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Scouse export tax; Norwegians pay to turn their town into Liverpool.

Byline: TONY BARRETT

IT MAY be hundreds of miles away, but the tiny Norwegian town of Flora has its heart set on Liverpool.

And now the 11, 000 inhabitants are to become honorary Scousers -- for one weekend only.

They have each paid a special one off tax to turn their town into a homage to all things Liverpudlian.

The idea for the Liverpool weekend was dreamed up by fanatical Reds fan Tage Herstad, who wanted to give his fellow inhabitants a taste of his favourite city.

Tage, 30, takes every opportunity he can to visit Merseyside and attended every Liverpool game in the 2002/03 season dressed in a red jumpsuit.

He was only able to pay for his ``dream season'' by selling off his car and other belongings, before taking on three jobs on his arrival in Liverpool.

Now Tage, a docker, has taken his fanaticism a stage further by getting the people of Flora to pay a pounds 2 tax for the privilege of becoming Scouse for a weekend.

And the highlight will be a match played between a village select XI and a team of Liverpool legends, including Alan Kennedy, Terry McDermott and Ronnie Whelan.

Tage, who has supported the Reds since he was four, said: ``All my friends supported Liverpool. They have a fantastic history with great players like Kenny Dalglish and Kevin Keegan. ``But it isn't just about the team. I've made a lot of friends on Merseyside and I want to let the people of Flora know what a great place it is.

``Whenever I needed anything in Liverpool my friends helped me, whether it was sorting out travel to an away game or tickets for friends who were visiting from Norway.

``I have met thousands of Scousers, red and blue, and I've never had a bad experience.

``For a Norwegian to come to Liverpool and meet people like that is a fantastic honour. ''

Tage has arranged for Beatles tribute bands to provide musical accompaniment for his Liverpool weekend next Saturday and Sunday.

And thousands of Norwegians are set to make the trip to Flora -- but one of the special guests will be a Liverpool writer whom Tage met on the terraces of Anfield.

Boys From The Mersey author Nicky Allt will sign copies of his book after being invited over for the weekend by Tage.

Tage also has a special treat in store for his friend from the Kop -- he has lined Nicky up for a place on the Liverpool bench alongside his boyhood heroes.

Nicky, from Aughton, said: ``I was just happy to go over as a favour to Tage, but to get the chance to play alongside the likes of Terry McDermott and Alan Kennedy will be something else. ''

CAPTION(S):

WALK ON: Tage Herstad, right with fellow Norwegian Red Per Oyvind Helle Og show their love for Liverpool and inset, their town of Flora
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 10, 2004
Words:484
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