…

Did you enjoy your spell in Scotland?
I had a good time there, it was good. It was a dramatic time because when I joined the team was not the best and we got relegated to the 1st division. But the following year I played in every game and we went straight back up. In the 3rd season I played in about half of the games, I was competing with another keeper.

Nick Colgan, who once had a loan spell here?
Yeah I know! To be fair I don't think I was a big favourite with Alex McLeish from day one really. But he did offer me a 1 year extension to my contract. But then Ron Noades contacted me, which I think came about after Hermann (Hreidarsson) recommended me to him. Brentford offered me a 3 year contract, which was good security for me, and Hermann gave me good vibes about the set up at Brentford. The rest is history!

Do you still keep in touch with Hermann?
Oh yeah, all the time, I spoke to him yesterday morning! We`ve known each other since 1992 when we were both in the national team. We have travelled a lot together and always got along very well.

Shame you never played together at GP?
I would definitely have enjoyed that as, you know, Hermann`s a bit crazy! A nice character! (Oli`s steak dinner arrives but he assures us he can talk while he`s eating!)

How does the Scottish Premier League compare to Division 2 here?
The SPL is funny - you have 6/7 teams whose standard is higher than the 2nd division and 5/6 clubs whose standard is below division 2. Its different, I think the SPL is getting a bit stronger now, but the English 2nd division is a much harder league to play in. You have 24 teams so it`s a lot harder to get promoted. Both divisions are very hard physically.

How many Iceland caps have you got?
9 or 10. The last one was in 1997 v Lichenstein which we won 4-0.

A clean sheet! When did you win your 1st cap?
Yeah I had a few of them actually! My debut was against Denmark in 1992 which was a 0-0 draw. That was a good game because there were quite a few great players in the Danish team back then, they had just won the European Championships.

You must be disappointed not to be in the current Iceland squad?
Yes I`m very disappointed. When I was the number one I had an argument with the then manager (Stoke`s Gudjon Thordason).

What happened, something silly?
Yes it was. I was with Hibs at the time and was on a training camp with Iceland in Cyprus for a week/ten days. It was agreed that I would play a game for Hibs and then return to Cyprus, but the day before I was told I couldn't leave. Well, everything had been agreed so I had think of my own position and make a decision. I wasn't ever called back into the team. But it is a different situation now. We have a new coach so there`s a big possibility I could get back in. I was actually recalled to the squad last September when we played Ireland and the Czech Republic. So I`m hopeful.

Bees fans find it hard to believe there`s a better Icelandic keeper than you?!
Yes, its really hard to believe! (laughs)

Talking of Icemen, we reckon Ivar Ingimarsson has been outstanding this season!
In my opinion he has been tremendous, but its hard to pick Ivar out wihout mentioning Powelly as well. They link together very well, they look a very solid pair, both strong and quick. Ivar is still a young player and he has improved a lot. He has settled really well into his position and I`m really pleased to have him in front of me!

Do you speak English or Icelandic to Ivar during games?
English, its something you get used to. Sometimes, if I don't want anyone else to understand it!

How do you rate the other keepers at GP, Paul Smith and Alan Julian?
I rate them both. They are enthusiastic, work hard and they could prove to be valuable assets to the club.

Who do you model your game on?
Peter Schmeichel, he`s been my favourite keeper since I was young. He`s my idol!
We like the way you come up for corners Oli! Is this something you picked up from Schmeichel?
It isn`t something I picked up from him, but when you come up as an extra man the defenders can forget to mark you! You never know, there`s nothing to lose!

Have you ever scored a goal before?
Not when I`ve come up for a corner but I did once score from my own penalty area in a match in Iceland. It was a bit windy that day, which helped a little bit!

Not from a corner though?
No, not yet! (everyone laughs!!)

The manager doesn't mind you coming up for corners?
Not when we`re losing! But once he shouted at me to stay back when we were drawing!

Who was that against?!
It was this season, I don't remember but it was a home game. I was racing up the pitch and crossing the halfway line when I made the mistake of looking towards the bench. They were all shouting "Oli…….. get back, get back!" (Everyone bursts into laughter!!).

Didn't notice that incident, but you did come up for a corner at Newcastle when we were 3-1 down!
Yeah, why not! It was St James` Park! We had the chances to win that game, it was unbelievable. Excellent match!

