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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tampere United

18-07-2001 Tampere United 2 Ipswich Town 4 (Friendly)

Tampere United

Summer in Finland is virtually three months of daylight so it was still relatively light by the time we’d returned to our hotel after the Tampere United-Town evening game. Half an hour later and the sky went pitch black, the heavens opened, and we witnessed the most incredible thunderstorm. The wind whipped up to into something called thunderstorm whirls (sort of tornado wanna-bees), causing a small crane on a nearby building site to thrash around like a spinning top. You could feel the increase in air pressure from the almost incessant thunderclaps while the lightning illuminated the area like a scene from a Hammer movie. Scary stuff.

Tampere United

Tampere, in southern Finland, is dubbed the "Manchester of Finland" as it was once the center of Finnish industry. That’s where any likeness ends. Surrounded by acres and acres of elk inhabited forest, and with two large lakes to the east and west, this is not Lancashire. It was once the home of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin who moved here in 1905 and at a Bolshevik conference held in the city met Joseph Stalin for the very first time. Consequently Tampere, amongst other attractions, boasts a Lenin Museum. An entirely separate concern is the nearby Moomin Museum. Those with kids may well be familiar with exploits of these furry troll-like characters.

Tampere United

The city hosted Finland’s very first ice hockey match and is home to the national Ice Hockey Museum, but football is by far and away the most popular sport. It’s main club is premier league side Tampere United, who despite having only been in existence since 1998 have still managed to rack-up three league titles (their first coming in 2001, the year of our visit).

Tampere United

United play at the 17,000-seater Ratina Stadium. Primarily a football stadium, although it does have an athletics track, it has covered stands behind each goal, a main stand along one flank and a lower covered stand on the opposite touchline. To the south of the city centre it is located in a primarily residential area with large apartment blocks on either side. Arriving quite early for the game we entertained ourselves at a nearby restaurant, until the gates opened and we were the able to avail ourselves of the numerous beer and food tents (we thought coke + pussi at 20 marks was a bit of bargain) set-up in one corner of the stadium. All quite civilised.

Tampere United

The pictures continue here.

posted by chevblue at 4:39 pm






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