Belfast Telegraph

Let’s not fall victim to the curse of the Faroes

By Gary McAllister, Amalgamation of NI Supporters

Mention of England, West Germany or Spain usually evokes a sense of tremendous pride amongst Northern Ireland supporters, a smile is raised and perhaps even a tear of joy appears in the eye of the more emotional fan when recalling those famous victories.

However, the words ‘Faroes Islands’ are enough to stop many of us in our tracks. The experience of Wednesday May 1, 1991 was not a happy one for those of us present at Windsor Park and it was that evening that I learned my first lesson in not taking anything for granted when a ‘Norn Iron’ scarf was draped around my neck.

Like 10,000 expectant others, I turned up anticipating a comfortable victory against a team which, although having beaten Austria in its opening qualifier the previous autumn, consisted of, amongst others, a lorry driver, a joiner, a musician and a number of fishermen. The away fans even turned up in Belfast on a fishing vessel!

I was to be sorely disappointed since, as a quick look at the record books will testify, we managed only a 1-1 draw.

Not for the want of trying, mind you. The home side enjoyed plenty of possession and put the visitors under pressure, to no avail.

Sadly, I’ve had the misfortune to experience that sinking feeling a number of times since, and most recently the ‘curse’ of the Faroes came back to haunt us all once again last October in Toftir.

Back in 1991, Northern Ireland bounced back in the return game, putting the part-timers to the sword with a comprehensive five-goal victory — and a similar no-nonsense job is needed tonight.

The absence of goal scorers in Martin Paterson and Josh McQuoid is a slight worry and many fans will be nervous given our past failures against the Faroese, as well as the fact that, failure to win, will end any hopes of qualification for the European Championships.

However, let’s head for Windsor Park this evening in a determined mood and remember that victory will set the stage for Serbia’s visit next month. Complacency is indeed our worst enemy, let it not be the victor.

Belfast Telegraph

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