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Ryan Ferguson: The Unorthodox Approach

For most, the battles stay on the pitch. For Ryan Ferguson, his battles are off it.
Started on 7 May 2017 by Justice
Latest Reply on 21 October 2017 by Aaron
Episode II: Return of the Fergie! Lets just hope that the mental health issues dont rear their ugly heads again
Leaving a superb squad behind, you expect them to win at least one trophy!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Salon Palloilijat Hire Ryan Ferguson

Ryan Ferguson Signs For Finnish Side Salon Palloilijat On A Two Year Deal


In possibly the most unusual news in football history, former Whitehawk and England manager Ryan Ferguson has today signed for Finnish side Salon Palloilijat, also known as SalPa. The four-times UEFA Champions League winner penned a two year deal for the semi-professional club, in his first managerial role since resigning from Whitehawk in June 2028.

Born in Liverpool, Ferguson was a part of the youth system for the Reds of Merseyside and was handed his first professional contract as a player at the age of seventeen, just five years ago. However, he failed to impress the hierarchy at the club, and his one-year contract expired the following year. At the age of 18, Ferguson attended university in Manchester, and gained his FA Coaching Badges in the following four years.

Ferguson began his managerial career with Whitehawk in 2016, who were then in the National League South. His first five seasons in charge brought five successive promotions and league titles, as well as two FA Trophy and two EFL Trophy victories, as he guided Whitehawk from nowhere to the Premier League.

His success with the club continued, as he won the Premier League for the first time in 2025, winning the UEFA Champions League for the first time in the same season. What followed then was incredibly remarkable, as his side dominated European and domestic football.

Ferguson resigned from Whitehawk in 2028, having won four UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA Europa League, three Premier Leagues, three FA Cups, two EFL Cups, and many more trophies. During his time with Whitehawk, he also took the reigns of England for two years, between 2024 and 2026, lifting the UEFA European International League and the FIFA World Cup during this time.

At the age of thirty seven, Ferguson is one of the most decorated managers of all time, and was coveted by top clubs and national sides across Europe. He had reportedly turned down Juventus no less than four times in the past two and a half years, as well a repeatedly turning down offers from Paris Saint-Germain, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and AS Roma.

Ferguson joins a club unknown by many, even in Finland, and will have his toughest job yet. Founded in 1956, SalPa have never played in Finland's top flight. They were promoted from Kakkonen (third tier of Finnish football) two seasons ago, and finished sixth in Ykkönen (second tier of Finnish football) in the past season. They are expected to battle against relegation in the coming 2031 season.

SalPa chairman Kalle Ruotsalainen was thrilled with the arrival of Ryan Ferguson, and expects 'great things' for the football club in the coming seasons. He commended Ferguson's willingness to arrive for a meager wage, due to the limited resources available to the football club, and expects a successful relationship with the Englishman.

Kalle Ruotsalainen (SalPa Chairman):
"I am very delighted to confirm Ryan Ferguson has put pen to paper on a two year deal as manager of Salon Palloilijat. For a manager of his caliber and ability to willingly come to a team in Ykkönen in Finland was previously unimaginable, and we here at this club are very grateful for this fantastic opportunity.

Ferguson will bring great things to this club. He has shown great ability and patience in his previous role with Whitehawk, where he brugoht the team through the leagues of English football to the very top. I hope he can bring us to the pinnacle of Finnish football one day.

He showed a great willingness to join the club when we spoke about the possibility of him arriving. We obviously could not possibly afford to pay him anywhere near as much as Whitehawk did, but he showed superb character to accept what we could offer him. He really isn't in this for the money!

He has some fantastic ideas for how this football club can progress in the future, and I am very excited about what he can offer to us on and off the pitch. He is a very intelligent person who has a great amount of time for others. I suspect we will have a very successful relationship together and I cannot wait for us to get started ahead of the new season!"

Comment Section

ScottT, sadly they haven't performed well enough :(
mgriffin2012, I wouldn't hold your breath on Fergie returning to Whitehawk any time soon :P
De Magere, they've been utterly disappointing, to say the least

Previous Update: #130 - Olimpico
Next Update: #132 - From Brighton To Salo
Well that is a completely left field move
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

From Brighton To Salo

Ryan Ferguson Recounts His Journey From Brighton, England To Salo, Finland


Two and a half year after I had resigned from Whitehawk and uprooted from my life in Brighton, on the south coast of England, I had found myself a new home. I had sacrificed my life in the 'Sunny South Coast' of England in search of a place I could live happily. Thirty months later, I found such a place.

