Finnish Football Show #11: 2016 Review – New Veikkausliiga Champions

FINNISH FOOTBALL SHOW
Join Mark (@explorefinland), Rich (@EscapeToSuomi) and Mark (@FCSuomi) for monthly episodes, where 3 old blokes sit and talk about football. In Finland.

Download an MP3 of Finnish Football Show #11: 2016 Review – New Veikkausliiga Champions

Show Notes & Video

Finnish Football Show #9: Suomen Cup Final, Stadin Derby & Veikkausliiga

FINNISH FOOTBALL SHOW
Join Mark (@explorefinland), Rich (@escapetosuomi) and Mark (@FCSuomi) for monthly episodes, where 3 old blokes sit and talk about football. In Finland.

Download an MP3 of Finnish Football Show 9 – Suomen Cup Final, Stadin Derby & Veikkausliiga Show Notes & Video

Finnish Football Show #8 – World Cup Qualifying starts & Veikkausliiga update

FINNISH FOOTBALL SHOW
Join Mark (@explorefinland), Rich (@escapetosuomi) and Mark (@MaHa_FCSuomi) for monthly episodes, where 3 old blokes sit and talk about football. In Finland.

Download an MP3 of Finnish Football Show #8 – World Cup Qualifying starts & Veikkausliiga update Show Notes & Video

Summer Replay: Just Why Is The Sauna So Important To Finns?

Sauna replay

In this episode I speak to Jaakko and Martti Koskenkorva about the most recognisable Finnish word in the world, Sauna. I visited them at Koskenkorva Trahteeri to talk about the history, the traditions and why the sauna is so important to the Finns.

Guests: Jaakko & Martti Koskenkorva

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Summer Replay – Just Why Is The Sauna So Important To Finns?

Read the Show Notes

Summer Replay: Beer Tasting at Mallaskoski Brewery

Mallaskoski replay

Brewmaster Jyri Ojaluoma takes me back in time to the re-birth of Mallskoski and their Kuohu beer. We discuss brewing techniques and tricks and review the 1st Lakeuden Panimojuhlat (Beer Festival) in Seinäjoki.

 

Guest: Jyri Ojaluoma, Brewmaster

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Summer Replay – Beer Tasting at Mallaskoski Brewery

Read the Show Notes

Summer Replay: How Much Does Finland Love Ice Cream?

Finnish Ice Cream replay

Päivi explains how ice cream is made at Wirtalan Jäätelö and gives a surprising answer to the question ‘What is South Ostrobothnia’s favourite flavour?’

 

Guest: Päivi Virtaniemi, Entrepreneur and co-founder of Wirtalan Jäätelö

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Summer Replay – How Much Does Finland Love Ice Cream? Read the Show Notes

Exploring Finland: Putting The Podcast Into Practice

Podcast Into Practice

During summer 2016, I had the opportunity to visit the wilds of Eastern Finland, near to the town of Kitee.  I was invited to join Satu at her Grandparents’ old home, right on Finland’s border with Russia. During this trip, I found myself saying ‘yeah, I know about this, I covered it in the podcast’, for example; sauna with vihta, foraging in the woods, the eveacuation of Karelia and Finnish ice cream.

I thought I’d share with you some pictures of these activities, and the podcast episodes they came from. Read more

Summer Replay: Jokkis / Finnish Folk Racing – Motor Sport for ‘Everyman’

Jokkis replay


Guest: Emilia Uutela, Andrenalin-junkie Jokkis Driver

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Summer Replay- Jokkis : Finnish Folk Racing – Motor Sport for ‘Everyman’ Read the Show Notes

Summer Replay: Finnish Football Culture and the Rise of SJK Seinäjoki

SJK History replay

Lari talks about the origins of football culture in Finland, and the history of Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho (SJK)

Guest: Lari Paski, Supporters Liaison Officer at SJK and football fanatic

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Summer Replay- Finnish Football Culture and the Rise of SJK Seinäjoki

Read the Show Notes

Summer Replay: Festivals: Midsummer Metal & Tango Camper Vans

Finnish Festivals replay

Juha talks about more Finnish festivals. From the Heavy Metal Midsummer through the invasion of camper vans for Seinäjoen Tangomarkkinat and on to newer, urban events for HipHop and EDM.

