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Jens Martin Knudsen (footballer)

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Jens Martin Knudsen
Personal information
Full name Jens Martin Sofus Knudsen
Date of birth (1967-06-11) 11 June 1967 (age 57)
Place of birth Saltangará, Faroe Islands
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11+12 in)
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Team information
Current team
NSÍ Runavík
Number 1
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1985–1986 NSÍ Runavík ? (?)
1986–1987 Frederikshavn fI ? (?)
1988–1990 NSÍ ? (?)
1991 NSÍ 15 (0)
1992–1997 GÍ Gøta 105 (0)
1998–1999 Leiftur 36 (0)
1999 GÍ Gøta 1 (0)
1999–2000Ayr United (loan) 4 (0)
2000 B36 Tórshavn 1 (0)
2000 Leiftur 16 (0)
2001–2007 NSÍ 150 (0)
International career
1988–2006 Faroe Islands 65 (0)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 4 November 2007
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 11 October 2007

Jens Martin Knudsen (born 11 June 1967) is a former Faroese goalkeeper and businessman. He was perhaps best known for wearing a hat in his matches as a result of an injury he suffered at age 14. He later become known as "the bobble hat goalkeeper".

Club career


Knudsen started his career as an amateur footballer for local team NSÍ Runavík. In 1992, he moved to GÍ Gøta to win a Faroese championship medal four times in a row between 1993 and 1996. After two seasons in Iceland with Leiftur he returned to the Faroe Islands and spent a short time on loan at Scottish team Ayr United before moving back to Leiftur for one more season. In 2001, he finally returned to his NSÍ again to become player/manager. He retired from playing football at the age of 40.

International career


He is famous for his 65 appearances for the Faroe Islands national football team,[1] and his penchant for wearing a white, wooly bobble hat.[2] Knudsen made his debut in an August 1988 friendly match against Iceland, the country's first FIFA-recognized match.

The Faroe Islands pulled off one of the most famous upsets in football history in their first official competitive match, by beating then World Cup 1990 competitors Austria 1–0 in a UEFA 92 qualifier. Knudsen was one of the heroes on that night, pulling off a massive string of saves and becoming a cult hero in the process. At the time he was a part-time forklift truck driver from the Runavik fish factory. Also, due to the aforementioned hat, in international football journalism he earned the nickname "The Keeper with the Bobble Hat."

On the BBC TV series Fantasy Football League in 1996, he appeared with presenters Frank Skinner and David Baddiel on the shows famous segment Phoenix From The Flames to re-create the famous moment. David and Frank played the part of the Austrian strikers and Jens played the part of himself, saving their shots exactly the same as in the actual match with the real footage played after. A running gag seen in the sketch, was two people dressed as Egyptian pharaohs, getting confused thinking the islands are near there hence the name, only to be told by Frank Skinner "You've got it all wrong, the Faroe Islands are near Iceland", only to receive a reply in a stereotypical Egyptian accent of "Oh you mean the freezer place on the high street!". Jens is later seen standing outside an outlet of the store holding up a piece of card reading "FAROE ISLANDS".

He played his final international match on 14 May 2006 against Poland. He is the third most capped player for the Faroe Islands, with 65 caps to his name.

Personal life


Knudsen is married and has four children, including Petur Knudsen, who is also a Faroe Islands international footballer.[3] Knudsen became national gymnastics champion and represented the Faroe Islands men's national handball team as an outfield player.[4] He played for several seasons for the Faroese top flight handball club "Tjaldur".

Knudsen is a notable Faroese businessman and a co-owner of major Faroese saltfish exporter Vaðhorn.[5]


  1. ^ Faroe Islands – Record International Players RSSSF
  2. ^ Plastic revolution symbolizes progress in the Faroes Archived 27 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine FIFA, 30 October 2000
  3. ^ Temple, Alan (18 July 2018). "Petur Knudsen out to emulate his dad – bobble-hatted keeper Jens Martin – as NSI Runavik seek to restore pride at scene of Scotland embarrassment in Toftir". Capital City Press. Tórshavn. Deadline News. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  4. ^ "Sete razões para amar o futebol faroês" (in Portuguese). Faroe Football. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  5. ^ Jacobsen, Vilmund (2 September 2021). "MSC kann fáa týdning fyri Vaðhorn Seafood". in.fo. Retrieved 26 December 2021.