Salo was a small city in the south west of Finland. It was located between Helsinki and Turku, and was just over 120km away from the Finnish capital. It had been well known for hosting the manufacturing plant of popular phone company Nokia, but that has since shut down. It was very much a drive-by city for those commuting from Helsinki to Turku, and vice versa.

With a population of just over 50,000, it was certainly of a major contrast to the urban areas of England. Salo was surrounded by farmland, but hit a major unemployment crisis in 2015 following the closure of the phone manufacturing plant. Many people were forced in to commuting to nearby towns and cities for work, as a result.

It was very different to what I left behind in Brighton. I left a loud, growing city in the south of England for life elsewhere. But, however, Salo was not my first destination as I looked to escape England. Once I had officially resigned from Whitehawk, I boarded a plane and left for Stockholm, and I did not look back. I had an apartment in the Swedish capital, where I hid from the world for a period of time.

I received a number of job offers, but I had no interest in returning to football any time soon. I needed time to experience life outside of the game, something which I hadn't had a chance to do in twelve years. I could not learn more about myself as a human being if I were to throw myself back in to the game.

To be perfectly honest, I had lost what made me fall in love with the game. I don't mean to speak ill of the media and the fans of English football, but they ruined the game for me. There were games where I was criticised, and even booed, while we were winning. They had become too expectant, and were never satisfied with what they had.

When I left Brighton, I never planned on returning to England. I loved being away from there too much. Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Estonia - they were all beautiful countries with beautiful people - in both appearance and demeanor. I purchased apartments in each country and lived life to the full in each. I picked up a little on the languages and the cultures and felt more at home in eastern Europe than I did in England.

I watched a little football now and then, mostly Champions League and international games. Not once was I tempted to attending a fixture, until Whitehawk faced Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League final in Rome. It was two years after my resignation, and I was curious as to how the atmosphere of Whitehawk games had changed, if at all.

My two years off had given me inspiration as to what I wanted in life. Instead of revolving my life around a career in football, I learned from how Scandinavians lived their lives, to revolve my career around what I wanted in life. Why manage a top team if I couldn't enjoy life there?

Ryan Ferguson Fell In Love With Serenity Of Salo, Finland

And so, following my attendance at the Champions League final, I set about searching for potential managerial positions in a place where I could enjoy my life. I was looking for a quiet town or city where the people were friendly and life was enjoyable. I had my heart set on a club in either Scandinavia or in the Baltic region, and I scoured the job center for vacancies.

At the beginning of December, this month, I applied for a number of jobs in Sweden, Finland and Norway in cities and towns I felt could prove to be a suitable home for myself for a number of years. I received offers from clubs such as Örebro SK, Aalesunds FK, and a few others. But one offer stood out more than most.

A man by the name of Kalle Ruotsalainen contacted me about the possibility of discussing the managerial vacancy at a smell Finnish club by the name of Salon Palloilijat, also known as SalPa. Kalle was the chairman of the club, and seemed a very friendly character. He was very honest about the club's situation, and conceded that the resources available to the club were very limited.

I was impressed by the honesty shown, and so I visited Salo, the home of SalPa. It was a very calm city. The people were relaxed and friendly. It was a two hour drive from Helsinki, not too far away from the nation's capital. It was just a quiet place to live in peace, and I liked it.

The club itself didn't have much to its name. A quiet seventy-four year history with next-to-no trophy success. Two Kakkonen (Finnish third tier) titles was all they had to show for it. The club had never played in the Veikkausliiga, the top flight of Finnish football, and had somehow scraped a sixth place finish in Ykkönen (FInnish second tier) last season.

SalPa's home ground was a multi sports complex with an Olympic-standard track bordering it. Salon urheilupisto, as it was called, could host a capacity crowd of 800 people, offering 400 seats in total. It was not a big ground, not that it needed to be. It was a home for SalPa to play in front of their loyal supporters.

I had no doubts about signing for SalPa. They didn't offer much in terms of job perks or resources, but they offered an opportunity to live life in a place where I could enjoy it. I had learned my lesson in England. I wouldn't let my job dictate my life, but let my life dictate my job.

