Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Interview with SJK defender Richie Dorman

The latest in my series of interviews continues with SJK's Welsh defender Richie Dorman.

With Chris Cleaver, Wayne Brown and yourself at the club, have you introduced many British traditions with the rest of the SJK family?
When I arrived at SJK in 2012, I was pretty shy and overwhelmed by moving into this small, very Finnish city. Chris was a massive character in the dressing room and really helped me fit into the team. By that point he had introduced a few traditions already with the fine system and the initiations for new signings. We added some more difficult tasks after I had done mine!! I think also the jokes and making fun of each other is mostly a British idea. Once the Finnish players learned it was all friendly and fun, they joined in too. Chris and I were fairly easy targets with my big ears and his big nose! Wayne is a bit sneaky and I always seem to get blamed for his mischievous behaviour. We had a home-made full English breakfast a few weeks back.

What do you miss most about Wales?
The family. I get home once per year over the Christmas break and it is always hard saying goodbye and leaving again in January. 

A young Richie during his Airbus UK days

You were on the books of Blackburn Rovers as a youngster, was there anyone you saw who stood out?
I signed when I was 11 and in that team there was Joe Garner and Frank Fielding who both played from that age up to the reserves. Garner now plays with Preston in League 1 and he always had such a desire to win, even when we played together. Frank is now with Bristol City, also in League 1, a top goalkeeper. Anthony Pilkington came in during my time although he didn’t stay as long as the others. He played with Norwich in the Premier League and is now with Cardiff.

SJK surprised everyone in 2014 by finishing second and qualifying for Europe – do you think you can be a serious contender for the Veikkausliiga next season?
Of course HJK have a great squad with some very talented players and coming off the Europa League group stage they will be playing even better this season. We will keep working hard everyday, doing the small things and help build this club in the direction the owners and fans want. Lets see at the end of the season and hopefully we can surprise a few more people.

Photograph via SJK's Facebook page

How did playing in the US college system help prepare you for a career back in Europe? What did you study while you were there?
My degree is in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. The football side was really professional, we trained every morning and then went to the classes in the afternoon. The facilities we had were amazing and the best I have had at a training ground. It was very different than playing at home or out here in Finland, but playing there gave me the desire to come back home to keep playing and also the belief that I was good enough to do it.

What is your favourite Finnish phrase?
‘No niin.’ Translates to something similar to ‘next,’ ‘lets go’ or ‘moving on.’ It’s quite funny to use it after people say something stupid in a slightly sarcastic way. But I’m not sure that is the correct use!

Richie and teammates enjoy Finnish life in 2013

One of the criticisms aimed at young British players is that they are less likely to move abroad – would you recommend making the move?
I probably would not be playing professionally had I not left Wales. Moving to Finland really helped my career so if any young British player had the chance to go and play abroad, I would highly recommend it. At least view the option with an open mind. The culture of other countries might be different but football is always football.

Which player(s) do you watch closest to try and improve?
Growing up it was always Steven Gerrard. Now that I’m playing full back I watch Azpilicueta of Chelsea a lot. He is arguably the best 1v1 defender in the Premier League and in possession keeps it simple. 

Do you wear shorts in the sauna?

Do you have any plans to play in other countries?
I love playing in Finland with SJK, we have a good group of lads and coaching staff so at the moment I have no plans on leaving Finland. Eventually at some point it would be great to play closer to my family so they could get to see me play more often. 


Many thanks to Richie for his candid answers. If you want to buy an SJK jersey with Dorman on the back, you can get one here.

I'm looking to continue the series with other players and personalities - if you have any suggestions, drop me a line!

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