In spring 2000, Alfie found himself out of favour at Elland Road and had a long way to go before adding to his 33 Caps for Norway. The blonde Norwegian expressed his desire to stay with Leeds and battle for a place in the team. By the end of the same year he must have felt really lucky that he didn't...
Alfie has always been a battler and his extensive record of bookings, yellow and red cards is perhaps only matched by the likes of Danny Tiatto (in this team), Dennis Wise and David Batty. Alfie is also a battler inside the team, always encouraging his team-mates to carry on working and giving 100% in every situation, training and match. His main skills are his endurance, strength and his ability to tackle and run for hours. Most of his career has been in the defensive line-up, but he has been able to chalk up a few goals at the other end of the pitch as well.
During his first season at City Alfie was made captain by Joe Royle, and given a central position in the team. During Citys struggle to stay out of the relegation zone, Alfie proved himself as a key player. If the success continues he will be rewarded with a call-up to play for Norway once more.
A horrendous tackle by Roy Keane in the derby in April 2001 put the Norwegian out for a long time. He underwent an operation on his knee and despite resuming training in the pre season he was forced to withdraw for a second operation. He received a setback when his knee swelled up once more and he was sidelined again. Alfie went through the following two seasons without having started a game for the Blues.
It looked more and more like Alfie was loosing his fitness battle and in February 2003 the club sent him a six month notice on his contract and he was due to leave Manchester City in August 2003. However Keegan decided to give him a last chance to prove his fitness and when pre-season training started Alfie was in place to battle for a place in the squad.
25/7 2003: Manchester City midfielder Alf Inge Haaland is retiring
from football. The 30-year-old Manchester City has apparently admitted
defeat in his battle to overcome a serious knee injury. Haaland, who last
played for City in January 2002, has revealed he has come to a cash agreement
with City over the remaining two years of his contract. Speaking to Stavanger-based
Aftenbladet, he said: "I will miss a lot of money but we have made
a deal that makes sure I won't miss everything. "This is the best
thing for both parties. It wouldn't be much fun sitting in the fitness
room for the next two years."