Comment Section

mgriffin2012, I never like to take the easy way out :P

Previous Update: #131 - Salon Palloilijat Hire Ryan Ferguson
Next Update: #133 - Club Overview: SalPa 2030
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Club Overview: SalPa 2030

An Overview Of Salon Palloilijat In December 2030

Basic Info

Name: Salon Palloilijat
Location: Salo, Finland
Club Status: Semi Professional
Nickname: Joutsenet (The Swans)
Founded: 1956
Estimated Value: €325,000
League: Ykkönen (2nd tier), Finland

Chairman: Kalle Ruotsalainen
Manager: Ryan Ferguson
Assistant Manager: N/A
Captain: Juha Nieminen
Vice Captain: Jukka Uusitalo


Stadium: Salon urheilupuisto
Location: Salo, Finland
Capacity: 800 (400 seated)
Under Soil Heating: No
Roof: No
Surface: Grass (Very Good Condition)

Corporate Facilities: Adequate
Training Facilities: Below Average
Youth Facilities: Basic
Junior Coaching: Adequate
Youth Recruitment: Fairly Basic


Trophies Won: 2
Kakkonen (3rd Tier) x2 (2000, 2005)

Last Five Seasons:
2030: Ykkönen - 6th
2029: Kakkonen - 2nd
2028: Kakkonen - 5th
2027: Kakkonen - 7th
2026: Kakkonen - 6th

Club Heroes

Fan Favourites
Alberto Ródenas (2025-2030) -- Player
Kjell Skoog (2030) -- Player

Previous Update: #132 - From Brighton To Salo
Next Update: #134 - Ferguson: SalPa Is My Future
Very much feel like a massive new chapter is about to be written
Away from the media, hopefully it will do Ryan wonders.
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Ferguson: SalPa Is My Future

Ryan Ferguson Spoke To The Press Following His Appointment At SalPa


Ryan, congratulations on your new job with Salon Palloilijat. What are your immediate feelings about this new challenge?

Ryan Ferguson: "I'm happy. I've been away from football for quite a while now and it feels great to be back. I feel re-energised and SalPa is the perfect club for me to recontinue my managerial career. They have great ambitions, even if not too many people have heard of them, and they offer me the opportunity to truly enjoy my work as a manager."

Following your role as Whitehawk manager, you could have gone on to manage any team in the world. Why did you decide to take on this particular job with Salon Palloilijat? With the likes of Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus all eager to hire you, why did you choose a team set to struggle in the second division of Finnish football?

Ryan Ferguson: "As Whitehawk manager, my work was my life. Every minute of twelve years of my life was dedicated to the job. As much as I enjoyed how my work in England, managing a fantastic set of players, it all becomes a little much at times. I had no time to enjoy my personal life, well I guess I really didn't have a personal life with the amount of time I spent working at Whitehawk!

I guess SalPa really offered me the opportunity to enjoy my life in a very nice place, while still being able to work in a profession I truly love doing. Here in Salo, I can begin to work for a fantastic community club with very loyal backing from the chairman, the players, staff and fans, while not feeling overwhelmed. The club has a very friendly atmosphere, which is in line with what I have been looking for in a job."

You join a club with just nine senior players under contract and very limited financial backing. How do you plan on building a squad?

Ryan Ferguson: "I think it is no secret that we have a tight budget to work with, and that we have to be very wise with how the club's money is spent. The chairman and I will be working day and night to ensure that whatever resources we have now are spent wisely and in a manner which will not compromise the club's future.

It is true that we only have nine players in the senior squad at the moment, and we expect one of these nine to leave in the near future. The players we do have are very young and I believe that the best approach to acquiring new players is to look for young, enthusiastic players who may appreciate the opportunity to train and to play for us, for a minimal wage. So, this is the kind of player we will be looking to bring in."

What are your objectives for the 2031 season, your first in Finnish football?

Ryan Ferguson: "I think we have to be realistic with what we wish to achieve. In order for this club to sustain financial stability and to keep in line with how we wish to progress in our development for the future, we need to avoid relegation. We are playing Ykkönen football, the second tier of Finnish football, for one of the few times in this club's history. It is fantastic for this club to be involved in such a division, and we hope at least continue our stay here.

I believe that, given we cannot actually field a starting eleven right now, we cannot expect too much of ourselves. A major rebuilding process of the squad is required and it will take time for whoever comes in to the squad to settle. The more we play together, the more we can develop our philosophies in line with how we wish to progress, on the pitch. For now, I just hope we can achieve safety."

What are your plans for the future? Do you see yourself moving on from SalPa?

Ryan Ferguson: "I just signed a two year deal with SalPa, so it would be crazy to talk about any other team! I have no reason to believe that my future is away from here and I thoroughly look forward to my time here. I wouldn't have signed a contract here if this isn't where I want to be. SalPa is my future."

Comment Section

mgriffin2012, hopefully a good one!
De Magere, the low reputation was a major factor in me choosing this job!