The Stoke result must have been a big disappointment? Did it mean more to you due to the Thordason factor?
No, I didn't want that to affect me in any way. I didn't go into the game to prove anything, because if you think like that you`ll probably do something wrong. It was a massive disappointment, a game we desperately wanted to win. But Stoke is a great venue, there were 18,000 people there, the game was on TV in Iceland too, so I was absolutely gutted. We deserved a draw, we played well.

What did you make of Stoke`s 6-1 defeat at Wigan?!
I was quite happy this morning! I have to admit that!

Your best Brentford performance?
Too many to choose from! (laughs)

Your most memorable Bees game? The LDV Final?
Well the LDV Final was a big stage game but it was a bad performance by the whole team that day, so its something you want to forget. But it was obviously great to play at the Millennium Stadium and everything surrounding the build-up to the game was good.

Your biggest disappointment at BFC?
Last season - until the final third of the season we were always in the picture, around the top 10 positions, but somehow the season drained away and we finished 15th. We were not playing for anything - couldn't get in the play-offs, couldn't get relegated - so it was a very disappointing end to the season. We should have done better - 10th place is better than 15th, and hopefully we wont see anything like that again.

When we were struggling for goals last season a few Bees fans suggested you be tried up front!
I don't blame them! I would love to play up front! But I think I better stick to what I`m good at? (laughs)

Have you always been a keeper?
Yeah. My dad and brother were both keepers too. It's a family business!
Has the changing round of home ends helped this season?
I think the home fans deserve it. Here in England it rains so much! We should look after our own supporters first and foremost, every other club does, so why should we be different?

Best stadiums you`ve played in?
St James` Park, Newcastle and delle Alpi, (Torino), in Turin - I played there for KR in the UEFA Cup.

Do you eat puffins?
Yes I do! But very rarely, just when Ivar invites me for a meal. He eats them all the time! I quite like them, they taste a bit like smoked lamb, but you don't have to be a puffin to eat a puffin!

Who do you rate as the top strikers in this division?
Bobby Zamora at Brighton looked very dangerous, and Tony Thorpe of Bristol City, he`s quick and a danger. Who do you see as our main promotion rivals? I`d say Stoke and Bristol City. Huddersfield I expect to improve, and Brighton are looking good - people thought they would fade but they haven`t.

A cup run would be nice this year, at least further than last year?
That would be nice to begin with! A good cup run can be so much fun for everyone at the club. What are your personal ambitions? My ambition is very simple - to win as much as I can. I absolutely HATE to lose games! I just want to win and be successful, simple as that.

Apart from Brentford (!) is there any club you`ve ever wanted to play for?
Apart from Brentford, obviously it would be nice to play in the Premiership. Its hard to pick anyone out, but it would be great to play on that stage.

What are the Bees` prospects for this season?
We can achieve at least the play-offs if the team`s mentaliy can be kept as it is. We don't have the biggest stars in this league or the biggest squad, but we have some talented players. This team`s success comes down to its mentality - it`s nice to see goals coming from so many players this year. I am optimistic.

You must be disappointed to see Jason Price leave Brentford?
I was. He came here, did very well and was involved in a lot of games we won. We just have to appreciate that. He probably got a contract he was happy with up north, so we just have to respect that.

What`s been the big difference between last season and this?
It is a lot different this season, the squad hasn't changed much but the big difference is the mentality of the team.

Is that down to Steve Coppell?
Yes, definitely, and his staff. Steve Coppell is very disciplined, Roberto Forzoni is very down to earth and Wally Downes is up against him, so it's a good combination, all different characters.

How has Steve Coppell settled in at the club?
He settled in immediately. He`s so composed and experienced. He has been very inspirational to everybody; knows exactly what he is doing. We are 10-15% fitter than last season and are mentally stronger.

You`re the oldest player in the squad Oli?
By far! At Hibs I was in the middle age range. Bit strange but it's a challenge to be as fit as the younger guys!

How long is left on your contract? Do we have to worry about you yet!
One season after this. There are a few players whose contracts run out soon but hopefully we will do well and things will be sorted out.

You are 33 Oli - plenty of time left for you in the game!
Yes, maybe another 12 years (laughs) - at least!

You`re popular with the Bees masses Oli, what do you think of the Brentford supporters?
Tremendous, absolutely tremendous! I get along very well with them, I love the crowd! I like the "Ole" song and if I have the opportunity to entertain the crowd I try to do so. There is a nice blend of people at Brentford, it`s probably the most family orientated crowd in this division, and seeing so many Bees fans driving up to places like Bury, Stoke etc - its great!
{ED - Many thanks to Oli for his time}.