November 06, 2009: October Round-Up:


A week late again with this month’s round-up (batteries are empty). But here is October’s round up finally:

We’ll start with some club news:


AB Argir
AB’s team for from this season will almost be intact for next season, but there will be a few absentees however:

Goalkeeper Tórður Thomsen who came on loan from NSÍ Runavík midway through the season as replacement for injured Heðin Stenberg – and put in a number of great performances – has just signed a two-year contract to stay with AB. This will most likely keep 20-year-old Stenberg on the bench which is unhealthy for his development as he is well capable of playing in the top division.

Captain Janus Joensen moved to Denmark at the end of the season and his brother Høgni M. Joensen has so far not signed for next season. Neither experienced former B36 player Kenneth Jacobsen has so far put pen on paper for another year.

Striker Tróndur Sigurðsson who joined AB from HB midway through the season is also one of the players who so far have not signed for 2010. Sigurðsson was AB’s top scorer in 2008 when AB were in the 1st division but joined HB for the 2009 season where he failed to make an impression.

AB were coached by Allan Mørkøre and John Petersen, but apparently Petersen is moving on while Mørkøre is continuing.

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As AB’s second team were no. 1 in the second division last season, the team has been promoted and will be playing in the first division in the coming season. This should benefit the players on the senior team who are spending time on the bench as they will get some higher level practice playing in the 1st division rather that the 2nd.

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B36 Tórshavn
B36 have secured the signing of EB/Streymur midfielder Bárður Olsen, who for the last couple of seasons has been wasted on the right back position however.

The word is that goalkeeper Jóan Pauli Jakobsen is moving to Denmark to study. Jacobsen has been playing for the Faroese U-21 team.

There are some rumours out there that B36 is about two sign at least two high profile names; one foreign defender who has previously played for B36 and a Faroese attacking midfielder/winger. A goalkeeper is maybe also on his way. We’ll se how that’ll turn out…

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B68 Toftir
Faroese U-21 players Jóan Símun Edmundsson and Pól Johannus Justinussen have been in England these last days trying to impress coaches at Wrexham and Manchester City.

Justinussen is a central defender and made an impression during his first week at Wrexham and was asked to stay for another week. Wrexham play in the English Conference League. At the end of last season Faroese goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen joined them on loan from Manchester City.

18-year-old forward Jóan Símun Edmundsson has been on trial at Manchester City. This is his second stay at City where he also was for 4 days in August. Obviously City have seen something in the youngster if he is wanted back. This time Edmundsson trained with City’s reserves for about two weeks. And later in the month, Edmundsson will visits Manchester for a third time as he is to play a training match with Manchester City’s reserve team.

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Influential midfielder Nenad Stankovic has decided not to continue for B68, but has instead joined Víkingur.

Apart from that, B68’s team from the just ended season will be intact for next season. We’ll see what happens with Justinussen and Edmundsson though…

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B71 Sandoy

B71 Sandoy have appointed former B71 player and coach Piotr Krakowski as new coach. With Krakowski as the pivotal point in 1989, B71 – in their first season in the top flight – surprisingly went through the season unbeaten to secure an unexpected title under polish coach Jan Kazcynski. Krakowski is by many considered to be the best payer to have played in the Faroese league.

But just as unexpected the title was in 1989, just as unexpected it was that B71 were relegated the following year as they ended in last place in 1990. Before the end of that season, Krakowski had released Kazcynski as coach and continued at the helm until 1996, winning the Cup in 1993.

Krakowski has since been coaching MB Miðvágur, ÍF Fuglafjørður, B36 Tórshavn (winning the title in 2001), EB/Streymur and 07 vestur.

B71 will find it incredibly hard in the Vodafone Division 2010 as economy doesn’t allow much leeway. B71 have several quality players scattered around at different clubs, but they are not returning for the coming season. And the rumour is that also other players might be leaving for other clubs.

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EB/Streymur
As mention above, EB/Streymur have waived good bye to Bárður Olsen who is heading to B36 Tórshavn. Olsen was an integral part of a bunch of young and talented players that over a few years took EB/Streymur to the top of Faroese football and winning the title in 2008.

