Mark W shares his view from inside the protest, as the SJK Seinäjoki fans react to comments from the SJK owner.
Planning the protest
I knew that members of the SJK supporters group, the Klopit, were unhappy at comments from SJK owner and chairman, Raimo Saarjärvi. It only became clear to me, during the past week, that they were planning to take action. I agreed with their sentiments, but I wasn’t directly involved until the plan was in place and Klopit’s intentions needed to be communicated.
This tied-in with weeks of suggestions from Mark H, that we should discuss it on the show. Hopefully, you will have watched or listened to the episode of FFS, where myself, Rich and Keke discussed recent events with managerial changes being announced – some of them on social media.
If you haven’t heard this episodes yet, here they are:
This included me announcing that, during the first-half of the match at home to FC inter Turku, on Saturday 18th September, the Klopit area of the stadium would be empty and silent. The aim being to show that fans an integral part of a football match. And that football without fans is nothing! This section, published in a shorter, Klopit-branded video was the one that caught the attention of the local media and led to several stories before the game:
The View From The Protest
I wasn’t sure what, exactly, we would do during the first-half protest: I’d envisaged standing around a burning brazier, warming our hands and making some noise 😉 Others wanted to watch the game from a different part of the ground, ensuring the section behind the goal remained empty. It was poignant to see only a banner reading ‘Teidän Kerho’ (Your Club) and the Klopit drum, all alone surrounded by empty seats.
I followed the wants of my small group, so we sat in the stand and made as little noise as possible, only giving a gentle clap, like at a cricket match, when something positive happened. As you can imagine, it was agony when, in the 3rd minute, Murilo drilled in SJK’s opening goal. “This is like watching a game from the opposition’s stand”, Julian moaned, sparking reminiscences of watching matches from ‘behind enemy lines’.
At half time, the banners were changed and the Klopit returned, ready to make some noise. As the teams came out, the banners read ‘Vitut Meidän Kerho’ (Our F***ing Club) and the Klopit raised the roof.
For those that are interested in the onfield action, the game ended 2-2. Inter’s comeback from two goals down brought something of a dampener to the game.
Off the pitch, momentum and coverage had been building, here are some articles reporting on the protest
- https://ilkkapohjalainen.fi/tilaajalle/urheilu/tilaajalle-7.3187110?aId=1.17278437 (behind a paywall)
In the stands, it’s not right to say we were “happy” but the club had already reached out to us before the protest even took place. The message was that they care about the sentiments that were expressed before and during the protest. They also said that, once the season is over, they want to have a meeting with a group from Klopit, to discuss improving relations between fans & the club and, hopefully, trying to develop more of a community around SJK Seinäjoki.
Actions speak louder than words, but the fans made a stand and the club has now taken a step in the right direction.