Season 15, Tampere United, Finnish Veikkausliiga

Board Expectations: Consolidation
Media Prediction: 11th (14)


Transfers in: 8 for ££30K, including Veteran Finnish Striker and a Gigantic Finnish Defender that I’d also had at Malmö£
Transfers out: 18 for a total of ££1.1M, including Icelandic Star Winger, who, even with the board taking a large chunk, got us enough money to get four decent players (the main reason I always have so many transfers out is that the way contracts work in Finland is that my youth players get too old and then are transferred to the first team, where I release the crappy ones on frees)

We were not expected to do well and we didn’t. We had a bit of a false dawn as we did really well in the League Cup, making it all the way to the Final before losing to MyPa on penalties. This may have raised expectations for the forthcoming season, hopes that were dashed as we went five matches before collecting our first points. Although we maintained a top-half Goals Against for most of the season, we just couldn’t put the ball in the net. The reason this was because:

– Our top striker, a veteran that I’d picked up in preseason, spent 2/3rds of the season on the injured list and the other third performing extremely poorly and then moping in the media when I had the temerity to bring it up.

– The top striker the previous year broke his leg in preseason and after he came back from a lengthy spell out, he had slowed down enough that top division defenders had no problem hauling him in.

– Which left us with a couple youngsters signed on frees, who did about as well as you could expect (which is to say: crappy) and also both got injured at one point, leaving us with a decent U19 striker, who then got hurt, so I tried his understudy, who couldn’t get a match rating above 5.5, so I…

Confession Time: I found an unattached striker in our South American scouting records. He didn’t want to sign for us; however, he was perfectly happy to come on trial. He played two games for us, scored three goals and then rejected our advances (although he did enter negotiations) to sign a lucrative contract with an Israeli side. I didn’t consider this to be horribly unrealistic; it’s worth mentioning though.

After hanging around the drop zone for most of the season, we seemed to have turned it around with a 6W 1D 2L run that had us threatening to break out of the foot of the table and into the mid-pack. We then had an apocalyptic 0-6 home loss to RoPS, followed by back-to-back 0-3 defeats, which led to a dust-up in the locker room and the eventual departure of 4 first-team regulars who I felt didn’t have the backbone for the top division. Thankfully there were three teams that were even more shit than us and hopefully the clear-out at the end of the season will lead to a team that will at least go down fighting.

Suomen Cup: Out in the 4th round to Atlantis FC

Player of the Year: Fans gave it to our captain, I’ll give to him as well by default, as nobody covered themselves in glory.

Former Club Watch

RoPS: Champions again, giving them 5 in the last 12 years.
Hä£cken: 1st in the Superettan
Malmö£: 2nd, a single point behind AIK.
Lillestrøm: 5th, five points behind Moss

Offers: None

VKL 11TH P26 W8 D4 L14 GF27 GA45 Pts28

Season 16, Tampere United, Finnish Ykkönen

Board Expectations: Consolidation
Media Prediction: 11th (14)

Transfers in: 7 for ££600K, including Temperamental Brazilian Striker for ££0, Promising Brazilian Defender for ££0 and Promising Finnish Winger for ££275K
Transfers out: 7 non-youth-releases for ££700K, including Crazy Danish Keeper for ££22K, Three underperforming CBs for a total of ££115K and the chairman couldn’t resist selling our Finnish Rising Star RB for ££550K

A bunch of new faces and some tactical tinkering led to an indifferent start in the league, although our cup performances were decent-to-great. After some more collapses, it became clear that my second-choice CB wasn’t playing up to his ability and he was moved out to some poor Danish club who gave him 6 starts before realizing that he couldn’t cut it at the top level. This kicked off what would become a season-long search for a reliable partner for my first-choice CB, who I now realize is Finnish Man-Mountain Mk. 2. Add onto that that the chairman sold my first-choice RB in preseason and the backline was in a constant state of flux.

My captain also sullied the armband by first, refusing to even enter into negotiations for a new contract and second, whining to the media after I fined him for getting set off for a ridiculous tackle from behind in the 15th minute of a match that we were expected to win. I sold him to some Norwegian club for peanuts and the fans were suspiciously silent about selling the team captain and two-time running Fan’s Player of the Year. I replaced him with a brilliant young Finn, a swap that I was already planning to make a couple years down the line.

Still, the team was actually playing decently considering; yet the results were frustrating, we were floating above the relegation spots despite having a goal difference that would be less out of place just outside the top four. The bad run of luck and an unsettled locker room made the first 2/3rds of a season a bumpy roller coaster ride as I tried to find the right moves to try and bring the squad together tactically and mentally.

The final third of the season was marked by some incredible performances where instead of rolling over and dying after going down early, the team pulled themselves together and surged back into the game: 0-2 down to RoPS with thoughts of the 0-6 loss that destroyed last season in everybody’s head, Temperamental Brazilian Striker put one in from 20 yards out, Promising Finnish Winger rounded the keeper 10 minutes later and in a back-and-forth second half, Second-Choice Icelandic AMC curled one into the far post to complete the comeback. A great run saw us shoot up the table, taking advantage of the typically congested Finnish league. We actually did the double over my old club, beating them in Rovaniemi 1-2 in the penultimate game of the season to set up a possibility for us to make Europe, needing a win and for KuPS to lose. Unfortunately they were at home against already-relegated PK-35 and we finished two points out of the Europa League spots.

Suomen Cup: Out in the Semi-Finals to IFK Marienhamn, 1-2 at home, another intensely frustrating game as we just couldn’t get anything going.

Player of the Year: No contest as Temperamental Brazilian Striker wound up winning the Rookie of the Year award with 17 league goals.

