The UEFA Cup First Round match Racing Santander – FC Honka starts at 21:30 tonight Finnish time

That’s what it says at the bottom of the Helsingin Sanomat preview this morning. Normally it offers a way of following the game, on TV or radio, but those options are not available Finland tonight, because nobody has bought the rights. I contacted the Norwegian company that held the rights for the Viking Stavanger game – a big match that Honka had every chance of progressiong from – and asked how much it would have cost to get the Finnish rights.

They refused to put a figure on it, but laughed at my suggestion of €30,000 and said that kind of figure would only be possible if both teams wore skates and helmets. I got the impression they would have accepted any offer, given that the rights were not in demand from anyone at all.

So I didn’t fancy ringing up Localia Cantabria Television, who will be broadcasting the match in the Cantabria region.

Jonathan Pereira was so excited to play against his boyhood idols, he made a special scarf to commemorate the occasion
Jonathan Pereira was so excited to play against his boyhood idols, he made a special scarf to commemorate the occasion

HBL has an article sourced from Spanish websites, so please forgive the double translation and any errors that may result. Pedro Munitis is ever so excited about playing for his home town club in Europe, and apparently received the Big Book of Footballer’s Cliches last Christmas.

“For a Santander lad like me to represent them in Europe is like a dream,” said Munitis. “When I came home in 2006 I felt that I might well have played my last match in European competition, but thanks to our great season last year we have this chance now.”

“To finish sixth last year was an achievement, but that won’t help us tonight against Honka. I expect that we will meet a physically strong team that is very disciplined.”

Munitis ackonowledged Racing are the favourites, but awrned against complacency.

“But everyone who follows football knows that the favourite doesn’t always win. We can’t approach this with any kind of arrogance. Honka haven’t come this for for nothing. It would be good for us to be humble. That’s the best way to win the important matches. That’s something I’ve learnt over my whole career.”

His health in relation to a parrot was, tragically, not mentioned.

Mika Lehkosuo said that it was important to try and unsettle Racing early on, and ensure that his young team doesn’t show too much respect. Marca was apparently bigging up Honka’s striker yesterday, but according to Iltalehti there is little chance of it going to his head.

“Yeah, I’m a big man,” laughed Aleksandr Kokko. “My dream is to play for Barcelona one day. It could help if I score three goals against Racing.”

Note to any Spanish readers, unfamiliar with Pori humour: he is not serious.

Lastly, if we’re talking about Finns in Europe, Roman Eremenko played 90 minutes for Dinamo Kiev against Arsenal. He did alright, and has hopefully taken a step towards playing regularly for his club.

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