Jákup á Borg, once a Liverpool FC target, is about to begin his 20th Faroese top-flight season and he has a player in the history books in his sights.
Á Borg's league debut came at the age of 16 in 1996 with B36 Tórshavn, the teenager immediately becoming a regular. When the new Faroese Premier Division starts on Sunday with B36's visit to EB/Streymur, the 35-year-old winger could make his 366th league appearance, and on 145 goals he is just three short of the record held by former team-mate John Petersen.
"Of course it's fun to go for the record," Á Borg said. "But I'm a player who – and I say this from the bottom of my heart – is just as happy making assists as scoring goals."
In only his second B36 campaign, Á Borg – initially a central striker – helped the club end a 35-year wait for a national title. The next year, 1998, was even better on a personal note as he finished as league top scorer, made his international debut, and earned a trial at Liverpool, playing a reserve match alongside Robbie Fowler, David James, Stig Inge Bjørnebye and Jason McAteer.
"It was unbelievable to have the opportunity to play together with these men in a real game," Á Borg said. "You have seen them on television and now you have also played in the same team as them ...
I was actually extremely good, even if I say so myself!"
Returning to B36 for the rest of the 1998 campaign, Á Borg then went back to Liverpool but admitted: "It went miserably wrong. An incredible experience, but I wasn’t good enough." Other than a short loan spell at Denmark's Odense BK, Á Borg has remained in the Faroes.
He now reflects: "As I had the opportunity to go to both Norway and Iceland and maybe also to the Danish second tier, I regret that I didn't say, 'Fine – take three or four years and see what happens.' But it was too comfortable for me here. If Faroese football is to improve, it's necessary that you take that chance. Fortunately, there are a few who do that."
Still at B36, Á Borg was the division's leading marksman again in 1999 and aided them to the 2001 double as well as another Faroese Cup in 2003. However, the following year he made a shock move to local rivals HB Tórshavn, and in 2006 was the player of the year in the second of two championship wins with HB.
Midway through the 2008 season, though, Á Borg rejoined his beloved B36, claiming the title in 2011 and again last term. By then his international career had ended, his 61st and final cap coming in a 2-1 defeat of Lithuania on 9 September 2009 – an appropriate date for someone who has usually worn the No9 shirt and has the number tattooed on his right shoulder.
Á Borg may yet keep on playing club football beyond 2015, however. "The likelihood of stopping next year is high," he said. "But I won't say anything here and now. As long as I feel I have something to give, then I'm game."
He would definitely stay in football, though. "I really love the football environment and I absolutely intend to become a coach. The last two seasons I have been player-assistant coach and it has become clear to me that it's something I enjoy very much. I also feel I have a lot of experience that I can impart as a coach."
Jákup á Borg factfile
• Born: 26 October 1979
• League debut: 28 April 1996
• League appearances: 365
• League goals: 145
• League top scorer: 2 (1998, 1999)
• League titles with B36: 4 (1997, 2001, 2011, 2014)
• Cup wins with B36: 2 (2001, 2003)
• League titles with HB: 2 (2004, 2006)
• UEFA club competition appearances: 22
• Senior international debut: 19 August 1998
• Caps: 61
• International goals: 2
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.