Also midfielder Levi Hanssen is heading to Tórshavn, but to HB Tórshavn. These two have both been in the national team where they have played a game or two – or a half.

From relegated KÍ Klaksvík, EB/Streymur have signed 21-year-old midfielder Kristoffur Jakobsen who has excelled in the Faroese U-21 team in the last couple of years, and has also received one cap for the Faroese senior team. He was one of few KÍ players who had the quality for top flight football in the just finished season where he scored 6 goals.

EB/Streymur have also signed HB Tórshavnm winger Bjarni Jørgensen who had a very successful season after a slow start. In total he scored 7 goals; a couple of them spectacular volleys. But he might find it hard to get a regular place in EB/Streymur who have plenty of offensive players.

One of them is Gudmund Nielsen who came from B71 Sandoy after they were relegated at the end of the 2008 season. He has just signed for another year at EB/Streymur.

Captain and central defender Egil á Bø is still undecided whether to continue playing or ending his career.

Brazilian left back (usually) and midfielder/full back Pætur Dam Jacobsen are staying on. They arrived from B36 and Skála, respectively, ahead of last season.

And a couple of days into November, EB/Streymur announced that they have secured the services of Danish player Daniel Udsen from Danish 3rd level club Vanløse. Udsen can play in all the midfield- positions, but prefers the wide position on the left. He is also capable of playing as a forward, should that be necessary. With a Faroese grandmother, Udsen will be eligible to play for the Faroe Islands if that point should arise.

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VB/Sumba --> FC Suðuroy from 2010

So far there is no player news from VB/Sumba except, as we have reported on earlier, that veteran Pól Thorsteinsson, once player of the year, a long time ago announced that he would not be playing for the first team should they be promoted.

It’s not clear either if last season’s coach Jón Pauli Olsen will be coach for next season.

From 2010 VB/Sumba will be using the name FC Suðuroy (meaning Southern Island) and they have also made a new logo for the new-named club. But what on earth were they thinking? See their new logo here on the website Sudurras.com. The logo shows the name of the club written on an outline of the island of Suðuroy. They cannot be serious! :p

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HB Tórshavn
HB’s coach Sámal Erik Hentze announced right after HB had won the title that he was stepping down as coach, citing that he was too busy with his carpenter-business which he owns together with former Faroese international Jens Christian Hansen. Interestingly, several players from the Vodafone Division work as carpenters for the Hentze’s and Hansen’s company. But Hentze intended to return to coaching again sometime in the future – not necessarily at HB.

HB are said to be looking for a new coach abroad.

28-year-old Tór-Ingar Akselsen, forward/winger, who has been playing for 07 Vestur (the area where he is from) for the last couple of seasons, has returned to HB where he has won several titles earlier. In 2003 his fine form earned him a place in the national team, but it’s a while now since he has been in contention for the national team. However, he could become one of HB’s best players next season.

HB’s only other new signing for now is 21-year-old midfielder Levi Hanssen who has spent the last two years at EB/Streymur after another 2 years with Skála. Originally Hanssen comes from B36 Tórshavn. Hanssen made his debut for the Faroe Islands in the 2-1 win over Iceland in a friendly international in March this year.

Other news from HB is that player of the year, midfielder and captain Fróði Benjaminsen has signed a 3-year-contract which will keep him at HB until 2012. 3-year contracts are rather unusual in the Faroes. Most contracts are only for one year, although a few players have 2-year contracts. But in recent years HB have been leading the way in signing longer lasting contracts and for example striker Andrew av Fløtum signed a 4-year contract in November 2007.

Polish goalkeeper Marcin Dawid who is fighting for the number 1 spot in goal with Símun Rógvi Hansen has signed for another two years for the champions. Also right back, Faroese u-21 player, Pætur Jørgensen has signed for next season.

On the other had his elder brother on the right wing, Bjarni Jørgensen, has switched to runners up EB/Streymur. With the arrival of Tór-Ingar Akselsen – depending on HB’s playing-system - Jørgensen might have been confined to the bench next season.

