They’re all going on a European tour

Ah, the beauty of Finnish football. Make some snide comments about Veikkausliiga games being boring, and you get bitten right on the arse. Cracking game down at Veritas Stadium tonight, with former Aston Villa prodigy Mika Ääritalo scoring two to ensure that the unfortunately named Antonio Inutile’s 87th minute strike for KTP went unrewarded. It was hard luck for KTP, they fought gamely and as I keep pointing out they have a young team. They should have enough in the tank to steer clear of relegation, but you just wonder how long they’ll keep hold of players like Pukki and Ikävalko.

Highlights: TPS 3 KTP 2

The european games start this week. First up, there is SS Murata vs Tampere United tomorrow. It’s a big, big game for TamU, as progression will give them an extra €500,000 from sponsorship money, gate receipts, the prize fund and TV fees. Murata are the first team from San Marino to play in the competition and will surely want to make an impression. Their best player last season was Massimo Agostini, who used to play in Forli and for AS Roma.

The Finns will obviously find the weather hot in Italy, but even with new signing Aldair I don’t think Murata will trouble TamU. It’d be an almighty cock up if they did, and even then TamU have the second leg in Finland to sort things out. Their best players are over 40 for crying out loud. has to be a TamU win, and a resounding one at that.

Then there is Haka vs Rhyl. Haka should progress here, but it might prove difficult for them. I used to follow Aberystwyth in the Welsh league, and the economics are rather strange. Aber consistently got the biggest crowds in the league, largely thanks to the student population of the town. The problem was that they played so far away from England that they just couldn’t attract decent semi pro players and as a result had to pay a premium or rely on local talent like the legendary Bari Morgan.

Rhyl, on the other hand, are pretty close to Merseyside and the northwest, and have access to better players from England. Not that Welsh players are rubbish, you understand, just that the northwest contains more than double the entire population of Wales, whose population is in any case concentrated in the south.

Haka should beat them, so long as they stay professional and don’t let themselves get kicked out of it. They’ll need to stay calm under pressure if Rhyl try to get physical, but that would be the only problem I can foresee. Carmarthen gave a good account of themselves in Tampere last season ‘except for the goals and the last half hour’, according to one of their fans I spoke to afterwards. Fitness and organisation are the problems for semi pro teams, Haka should try to exploit them.

MyPa will hammer Streymur, I’m quite confident of that, and HJk will have to be monumentally incompetent to mess up against Etzella, from Luxembourg. It’s certainly possible they could achieve that though, they’ve been rubbish most of this season. Maybe a loss to the ‘bourgers will put a stop to Armstrong’s slow waltz to his contract’s end and the exit door? I hope not, Finland needs a good UEFA coefficient and they have every chance of getting all their clubs safely through. But this is Finnish football, someone usually messes things up.


5 Responses

  1. Hello from Rhyl are any of your fans travelling over for the game if so make your way to the millbank pub thats where we all drink before the game would be great to meet up with some of your fans,myself and a few others will be there from about 3pm onwards it will get busy later.
    We are looking at bringing about 40 over to Finland our journey starts on the 29th via dublin to Tampere looking forward to meeting some of you before the game over here for a chat and a few beers.
    We have made a few great sigings so far and have a very strong squad so this should be a very close and exciting game.

  2. Hi Nigel,

    Not sure if any Haka fans are heading over. For Rhyl fans in Tampere I recommend Semafori, which has cheap but crap beer and is in the train station, and O Connells, a nice Irish pub just up the road. One of your former players used to work in Vanha Posti on Hämeenkatu, might be worth checking that out.

    In Valkeakoski the football pub is in the centre of town. It’s an Irish bar and easy to spot because of the giant FC Haka flags outside. Have a good trip and enjoy the game!


  3. The guy’s name is really Antonio Inutile?

    No wonder his family had to emigrate . . .

  4. Hi All,
    Thats a shame we were looking forward to meeting up before the game and thanx for the info we have quit a bit about tampere and the sports bar there and also the irish bar near the ground we will have to make sure our flags turn up and that will be great with all the others as well.
    Many thanx will enjoy the trip and hopefully see you all out there soon.

  5. Well what can i say with a crowd off 1,700 last night and with loads of vocal support from us.
    Going 1-0 down looked bad but they turned it around to win 3-1 a fantastic night in Rhyl last night makes the game over there an exciting prospect for us and more people are now looking at going so expect a few there and we have at least 3 flags coming over so i hope that irish bar before and after the game is ready for a Rhyl fans invasion,What a shame no one over from there last night bet there glad now they never.
    Lookining forward to been out there soon so be lucky

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