It's been an eventful December for a nation with a summer league system. The rarity of a Finnish team still in European competition, the sorting out of league licences for 2015 and some ups and downs for the Finns spread across Europe. In the absence of the usual weekly reviews, I've decided to do a recap of what has gone on recently.
Santa is an HJK fan?!
The 2015 season
Last week, Honka were denied a licence to play in Veikkausliiga in 2015. I've made several mentions over the last year or so relating to the money problems which have plagued the club. Despite new owners taking control of the club, they also assumed the debts, issues and promises. In a roundabout way to appease reformists, the eleventh-placed team was replaced by the club that came second in Ykkönen - FC KTP, who only formed a year ago in their current form due to a merger between KTP and FC KooTeePee.
In a less expected twist, MYPA have been given a deadline of January 8th to prove themselves worthy of a place in the top flight next season. They too have been cutting back on their finances, while they're looking to make up an estimated shortfall of 200k Euros, or else their place in the 2015 season will be taken by either TPS or Ilves, who have been asked to submit potential applications. MYPA are also in danger of potentially missing out on the Europa League - they were the highest eligible side in the Fair Play table, which could mean a spot for KuPS... Banzai!
The most widely told story is that of Sami Hyypiä resigning as Brighton manager on Monday. It had been predicted for a number of weeks in lieu of their form over the season, but still a shame to see a young manager fail for a second time - his spell at Leverkusen was very much a case of Jekyll and Hyde.
In other news, Finland U21 midfielder Glen Kamara made the bench for Arsenal (but didn't come on) in the Champions League match against Galatasaray and spent a fair bit of time training with the first team ahead of the Liverpool league match. Lauri Dalla Valle returned to his former club Crewe Alexandra on a free transfer. Tim Väyrynen received an E grade in In Bed With Maradona's review of their 100 young players in 2014.
HJK finished third in their Europa League group, ending in a 2-1 defeat to Club Brugge. Niklas Moisander (Ajax), Markus Halsti (Malmö) and Roman Eremenko (CSKA Moscow) were eliminated from the Champions League.
As the song goes, it's the most wonderful time of the year... So FC Santa Claus come out to play, Saint Nick visits pretty much every club in the country, while things tend to shut down a little bit. I've been a little guilty of over-promoting FC Santa Claus, I'll certainly cut that down. To be honest, if they ever replied to their emails, I'd be feeling a bit more festive.
If I don't blog again, hyvää joulua!