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From the Rink to the Pitch: Ilmari Hartikainen

Started on 10 October 2016 by MJK46
Latest Reply on 26 November 2016 by MJK46
Ilmari is defo gunna make it, the student will one day become the master ;)
Loving the name drop for Kevin Gauthier, great way to tie the stories together!
Atoobie You know it

mgriffin2012 thanks and by the time this story ends you will ask who is Kevin

On A Snowy December Evening

10 December 2019

They have always said that Finland is no place for football and will never be as good as Sweden, Norway or Denmark, even Iceland at this point. Whoever these experts are have no clue what they are saying. In three years of my journey into football management I have seen the sport become more popular than ever before. Obviously hockey still dominates the country but football is growing. I don’t know if it is because of the massive amount of immigrant’s here these days or kids are starting to consider the sport good enough for a career.

It was a colder than usual December evening in Tampere as the city was getting ready for Christmas a few weeks later. Many were out in the streets enjoying each person’s company, shopping or finishing the work day up. One person out of the thousands out there was a guy by the name of Ilmari Hartikanen. Ilmari who is 6’3 is easily recognizable in this part of town. All these years later he is still recognized for his time playing hockey for the local club Tappara. Usually Ilmari will slow down and take time out of his day to talk, but not today he was in a rush to get to a very important meeting.

Getting to where Ilmari needed to go was not hard at all even as the snow was getting heavier by the minute. Once he arrived to his destination he gets a text message from his girlfriend Amanda; “Good luck babe, you will do awesome!!!!”. As he was about to respond to her text a man who is about as tall as Ilmari speaks up and says, “Are you Ilmari Hartikanen????” This startles him and he drops his phone. “Oh yes I am Ilmari!!” The man apologizes and picks up the phone for Ilmari. Are you ready said the man?

The two start to move toward the building and as soon as they get in the man introduces himself as Ville Salonen, the club’s chairman. Ville leads the way through a narrow corridor that is decorated in many different Christmas decorations and after about 30 seconds the two approach a room. Now this is the chairman’s office, you would think it would be a nice fancy office but it wasn’t. It was your basic office room with tons of papers and other materials that would be appropriate for a chairman of a football club.

Once settled into the office Ville invited Ilmari to sit down and the interview begins..........................
Ooooooooh the tension ;) love it man
2016-11-12 10:18#238671 Atoobie : Ooooooooh the tension ;) love it man

Glad you like it!!!

Also thanks to everyone especially mgriffin2012 and Atoobie for following and commenting at this point. This is the stories 50th post and we haven't even started play yet!!! This week I will finally be playing and writing the stroy.

On A Snowy December Evening: Part 2

10 December 2019

“Ilmari, first off I want to welcome you here and I apologize for such a mess, right now we have been going through some changes and I have been busier than usual, so please excuse this mess.”

“It is no problem, you don’t need to worry as I am glad to be here, I just hope the snow lets up a little bit.”

“I know what you mean and so do I. I bet you are asking why you were asked here, well after this season the manager had left us for personal reasons and we are in need of a new manager. I know that you have just got into the coaching game just recently and that is fine. I know who you are as a hockey player and hockey coach and have seen what you have done as in football in such a short time. I usually don’t go for people like you with less than a year of coaching but knowing your time in hockey I can give you a pass. I want to see if you could become our next manager.”

“Wow, I can’t believe you are interested in me as I have just started this journey a little over year ago, let’s continue.”

“The funny thing is I have wanted you here part of the club for the past year even if it was for a regular coaching position. As you know anything that happens in the Tampere sporting community is widely known and when I heard you were interested in football I wanted you here. I have the same disliking as you of Ilves and I want us to become better than them.

As you know other than Tappara, Ilves are the only other major club in the city. I want that to change and see us back in the Veikkausliiga. After they were promoted to the Veikkausliiga after the 2014 season it was my goal to get us back on top. It has been 20 years since we were last in the Veikkausliiga and that is 20 years too long. I want to transform this club into something it was once and even a bit better. I hope that one day there Tempere Derby is continued.

