The preview of the sxth round should take many forms, the first one being a homage to Pasi Rautiainen. This Monday’s match between Honka and TPS in Tapiola turned into something of a media event, with most of the Finnish under-21 squad presented with roses for their achievement in failing to win a single game or point, and scoring a solitary penalty during their three matches in Sweden. Pasi was not impressed.
“Sorry that I arrived in the middle of all this,” Rautiainen fumed after the game. “Are we still celebrating that? I heard that the tournament had fucking finished. Or is it still going on? I just didn’t bloody get it. I thought that Finland didn’t get any points, but apparently we won the whole thing if they’re up there receiving awards. I’d thought we didn’t even get a single win. It’s like when I was six year old and competing in the electricians skiing competition, and I always came third – even the third placed kid had to get some kind of spoon.”
The other parts of the media event involved Honka chairman Jouko Harjunpää’s plans for the new stadium.
“The first thing I did was send the architects to Finnair Stadium,” said the rotund Honka boss. “The second thing I did was tell them to do everything completely differently to that place.”
The Töölö ground looks like an airport, and has a strange airport-like quality to it. Wherever you are in the stadium, you are almost guaranteed to feel strangely uncomfortable, distant from the pitch, and usually cold due to the wind that swirls around the place thanks to the ‘aircraft wing 20 metres above your head’ that has replaced any attempt at providing a roof or shelter for spectators. It’s a disaster of a football ground, and Harjunpää is on the right lines if he’s going to attempt to avoid the same mistake.
Honka’s plans include 13,000 seats in a ground that will be ready by 2011. It’s an ambitious budget and schedule, but I admire Harjunpää’s rhetoric – he compared the Espoo theatre to the football ground, asking if portable toilets would be acceptable there, and pointing out that €30m for a football stadium is nothing compared to €140m for the WeeGee exhibition centre.
Harjunpää has private backers to cover a portion of the costs, but will need support from the council, and seems fairly confident of getting it. Espoo is a rich and boring place, the kind of suburb people move to to avoid interesting things like football matches, but as the politically influential construction industry enters a deep recession pressure will build for politicians to approve new public buildings, and Honka have been working hard on these plans for a long time.
One proper football ground that will host a cup game this week is Tammela, in Tampere. In this writer’s opinion Tammela is the best ground in Finland, and will need to be refurbished if any kind of professional football is to put down roots in Finland. The match is Tampere United v FF Jaro on Thursday, kickoff 6:30pm, and TamU have agreed to let in all members of their facebook fan page in for free.
There has been speculation recently about whether TamU could move back to Tammela, with the club seemingly positive on the matter. This change of heart has apparently been driven by the new chief executive Deniz Bavautdin, who told Veikkaaja today that moving to Tammela would be great for the crowd and fans, and that the Jaro match was a test of how it might work in practice. TamU’s team will include Ilari Ruuth, with Jusu Karvonen on the bench, and maybe former defender Jussi Kuoppala too, as their injury list grows.
The TamU match has forced TPV to play their game against JIPPO at the Läminpää ground, somewhere I’ve never been and look forward to visiting. That game will kick off at 6:30pm tomorrow.
Tie of the round is most likely to be Sexypoxyt (sexy boxers) v TPS. Sexypoxyt are a third division side who have upset the odds to get this far, and their game in Espoo will be well attended. The club was founded by Jan and Timo Walden – now the chairman of Veikkausliiga and national team press officer respectively – back in 1985, and have bobbled about the lower divisions ever since.
The othergiant killing potential comes from Spartak Kajaani, who are drawn against FC Haka. Haka’s manager Oka Huttunen is from Kajaani, and even advised Spartak in the last round, but will surely give them a pasting in this game.
FC Espoo – HJK
AC Vantaa – JJK Jyväskylä
Spartak – FC Haka
FC Inter – RoPS
Real Kokkola JKKI35 – Pallohonka
GBK – FC Jazz-j
FC Futura – VPS
MYPA – KuPS
Tampere U – FF Jaro
City Stars – Pirkkala JK
Gnistan – JBK
FC PoPa – PK-35 Vantaa
FC Viikingit/1 – FC Lahti
TPV – JIPPO
Pöxyt – TPS
FC KooTeePee – FC Honka