 

Guest: Juha Koivisto – Festival promoter, Agent

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Summer Replay – Other Festivals, Midsummer Metal & Tango Camper Vans Read the Show Notes

Finnish Football Show #6 – An upturn for Huuhkajat? And Veikkausliiga so far.

FINNISH FOOTBALL SHOW
Join Mark (@explorefinland), Rich (@escapetosuomi) and Mark (@MaHa_FCSuomi) for monthly episodes, where 3 old blokes sit and talk about football. In Finland.

Download an MP3 of Finnish Football Show #6 – An upturn for Huuhkajat? And Veikkausliiga so far. Show Notes & Video

Summer Replay: In Competition on the Frisbee Golf Course

Frisbee Golf replay

Pekka explains the rules, techniques and tactics of Frisbee Golf, before I join him on the course in the CityFrisbee Golf competition in Seinäjoki

Guest: Pekka Hautala, Football commentator and Frisbee Golfer

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Summer Replay: In Competition on the Frisbee Golf Course
Read the Show Notes

Summer Replay: Provinssirock Festival & the Finnish Music Scene

Provinssirock replay

Juha talks about the history of the Provinssirock Festival, and the popularity of domestic music making it possible for Finnish-only events to sell-out.

Guest: Juha Koivisto – Festival promoter, Agent

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Summer Replay: Provinssirock Festival & the Finnish Music Scene Read the Show Notes

Summer Replay: The Magic of Midnight Golf in Finland

Midnight Golf replay

Matias explains the requirements to be able to play golf in Finland, the fun of midnight golf, and his marathon 24-hour, sponsored fund-raiser in 2014.

Guest: Matias Lampinen, Executive Director, Kuortane Golf Club

Listen to the show  on your choice of podcatcher; iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Summer Replay: The Magic of Midnight Golf in Finland Read the Show Notes

‘Regional Developer Prize 2015’ Award for the Explore Finland Radio Show

Mark looking suitably humble (for once!)

Mark looking suitably humble (for once!)

On Friday 13th May 2016, I was given an award by Etelä-Pohjanmaan aluekehittäjät ry EPAK (a Regional Development Association in Etelä-Pohjanmaa.  This was in recognition of the work I have done with the Explore Finland Radio Show and the Finnish Football Show. This is how EPAK announced the award:

Regional developer prize winner of the year 2015 is Mark Wiltshear

The regional development association of Southern Ostrobothnia EPAK has chosen Mark Wiltshear, the voice of the Explore Finland Radio Show and Finnish Football Radio Show, as the winner of the Regional development prize of the year 2015. Mark Wiltshear works as a Project Manager in the internationalization and export development company Xport. He is also the Co-founder of the company. Wiltshear has moved to Seinäjoki from London.

The board of the association was unanimous about the decision. ”Mark’s podcasts, notes and pictures represent South Ostrobothnia lifestyle and the characteristics of the region in an exceptionally the warm, creative and professional way. The genuine enthusiasm and fire in Mark’s work inspires respect and joy in all of us. The podcasts offer the listeners interesting and eye opening true-life experiences and perceptions that make us return to the show time after the time. Most of the podcast also have local people as visiting guest speakers. We warmly recommend the shows to everyone.”

The prize is being awarded now for the seventh time by regional development association of Southern Ostrobothnia. The prize is awarded annually. Previous award winners are:

– 2014 Researcher, Chairman of the Board, Jussi Rasku, Game Developers Association of Seinäjoki (Sepeli ry)

– 2013 Managing Director Sami Heinimäki, Härmä Transport Ltd

– 2012 SELMU, Live Music Association

– 2011 Development Planner Eira Hakola,Regional Counsil of South Ostrobothnia

– 2010 Executive Director Sinikka Koivumäki, The Development Association of Seinäjoki Region (Liiveri)

– 2009 Research Director Juha Alarinta, UCS (University Consortium of Seinäjoki)

Regional development association of Southern Ostrobothnia is registered association (2009) whose aim is to promote South Ostrobothnia’s independent and unbiased development and regional development at its various aspects and procedures. It’s aim is also give recognition to succesful regional development work by granting the regional developer prize annually.