Former Club Watch

RoPS: All the way down to 9th, 9 points behind Tamu!
Hä£cken: 9th, a good result for the first season back in the Superettan
Malmö£: 6th, 25 points behind AIK
Lillestrøm: 7th, 18 points behind HamKam

Offers: None

VKL 5TH (14) P26 W12 D5 L9 GF46 GA31 Pts41 (MyPa 63)


 

I realized last night that I’ve been neglecting to mention the second Finnish domestic cup, The Finnish League Cup, which is held in lieu of a preseason. Here are the League Cup summaries since I’ve been back in the top division:

Finnish League Cup — Season 2024

Nervous about my return to the top flight, expectations were raised a bit too high as not only did Tamu qualify from the group stages, we took out KuPS in the QF and TPS in the SF before bowing out to MyPa in the final after going down 1-0 to a penalty in the 13th minute, equalizing 10 minutes later, then losing on penalties.

Loss in Final, penalties to MyPa

Finnish League Cup — Season 2025

A great start to the League Cup group stages with a barnstorming 3-3 tie with MyPa on the road, then three straight victories followed by a 5-1 hammering at the hands of TPS at their place. Qualification to the knockout rounds was swiftly ended with a 1-0 away defeat to FC Hameenlinna.

Loss in Quarter-finals to FC Hameenlinna

Season 17, Tampere United, Finnish Ykkönen

Board Expectations: European Spots
Media Prediction: 7th (14)

Transfers in: 6 for ££50K, including Brazilian All-Rounder for free
Transfers out: 4 non-youth-releases for ££375K, including Shocking Brazilian Defender and Third-String Goalie

Veikkauscup:

A tough start with a 2-1 away loss to FC Lahti was maybe helpful in terms of getting the players focused as they rolled through the rest of the group stage undefeated. In the QFs we beat TPS on penalties, then thumped IFK Mariehamn 0-3 in the Semis. The final saw us take on KuPS and we went down early; however, we didn’t panic and 20 minutes from time Temperamental Brazilian Striker popped up to even the score.

Neither team could score for the rest of the match and there’s no extra-time in the Veikkauscup, so we went straight to penalties. We didn’t miss any and I had my first silverware with Tamu.

Suomen Cup:

We started off the main domestic cup with the backups taking down FC Espoo 2-0 in the Third Round. The Fourth Round saw us hosting fellow Veikkausliigaers FC Lahti, who held on for a tie until the final 15 minutes, where two back-to-back goals put us through.

Fifth Round was away to GBK, newly promoted to the Ykkönen, where a hat-trick from our backup left winger was enough. Another Ykkönen team in the QFs and an early goal from our second-choice striker allowed us to stall the rest of the match against JIPPO. We continued to luck out in the Semis and beat another Ykkönen team in FC Inter, with Second-Choice Striker bagging a brace.

The final was against MyPa, who nearly always gave us a hard time. Two matches before we’d tied a game against them in the league that we really should have won, so I was hoping we’d give them another fight.

We did more than that as we absolutely steamrolled them, 4-0 with the classic knockout punch of a goal deep in first half stoppage time. Temperamental Brazilian Striker picked up a hat-trick, scoring twice in the second half to put it beyond doubt and give us a domestic cup double.

League:

A very odd year as we took several steps back in terms of scoring goals, finishing with nearly double-digits less bulges in the auld onion bag than the previous season; however, this was offset by almost halving the amount of goals that we gave up.

Our young Brazilian keeper really stepped up, especially at the end of the year, making several absolutely amazing saves to keep us in close games.

We struggled to find any sort of consistency for most of the year, that said, so did pretty much everybody except for Atlantis FC. At one point they were 10 points ahead of everybody else and hadn’t registered a loss until well past the halfway mark.

Then at the homestretch, their wheels started to come off and their freefall allowed the wolves to haul them in.

I hadn’t expected us to be contending for much besides the final Europa League spot as although we were technically in contention, we had also lost our top two right wingers for the rest of the season about two-thirds of the way in.

The surprising team reaction to this was to bed in and grind out some tough results, leaving us third with four games to play, two points behind RoPS and one point behind Atlantis.

We won a tough away game against TPS as Temperamental Brazilian Striker hit a natural hat-trick in 8 minutes and with both RoPS and Atlantis losing, we were top on goal difference. We then won our last two home games 4-1 against FC Hameenlinna and a 3-1 rivalry win over HJK.

Last game of the season and it was just us and RoPS, both playing away, us at third-place AC Oulu and they at FC Hameenlinna, who was fighting to avoid automatic relegation.

TBS stepped up again with a massive first-half brace and we held on for the win and the league title, made only sweeter as RoPS went down 1-0 against 10 men.

A Treble, a first for me in my Llama career and I think I’m still coasting on the endorphins, although to put it in perspective, our point total would have been good for third the year before.

Player of the Year: Temperamental Brazilian Striker won Player of the Year in the Veikkausliiga and who am I to disagree. 20 league goals and 34 overall (in 36 appearances). Honorable Mention to Brazilian All-Rounder, who picked up 5 goals and 16 assists in the league.

Former Club Watch

RoPS: Second, just!
Hä£cken: Third, 18 points behind, yeah, AIK
Malmö£: 13th, one point above the drop zone
Lillestrøm: Sixth, 8 points behind champions Rosenborg

Offers: Man U came in for me (after having dumped Former Watford Boss and Drillo-ball Fan :\) and I rejected it as unrealistic, no way a club like that goes for somebody out of the Finnish League, even if he’s done well there.

VKL 1ST (14) P26 W15 D7 L4 GF37 GA16 Pts52

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