Showing posts with label huuhkajat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label huuhkajat. Show all posts

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Finnish Football Show episode 2

Monday 14th December sees myself, Mark and Mark return to our respective hotseats for the second episode of the Finnish Football Show. After the surprisingly good reception of the first episode, we will be looking at the Finland national team, with new boss Hans Backe due to start in three weeks time.

As before, we will be recording using the Blab platform, so it'll be a live video broadcast (effectively a video call) before the edited recording hits your podcast devices later in the week.

Please join us at 7pm GMT (9pm in Finland), where you can help contribute messages and tweets using the hashtag #FFS2 - see what we did there?

Subscribe to this link - Finnish Football Show episode 2

See you then!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Finnish Football Show podcast

I've been threatening this for a few months now...

There's going to be a Finnish football podcast starting this week! I'll be joined by Mark Wiltshear of the Explore Finland Radio Show and Mark Hayton of FC Suomi to talk about the various goings on in Finland and beyond. Seeing as we're all English, but with various links to Finland, we'll be speaking our native tongues.

But it's not just a podcast - there is also an interactive element. The show is being hosted on Blab, which means that while we're recording, we can also reply to questions you ask during the show. So, if we mention something you'd like us to clarify, or you have some fresh feedback, join in! At least this could be a two-way street, something different from your usual podcasts.

On the first podcast, we'll be focusing on the 2015 Veikkausliiga season and the current state of the Finnish national team. We're aiming for a new podcast every 4-5 weeks, lasting around 30-40 minutes.

So if you'd like to join in, subscribe to our Blab feed from 7pm GMT on Monday 16th November (9pm Finnish time) and help us help you. Don't forget our very catchy hashtag #FFS!

We need you!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Tulos: Litmanen, licences and flare fines

It's been another eccentric week in Finnish football - in case you missed any of it, here is a summary.

It's been sixteen years since Mikael Forssell made his Chelsea debut

A Helsinki court found that a fan who threw a flare during the Finland v Spain match in 2013, which cost the Finnish FA a fine of €7000, is liable to pay the fine. Needless to say the majority of the public has sided with the fan, while there have been suggestions of crowd-funding in order to pay the fine on their behalf.
Jari Litmanen has been keeping his fitness up with Estonian club Nomme Kalju - he does spend a lot of time in Estonia, while it's more likely that it is just keeping fit for further legend games. Doesn't stop the speculation about a comeback!

We finally had confirmation about the line-up of the 2015 Ykkönen (second tier). The ten teams competing are AC Oulu, EIF, FC Haka, FC Jazz, JJK, MYPA, PK-35, PS Kemi, TPS and VIFK. Strangely, Atlantis were denied a place due to the FA believing their player development systems weren't up to scratch. Atlantis of course were the side that turned a reluctant sixth-division forward into a 40-goal striker last year. Weird.
Former Jaro midfielder Hendrik Helmke, who had moved to Iran in December, was released from his contract after suffering a knee injury and has signed for Egyptian club Al-Ahly.
In some evidence that goalscorers don't necessarily translate into other places - 2012 top scorer Irakli Sirbiladze has left Inter Turku and signed for KuPS, while 2013 goal king Tim Väyrynen has signed an 18-month loan with Viktoria Köln, still remaining on the books of Borussia Dortmund B.

Finally, I spoke to Finland and Real Madrid Castilla forward Eero Markkanen about a variety of topics, ranging from Grand Theft Auto to wrestling with Perparim Hetemaj.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Interview with Real Madrid striker Eero Markkanen

After an extended winter break, I've got round to asking questions of some of the big names in Finnish football - and they don't get much bigger than Finland international Eero Markkanen, currently plying his trade for Real Madrid Castilla (Real's academy club) in Spain's Segunda División B.

You’ve been in Madrid for a few months now, how are you settling in? Have you introduced any Finnish traditions yet with your new teammates?

I am settling in pretty well. The language in training or meetings isn't a problem any more, football related words were pretty easy to learn. Outside football, the language is still a challenge since everyone is talking really fast. We haven't done any crazy Finnish traditions yet, partly because a lot of traditions are alcohol-related... But I have promised to cook reindeer for them, just as soon I find it here!