Press Release / Lehdistötiedote

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Tytti Isokangas, Chair of the Board of EPAK, and everyone that was involved in this decision. The award came as a complete surprise and, needless to say, I am very proud and humbled to have been recognised by my peers; people who have similar opinions about raising the profile of Etelä-Pohjanmaa.

It was presented at the opening of the new office space that Bstr Advertising Agency shares with Xport in Seinäjoki (yes, the swing is part of the new office furniture!) The fact that I was in the company of so many friends, colleagues and business contacts made the moment that more special.

Brit Enjoys Nature. How the news was reported in Ilkka Newspaper

Brit Enjoys Nature. How the news was reported in Ilkka Newspaper

http://www.ilkka.fi/uutiset/maakunta/mark-wiltshear-on-vuoden-aluekehitt%C3%A4j%C3%A4-1.2048634

I hope now that this can be a springboard for starting to take some concrete action to benefit Seinäjoki, Etelä-Pohjanmaa and the neighbouring regions. I have a vision that I’ve started sharing with people and I’d love to start working to make this a reality. My company, Xport, is well-positioned to help local companies that want to become more international, and this can includes developing tourism ideas and preparing local businesses for receiving overseas visitors.

If you want to learn more about this vision, please make contact and I’d be happy to meet with you in person xport.fi/contact

Finally, I want to say thank you to YOU; for reading this and being interested in the podcast; for being one of the regular listeners to the show – there is no show without listeners; or if you have appeared in the podcast –there is no show without the people of Etelä-Pohjanmaa agreeing to be interviewed and generously giving me their time! Thank you all.

◊◊◊ Mark Wiltshear ◊◊◊

Finnish Football Show #5 – The Worst Time to Start a Podcast About Finnish Football?

FINNISH FOOTBALL SHOW
Join Mark (@explorefinland), Rich (@escapetosuomi) and Mark (@MaHa_FCSuomi) for monthly episodes, where 3 old blokes sit and talk about football. In Finland.

Download an MP3 of Finnish Football Show 5 – The Worst Time to Start a Podcast About Finnish Football?

Show Notes & Video

End of Season 2 Credits

Season 2 Credits

Season 2 Credits
I decided that, like Season 1, I would also record 16 episodes for Season 2. Now it’s time to take a look back at Season 2 of the Explore Finland Radio Show, to consider the topics covered and thank everyone that agreed to be interviewed. You can still keep in touch on the various social media and don’t forget to let me know what subjects you want me to cover in season three, you never know I might find just the right person to speak to.

 

Guests: See the Show Notes!

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Season 2 Credits

Read the Show Notes

Finnish Football Show #4 – ‘Cupsets’ and Finns in Action Overseas

FINNISH FOOTBALL SHOW
Join Mark (@explorefinland), Rich (@escapetosuomi) and Mark (@MaHa_FCSuomi) for monthly episodes, where 3 old blokes sit and talk about football. In Finland.

Download an MP3 of FinnishFootballShow #4 – ‘Cupsets’ and Finns in Action Overseas

Show Notes & Video

Ice-hole Swimming & Sauna: A Natural High!

Lakeuden Avantouimarit

Kyllä kylymä teköö hyvää – Yes, the cold does good! Image: http://www.lakeudenavantouimarit.net/

Season 2 Episode 32
I learn why swimming in ice-cold water after taking a sauna is better than sex or morphine! Jussi explains ALL the benefits of Avantouinti, before taking me swimming in the hole in the ice on a frozen pond. Yep, that’s right…

Guests: Jussi Mustikkamaa, Journalist

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Episode 32 – Ice-hole Swimming & Sauna – a natural high!

