You can’t say Faroes than that

Fancy a match report?” Steve Wilson asked me at Dagenham Dan’s wedding recently.  Thinking it would be from your run of the mill European game in Spain, Germany or Italy (nothing wrong with these mind) I of course agreed, but wondered where I could find a home for it.  “Sure.  Where you off to?…”Oh, I am running a marathon in the Faroe Islands and there is THE big derby the next day”.  Steve had me at Faroe Islands, as I am sure he would have in your case.

P1040092The Faroe Islands have been traditional minnows ever since their admission into FIFA in 1988 and UEFA in 1990. Their results would back up this standing, having a record of P152 W18 D15 L119 of their officially recognised fixtures to date (including friendlies), a record not dissimilar to Lewes’s in recent years although I was mildly surprised they had won so many games. However, even the Faroes have had their moments in the headlines for the right reasons – their very first competitive fixture was a Euro 92 qualifier against Austria, which they won 1-0, to the surprise of everybody. Indeed, in the December 1992 FIFA World Rankings, the Faroe Islands peaked inside the top 100 for the only time, attaining a ranking of 94th.

More recently the Faroes have been justifying their minnow status, and at the time of writing sit in 175th in the FIFA Rankings, below such powerhouses as Pakistan, Sao Tome e Principe and Bermuda. The aforementioned victory against Austria, whilst being a home fixture for the Faroe Islands, was actually played in Landskrona, Sweden since there were no suitable pitches on the Islands at the time. Nowadays home fixtures are played at Tórsvøllur, a small 6,000 capacity stadium situated in a sports complex on the edge of the capital city – Tórshavn. Continue reading

The beautiful game in the Faroe Islands

07 VesturLast year we carried out a study into the most passionate fans in Europe.  The results were pretty darn amazing, with the Faroe Islands coming out top of our list.  Our study, which can be found here, caused some considerable debate, but for one reader it verified some of his work he had done in photographing the islands and their love of football.  Step forward Andrew Tobins.

His report into all things Faroese, including some of his stunning pictures of the beautiful game can be found here.  It is well worth ten minutes in anyone’s day, even if it is to look at the pictures.

The start of the gravy train for another season

“Ce sont les meilleures équipes
Sie sind die allerbesten Mannschaften
The main event!”

Of course we all recognise the above three lines as the opening verse of the Champions League anthem.  The music that stirs our loins for a night of the “best football in the world” ©UEFA and seduces us into thinking that we are the privaliged few in being able to watch the superstars.  For those trivia buffs amongst you you may want to know that the song was commissioned by UEFA in 1992 and was aired on the night of the first ever round of games in the tournament in August 1992.  In fact for you real real trivia buffs you may want to know that it was first played on the 19 August in the Ta’Qali stadium in Malta when the teams from Valletta and Maccabi Tel Aviv took to the field.

It was written by English composer Tony Britten and he adapted George Frideric Handel’s “Zadok the Priest” from the Coronation Anthems, and the piece was performed by London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and sung by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Continue reading