In one of my previous articles, I wrote about the future stars of Faroese football, so I thought it would only be fitting to write about the best stars in the country‘s rich footballing history.
In what was an extremely tough list to compile and narrow down, it purely focuses on the greatest Faroese players for the national side as many footballers have been outstanding at club level but sadly couldn’t transfer that form to the national stage.
Below are my Top 10 greatest ever Faroese footballers:
10) Christian Holst
Despite being born and raised in Denmark, Holst qualified for the Faroe Islands through his mother. Primarily an attacking midfielder, he spent the majority of his career in the Danish top-flight (scoring 37 goals in 147 games) with Lyngby and Silkeborg. A wizard with the ball at his feet thanks to his dazzling dribbling, silky skills and clean control. At writing Holst is the tenth all-time top Faroese goalscorer with 6 goals in 52 matches, the highlight being his goal in the noteworthy draw against Northern Ireland.
9) Uni Arge
Uni formed a deadly partnership with Todi Jónsson upfront and netted an impressive 8 in 37 games for the national side, currently the third-highest in the countries history. Uni had many an important moment in the white and blue shirt, the countries first-ever World Cup Qualifying against Cyprus in 1994, a brace against Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1999, and a goal against Spain and Barcelona legend Zubizarreta to name but a few. Other than football Arge is also a noted writer, musician and handball player.
8) Hallur Hansson
The inclusion of Hallur Hansson might raise a few eyebrows to be included in such a list, considering he is just 27 years of age, but watching this man play on his day, it is hard to not include him. For me, in years to come, we will look back at Hansson as being the greatest Faroese centre-midfielder of all time. The definition of a complete player, all-action goalscorer, passer, tackler, any midfielder in the world will know they are in for a game when coming up against Hallur. Hansson’s crowning point so far was his opener in the famous home victory against Greece.
Currently, the leading player for Horsens in the Danish Superliga, Hansson has the potential to move up another level, and with at least 8 years left at the top, he can break many Faroese footballing records. Below is his goal against Kazakhstan, one of the most memorable strikes in the nation’s history.
7) Jákup Mikkelsen
The most capped Faroese goalkeeper, and third most capped player. Mikkelsen was in goal at a struggling time in the countries footballing history, and as a result, his goal would be peppered with shots in the majority of matches, and Mikkelsen consistently performed admirably against this onslaught.
Most well known for his 6-year stint in Denmark with Herfølge BK, Jákup holds the distinction of being the first-ever Faroese footballer to win a league championship in another country. Arguably the countries best shot-stopper, Mikkelsen is still involved with the national team today as goalkeeping coach. The video below shows his strong goalkeeping quality.
6) Julian Johnsson
The first-ever Faroese footballer to appear professionally in England (for Hull City), Johnsson was signed on the back of a hugely fruitful spell in the Norwegian top division with Sogndal. An industrious, powerful and clinical central midfielder, Johnsson is the fifth most capped Faroese player, and also the seventh top goalscorer as well. Johnsson was centre to the majority of positive Faroese football in some dark days for the national side. Below are some clips of his undoubted talent:
5) Fróði Benjaminsen
The current all-time Faroese most capped footballer with 95 caps. A great reader of the game, combative and hard-working defensive midfielder with an eye for goal, Benjaminsen always gave 100% for the national team, in a career that spanned an amazing 18 years for the Landsliðið (two of which he was also the captain). And even more remarkable is the fact that at 41 years old, Fróði is still playing in the Faroe Islands Premier League with Skála, a league he first appeared in an astounding 25 years ago, proving his longevity and quality which was an imperative assist for the national side for the best part of two decades.
4) Jens Martin Knudsen
Probably the most famous Faroese player of all time, internationally known as “The Keeper with the Bobble Hat”, as he wore a hat in his matches as a result of an injury he suffered at age 14. His heroics in the historic first competitive victory against Austria in 1990 has forever written him Faroese folklore, and his preceding18 year national side career furthered these claims.