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ÍF Fuglafjørður

Abraham Løkin who was drafted in midway through last season to assist coach Jón Simonsen has been appointed head coach for next season.

ÍF will have most of last season’s players available for next season, but the contract with Hungarian midfielder Balazs Sinko has not been extended however.

Neither influential central defender and Faroese international Bartal Eliasen is available for ÍF next season as he has moved to Denmark to live. He has been looking for a club there and has had talks with 2nd division club Aarhus Fremad who are coached by the Pole Krzysztof Popczyński who has guided two Faroese teams to the championship title: HB Tórshavn in 2006 and VB Vágur in 2000 where he was player coach. He also steered GÍ Gøta to the Cup triumph in 2005.

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NSÍ Runavík

As reported earlier, midfielder and Faroese international Bogi løkin (son of ÍF Fuglafjørður’s coach Abraham Løkin) is lost for NSÍ as he has moved to Denmark to study. So far there is no news on where Løkin will be playing, but he was hoping to find a club with decent standards to play for – preferably 1st division.

Debes Danielsen, originally an NSÍ-player has signed a 2 year contract with NSÍ after he has been with B68 Toftir, ÍF Fuglafjørður and Skála since 2007. On their website, NSÍ state that Danielsen’s main force is his speed and technique.

NSÍ have also signed 19 year old midfielder Erland B. Danielsen who has played for various Faroese youth national teams. He is originally from Skála where he played 3 seasons and then joined KÍ Klaksvík for last season after Skála had been relegated at the end of the 2008 season.

Striker Christian Høgni Jacobsen, who was league top scorer in 2005 and 2006, and midfielder Jann Ingi Petersen and likewise left back Einiar Hansen have extended their contract to the end of 2011. All of them are Faroese internationals.

Also other players have extender their contracts. These are youngsters Jann Martin Mortensen, Klæmint A. Olsen and Jens Joensen, all players we will be seeing more of in the future.

But there has been no news on Hungarian striker Karoly Potemkin whether he plays for NSÍ next season or not. Potemkin was in 4th spot on the top scorer list with 14 goals this season. For long he was leading the chart, but during the second half of the season he found the goals harder to come.

It’s not clear if goalkeeper Meinhardt Joensen continues. Some rumours link him to B36 Tórshavn.

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Víkingur

Víkingur have told that they will mainly be building their squad on local players. One exception from that rule however is that they have secured the signing of Serbian midfielder Nenad Stankovic who was with B68 Toftir last season after two seasons at NSÍ Runavík where he was a main contributor to NSÍ’s title in 2007, when he was also voted player of the year. He originally came to Skála in 2004 where he was the pivotal point in Skála’s highdays, finishing 3rd in 2004 and just missed out on the title in 2005 when they finished as runners up.

Attacking Hungarian player Zoltan Bukszegi who has been with Víkingur for two seasons is not continuing.

Other players will not be available next season as they are expected to move abroad to study.

In mid-October, Vodafone Division top scorer, 20-year-old Víkingur player, Finnur Justinussen was on a trial at Swedish club Gefle IF. There has been no news on how things went.

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Skála
Former top flight club Skála who played in the 1st division in 2009 has been further relegated to the 2nd division. But they hoped to avoid relegation because TB Tvøroyri had used an illegal player in a match against Skála. Skála's first complaint was turned down by the Football Association, but Skála appealed the decision. The appeal has not been decided on yet.

If Skála win the appeal, then Skála will stay in the 1st division while NSÍ Runavík (their second team) will be relegated instead.


Rógvi Holm stops at Aberdeen
while striker Gilli Sørensen re-signs with the club

Faroe Islands U-21 captain Rógvi Holm who has spent the last year at Aberdeen has had his contract terminated on mutual agreement. Because of lack of first team opportunities, the club has allowed him to return home. There is still no news on where the 19-year-old central defender will continue his career. Originally he is from AB Argir. As his performances for the Faroese U-21 team have been outstanding, he should have no problems in getting a contract with a Faroese top club, should that have his interest.

In January’s round-up we had a piece on Holm who then had just extended his contract with Aberdeen so it would run to the summer of 2010, and also had a link to an interview with him in the Evening Express.

