Lari talks about the origins of football culture in Finland, and the history of Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho (SJK Seinäjoki).
Guest: Lari Paski, Supporters Liaison Officer at SJK and football fanatic
Download an MP3 file of Finnish Football Culture and the Rise of SJK Seinäjoki
In this episode I talk to Lari about how he was inspired to start following football. He tells me about running away from päiväkoti (kindergarten) to play football in the nearby park, and explains how watching an FA Cup game on TV, back in the 1980’s, sparked a love of football that continues to this day.
We also discuss that Finnish football goes way back to the 1930’s in Etelä-Pohjanmaa, and how previous professional clubs from Seinäjoki, Sepsi 78 and TP-55 Seinäjoki, had their time in the top league. Lari tells about the key role he played in igniting fan-culture in Finland, by starting a supporters club that travelled to away games to provide vocal support for their team, which was unusual at that time.
Lari explains the merger of these two clubs – by now struggling in division 2 – into SJK has seen a renewed professionalism in Seinäjoki football, under the Chairmanship of Raimo Sarajärvi. We also talk about the plans for the future, the development of a purpose-built ‘hillside’ football stadium in Seinäjoki, and the impact that SJK qualifying for the Europa League in 2014 will have on the club and the town.
This episode turned out to be something of a monster, over 50 minutes, but I found it interesting so decided to include as much of the conversation as possible. I hope you’ll also enjoy spending an hour in Lari’s company, I normally do…
Finnish words in the episode
Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho – Seinäjoki FC
Klopit – SJK’s supporter group
Etelä-Pohjanmaa – South Ostrobothnia, region of Finland
Palloseura, or Jalkopallokerho – football club
Palloliitto – Finnish Football Association
Veikkausliiga – Finland’s top football division
Ykkonen – Division 1
Kakkonen – Division 2
Keskuskenttä – literally ‘Centre Field’ the home ground of SJK
Kerho 07 (nolla seiska) – Club 07, SJK’s reserve team
Päiväkoti – Literally ‘Day Home’ means Kindergarten; Day Care
SJK on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SJK07?fref=ts
SJK on Twitter https://twitter.com/SJK07fi
Wallsport Areena http://www.wallsport.fi/index.html
Escape to Suomi (Finnish football in English) http://www.escapetosuomi.com/