Despite being 5 foot 11 inches (comparatively small for a goalkeeper) Jens was an athletic and agile keeper. Currently, the Faroe Islands fourth-most capped player, he also amazingly represented the Faroe Islands, national handball team, as well.
3) Rogvi Jacobsen
The all-time top Faroe Islands goalscorer, with 10 goals in 53 games, Jacobsen was strong, good in the air, with a great touch and hold-up play. Despite failed moves to Iceland, Norway and Denmark, towering striker Jacobsen will always be adored by the Faroese public for his performances in the national team. An example of a player who performed higher international than at club level, he didn’t just score against minnow nations, goals against Switzerland, Poland, and two in two against then World Cup Winners Italy were proof that Jacobsen earned the respect from many a high-level footballing nation in his historic career.
The Italian media affectionately nicknamed him “Inzaghi Faroese” for his exploits against them, a glowing term for a country that had won the World Cup just one year previous, and against one of best backlines in football history in Buffon, Cannavaro and Chiellini. Evidence that on his, Jacobsen day he was a handful for any defender. Here are some of his national team goals:
2) Jóan Símun Edmundsson
Despite being just 28 years of age, and arguably not even in his prime yet, talismanic striker Edmundsson is a talent you simply cannot ignore. The first-ever Faroese player to play professionally in Germany (currently plays in Bundesliga 2 with Arminia Bielefield), current fourth all-time Faroese goalscorer, with the historic record landmark in his sights, Edmundsson is certainly one of the most talented, skillful and memorable Faroese players of all time. His best moment so far would have to be scoring the winner in the unforgettable away victory over Greece, but Edmundsson still has time to add to his glittering career. Jóan’s younger brother Andrias was included in my previous video about future greats, and it will be a beautiful moment one day seeing them line up for the national side together.
Such a player with the ability for the extraordinary is a rare find in Faroese football, but Joan has that in spades, having a look at some of his greatest goal-reels is akin to watching the best efforts of Messi or Pele. Below is just one example of this:
1) Todi Jónsson
Without a doubt the most successful and talented individual to appear for the Faroe Islands, prolific striker Todi Jonsson is a rare player which you can with confidence say could have played for the majority of national teams on his day. Three-time league winner with Danish giants FC Copenhagen, Champions League regular, and third all-time FC Copenhagen goalscorer, Todi had the ability to scare even top defenders. Todi was recently inducted into the FC Copenhagen hall of fame, highlighting his illustrious and successful career.
Currently, the Faroe Islands second all-time goalscorer with 9 goals, the only Faroese international hattrick scorer (against San Marino), Todi sadly retired too soon to focus on club football, but will always be remembered as a player with a mercurial ability which this proud North Atlantic archipelago group have never witnessed before.
With the hundreds of players representing the Faroe Islands, it’s always challenging and disputable to narrow it down to just 10. But some players who narrowly missed the cut for one reason or another still deserve credit for enriching the national team over the years. Current captain and inspirational leader Atli Gregersen deserves huge credit in leading the most successful Faroe Islands side. Second most capped player Óli Johannesen, a powerful and imposing defender can especially feel unlucky not to make the final list.
Then there are some current players who despite missing out, over the next few years can quite easily develop into Faroese legends, such as Brandur Hendriksson and Gilli Roltansson. Then we have the only ever Premier League Faroese player Gunnar Nielsen, who I left out as we already had 2 goalkeepers, but same as the others above can quite easily make such a prestigious list in years to come.
Then we have players despite being left out, will always be written in Faroe Islands folklore, such as Jákup á Borg (a legend of the Faroese league), John Petersen (highest Faroese scorer), Jan Allan Müller (who would of certainly been on the list if not for injuries), Torkil Nielsen (scorer of the famous winner against Austria) and commanding midfielder Allan Mørkøre.