Tampere United in Sofia, live on Urheilukanava, Tuesday 8th August 20:25!

Haka played some lovely stuff yesterday. Chayne Fowler (or Chainy Foaler as he’s known to the Haka announcer) was excellent, always looking for the ball and almost always doing something useful with it. You sometimes worry that he talks a bit too much to the referee, but he has learned the iron rule Keke Armstrong articulated: swear in English and you get booked, swear in Finnish and the referee is pretty chuffed you made the effort. A loud ‘VITTU!’ brought some nasty looks and some amused tittering in the stands yesterday.

The first goal was well worked, and after that Haka relaxed, Popovitch shone and it turned into a rout. Jonas Emet was rubbish, again, proving my voodoo powers are still intact. He got subbed in the second half, and Jaro immediately improved. His hair was shockingly unkempt too, from a slick footballer’s nohawk at Ratina to an outgrown mess in Valkeakoski. We can only hope this isn’t evidence of a wider disintegration, and that he keeps his professionalism even though he doesn’t need neat haircuts to pull the laydeez anymore*.

One thing that gets me about Haka is their marvellous selection of half time treats. Obviously and unfortunately they don’t have much for vegetarians like me, football being a makkara zone. But the range and price of their snacks and refreshments reminds me of Church jumble sales rather than top flight football, and – just to be completely unambiguous about this- I love it. The businessmen among Finland’s football fraternity will shake their heads ruefully at this if they didn’t already know, but at Tehtaan Kentta you can buy sweets for 10 cents. 10 cents! Kids can spend one euro and get 10 different things, at a football game! This is the way to build loyalty. Get ’em young, give them sugar rushes and make sure there’s absolutely nothing else to do in the town.

Seriously though, I like the way football in Valkeakoski is available for everyone and everyone enjoys it. The ground is like a park, the cafe in the corner should win an award for allowing people to watch the game with a beer in lovely, comfortable surroundings on the terrace (terrace meaning the bit outside a cafe or bar, not the Spion Kop) and pretty much everyone is smiling. 4-0 home wins in the sun do that for you, I suppose.


The gap at the top is only 3 points now:

TamU 14 30
FC Haka 14 27
TPS 14 23
MyPa 14 22
FC Lahti 15 21
FC Honka 14 21
HJK 14 20
FC KooTeePee 15 20
VPS 16 19
FF Jaro 15 18
FC Inter 15 16
IFK Mariehamn 15 13
FC Viikingit 13 12
AC Oulu 14 11

Other results:

FC Lahti FC Honka 2 – 2
FC Inter AC Oulu 1 – 0

Inter open up a four point cushion, and from the look of the highlights they dominated the game against Oulu.

Some good news from Sofia ahead of the Levski-TamU game: it’s absolutely pissing it down with rain and is forecast to continue throughout the match tomorrow evening. After the 40 degree heat that has caused lots of premature deaths in the Balkans this summer, that’s about as good news as can be hoped for at this stage.

Urheilukanava are still in negotiations over the broadcast rights, as Levski and TamU sold the international rights to Global Sports Net. Apparently they are asking for a lot of money, but nobody else except Urheilukanava is after the rights. A bit of a poker game going on there, and I’m struggling to decide who I’d put my money on, based on stereotypical facial expressions of Bulgarians and Finns. Actually, fuck that – GSN are not Bulgarians. Hyvää Suomi!

EDIT-as the new title suggests, the Finns won and the game is on telly. Nice one!

*I know nothing of Emet’s private life or marital status, but his hair is a bit longer than it was.


One Response

  1. SOFIA, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Levski Sofia will face Finland’s Tampere United in Tuesday’s Champions League second qualifying round match at the Vasil Levski national stadium due to poor surface conditions at their own stadium, the club said.
    The decision was taken after UEFA’s delegate Gregorius Teodoridis of Greece and German referee Thorsten Kinhofer made a pitch inspection on Monday night.
    “The venue was changed due to a waterlogged pitch at our stadium,” said Levski’s chief executive Konstantin Bazhdekov.

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