Gilli Sørensen re-signs
In September, 17 year old striker Gilli Sørensen from TB Tvøroyri re-signed with the Aberdeen. Sørensen originally joined Aberdeen in 2008, but returned home because of home-sickness, but with the intention to re-join Aberdeen later.

Sørensen is not the only Faroese player at Aberdeen as also 17-year-old midfielder Hallur Hansson has been there since August 2008.


The Faroe Islands ‘Best Mover’ in the FIFA World Ranking table in October

In October 2008, the Faroe Islands had dropped to an all time low as number 198 in FIFA’s world ranking list with only 7 points and with only the Central African Republic with 6 points between them and 8 countries in last spot with 0 points: San Marino, Anguilla, Guam, Timor-Leste, Montserrat, Cook Islands, American Samoa and Papua New Guinea.

What saved the Faroe Islands from dropping to an embarrassing last spot, were the points from the 2-2 away draw with Cyprus in a world cup qualifier in October 2004.

Faroe Islands start climbing
To avoid the last place in the November rankings in 2008, the Faroes had to avoid defeat in their next match. Fortunately the next match was against Austria whom the Faroes have fond memories of playing against. And again the Austrians were stunned as the Faroes earned an incredible 1-1 draw at home on 11 October which added 30 points on the FIFA world ranking list and lifted the Faroe Islands 12 places to no. 186.

And a 2-1 win over Iceland in a friendly in March produced another 54 ranking points and lifted the Faroes 19 places to no. 166 in FIFA’s ranking update in April.

And after the Faroe’s 2-1 world cup qualifying win over Lithuania 9 September, a massive 122 ranking points were added to the tally to lift the Faroes a massive 41 places to no. 218 in the world and 47th in Europe, which means that 6 nations in Europe are below the Faroes. With this giant leap, the Faroe Islands were the “best mover” on FIFA’s ranking list which spurred this article on FIFA’s website: A Faroe way to go.

This result has significant importance, because if the Faroes climb just one place, they will be grouped in a higher seeding level in a future qualifying tournament. As the results are now, they need only 7 ranking points to leapfrog Kazakhstan and 17 to overtake Georgia. These points could easily be gained in a friendly. So the obvious thing to do would be to arrange a friendly with San Marino – and maybe another one with Andorra. Or to travel to Africa.

Because this opportunity might not arise again in the next 15 years, it would be outright stupid not to take advantage of the situation and pursue this golden opportunity with every mean possible.

However, the Faroese Football Association and players from the national team seem to be of another opinion, unfortunately. At least the FA have not announced any plans of friendlies, and just retired goalkeeper Jákup Mikkelsen described such a plan (to arrange a friendly) as “unserious”. Well, those can only be the words of a retired player, as it sounds much more unserious not to be willing to try to gain an advantage in the seeding system.

But as the qualifying draw for the European Championship 2012 is made already in December, the points would have to come before the next update of the FIFA ranking list which is due 20 November. But it’s doable.

Costs a fortune
The climbing in the FIFA ranking has cost the Football Association a fortune as the FA had a deal with the national team that for each place that they were positioned above no. 150 in the FIFA world ranking list at the end of the year, each player who has played in the last qualifying tournament would receive DKK 6,000 (approximately $ 1,200) in bonus. In total, that amount would (according to the last updated list – it can still change slightly before the end of the year) be DKK 168,000 (approximately $ 33,600) which is a small fortune for a Faroese footballer (although it’s about the same amount some of the world stars earn each day – to put things in perspective).

But the F.A. has taken up negotiations with the players to lower the fee, but so far the players haven’t agreed on any new deal. And frankly, why should they?

In total, 27 players are eligible to get the bonus payout which therefore amounts to more than 5 and a half million DKK (more than 1.1 million US dollars). That is a huge portion from the F.A.’s treasure chest.

(In the media it has been said that those players who are eligible for the bonus money are those who have played in the World Cup qualifiers – whether they have played 90 minutes inn all games or just 1 minute in one game has no bearing on the payout. It’s not clear if the friendly match against Iceland in March counts as a “bonus match”. But it should, as a large portion of the FIFA ranking points came from that match).