Since we are in the third level we don’t get many supporters and that is a problem. I feel there is a major void in the world of supporting clubs in this city. You know damn well that Tappara fans would never support Ilves and they might want a team in this city to support. I feel that you could be that man an ex Tappara player to get fans on our side. I think you are the person to make this club the next big thing out of Finland.”

“I am absolutely flattered by your interest and to be quite honest I have mixed feelings about it. I feel I am ready to become a manager but at the same time I really have not researched the club or anything about it. I am worried that your goals and aspirations might cause some unneeded pressure and that I might not be able to work like that. My first thing I need to know is about the club and the club culture.”

“That is ok with me and I totally understand where you are going with your apprehension. First off let me assure you that I will not be breathing down your neck and controlling you. The only exception is if you get this club in the relegation zone and that is when I will need to be proactive.
Now about the club, founded in 1930 we are a sports society with many departments and services the city like Ilves.

Since the Veikkausliiga was formed in 1990 we have been a part of it for four years. In 1994 we won the league our one and only time a year later we finished dead last and were relegated. In 1999 we returned and were relegated that season. Since 2000 the club has been going back and forth between the second and third division.

Really there is not much to say other than sadly we ground share with Ilves. Don’t worry though every club in this city plays at the Tammelan stadion. I want to someday be able to build our own stadium.”

“You know what Ville, that all sounds good and all and I think I am interested in this job.”

“Before I say yes, I do need to know what your football IQ is and what you would bring to us. So with that tell me about what your goals are with this team?”

“I am looking to get this club back to the top and it will be a lot of hard work. I don’t know anything about the squad so right now I can’t say promotion in year one or it will take a few years but I will get this club to a point they are competitive year in and year out. The one thing I have been working on is a system that incorporates both hockey and football training aspects that will get players in great physical shape. On the tactics side of things, I am looking to get the club a nice balance between heavy possession and attacking.”

“Well that all sounds good Ilmari, I just got one more question for you. What makes a team a great team and how could you translate that to this club?”

“It all starts from the top!!!!! In order to have a good team you need people like yourself who care about the clubs current and future states, next it comes down to us the coaches. If we coaches didn’t care a club would not be able to operate. There is a fine line between best friend and dictator to his team and having that as a balance will make a great team. Finally, it is the players, without them we would have nothing. The team needs to work together and having one player who is a diva could ruin things. If I become your manager I will find the best available players who want to win as a team.”

“I think we agree on something there; I am not ready to hand you the keys to the team but as of right now you have a good chance. I will let you know in the coming days if you are the right man for the job or not, thanks for coming out here and it was a nice chat.”

“Sounds good, it was nice being able to be here with you tonight.”

" I will let you know within the next 48 hours if you have the job or not, we are pressed for time here and I need to make this hire fast! I will give you a call."


I would call that a very successful interview and to be completely honest I think I have the job. The turn around is crazy because I will be pretty much starting the day I get hired and honestly that gives me no time to get us ready. As much as i am happy to possibly coach here in Tampere I do wish IFK Luleå hired me. They are a club with a lot of potential and energy. Maybe someday I get my chance there but for now I will be settling for whoever hires me first.
Great interview piece here man! Let the games begin!
Haha thanks for the name check mate ;) really great in depth interview man, lets hope hes got the job :D
MJK46's avatar Group MJK46
7 yearsEdited
Monday, December 14, 2020

Former hockey coach Ilmari Hartikanen joins TPV

Usually we here at Escape to Suomi do not cover anything below the Veikkausliiga but there is some big news from Kakkonen B club Tampereen Pallo-Veikot (TPV). Usually we would not cover a coaching change but this is huge. Chairman Ville Salonen announced that 36-year-old Ilmari Hartikanen is the clubs newest leader.

In today’s day and age, a club hiring a person with no background in football is quite if even not heard of. For someone like Ilmari his is currently the only person to have this happen in Finland thanks in part of the Turku Agreement. With only being 36 years old he is considered to be a very young manager and to the fact he has coaching experience in a different sport should help a little bit. To manage without much coaching experience or knowledge of Finnish football culture is very risky, hopefully the chairman knows what he is doing.