Your club manager Zinedine Zidane was one of the world’s greatest players, what was the best bit of advice he has given you so far? (Eero was Zizou's first signing for Castilla)

It is hard to say what has been the best, there have been lots of them. And, believe it or not, they're all good.

Zizou and Eero 

Your dad was a professional basketball player, were you ever convinced to follow his large footsteps?

There was never any pressure for me start playing basketball from my father. Of course I played outside of our house with my father and brothers and even attended two training sessions with a local club. But football felt more comfortable for me, and I think my father agrees. 

One of your first league starts for JJK saw you scoring a perfect hat-trick (left foot, right foot, header) against IFK Mariehamn – do you still have the hat? 

Yes I still have it! Although it is in a warehouse in Jyväskylä, I couldn't fit it in my luggage when I moved here. 

Eero in his JJK days (photo by Jussi Reinilä)

You’ve spoken before about hating KuPS (JJK's closest rivals) – could you ever be persuaded to sign for them? Would you enjoy scoring against them more than anyone else? 

I would never play for them, no matter what they would offer. I'd love to score against them, actually I was really angry at myself for not scoring after my one and only start against them in the semi-final of the Finnish Cup.

You’ve been joined at Real Madrid by 16-year-old Norwegian Martin Ødegaard – what are your early impressions of him? 

He is an amazing talent with an incredible ability to beat a defender one-on-one. 

Your most famous goal for AIK was against Djurgården – did you know it was going in as soon as you hit it? 

As soon as it left my boot, I knew it was a great hit. About midway in the air I noticed "s***, that's going in" and I couldn't believe it.

You’ve posted several photos of video games on your Instagram – do you prefer FIFA or Grand Theft Auto? What rank are you on GTA? (I'm currently 57...)

At the moment I prefer GTA, I really enjoy playing it with my friends. I am only rank 41 I think... It has actually been a while since I played any FIFA!

Will there be a rematch of your wrestling match with Perparim Hetemaj before the next international against Northern Ireland?

Most definitely, if Perpa is up for it!

Eero vs Perpa round one (photo via Jussi Eskola)

Did you get a cut from the sales of the Eero the Heero t-shirts?

No I didn't, but I have the rest of them ;)

(Eero has set aside a tee for me, one of my superiors at work is a Djurgården fan so I'll see if he notices!)

More interviews will be coming up in the next few weeks - feel free to suggest names and/or questions and I'll see what I can arrange. Coming next - Richie Dorman of SJK.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Interview with Finland international Tim Sparv

In the latest interview on ETS, Finland and FC Midtjylland midfielder Tim Sparv generously answered some of my questions. Make sure you follow him on Twitter and catch up with his regular column for Pohjalainen.

Tim in action for Finland v Hungary in March 2014 (Getty)

You're a well-travelled man. How is Denmark different from the other places you've played in? Would you advise youngsters to move abroad to sample new countries?

I'm lucky to have experienced so much already. Denmark and FC Midtjylland is a more laid back place than for example my last club in Germany. Not saying that they demand less from you, the work ethic and attitude in training is very good, but there is definitely a more relaxed atmosphere here. Quality-wise there's no real difference between Groningen, Greuther Fürth and FC Midtjylland. In my current club we have a great mix of experienced players having played abroad and our own youth players coming through the academy.

My advice to talented young players is to be at a club where you have good coaches and other talented youngsters to train with/against. If that's in Finland or abroad, it doesn't matter. There's also a difference between individuals. Some are mature enough to move abroad at a younger age, others are better staying closer to home. There's no right or wrong, you have to do what you think is best for your own development.In the end it's up to yourself. How much are you willing to sacrifice to become the best you can be. We can try and improve the facilities, coaching and so on, but if you don't have the will and discipline, you won't have a career in professional football. 

Tim in purple for Midtjylland v Panathinaikos (Getty)

You spent time at Southampton as a youngster. Does their excellent form in recent years surprise you? With Bale, Walcott and Lallana doing so well, were there any others there at the time who you thought would make it as far?

