Having won the Faroese title with the club as a player back in 1979, Englishman Dave Jones has returned as a coach to dig ÍF Fuglafjørdur out of the doldrums.
Having been relegated six times since and never looked like claiming a second league crown, fans in Fuglafjørdur have had plenty of time to reflect on ÍF's lone title success from back in 1979. Englishman Jones, one of the stars of that team under Swedish coach Ronny Geson Gunnarsson, was remembered with much fondness and clearly never forgot his time in the islands.
Jones continued to keep an eye on the Faroese footballing scene and even returned to the islands for holidays after his lone season with ÍF. He was therefore only too delighted to step into the breach when offered the coaching job. "Because of my links with ÍF, I couldn't refuse when they asked me to come back here to be their trainer," he said.
With his predecessor Jón Simonsen having resigned in the weeks preceding the season, things did not start well for ÍF, losing 4-0 to B36 Tórshavn in their opening game of the season under caretaker coach Abraham Løkin. However, with Jones in charge, results swiftly improved, as they won 1-0 against neighbours Víkingur – their first win in Gota since 1980.
That positive momentum continued at the weekend as ÍF beat Skála Ítróttarfelag 1-0 on Sunday to move up to fifth place in the table. It is early days yet, but with the club having set themselves the target of avoiding relegation, Jones may yet have put payment down on a successful season. And with confidence rising in the ranks, it may be that Jones has another title charge on his hands.
Back in 1979, Jones joined a side who felt that the title was theirs for the taking. "I believe that the players had the belief that this was their year, and that the title was theirs almost from the start of the season, even though the league was always close," he remembered. Sure enough, ÍF went through the season unbeaten, winning the crown by one point ahead of TB Tvøroyri.
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