Yes folks, it’s true: there is a pay bar at Tammela Stadium now, for Ilves matches at least. I was so happy I bought a season ticket, but the woman refused to give a discount for the two games I’d missed. She surely knew the attraction of beer and football at Finland’s best ground.
Kakkonen has some really great, traditional clubs this year, and Ilves are right up there with the HIFK’s and KTP’s. They are one of the biggest junior clubs in Finland, with affiliate organisations all over the Tampere area and a top flight women’s side who play at Ratina. Their 5-0 win over KaaPa yesterday was an impressive performance both on the pitch, where Mikko Mäkelä and Aapo Lappalainen terrorised the Kaarina side’s defence.
The most impressive stuff was all off the pitch, however. It was a big crowd, with significant numbers of people in two stands – a rarity for any match at Tammela, never mind one at this level. Then there was the huge number of kids running around the place, excited to be playing for the same club that now has a pro side in the third tier of Finnish football. There was even something I have never seen before at a Finnish ground (although I’m sure it must happen, I’ve just missed it): autograph hunting. Here is Ilves’s Estonian winger Henri Erti obliging the kids during the first half:
Apologies for the sporadic and somewhat functional updates recently, I’ve been quite busy and the matches during May have come thick and fast. I will try and do a few posts I have been saving for a while in the next few weeks, including a competition to win a match-worn Sepsi shirt from the great Stanle Festus, something on the Nigerians who are powering Kajha up the Kolmonen table, and hopefully, if I can find it, a post about Roveniemen Markinoilla and Santtu the Rovaniemi Iskelmä commentator. Count the days, people, because next week I will be in a former leper colony and mental hospital off the Turku coast. If I can escape and get to Veritas on Monday, I will post about the Belarus game.