They're second in the table (at the time of writing), that surprises me of course. That they had to go down to League One, because of a few bad decisions, to re-build was also not something I expected. Saints are a Premier League club, so it did hurt a bit following their collapse. I'm glad to see they're back where they belong, and I'm especially glad for my friend and former team-mate Dusan Tadic and the way he's been playing since he arrived.

Along with the names mentioned, there were also Nathan Dyer (now at Swansea), Leon Best (Derby), Dexter Blackstock (Nottingham Forest), Matthew Mills (Bolton), Andrew Surman (Bournemouth) and a few more who showed potential. The player who stood out from the start was Theo Walcott. He was the youngster everyone was talking about back then.

 Tim the Saint in the 2005 FA Youth Cup final (Getty)
Do you plan on taking what you've learned into coaching at some point, perhaps in Finland?

That's possible. I can't see me leaving football, I love it too much. Coaching and scouting is something I'm very interested in. It would be nice to perhaps work in or around Vaasa one day, if we decide to move back. Maybe working with younger players as well. Time will tell.

What experiences do you remember most about being involved in the 2003 World Youth Championship and the 2009 European U21 Championship?

In 2003 I didn't play a minute in the actual tournament. I was a year younger and came in at a later stage. And to be fair I wasn't physically strong enough then. But the whole experience before the tournament, with trips to Chile and the US was incredible for a young boy coming from a small village on the west coast. It opened my eyes.

The U21 Euros was result-wise a disappointment. With Spain, England and Germany in the same group, we knew it would be difficult. But the whole two year project leading up to that tournament was in so many ways a dream. Winning the group and eventually beating Austria in the play-off game on penalties in Turku. And doing it together with the best group of players and staff was very emotional. Being the captain, having that responsibility, scoring goals and being a part of something so big was from an individual point of view a definite highlight in my career.

Tim scores a penalty against Joe Hart, Euro U21 championships, 2009 (Getty)

Have you enjoyed writing your column for Pohjalainen? What sort of subjects can we look forward to in the future?

I've enjoyed it for sure. I'm maybe not the typical footballer in that sense, then yet again, what is a typical footballer nowadays? But nonetheless I'm someone who likes to do things besides my work. To develop myself and to get my mind off football and maybe prepare myself for the future. It is a good way for me to get my thoughts out on paper and perhaps write a bit about things relating, mostly, to sport and people.

When you visited London last Christmas, what did you enjoy most about it?

Well, not the shopping in the city centre along with what felt like the rest of the world... Horrendous! The best was an Christmas Day when I met my Dad, who I didn't even know was in London, and had some wine and whisky. Me, my girlfriend and my Dad talked for hours until late at night. Good times. I'll be off to London again this Christmas, this time with friends. Spurs v United will be the highlight of the trip.

What time is it? (Tim's Instagram)

As a Manchester United fan, what do you think would improve their recent performances? Does being a professional player make it easier to see their failings?

One centre back and one defensive central midfielder. They've made some great signings, and Louis van Gaal is a good manager. His aura and tactical ability will suit Manchester United just fine. But they are nowhere near Chelsea, who I regard as the best team in the country at the minute. A place in the top four would be an OK start in his first season in charge.

You do see things in a game as a footballer that maybe someone else wouldn't. You see things happen a few steps before. Part of United's problem, if you don't count the individual mistakes, is that their balance in the team is off. Their attacking is a joy to watch but they're leaving to much space for the counter attacks. A bit naive and undisciplined I'd say.

Tim v France in Euro qualifying, September 2012 (Getty)

Finally, would you agree with the argument that more teams qualifying for Euro 2016 means that more teams are genuinely confident of making it to France? With sides like Iceland and Northern Ireland starting so well, does that inspire the Finnish squad even more?

Yes. More teams qualifying means a bigger chance for everyone. Even the smaller teams now have a realistic chance. It's great to see so many upsets already, now it's our turn to start upsetting some of the bigger footballing nations out there.


Many thanks to Tim for such insightful answers. Coming soon, we have an interview with HJK's singing winger Nikolai Alho, who has just launched his own media company. Hopefully over the winter there'll be a few more chats as well, I just need to pull my finger out...