Read the Show Notes

Beer Tasting at Mallaskoski Brewery

Mallaskoski

Season 2 Episode 31
Brewmaster Jyri Ojaluoma takes me back in time to the re-birth of Mallskoski and their Kuohu beer. We discuss brewing techniques and tricks and review the 1st Lakeuden Panimojuhlat (Beer Festival) in Seinäjoki.

 

Guest: Jyri Ojaluoma, Brewmaster

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Episode 31 – Beer tasting at Mallaskoski Brewery

Read the Show Notes

Jussi paita: Ostrobothnia’s Uniform

The OstrobothnianUniform- Jussi paita2

Season 2 Episode 30
Student Film-makers Tytti & Onni tell me about the origins and history of the Jussi paiti, plus what they learned while making their documentary ‘Pohjanmaan univormu’ (Ostrobothnian Uniform)

Guests: Tytti Kuusinen & Onni Venäläinen, Film-makers

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Episode 30 – Jussi paita: Ostrobothnia’s Uniform

Read the Show Notes

Finnish Football Show #3 – Football In The Desert & Pre-season Transfers

FINNISH FOOTBALL SHOW
Join Mark (@explorefinland), Rich (@escapetosuomi) and Mark (@MaHa_FCSuomi) for monthly episodes, where 3 old blokes sit and talk about football. In Finland.

Download an MP3 of FinnishFootballShow3 – Football In The Desert & Pre-season Transfers

Show Notes & Video

Film & Lights Festival at ‘Matti’s Cottage’

Matin-Tupa

Season 2 Episode 29
Mari welcomes me to the ‘Filmiä- ja valoa elokuvafestivaali’ at Matin-Tupa Cinema. She introduces me to the past, present and future of the cinema that’s been in her family for 70 years.

Guest: Mari Keskinen, 4th-Generation Cinephile

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Episode 29 – Film & Lights Festival at Matti’s Home

Read the Show Notes

The Magic of Midnight Golf in Finland

Midnight Golf

Season 2 Episode 28
Matias explains the requirements to be able to play golf in Finland, the fun of midnight golf, and his marathon 24-hour, sponsored fund-raiser in 2014.

Guest: Matias Lampinen, Executive Director, Kuortane Golf Club

Listen to the show  on your choice of podcatcher; iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Episode 28 – The Magic of Midnight Golf in Finland

Read the Show Notes

Finnish Food: The Good, The Bad & The Weird

Finnish Food

Season 2 Episode 27
The Good, The Bad & the Downright Weird of Finnish Food with Miia
This week I get to sit down with Miia Keski-Nikkola and talk food, which is no hardship for me; busting some myths, discussing Mother Nature’s offerings and looking at traditional Xmas Food.

Guests: Miia Keski-Nikkola, Restauranteur

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Episode 27 – Finnish Food – The Good , The Bad & The Weird

Read the Show Notes

Reconstructing Finland’s Emigrant History

World of Trails

Season 2 Episode 26
Tella takes us on a walk through history at the World of Trails in Peräseinäjoki. A collection of buildings, previously owned by Finnish emigrants, dismantled, moved and reconstructed in South Ostrobothnia.


Guest: Tella Lahti, Executive Director, Finnish Emigrant Museum

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Epsiode 26 – Reconstructing Finland’s Emigrant History Read the Show Notes

Festivals: Midsummer Metal & Tango Camper Vans

Finnish Festivals

Season 2, Episode 25
Juha talks about more Finnish festivals. From the Heavy Metal Midsummer through the invasion of camper vans for Seinäjoen Tangomarkkinat and on to newer, urban events for HipHop and EDM.

<Audio File>

Guest: Juha Koivisto – Festival promoter, Agent

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of this episode Read the Show Notes

Provinssirock Festival & the Finnish Music Scene

Provinssirock new logo

Season 2, Episode 24
Juha talks about the history of the Provinssirock Festival, and the popularity of domestic music making it possible for Finnish-only events to sell-out.

Guest: Juha Koivisto – Festival promoter, Agent

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Epsiode 24 – Provinssirock Festival & the Finnish Music Scene Read the Show Notes

How Much Does Finland Love Ice Cream?

