The First Step(s)

The first step in this indeterminable Europa journey begins next in two Thursdays when the club travels to the Faroe Islands to take on NSÍ Runavík, who finished third in the Faroe Islands Premier League last year. As in, literally last year as they are currently 4th having played 12 matches in the 2011 Season.

Because Runavík’s stadium isn’t UEFA approved, they play at Tórsvøllur, which is also where the Faroe Islands national team play (and recently defeated Estonia). Lovely stadium that should be memorable for whomever is fortunate enough to take the trek.

Runavik’s home:

Where we’ll be:

Of 10 international matches, Runavík has won just once, in 2008. Also, one would assume that Runavík would be a totally homogenous, but they do sport a Hungarian goalkeeper András Gángó, a Sengalese midfielder Ismail Abdul Razak, a Georgian midfielder Mamuka Toronjadze, and a Cameroonian defender named Hugues Nanmi.

Our next opponents, if we beat Runavík, are Crusaders of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Believe it or not, but the Faroe Islands had a higher club coefficient than Northern Ireland in 2010. Nonetheless Crusaders finished second in the IFA Premiership, and have a pretty awesome nickname: “The Hatchetmen”. The club has won just once in 20 European Matches (over Zalgiris Vilnius of Lithuania in 1996), but managed to face Liverpool in the European Cup back in 1976.

The most interesting thing about this club is after years of debate they went from a membership-based organisation to a public limited company in 2009, which is noteworthy considering the IFA Premiership is semi-professional.

I so wish I could make a trek back to Belfast (best city in my trip ’round Ireland in 2006), but thankfully there’s a 3-part video series of Seaview Stadium. I suppose you could find a similar stadium in the Conference, but at least there’s different currency:

We should play a game of “Name that Lineup!” sometime later this week (seriously, I have no idea who will be our first XI), but until then feel free to add any interesting tidbits about each club you’ve found.

11 thoughts on “The First Step(s)

  1. Actually the Faroes beat Estonia at the Svangaskard stadium, which is in a really barren part of the country (and that’s saying something). The Irish Times recently ran a profile on Brian Kerr, currently managing the Faroes’ national team. He seems to think the Svangaskard ground has given the team a real psychological edge.

    The full article is here:
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2011/0609/1224298639911.html

    A potential trip to NI looks like fun though!

  2. Hello England, Faroe calling!

    We can´t use Svangaskarð Stadium because of a Silver Wedding….how sick is that?!?

    And the question is if NSÍ Runavík FC can play the return leg at Tórsvøllur Stadium at all because they have begun some of the field maintenance there, so the question is whether the match can be played as well. It just shows how good we are (the faroese) to NOT use a calander in our daily lives!?! But we will find out, whether the match can be played at Tórsvøllur or not….

    If not, then we´re thinking about appealing to some good samaritans (maybe in England?), who can borrow us your ground, where the return leg can be played.

  3. The replica shirts from last season can be bought from this shop in Runavik: http://www.berglon.fo/ . The price is about £30-£40.

    I don´t know about this season´s shirt. NSÍ has changed shirt sponsor up to this season. But the provider is called Thomas Dam Ítróttur, who have stores in Tórshavn (the capital) and in Runavik. They don´t seem to have a homepage, but here´s some info that can be usefull:

    http://www.visittorshavn.fo/UK/Register/Fullinfo.aspx?cID={93435D0B-5B9C-4A8B-935F-A7AD52769C24}&rID={5D1F48EF-DB52-449F-87B7-E32C662ECA2A} (COPY & PASTE ALL THIS TEXT)

    They have a facebook page: http://da-dk.facebook.com/pages/Thomas-Dam-%C3%8Dtr%C3%B3ttur/109513989070044

    The e-mail address there is: jdam@thd-sport.fo and the phone no is 00298355300

    The new NSÍ kit cost about £45-£55

  4. OK. I know we love numbers on this site. I don’t want to come across as rude or condescending, I am trying to point out the size difference of the clubs:

    Faroe Islands population is a tad under 50k, so about 25k men – which is the capacity of Craven Cottage.
    Assume the football playing age is between 16 to 40 (being generous) – which is about 25% of the age distribution (again being generous)
    So the pool of potential football players on Faroe Islands is about 6250.
    There are 3 football divisions with 10 teams in each (I think) – so 30 teams and assuming 25 players in each squad. So we have 750 football players playing in the Faroe Islands FA.
    So 750 players out of a population of 6250.
    1 in every 8.3 football playing age men on the Faroe Islands plays in the Faroe Islands FA league!
    1 in every 25 football playing age men on the Faroe Islands plays in the Faroe Islands premier league (6250/(10*25))!

    So in theory, we should be able to field a side of the best footballers from the crowd that rocks up to watch the game at Craven Cottage (assuming 25k turn up to watch) and be competitive against NSÍ Runavík.

    I have played 3rd division Eastern Districts Australian Rules Football League games in front of bigger crowds than their stadium holds!

    1. True….there are 3 football division. But then we have 4th division, which is divided in A and B = another 16-18 teams and finally we have a 5th division of perhaps 8-10 teams (the old man league)

      In other words: We are crazy about football on these rocky islands! :-)

  5. Silver Wedding or not – the return tie, NSÍ Runavik – Fulham FC, will be played at Svangaskarð Stadium in Toftir.

    Yeah, that infamous ground that Richard Keys didn´t have any high thoughts about:

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