So, since I started rambling on about how Viikingit are well organised and solid, they’ve conceded nine goals and slumped to the bottom of the table. What the fuck? They played very well at Haka, I don’t know what’s wrong with them. It can only be the curse of FiF, previously deployed against Jonas Emet and now ensuring that the relegation battle is not much of a battle.
I went to Lahti on Monday for Tampere United’s 2-0 win. It was my first visit to that fine city, and I have to say the stadium is really quite spectacular. In terms of facilities it wouldn’t be out of place in the Polish 5th division, but it has some natural advantages that many stadia don’t.
Firstly, it seems to be blasted out of a hill with dynamite, so the stand on the far side is only about one third the height of the steep bank that runs alongside the pitch. Secondly, it has a fucking ski jumping stadium at one end.
This is taken from behind one goal at the football stadium, in snowier times. I kept staring at it and missed quite a lot of the game, but the game was actually pretty dull so never mind. The grand sporting facilities of Lahti required close attention, and a couple of people told me a story about Lahti’s city council which confirm a few stereotypes. Not sure if it’s true, but I’ll repeat it anyway.
The stadium is, as you may have guessed, in the municipal ‘sport facilities district’ of Lahti. Alongside the stadium and the Ski jumping, there is an indoor football arena and the ISKU Areena, the ice hall where Pelicans play. In addition to that there are loads of cross country skiing tracks in the vicinity (they looked quite tough too, lots of steep hills).
They host a lot of international events, and that probably explains the huge number of flagpoles dotted around the place, from the junction where you turn off the main road, behind the goals, all around the car park, even a few up in the forest above the ‘sunnyside stand’. They look a bit sad and bedraggled really, only adding to the ‘Tirana Olympic Stadium’ feel of the place.
Anyway, it is clear what the local council has put their money into. Lahti has the reputation of a hard place, a spit and sawdust no nonsense type of town and the inhabitants are quite proud of that. i guess that’s why they built a ski jumping stadium, because they are hard enough to ascend hundreds of metres and then ski down in a straight line trying to jump as far as they can.
They did have another option though, according to my sources. Back in the 60s, the Finnish government wanted to more effectively harness the white heat of technology and decided the best way to do this would be to build a Technical University. They offered the university to Lahti City Council, who apparently said “no, we are a working man’s city, we have no need of your high-falutin’ educashun”.
And so it went to Tampere. It’s one of the top ranking Finnish universities, and is one of the reasons Nokia retains a large presence in Tampere and only a token Lahti presence. Great decision by the good burghers of Lahti.
TamU’s two goals both came from Tomi Petrescu, who will almost certainly be on his way in October. He’s young (21), he’s in form and he has lots of potential, let’s hope he goes to the right club. He could play a lot of games for the national team if he develops correctly, so this move is pretty important for him. He’s already played at Leicester, but I have a sneaking feeling he would do better in Germany or Italy. At least, football in those countries is closer to what he has played at TamU so far.
The man from HBL wasn’t impressed with HJK’s attendance, btw. He said that they announced 3342 but there weren’t more than 2000 at Töölö. In England that kind of thing gets stamped on quite hard by litigious clubs, but I guess Finland has better protection for freedom of speech.
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