Ice Cream graphic courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ice Cream graphic courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Season 2, Episode 22
Päivi explains how ice cream is made at Wirtalan Jäätelö and gives a surprising answer to the question ‘What is South Ostrobothnia’s favourite flavour?’

 

Guest: Päivi Virtaniemi, Entrepreneur and co-founder of Wirtalan Jäätelö

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of this episode Read the Show Notes

SJK Season Review 2015 – Suomen mestari!

SJK Season Review 2015

Season 2, Episode 21
Lari returns to the pod to reveal his highlights from following Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho in 2015. Spoiler alert, it has a very happy ending!

Guest: Lari Paski, Supporters Liaison Offer, SJK

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of this episode Read the Show Notes

Jokkis / Finnish Folk Racing – Motor Sport for ‘Everyman’

Jokkis

Season 2, Episode 20
Emilia explains the basic of Jokamiehenluoka/Jokkis/Finnish Folk Racing, before getting behind the wheel on race day.


Guest: Emilia Uutela, Andrenalin-junkie Jokkis Driver

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of this episode Read the Show Notes

In Competition on the Frisbee Golf Course

Frisbee Golf

Season 2, Episode 19
Pekka explains the rules, techniques and tactics of Frisbee Golf, before I join him on the course in the CityFrisbee Golf competition in Seinäjoki

 

Guest: Pekka Hautala, Football commentator and Frisbee Golfer

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of this episode
Read the Show Notes

Finnish Music Traditions: From Folk to Rap!

"M2403 - kantele - okänd tillverkare - foto Mikael Bodner" by Musik- och teatermuseet - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:M2403_-_kantele_-_ok%C3%A4nd_tillverkare_-_foto_Mikael_Bodner.jpg#/media/File:M2403_-_kantele_-_ok%C3%A4nd_tillverkare_-_foto_Mikael_Bodner.jpg

“M2403 – kantele – okänd tillverkare – foto Mikael Bodner” by Musik- och teatermuseet – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Season 2, Episode 18 – A short introduction to traditional Finnish music from Piia & Mika, including Iskelmä, Choral, Rautalanka, Folk… and Rap.


Guests: Piia Kleemola-Välimäki and Mika Virkkala, from the Sibelius Academy

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of this episode

Read the Show Notes

The History of Emigration from Finland

Emigrant Museum

Season 2, Episode 17
Tella tells about Finland’s historical emigration, where people came from, where they eventually settled and some that made their fortune and came back again. 

 

Guest: Tella Lahti, Executive Director, Finnish Emigrant Museum

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of this episode

Read the Show Notes

What on Earth is Mölkky? And how exactly do you say it?

IMG_0030

The Mölkky skittles at the start of the game

Summer 2015 barely deserves that name, but as August starts and the school holidays draw to a close, of course, the weather takes a turn for the better!

This is the perfect opportunity to try out our new garden game, Mölkky. To answer the 2nd question first, it is pronounced Meul-kuu. The first question needs only a little more explanation. Simply put, it is a bit like pub-skittles, where you use a wooden baton to knock over the skittles, numbered 1-12, scoring points as you go. Naturally, it’s the details that make it fun.

At the start of the game the skittles are arranged on a group, close together. The players take it in turns to throw the baton to try to knock the skittles over. If you knock over a single skittle, you score the value on that skittle, if you knock over more than one, you score a single point for each.

After the each turn the skittles are reset in the position they landed, so the game area soon starts to spread, isolating certain skittles, allowing them to be targeted more easily – but at the risk of missing all of them! The winner is the first player to reach the score of 50. Easy enough BUT if you go over, even by a single point, then your score is rest to 25 and you allow your opponents a chance to win.

Simple, fun and addictive. The other great aspect is that almost any number can play. I’ve played one vs.one and in a group of 15+, so it’s ideal for summer parties, barbecues etc.

As the official Mölkky website says ‘hard to say, easy to play.’

You can read more about the game here http://www.tactic.net/molkky/

◊◊◊ Mark ◊◊◊

SJK into Europe 2015-16: Episode #2

Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho Team 2015. Photo courtesy of SJK.