This is a historic hiring as Ilmari becomes the first manager to come from the sport of hockey. Hockey you say??? Yes!!! A few years back there was an agreement between both the Finnish football and hockey federations about a fast track to coaching from hockey to football. This is to allow the sport of football to add quality coaches who have the best interest of the country in mind. Ilmari is the only one to have completed the journey.

Since beginning his journey into football Ilmari has been active in his learning of the new sport. After his time with the Finnish National Coaches Academy and Institute he went on to working with Rovaniemi based club RoPS where he made a huge impression that he was able to become the head coach of the B team. During this time Ilmari would do well enough that he was able to get a job a year after starting out.

I am very happy to begin my career as a manger here in Tampere, I am looking forward to the challenge and journey that awaits. Hopefully you will see me and TVP in the Veikkausliiga in the near future,” said Hartikanen about his appointment.

He has a lot of work to do with several open weeks he and his club will have a chance at learning his way of play with several friendlies. Ilmari's league debut is set for an 18 April match against local rival Tampere Utd. He has a lot to prove and if he can succeed will others follow his path to football??
Best of luck Ilmari! Sure success is going to follow you here and wherever you end up!

Tampereen Pallo-Veikot (TPV)

From Wikipedia: Tampereen Pallo-Veikot or TPV is a Finnish football club, based in Tampere. The club plays in the Kakkonen, the third highest level of football in Finland. It is the second largest football club in the Pirkanmaa region in terms of active members, with 1,600 members in 2005.

The club was founded in 1930 as a general sports club for workers. In the past there were also bandy, boxing and ice hockey sections, but nowadays TPV is purely a football club. In the 1960s TPV played three seasons at the highest level of Finnish ice hockey.

Before the 1950s the clubs of Finnish Workers' Sports Federation played in their own leagues that were not connected to the Football Association of Finland. Tampereen Pallo-Veikot won the Finnish Workers' Sports Federation championship six times.

TPV later joined the Finnish FA and competed at the highest level in the top tier of the Finnish football league system for five seasons in 1971, 1993–1995 and 1999. The most successful year was in 1994 when the club won the Finnish Championship, but the next season they were relegated to the Ykkönen. In 1999 the club regained its Veikkausliiga status, but this only lasted for one season.

In July 1998 plans were implemeted to merge TPV and the other local Tampere club FC Ilves. The new club Tampere United inherited TPV's place in the Ykkönen and soon gained promotion to the Veikkausliiga. However both the existing clubs have continued as independent entities.


Nice bit of background man and a really nice graphic! :D
2016-11-15 15:43#238781 mgriffin2012 : Nice bit of background man and a really nice graphic! :D

Thank you

First Day of Training

14 December 2020

It’s been two days since I have been in charge and I have finally have been able to hold my first training session with the boys. I have not have had time to settle down as the guys are back and getting ready for training. You might say well Ilmari dude it is snowing how the hell are you training??? Simple we are using an indoor facility for the next few months.

The first thing I did was introduce myself and tell them my goals. It looks like they are all excited and were happy that I am being realistic. I had said that this year we will make it to the top of the league and have a fighting chance to a playoff spot. To be honest I really did not think I would get a warm reception but this group of players like me so far.

I went over our schedule with the club and this is how the 2020 season will play out......

Over the past 24 hours I have been going over the roster and I notice that there are some holes that I will need to fill in the transfer market. No biggie but at the same time I hope not to overwork anyone as we also have a few injuries at the moment. After a bit of a workout I decided that we would run a little scrimmage between the A and B teams.Here is the current squad as of now.

In a 2-1 victory I was able to see our main squad adapt to my 4-2-2-2 tactic with ease. Yes, there are a lot of problems but at the same time they seemed to understand the basic elements of it. In this match 22 year old Salomo Ojalai was the key man scoring two of the goals. From what I am seeing he will be our key player this year.

The first preseason friendly is in a few days against HIFK. This will be interesting as I worked for HIFK Hockey.

Match Statistics: TPV A 2-1TPV B

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