Show and tell

Haka – MyPa 0-0
Inter – Viikingit 0-1

Four teams, one goal. I can show you the highlights and tell that it was the season’s first away win for the suburb Vikings. The match in Valkeakoski had a Juuso Walden centenary theme, honouring the late paper tycoon and football federation chief who was born precisely 100 years ago – probably most appropriate, as neither the town nor its football club would exist without paper industry; the same goes for MyPa and their Anjalankoski. But today they played nil-nil anyway.

An informative Wikipedia anecdote has it that when Mr Walden’s son once won the region’s sprint games, in 1964, his father sang him a congratulation song together with a group of three gentlemen who where visiting him that evening – namely Urho Kekkonen, Ahti Karjalainen and Josip Tito.

Not awfully exciting to you, I admit, yet gives me a perfect excuse to leap to another topic and tell you what is my first live football experience. It took place in Väinölänniemi, Kuopio – as for its location, probably one of the nicest stadiums in this country, next to the lake and all that – and was a friendly match between Finland and the crumbling Yugoslavia. A brief googling reveals that the date was August 23, 1989; the result was 2-2 and Olli Huttunen, the current coach of Haka, was Finland’s goalkeeper.

This is actually rather embarrassing. Up to date I’ve been under the confident impression that Davor Jozic had scored both of the Yugo goals but now I can see that he didn’t even play there. One by Pancev and one by Savicevic, and one first-minute own goal by Predrag Spacic. Mika Lipponen was the only Finn to hit the net. So where the hell did I get that Jozic from? Was he even on the bench? Last year I was boozing with a group of Serbs and Bosniaks, my uni mates in Italy, and in the bar we met one or two AC Cesena fans; in the course of the discussion it turned out that among their all-time favourite foreign players there was Jozic, a Bosnian Croat – and I, as I’m admittedly very opportunistic with these sort of fortunate occassions, naturally wanted to raise a toast, or two, or thirty, to “my childhood idol” and his two goals. Hah.

He didn’t appear in the game either, but I also wonder whether Zvonimir Boban had travelled to eastern Finland. Within less than a year from the Kuopio friendly he was already kicking heads instead of footballs, in that famous match between Dinamo and Crvena Zvedzda which pretty throughly pictured things to come. Those who tend to travel to Finland’s away matches might want to ask about Mr Otila about it, for he was there in the stadium, whereas to the other readers I recommend this fine book by Jonathan Wilson.

Thanks for listening – if there’s one corner of Europe that fascinates me, it is the Balkans. And I do find it difficult to stop once I have started to discuss it.

The lineups from that website state also that some guy named Jervinen came in as a substitute. That must be Petri Järvinen, and if I’m not terribly wrong – and do correct me if I am – he started his career in Äänekosken Huima, the only proper football club of my home region. Äänekoski is like Valkeakoski, a town built around a paper mill, and that brings us back to the square one and allows me to go to sleep. If someone is desperately longing for more prattling about the Balkans, my own blog has e.g. a recent glimpse of their charming music scene.

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