The draw for the latest Europa League competition was made on Monday 22nd June, and Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho were drawn against Fimleikafélag Hafnarfjarðar of Iceland.

In this episode, recorded 22.7.2015,  you can hear me speak to Wayne Brown and Bahrudin Atajic about SJK’s defeat to FH and looking forward to the remainder of the 2015 season. Read the Show Notes here

Guests:Wayne Brown and Bahrudin Atajic, SJK

Listen to the show  on your choice of podcatcher; iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download MP3 file of this episode here

http://wp.me/p51MGe-at2

 

 

 

SJK into Europe 2015-16: Episode #1

Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho Team 2015. Photo courtesy of SJK.

The draw for the latest Europa League competition was made on Monday 22nd June, and Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho were drawn against Fimleikafélag Hafnarfjarðar of Iceland.

In this episode, recorded 23.6.2015,  you can hear me speak to Chris Cleaver, and Richie Dorman about the upcoming SJK vs FH fixtures. Read the Show Notes here

Guests: Chris Cleaver and Richie Dorman, SJK

Listen to the show  on your choice of podcatcher; iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download MP3 file of this episode here

 

 

 

SJK Update: May 2015


You can find all previous articles about Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho (Seinäjoki FC, SJK) here

The season gets underway

The league season is now near the 33% stage, so it’s a good time to have a look at how things have played out so far.

For SJK it has been an effective, if unspectacular start to the campaign. Defensively they have been very solid, conceding only 4 goals in 11 league games, and they have lost only 2 matches so far. Following an impressive season in 2014, and the fact that 3 of the 12 teams are new to the Veikkausliiga in 2015, it has been noticeable that many opponents have tried to frustrate SJK by sitting back and playing a defensive game. This is assisted by a narrower-than-average pitch at Seinäjoki’s Keskuskenttä ground. Only RoPS from Rovaniemi, though, turned this into a dark art; their anti-football tactic of fouling and over-acting any physical challenge spoiled the season opener in Seinäjoki.

This has led to many scrappy first-halves, which have required SJK to play with patience before finally breaking down their opponents. They have scored many of their 16 goals in the second half, including 3 against Ilves, 2 against HIFK and 4 against KuPS. These three were all in the past two weeks. Away games have proven trickier for SJK with two draws, one defeat and a solitary win in the four games on the road, so far.

Another factor must be the incredible schedule in recent weeks. This has seen SJK play seven league games in the past three weeks. In May, SJK’s routine reads like this; Sunday – Friday – Monday – Thursday – Sunday – Wednesday – Sunday. This includes five home  games, which is a strain on supporters’ budgets, as well as a physical strain on the players. This is made even more bizarre by the fact that there is not a single game scheduled for SJK on Saturday in 2015, the traditional match day in Finland, neither home nor away!

This probably works for the gambling business of  Veikkaus, but doesn’t do the players any good, and isn’t helping the attendances at Keskuskenttä, which average at 2,066 in 2015 down on the 2014 average of 2,297.

League Table 26.5.2015. Courtesy of Veikkausliiga.

League Table 26.5.2015. Courtesy of Veikkausliiga.

Richie Dorman – the Welsh Messi

04. Richie Dorman. Picture courtesy of SJK.

04. Richie Dorman. Picture courtesy of SJK.

With the signing of new players in the close season, there seemed to be direct competition for Richie Dorman. He’s been at the club for four years and is a vital component of the spirit and heart of the team. It has been a pleasant surprise, therefore, to see that manager Simo Valakari has found a new position for Richie in centre midfield. Whether that is a free, roaming role is not clear, but that’s how Richie has been playing! He’s been winning tackles, playing incisive passes to create goals and, against Ilves, went on a mazy run from the halfway line before firing past the goalkeeper. A goal that will live long in the memory of those that saw it, in a game in which he also hit the crossbar from inside the centre circle!

