Back in 2015, I did some promotional work for a club based in the Helsinki fourth tier (division three, Kolmonen), with a small sponsorship and I went to watch a match while on holiday there. Atletico Malmi had a good season, it was great to be involved and added to my football shirt collection!
This year, I'll be doing a similar project again. This time, it is with another side from the capital, Ruisku, who play in the sixth tier (division five, Vitonen).
Ruisku (Finnish for syringe) were formed in 1998, based in East Helsinki. In 2009, with the club set to fold, a group of British and Irish ex-pats took over, keeping some of the original players and providing organised football and more to new arrivals to Helsinki. The logo is based around the Roihuvuori water tower, a major landmark nearby.
Player-manager Gav Martin told me that as an amateur club, the main objective is to keep the club alive by finding new players to fulfil fixtures. "Second is to have fun and socialise, third is winning".
2017 saw Ruisku miss out on potential promotion in suspicious circumstances, after the opponents of rivals SUMU forfeited the fixture, giving SUMU a 3-0 win that took them up instead. Gav says: "2018 is a season of ambition, going for promotion and we've added a reserve team in the seventh division for some of the older boys before they go onto over-35s football".
To end this introduction, Gav has said that anyone who emails him will get a response and a game of football ASAP. If you'd like to get involved in any way, on the pitch or off, email Gav here.
Throughout the year, I'll be updating on how the side are doing in their aim to get promoted, along with progress in the Regions Cup (the national knockout competition for smaller clubs).