Sicne securing their first league title in 2004, FH have won a further four championships, an Icelandic Cup, four League Cups and three Super Cups, making the Hafnarfjordur club the team to beat once again. Despite losing several key – albeit ageing – players, they looked good in pre-season and wresting the crown from their grasp will be no easy task.
If the pattern of recent seasons is anything to go by, the main prize will ultimately go to the team quickest out of the blocks – an area in which FH’s closest competitors have been found wanting. One club looking to correct this defect will be capital side KR.
Perennial underachievers since last winning the championship in 2003, the west Reykjavik club has only a solitary 2008 Icelandic Cup win in the intervening years to show for significant investment in players. Having finished three points behind FH last season, coach Logi Olafsson has been very active in the transfer market, strengthening his squad through an astute mix of free transfers and loan signings, most with experience of playing abroad and some returning to KR for the second time.
Across the city, Valur, the only club to break FH’s hold on the title since 2004, served notice of intent by securing the services of Gunnlaugur Jonsson, one of the country’s most promising young coaches, from newly promoted Selfoss before the end of last season.
Following his arrival, the close season has seen the departure of a number of familiar faces.
Having finished third and fourth respectively last time out, Fylkir and Fram will be looking to at least repeat those achievements. For the latter there is also a welcome opportunity to wipe out the bitter disappointment of a penalty shoot-out defeat at the hands of Breidablik in last year’s Cup Final.
Buoyed by that success, Breidablik will approach the coming season with hopes of improving on last year’s fifth-place finish. However, they can expect stiff competition from Keflavik and Grindavik.
After finishing seventh and 10th, last year’s newcomers Stjarnan and IBV face the challenge of avoiding second-season syndrome. Failure to sustain performances that enabled them to survive their first season saw Fjolnir and Throttur return to the first division last time out and, after a shaky finish, Stjarnan will hope to recapture last year’s early season form.
For newly promoted Selfoss and Haukar there is the challenge of entering virtually uncharted territory, with the former appearing in the top flight for the first time and the latter not having been there since 1979.
September 25, 2010.