Kolumni: The Eagle Owls Take Flight

After a week or two of good weather, it feels like summer is really here. The cancellation of many of Seinäjoki’s big events and festivals is awful; for the organisers, the local community and for the town. One large event has just started and it should get the entire country excited.

Euro 2020 has just kicked-off and Finland will be taking part in the finals of a major tournament for the first time. This led me to compare my feelings supporting Finland and England. I have been supporting England since I was a child. I used to expect them to do well and my excitement would grow during the tournament, only for them to fail in the later stages, every time. I finally saw the light in 2016, when a talented England team lost to Iceland. At that moment, I gave up expecting anything from England. They will ALWAYS let me down.

I have been part of the team making the Finnish Football Show (FFS) podcast since 2015. Back then, the Huuhkajat were not doing so well. The manager Mixu Paatelainen had just been replaced by Hans Backe but the football was bad. So bad, that it wasn’t long before Markku Kanerva took over, things changed and the team became more positive. The FFS team became optimistic as the Huuhkajat got better and better, leading to that incredible night in November 2019, when Finland beat Liechtenstein and qualified for Euro 2020. It still makes the hair on my neck stand-up!

That is the difference – expectations + past disappointment.

Finland plays as a team. Lukáš Hrádecký told FFS ‘It is like a club side where we can speak Finnish together and it brings us closer as a group’. They play as a team, to their maximum and are achieving things – that is exciting. Finland’s first game against Denmark was dramatic in many ways and I can’t wait to see how the Huuhkajat build on that 1-0 win. I’ll be out around Seinäjoki watching the games, maybe I’ll see you there.

There are still events and activities to enjoy in Etelä-Pohjanmaa. With my friend, Glenn Murray, I have started a new podcast/video show called What’s On in Southern Ostrobothnia, where we highlight upcoming events and activities across the whole region. We hope you like it.

Mark Wiltshear

Yrittäjä, podcastaaja