So, a great weekend of football. I know West Ham should be relegated for being such unutterable cheating bastards, and having the Premier League and associated Premiership media circus lick their collective arse all season, but still. That was fantastic. Bye bye Colin!
I went to PP70 vs RoPs at Tammela on Saturday. RoPs are a decent team, a club with a lot of tradition and the northernmost team to have a realistic chance of playing in the top flight. They played in Europe in the 80s and had a job to get some of the games played-my friend talks of bonfires round the pitch and a noon kickoff, but he may be exaggerating.
Speaking of which, we got chatting to the only two RoPs fans at the game, Teemu and Kari. They come from Inari and travel to every game home and away. Teemu has many reindeer and is lucky that his wife can look after them while he is at the football, while Kari’s seal-clubbing business is doing well enough to allow him time off. They were confident about the coming season, despite RoPs’s inconsistent start.
The game was pretty dull it must be said. A dour 0-0 with few chances, although PP70 seemed to have the better of it. After the game we spoke to a few of the RoPs players.
George Chilufya is a Zambian defender who arrived in Rovaniemi seven years ago. He took last year off to be with his son back home in Zambia, but now he’s back in Rovaniemi and hoping to stay for a while. Obviously the cold is something he’s gotten used to. RoPs have 6 Zambians altogether, they must like the snow.
Jon Burklo is one of this blog’s readers, and a decent chap he is too. A Texan, he moved to RoPs this year after playing in Helsinki in 2006. He’s not too keen really. ‘Finnish weather is nice in the south, but not up there. It was snowing this morning when we left.’ I don’t think he’s enjoying the long coach journeys either. I mean, a club like RoPs don’t have much income and they have to travel 9-10 hours to pretty much every away game. That’s not going to be good for their performance, and they don’t have a luxurious and spacious bus, either.
Burklo was missing big city life, that’s for sure. His mate Abeiko Junior Adams was keen to tell us about growing up in Ghana and playing with Michael Essien-life having dealt them quite different hands.
It’s funny how players end up where they do, it seems to depend on having a good or a bad agent to a large extent. Whether RoPs is a good destination is open to question-for a family man like Chilufya it’s a nice place to live, for the young single guys it’s a bit too isolated. I would have done more in depth interviews, but frankly I was a little bit drunk. The first summery football match and a win for Finland in the ice hockey meant a combination of fisu and G&T. Not good for professional journalism.