The Faroese First Division resumes this weekend bolstered by the return of TB Tvøroyri following a dramatic promotion last season.
TB clinched their place back among the elite on the final day last term, wrapping up an 11-0 win against EB/Streymur with an added-time penalty. That spot kick proved the difference, ensuring TB finished above AB Argir on goals scored. "This will mean a lot for the city," said chairman André Dalfoss last October. "We'll turn 120 next year. We're the oldest club in the Faroe Islands and the founders of Faroese football. We are the club with the richest history and greatest traditions. We are the club everybody knows. Now we are back where we belong."
Previously a force to be reckoned with, TB have not been the same since relegation in 1988, the year after they lifted their seventh league title. They went back up in 1990 but returned to the second tier six years later and have since flitted between the two divisions, with their last promotion coming in 2005.
The population of Tvoroyri, on the remote island of Suduroy and two hours from the mainland by ferry, has fallen by 20% in the last 25 years, a drop which has taken its toll. Optimism, though, appears to be returning. "Promotion means a lot," said Dalfoss. "Since last year people have talked about nothing but football. Interest in TB keeps growing, so it's extremely exciting."
At the TB helm is Serbian coach Milan Kuljić, in charge of a top-flight side for the first time but with experience aplenty of the division as a player with VB Vágur and HB Tórshavn. Kuljić has no shortage of Serbian company, with goalkeeper Ivan Stojković, defender Dmitrije Janković, midfielder Bojan Timić and striker Igor Grkajac also on the books.
They are part of a squad of vastly varying experience, with players' ages ranging from 16 to 39. "I would like to use our youngsters," said Kuljić. "We have many good young players with great potential and I think they should be given the chance at the highest level. I think it looks exciting."
Youngster Gilli Sørensen, meanwhile, has decided to stay at the club after 39-year-old defender Óli Johannesen, capped 83 times by the Faroe Islands, agreed to come out of retirement to play for TB. "Now he is back, I want to play alongside him," said the 19-year-old, once a trainee at Aberdeen FC. "It's always been my dream to play together with Óli."
While the goal for this season, Kuljić admits, is simply to avoid relegation, TB are also going places off the pitch. Having played at the legendary 'Sevmýri' since their inception in 1892, they are moving to the other end of town to a new ground at 'í Stópunum'. The pitch is due to open in time for TB's second home fixture, against B36 Tórshavn on 15 April. The club celebrate their 120th anniversary on 13 May.
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