Glory Issue No.1: Faroe Islands
“The Faroe Islands? Why?” This was pretty much the standard response when we told people where the launch issue of our new football magazine was to be set. Well, why not? The Faroe Islands made a compelling case for being the star of Glory issue #1.
This is one of the most passionate, football-loving countries you could visit. A recent index revealed that the Faroe Islands is the most supported national side in the world based on population. What other country can claim that 10% of its population turns out for domestic and international games? And it’s not just the Faroese who love their national football team. Many a neutral has a soft spot for these isolated underdogs – once international whipping boys on a par with San Marino, Luxembourg and Andorra.
This tiny island nation is now capable of holding its own in international competition, and even bloodying a few high-profile noses along the way. In the recent Euro 2016 qualifiers, the Faroe Islands made football history by beating Greece home and away. This raises a question: what have the Faroes Islands done to effect such a dramatic change in their footballing fortunes?
We wanted to use the debut issue of Glory Magazine to investigate the rise of Faroese football. Those shock results against Greece weren’t the first time the Faroes have been responsible for a major upset, however. We’ve also tracked down cult goalkeeping hero Jens Martin Knudsen – aka ‘the man with the bobble hat’ – to get his account of the Faroes’ most famous win against World Cup attendees Austria in 1990. We’ve also asked current Faroe Islands no.1 Gunnar Nielsen what it’s like to be the only Faroe Islander to make an appearance in the Premier League, and why his wife hates Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Last but not least, we caught up with Skansin – a newly-formed group of die-hard supporters bringing a new dimension to the Faroe Islands’ international games – to uncover the personalities behind football’s most loveable twelfth man.
The essence of football is everywhere in this beautiful country, from ageing, hand-painted goals by the Tórshavn docks to sleek artificial pitches built in tiny fjord-side villages. The Faroe Islands is one of the most stunning landscapes in which to play and witness the beautiful game, and a fitting first destination for our new magazine.