Kuusela packs his bags, Allen to fill in

Following an utterly disappointing season, TPS have sacked head coach Martti Kuusela.
Personally, I am shocked with the announcement. Letting your head coach go is not unusual when you don’t get the right result, but there are very few cases in the history of TPS when a head coach has been sacked while the season is still underway. TPS don’t usually do things that way, for one reason or another.

This also reflects a change of attitude of some sort. Having been asked about it on numerous occasions, managing director Petri Jakonen has said that the season has been a disappointment, but one bad season will not harm the stability at the club, giving the impression of, among other things, Kuusela’s position being secure.
Jakonen has let it be known that TPS want to achieve the top position among Finnish clubs in all respects, but there is no hurry. Kuusela was not given a chance to build a team of his own players (the current squad is largely built up by Mixu Paatelainen, who was in charge in 2007) before being sacked. A sign of impatience?

TPS will have to make interesting decisions in the future. Should they let a long-serving assistant like John Allen (assistant coach) or Marko Rajamäki (youth team coach) take over in hopes of continuity? Or should they take a bigger risk and look abroad in an attempt to find a new Job Dragtsma?

In addition, the squad could face considerable changes. Christian Gyan and Armand One are near contract expiry and are expected to leave. Kasper Hämäläinen, Mika Ääritalo and maybe even Jukka Lehtovaara might move abroad. Urmas Rooba, Jani Sarajärvi, Ville Lehtonen, Chris Cleaver, Iiro Aalto, Simon Pedersen and Mikko Paatelainen all have a couple of months left on their contracts, and making players sign new contracts is challenging when they don’t know who will be the man in charge.  As if this was not enough, rumours are spreading that the injury Simo Valakari has suffered of ever since the away fixture at Tampere United in May could be of a career-ending nature.

On the timing, Jakonen commented that TPS want to solve the coach issue and build their team with time and peace. As far as Kuusela is concerned, Jakonen said he was not under lucky stars, but “the general appearance of the team did not match the goals and expectations set for the team”.


4 Responses

  1. That’s a turn-up. I don’t think Jakonen would have done this unless he had a very good replacement lined up, it doesn’t make sense otherwise.

  2. I doubt it. If they think a change is inevitable, why delay it? But the timing is interesting, Kuusela could have as well finished the season. Nothing to win and nothing to lose anyway.

    OK, John Allen taking charge might be better for the players. Kuusela’s team was unimpressive, to put it mildly. Maybe this change will give the players a kick in the ass.

  3. Sairanen told after the press conference that there aren’t too many alternatives available to substitute for Kuusela next season. By saying that he kind of admitted that they have actually been in talks at least with some people in the business. So is it Kampman, Rautiainen or Armstrong – nobody knows quite yet. Swedish/Danish head coach could be a good pick too.

  4. John Allen will make a good replacement for the time being, as he has served TPS for many years now. He’s a talented coach and will bring enthusiasm to the team.

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