Here to see highlights of SJK vs KuPS including Richie hitting the bar and scoring ‘that goal’

Toni Lehtinen, record-breaker

It has also been pleasing to see the regular appearance of Toni Lehtinen in the starting line-up. Having made his SJK debut in 2012, and helping the club to climb into the Veikkauliiga, he is heading towards ‘veteran’ status. Toni has now scored 68 Veikkauliiga goals, making him the 14th top scorer overall in Veikkausliiga history. He is also SJK’s joint top goalscorer with 33 goals, alongside Mikael Muurimaki. Seeing that Mikki has retired and is playing for Apollo FC, it looks like Toni will soon overtake him too.

Europa League campaign

No real news yet, but the countdown to the draw is now on and SJK will learn their opponents on 22nd June, when the draw will be made  for the first two rounds. SJK’s first round fixtures will be on 2nd and 9th July and there is potential for a couple of large teams e.g. West Ham United or Everton. Of course, it will probably end up being somewhere Eastern and unpronounceable 🙂 I will look to get the next SJK Update published after that draw has been made, but before the two games take place.

You Want More?

Here are a couple more links if you still want to watch some Finnish football

  • See more videos on the SJK TV YouTube channel.
  • Watch Veikkausliiga highlights on the Ilta Sanomat website ISTV

 

Many thanks to Lari Paski, Supporters Liaison Officer at SJK for his help on this article, and his contribution to my podcast episode on the history of SJK. Many thanks also to Antti Huhtamäki and SJK for the use of the photos.

◊◊◊ Mark ◊◊◊

End of Season 1 Credits

Season 1 Credits Show

I’ve reached a convenient point to pause and take a look back at ‘season one’ of the Explore Finland Radio Show. I will return in the Autumn 2015 for a second season, but I wanted to take a few moments to consider the topics covered and thank everyone that agreed to be interviewed. You can still keep in touch on the various social media and don’t forget to let me know what subjects you want me to cover in season two, you never know I might find just the right person to speak to.

Guests: See the Show Notes!

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download MP3 file of this episode

Read the Show Notes

Apollo FC: The Pink Dogs’ Noble Goals

Apollo Collage Lg2

Season 1 Episode 16 Mikael & Jarl Matti proclaim Finland’s
‘Pink Revolution’
There is something in the air in South Ostrobothnia. In this episode, I speak to two members of a new football club in Seinäjoki, which has the noble aim of raising money for charity, while also providing a destination for retired footballers.

Guests: Mikael Muurimäki and Jarl Matti Antilla, Apollo FC players

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of this episode

Read the Show Notes

Apollo FC and Finland’s ‘Pink Revolution’

Season 1 Episode 16 Mikael & Jarl Matti proclaim Finland’s
‘Pink Revolution’

Listen to this podcast episode here

Guests: Mikael Muurimäki and Jarl Matti Antilla, Apollo FC players

There is something in the air in Seinäjoki. What started as a small idea among a group of friends is blooming into something altogether more touching, caring and beautiful – not words that you usually associate with the game of Association Football. That ‘something’ is named Apollo FC. It is the rebirth of a team that existed in Seinäjoki back in the 1980’s. Now with a purpose, a cause that has caught the imagination of everyone that hears about it.

It began when a group of former players from Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho (SJK), decided that they wanted to continue playing organised football with players of a similar standard. They cast around for team-mates, found that they had over 20 possible names, and so registered to play in the lower divisions of the football pyramid in Finland, securing a place in the 6th division.

This squad includes former fan favourites Mikael Muurimäki, SJK’s record goal scorer from it’s days in Kakkonen (Finland’s 3rd tier) and Luis Fernando, SJK’s oldest player who played in the 2014 Veikkausliiga aged 35. In fact, the age of the players in the squad ranges from 25 – 55 years.

Apollo FC club badge, resurrected from the 1980's and now in pink

Apollo FC club badge, resurrected from the 1980’s and now in pink

I spent some time discussing Apollo FC players Mikael Muurimäki and Jarl Matti Antilla.  Jarl Matti is also managing the team’s media work around his busy day job. The fact that a new team, playing in the Finnish 6th division needs a media manager says a lot. The first hint that they may have hit on something special was when they attracted 1000 Facebook ‘likes’ within the first week. No mean achievement.