Therefore it was very fortunate that the F.A. in February pulled off a coup by selling the TV rights for the next 4 years for a record 64 million DKK (close to 13 million US Dollars with today’s exchange rate) to the sports rights agency Kentaro. That was almost 6 times as much as they earned for their previous deal with another compagny, Sportfive. Without this extra income, the bonus checks for the international players could have landed the F.A. in big troubles.

But this also reveals that the F.A. probably had no idea about what they were doing when they signed the bonus deal with the players – and that they probably have no idea how FIFA do their ranking calculations.

FIFA’s Calculations
So how is the FIFA ranking list being calculated? Let’s investigate!

Firstly, you get points if you win or draw. Losses don’t give any points. And goal difference does not count either. For example it makes no difference if you lose 1-0, 2-1 or 99-1. A loss is a loss and always produces 0 points!

All international matches count (if both teams are FIFA members) – yes, even friendly games!

But not all matches count the same. Naturally, matches in the World Cup finals count more than friendly games, for example. It also depends from which confederation in the world the opponent is from and what position in the FIFA ranking the opponent has. You also get more points beating (or drawing with) a top team than a bottom team.

The mathematical equation for the FIFA ranking calculations looks like this:

Points = M x I x T x C x 100 (looks like Einstein-stuff, eh? But I’m afraid it’s Blatter’s formula – and it shows… :-)

M is for the match result. Wins = 3 points | draws = 1 point | defeats = 0 points

(In the occasions of penalty shootouts, a win produces 2 points while a defeat produces 1 point).

I is for the importance of the match.

Friendly matches produce 1 point.

World cup- and continental qualifiers (for example European Championships) produce 2.5 points.

Continental final competitions (for example the European championships) and FIFA confederationCup produce 3 points.
World Cup final competitions produce 4 points.

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T is the strength-factor of the opposition. The mathematical formula looks like this:

(200 minus ranking position of opposition) divided by 100

The current top ranked team is automatically assigned a value of 2.00. Teams ranked from 150 and below are signed a minimum value of 0.50.

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C is the strength-factor of the confederations – for example a team from a European confederation (UEFA) has a higher value than one from an Asian confederation (AFC).  The strength of a confederation is based on the number of victories by that confederation in the last 3 world cup competitions.

That list currently looks like this:

Confederation

After 2006 World Cup

UEFA

1.00

CONMEBOL

0.98

CONCACAF

0.85

AFC

0.85

CAF

0.85

OFC

0.85

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And then it’s only left to multiply the total by 100.

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Let’s use the Faroe Islands’ win against Lithuania as an example:

M x I x T x C x 100

M: The Faroe Islands won (2-1) and therefore get 3 points.

I: The match was a World Cup qualifier, which are worth 2.5 points

T: (200 minus ranking position of opposition) divided by 100 which is:

      (200 minus 62 (Lithuania’s position)) divided by 100 = 1.38

C: The opponents (Lithuania) are from the European confederation (UEFA) where all the countries are assigned a value of 1.00 (according to the table above).

Then multiply by 100:

3 x 2.5 x 1.38 x 1.00 x 100 = 1035 FIFA ranking points.

But it’s not quite as simple as this though (or was it ever simple?). It’s not like 1035 will be added to the Faroes’ previous ranking points of 96 in September.

Because there is another rule. The points earned per year are divided by the number of matches played per year (minimum 5 matches, even if a team plays only 4 matches).

But wait, there is more! The points earned last for 4 years before they then disappear, but before that they gradually decline in importance. The first year, points count 100%. The second year they count 50%, the third year 30% and the fourth year 20% and then they disappear totally after that, as mentioned.

Well, that’s basically it. Let’s leave it there :-)


A few bites of news on the recently ended world cup campaign

Goalkeeper Jákup Mikkelsen retires
As mentioned earlier, Faroese goalkeeper Jákup Mikkelsen retired from international football after the 3-1 loss to Rumania in October. He was capped 67 times which is a record for a Faroese goalkeeper; 2 caps more than former bobble hat-goalkeeper Jens Martin Knudsen who retired from the international scene in 2006.

