Premier League Career: Nottingham Forest (1994-1995), Blackburn Rovers (1995-1998), Derby County (1998-2000)
Norwegian international Lars Bohinen enjoyed a productive spell in English football. He played in the Premier League for Blackburn Rovers, Derby County and most prominently, Nottingham Forest. He was part of an exciting Forest side in the mid-1990s that finished third in the table in 1994-1995.
Born in Vadsø in 1969, Bohinen made his international debut at the age of just 20 and had already played for several clubs in his homeland as well as a successful time in Swiss football with BSC Young Boys. It was Frank Clark who managed to tempt him to English football, signing Bohinen in 1993 for £450,000. At the time, Forest were languishing in the First Division and were just 18th in November but they rapidly improved as the season progressed and ultimately won promotion in his first season in the Midlands.
In 1994-1995, Bohinen shone in a team of thrilling talent. His long-distance effort in a 4-1 home win over Sheffield Wednesday in September 1994 set the tone for Lars’ season. He was showing no effects from his country’s agonising elimination in the group stages of that summer’s World Cup finals in the United States. Two weeks later, he was at it again, scoring a 30-yard lob at White Hart Lane in a very impressive 4-1 victory at Tottenham Hotspur. He finished with figures of six goals in 34 league appearances as Clark’s side finished third, only behind Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United in the final standings.
In his contract, Bohinen had a £700,000 buyout fee which meant he could leave The City Ground if any club matched the fee. Reigning champions Blackburn did just this in October 1995 and he was heading for Lancashire. Clark was unimpressed, saying: “Lars is not the first player to move for money, but I feel very disappointed in him and let down. You learn from your mistakes and I would never again let anyone have that sort of clause, but when he first joined us I agreed to it as security for him.”
He never quite rediscovered his Forest form at Blackburn, although there were moments of magic, such as a fine individual effort at Old Trafford as Rovers drew 2-2 with the reigning champions in August 1996.
Having scored just once in the 1997-1998 season and firmly a backup player under Roy Hodgson’s tenure, Bohinen was sold to Derby County in March 1998 for £1.45 million. He scored his solitary goal for the Rams a month later in an away defeat to Crystal Palace. Injuries meant he wasn’t able to string together a consistent run of matches and he made his last Premier League appearance in a 4-1 loss to Chelsea in December 2000. A month later, Derby cancelled his contract and he returned to Norway.
Bohinen retired from playing in 2005 and has since held roles as the sporting director at Stabæk IF and assistant coach of Vålerenga. In 2011, Lars finished third in the Norwegian version of Strictly Come Dancing and is now firmly in management, having taken over as boss of Aalesund in December 2017.