In this special episode ahead of the 2022 Women’s Euros beginning this week in England, Rich spoke with author Johanna Ruohonen about her new book Naisten Laji, the origins of women’s football in Finland and Europe and how things have changed – and where inequality still remains. Finland play their three group games in Milton Keynes, where Rich and Keke will be supporting the Helmarit in the matches against Spain, Denmark and Germany.
Johanna describes how the book came about, speaking with female players past and present, hopes for the future and how the Helmarit and Kansallinen Liiga can provide positive role models for the next generation of women’s footballers and coaches in Finland.
In this episode, Keke, Rich and Mark W are joined by Huuhkajat star, Robert Ivanov. A Finland international player who has recently cemented himself into the Huuhkajat starting 11, was a member of the Euro 2020 squad and who looks certain will be commanding the Finnish defence for years to come.
Roba tells us how it felt to grow up and progress through the Finnish league system, from an 18-year-old ‘bambi’ at PK-35 to FC Myllypuro to FC Vikingit ‘to play with my friends’ and into the Veikkausliiga with FC Honka. He talks about his dream of playing for Arsenal and his move to Warta Poznan, in Poland, and explains that his transfer may not have been quite as expensive as Keke thought!
Finally, Robert talks about his international career, the joy of being selected in the Euro 2020 squad and the ‘changing of teh guard’ in the Finland defence since the Euros.
In this episode, Keke, Mark H and Mark W are joined by another Huuhkajat star, Rasmus Schüller, who has over 50 Finland caps to his name. A serial winner, who has five Veikkausliiga titles, including three League & Cup doubles 🙌🏼 Rasmus is tough tackling, smooth passing, no nonsense, central midfielder currently with Djurgårdens IF in Stockholm.
Rade tells us how it felt to start in the Veikkausliiga, for Honka at the age of 18, the challenge of making the step-up to HJK Helsinki, his MLS adventure in Minnesota. He also shares some VERY interesting insights into the ill-fated Hans Backe era of the Finland national team and why Markku Kanerva has enjoyed such success in the Nations League and Euro 2020.
In this episode, Keke and Mark W are joined by another Helmarit star and yet another Finnish goalkeeper! Tinja-Riikka Korpela who is a legend of the women’s game; a serial winner who won two Bundesliga titles and three Finnish championships. As well as making 90+ appearances for the Helmarit – the women’s Finland national team – and playing a large part in getting the Helmarit into Euro 2022.
In this episode, Keke, Rich and Mark H are joined by another Huuhkajat star, Robert Taylor, who talks them through his career. It’s an inspirational story! Having been told he wasn’t good enough for the Northern Counties league in England, his determination to succeed eventually drove him to score for the Finland national team and travel to Euro 2020.
Robert gives us his perspective on that surreal night at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, and reflects on the Chrsitian Eriksen situation, and also gives a little insight into the off-field scandal at SK Brann in August 2021.
Danish journalist, Michael Christiansen, reached out to the FFS team asking for the Finnish perspective on the incident when Christian Eriksen collapsed during the Denmark-Finland game.
Mark H, Rich, Keke & Mark W take a moment to ask Michael about the previous day’s result; England 2-1 Denmark. They then get down to business and talk about how the incident was reported in Denmark, Finland and the UK. How Finnish fans are viewed in Denmark. How each country’s performance at Euro 2020 has been received. And how does the future look for both the Finnish and Danish national teams.
In this episode, we are joined by a very special guest, Joni Kauko, fresh from Euro 2020. A Veikkausliiga winner who also has Suomen Cup and Liiga Cup winners medals in his collection. A combative attacking midfielder who has been a regular Huuhkajat squad member for the past few years.
Joni tells us about his club career that has taken him from Finland to India, via Germany and Denmark. He talks about his international career that started a decade ago with a pre-Rivelution Markku Kanerva as his manager. He also explains about his fascination with Marvel movies, socks and video game.
Mark H joins Keke for this episode of In Conversation, on this occasion with Brighton & Hove Albion and Helmarit defender, Emma Koivisto. Emma talks them through her career that has seen her play in Finland, the USA, Sweden and now the UK, collecting so many championship winners medals along the way, that she may soon need a bigger trophy cabinet. She also tells Mark & Keke about her progression to being a regular for the Finland international team and her experience qualifying for, and ambitions of competing in, the Euro 2021 Finals.
Mark W joins Keke for this episode of In Conversation, on this occasion with Pink Bari and Helmarit goalkeeper, Paula Myllyoja. This interview ran so long, that we made two episodes. In the first, Paula talks us through her international career to-date and her hopes for Euro 2021. In the second, we talk about her club career and her battle against her biggest “injury” – leukemia and a brain haemorrhage – an incredible story!
Episode 1 – Paula & the Helmarit
Episode 2 – Paula’s Club Career & Return From “Injury”
The Finnish Football’s Show’s intrepid interviewer, Keke, was flying solo again for this interview, with Finland and Chievo Verona defender, Sauli Väisänen. Keke took one of his customary trips with a player through their career, and Sauli was good value, sharing stories about:
His varied youth career around Helsinki.
Moving to the Allsvenskan in Sweden at an early age and ALMOST playing with Eero Markkanen.
His views on Finnish players moving overseas at a young age.
Making a big move to Serie A in Italy and how he kept active under the first, strict lockdown in Italy.
Making his international debut away to Iceland and, later, playing for Finland alongside his brother, Leo.
How he still gets chills when he thinks about THAT NIGHT in Helsinki, when Finland qualified for Euro 2020. And taking inspiration from Greece winning Euro 2004
His appreciation for the support from the Huuhkajat fans over the years, through good times and bad.