Mikkelsen made his debut in a friendly international away to Iceland in 1995. He was 39 years old when he retired and thereby the oldest player to have played for the Faroes. Interestingly, he has been coach by all Faroese coaches since the Faroe Islands received international recognition in 1988. There have been 5 coaches: Páll Guðlaugsson (Iceland), Allan Simonsen (Denmark), Henrik Larsen (Denmark), Jógvan Martin Olsen (Faroe Islands) and Brian Kerr (Ireland).

Mikkelsen is arguably the second most successful Faroese football player ever; behind Todi Jónsson only, maybe. In 2000 Mikkelsen won the Danish championship with Herfølge. He has also won two Faroese championships; with childhood club KÍ Klaksvík in 1991 and B36 Tórshavn in 2005. He has also played for Molde in Norway and Partick Thistle in Scotland.

Mikkelsen has several times been voted goalkeeper of the year in the Faroe Islands and in 2005 he was even voted player of the year.

Gallas bites Benjaminsen!
After the World Cup qualifier with France in October, Fróði Benjaminsen’s arm was in bandage because French defender Willian Gallas unintentionally had bitten Benjaminsen in the arm in a duel and the wound had afterwards become inflamed.

Faroes strongest of the weakest
In the seven qualifying groups for the world cup, the Faroe Islands was the best team of the lowest seeded teams. The Faroes earned 4 points, the same as Armenia, but he Faroes had a superior goal difference. Two teams had 3 points; Georgia and Moldova. Liechtenstein got 2 points and Malta 1 while Andorra and San Marino didn’t get any point at all.


Statistical booklet
The Football Association has published a booklet with various statistics about players in the Vodafone Division and the 1st division. In total, 282 players have been asked about different aspects – 182 players from the Vodafone Division and 82 from the 1st division. You can read the booklet here (but it’s in Faroese only). But we’ll do a short recap her:

The first diagram on page 2 shows the age distribution in the Vodafone Division: 48% are 21 or younger. 32% are between 22 and 27 while 20% are 28 or older.

The diagram below on page 2 shows at which clubs the players have been brought up. B36 Tórshavn lead the way with 20 closely followed by KÍ Klaksvík with 19 and HB Tórshavn with 17. 15 are from abroad (“Útland” in the diagram). B71 Sandoy, who played last season in the 1st divison, "owned" 5 of the players in the Vodafone Division. Next season that number will be considerably higher as they have just been promoted.

Page 2 top diagram illustrates how many percentages of the players in the Vodafone Division played with their childhood club. 66 do and 34 don´t.

The below diagram shows if the players have played for more than 1 1st team at different clubs. 43% have and 57% have not.

Page 4: Top diagram shows for how many clubs the players have played for of those who have played for more than one club: 52 players have played for 2 clubs. 18 for 3 clubs and 8 for 4 clubs or more.

The below diagram shows their reasons for playing for different clubs: 12% answered it was because of their job (for example they move to a town where they get a job and therefore play for a club nearby). 14% named “other reasons” as their reason. 15% said it was because of financial reasons while 59% said it was because of “sporting-resons”.

On page 5, player who are 28 or older (58 players) were asked if they intended to stay in the football environment when they stop playing. 76% answered yes while 3% answered no. 21% said they didn't know.

In the below diagram, those who intended to stay in the football environment were asked what they intended to do. 30 players had coaching ambitions, 3 wanted to be a referee, 7 a leader in a club while 4 didn´t know what they wanted to do.

The page 6 diagram shows which educations the players have. 75% have no football education, while 20% have a coaching education. 5% have a referee education.


As the text above (before corrections) is exactly 4700 words long, we’ll call it a day. In the past couple of years we have had a piece we have called “aftermath”. The intention was to do it again this year, but we’ll se if it ever gets finished (because it’s a pain in the ass to do:-)

Maybe we´ll change the monthly round-ups to a different format in the future. Instead of publishing all the news at the end of the month (when we’re not running late), we might just write the news as we get it. But no decision is taken on that yet.



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