Jarl Matti explained that Apollo FC ‘manifesto’ has now has two aims;

  1. to be a place for players of a certain standard (including some former professionals)  to continue competing alongside old friends.
  2. to use the interest in the team to raise money for charity.

Once they realised that there was interest in the team from around Finland, they decided to divert that coverage and exposure elsewhere. Somewhere it could do good. The charity they will support in 2015 is Roosanauha (http://oma.syopasaatio.fi/roosa-nauha/5-2013) the breast cancer charity that is identified by a Pink Ribbon. The team will play in bright pink shirts and have the nickname Pinkitkoirat, the Pink Dogs. In 2015, Apollo will also use the slogan ‘For All Womankind’.

www.roosanauha.fi – The Pink Ribbon, 2015-style

http://www.roosanauha.fi – The Pink Ribbon, 2015-style

This is what has really grabbed the attention of people in the Etelä-Pohjanmaa region. Encouraged businesses to sponsor the team. Made people buy merchandise for a team that has hardly played a game.  Look forward to seeing them play in the Regions Cup – like the non-league, FA Trophy in the UK! It is because ‘there is no good reason not to support the cause’. Everyone has a Mum, a Wife, a Daughter, everyone can relate to this cause.

SJK has worked hard over the past few years to build a real football culture in the town and Matti feels some of this is now reflecting on Apollo. This, and the fact that the Apollo squad also includes people in regular jobs, who have some ability but never played in the pro-game. That the squad includes a local bank manager, for example, helps build a connection with potential fans.

At the start of the season, Apollo FC decided it would aim to raise 5,000€ for the Roosanauha charity. That is pretty ambitious for year one, but after just two practice games, it seems they might have to adjust their sights. By the middle of April, only two months since launching the club, Apollo has raised 3,700€ and it shows no sign of stopping. Jarl Matti and Mikael were, unsurprisingly, proud and humble at what had been achieved so quickly, but they still have a ‘hundred’ fundraising ideas. The only limit is the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day.

SJK has been supportive of Apollo, but it doesn’t stop there. It has already been announced that there will be an event in summer 2015 involving Apollo, SJK and HJK Helsinki. That’s HJK who will be playing in Champions League qualifiers and SJK, who will be playing in Europa League qualifiers, taking the time to support the efforts of this new team from Seinäjoki.

That said, it is not just Apollo that is trying to redefine what a football club should be. Aki Riihilahti, the current CEO of HJK Helsinki, is one of the founder members and honourary ‘captains’ of Peace United. The former Crystal Palace and Finland player founded the club following a visit to the Za’atr refugee camp in Jordan, where he was inspired by the work of Finn Church Aid.

You can read more about Peace United here http://www.peaceunited.fi/en/, and the work of Finn Church Aid here http://www.kirkonulkomaanapu.fi/en/

Although Apollo FC and Peace United have different aims, they have a similar ethos, one of giving, one of doing things for others. A revolution? Well maybe not strictly speaking, but clearly there is something in the air, something rather refreshing in the era of £5 billion TV deals. You never know, there might even be a few good games of football as well.

If you want to learn more about Apollo FC or, better still, want to support the fund-raising efforts, you can contact them at any of the following places;

  • Facebook https://www.facebook.com/apollofi
  • Twitter https://twitter.com/pinkitkoirat   @pinkitkoirat
  • Instagram https://instagram.com/apolloseinajoki
  • Website http://www.apollofutis.fi/

You can find all of my previous content on SJK here https://explorefinlandpodcast.com/tag/sjk/

International Students in Finland, 2of2

SeAMK Collage2 Sq2

Season 1 Episode 15 International Students Studying in Finland
Junyi, Betti &amp; Miia Explain All, Part 2
This is a continuation of a conversation, where we talk about experiences of moving to Finland, business culture in South Ostrobothnia, what Betti and Winnie do in their free-time and, of course, the weather.

Guests:

  • Jinyu (Winnie) Ding & Betti Csiba – International Students.
  • Miia Koski – Student counsellor, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences.

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of this episode

Read the Show Notes