Previous Update: #133 - Club Overview: SalPa 2030
Next Update: #135 - Suomen Cup 2031 Preview
I've just got a feeling that Ryan will soon become just as into SalPa as he was Whitehawk!
Nice to see Ryan taking a new route into Finland, an interesting move but a nice little change of scene. Love the club, seems a modest outfit and they have a nice badge :P
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Suomen Cup 2031 Preview

A Preview Of The Suomen Cup In The 2031 Season


The Suomen Cup was the primary cup competition in Finnish football. The top thirty teams in the nation were split in to five groups in a preliminary group stage phase, with the top two teams qualifying to latter rounds, along with a best-placed third team. In this update, we shall look at who Salpon Palloilijat would be facing, as well as a detailed description of the format of the cup competition.

Suomen Cup Group C

SalPa Were Handed A Favourable Group

SalPa were given a group which contained six teams, all from the Ykkönen league. JJK Jyväskylä and HIFK Fotboll were the two favourites to progress. SalPa would begin their Suomen Cup campaign with trips to Kemi Kings and JJK Jyväskylä, before facing Ekenäs Tammisaari and MP Mikkeli at home. A home game against HIFK Fotboll would round up their group game action.

Suomen Cup Format

Group Stage: January -> March
Knockout Stage: March -> September

Top 30 teams in Finland, by league positioning in previous season.

Qualification From Group Stage:
Top team qualifies for Quarter Final.
Second team qualifies for Second Round.
Best third place team qualifies for Second Round.

No. Games Played:
Group Stage: Each team plays each other once.
Knockout Stage: One-game ties, with extra time & penalties if required.

Disciplinary Rules:
Three Yellow Cards: 1 match ban.
First Two Red Cards: 2 match ban.
Additional Red Cards: 3 match ban.

Continental Qualification:
Winner qualifies for the UEFA Europa League.

Comment Section

mgriffin2012, he is already addicted :P
ScottT, it is certainly a very modest club, with not much to go by but their love of the game!

Previous Update: #134 - Ferguson: SalPa Is My Future
Next Update: #136 - Ferguson Suffers SalPa Debut Defeat
Finnish football actually seems quite nice. I mean, they have a club named Santa Claus knocking about for god sake. :P
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Ferguson Suffers SalPa Debut Defeat

Ryan Ferguson Suffered A Debut Defeat With SalPa Against Kemi Kings


It was a debut to forget for Ryan Ferguson as his first game in charge of Salon Palloilijat ended in defeat. SalPa were competing in their first group fixture in the Suomen Cup, in an away trip to Kemi Kings. SalPa did take the lead through Arto Jääskelainen midway through the first half, but Kemi Kings quickly bounced back with two quickfire goals to inflict a rare defeat upon Ryan Ferguson.

1-2 Defeat vs Kemi Kings - Suomen Cup Group C

SalPa Conceded Twice From Corner Routines In Their Defeat

It was the beginning of a grueling rebuilding progress for Ryan Ferguson and SalPa. Ferguson arrived to a squad of just nine players, with one of those then leaving, at SalPa, and was forced to look for targets without any scouts to assist him. He did manage to bring in a total of seven players before his first fixture in charge, and fielded a starting eleven with four substitutes to call upon.

Ferguson's SalPa side were set up to soak up pressure and to counter attack quickly, and they broke the deadlock by doing so. Right winger Serge Atakayi surged forward for SalPa at pace, and fed Timo Huuhka down the left wing. The ball was crossed in to a back post area where striker Arto Jääskelainen was on hand to power a header in to the top corner.

Kemi Kings struck back within minutes, and it came from a well worked corner. Henri Kumpula rose highest at the back post to power a low header in to the back of the net, leveling the score line in the process.

Kemi Kings then took the lead six minutes later in similar fashion. This time Joonas Rönkkö rose highest at the back post to give Kemi Kings the lead, and secure the win for them. Ryan Ferguson suffered a first game defeat as a result.

Leônidas (Kemi Kings) - 8.4/10

Ryan Ferguson's Reaction

Ryan Ferguson:
"We tried our best but ultimately it wasn't enough today. It is a defeat which we didn't want but I'm not overly disheartened. We had a lot of new faces come in to the club in the past few days and we haven't had a chance to sit down and prepare how we would like to set up for fixtures tactically. We will work on defending set pieces in due time, but we just didn't have time to do so before this game."

Comment Section

ScottT, well perhaps they can live up to their name and gift me with some good players :P

Previous Update: #135 - Suomen Cup 2031 Preview
Next Update: #137 - Suomen Cup 2031 Group Stage Review
Not the best of starts but you're the great Ryan Ferguson, one defeat wont stop you and SalPa

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