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Sami Heikkinen: The Winter Soldier

From the depths of the land of winter wonders, a footballing miracle is born.
Started on 2 March 2018 by Justice
Latest Reply on 24 April 2018 by Justice
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Fam Blud Fam Fam Blud Blud Fam Blud... Fam

Well I'm back with another story.... sorry to disappoint you all (if anybody is actually reading this).

Anyway, here is another adventure! If any of you have followed any of my recent stories and have still decided to read my work, I commend you! We've had some crazy adventures together, most recently battling the world with Whitehawk & Salon Palloilijat, and this story is somewhat related.

You see, I felt like I had some unfinished business from that adventure, with my tenure at Salon Palloilijat ultimately not fulfilling all my desires. While we became a force domestically, it did not amount to much more. I, selfishly, did not explain the reasons for that save coming to an end. My board at SalPa were very reluctant to give me any kind of support to develop the club, despite finances looking very strong with European football. So, the save became a dead end, and I resigned to leaving FM17 for good.

That brings us to FM18 and all the adventures that come with it. As per usual, I began my one-and-only save of the year back in November. I envisioned FM18 to be the game where I would achieve would had previously been unaccomplished by myself. So, I ask you all to sit back, put your feet up, grab some popcorn, have Arsenal Fan TV playing in the background, and enjoy!

What Can We Expect?

As is most certainly a running theme with all of my stories, I am already well in to this save. As of right now, the current save date is 1st January 2026. There will be much catching up to do. I do not yet know how I will present this story, or how frequent updates will be. Hopefully the presentation will be satisfactory and the upload rate frequent.

Man Of The Hour

This handsome devil right here is Sami Heikkinen. I know what you're thinking, don't say it; 'Man I wish I had that sexy Harry Potter look!' Sami was born in Finland to a Finnish father and a Swiss mother. He was well-traveled as a child, with his family eventually settling down in Tampere, Finland. Despite making it as a professional footballer at domestic level, he achieved no more as an athlete, turning to management in his thirties.

Finland's only notable former footballing stars include Sami Hyypiä and Jari Litmanen, making the country's football history very short and not notable. With ambitions to bring Finnish football to inexplicable glory, and the heart to fight for what he believes in, can Sami cement his place in football history?


FC Honka (2018 - Present)

Trophy Cabinet

League Competitions
Ykkönen x1 (2018)
Veikkausliiga x7 (2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025)

Cup Competitions
Suomen Cup x6 (2018, 2020, 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025)

Continental Competitions
UEFA Champions League x1 (2025)
UEFA Super Cup x1 (2025)

Intercontinental Competitions
FIFA Club World Cup x1 (2025)

Total: x17 Trophies

Manager Awards

Seasonal Awards
Ykkönen Manager of the Year x1 (2018)
Veikkausliiga Manager of the Year x7 (2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025)

Monthly Awards
Ykkönen Manager of the Month x5 (May 2018, June 2018, July 2018, August 2018, September 2018)
Veikkausliiga Manager of the Month x31 (April 2019, May 2019, June 2019, July 2019, April 2020, May 2020, July 2020, September 2020, April 2021, May 2021, July 2021, May 2022, June 2022, July 2022, August 2022, October 2022, June 2023, July 2023, August 2023, September 2023, October 2023, April 2024, May 2024, July 2024, August 2024, September 2024, June 2025, July 2025, August 2025, September 2025, October 2025)

Total: x43 Manager Awards

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Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited


Sami Heikkinen Spent The Majority Of His Life Living In Tampere


My name is Sami Heikkinen. That probably doesn't mean much to you now, but it will soon. I'm a half-Finnish, half-Swiss former professional footballer. My career didn't amount to much in achievements, or financially. Thankfully, my parents earned more than enough money for our family to live well off.

I was born in Kuopio, Finland, on 24th October 1980. It was my father's hometown. He was a financial advisor for many of the upper class citizens of the city. Despite the profile of his work, he was of a humble upbringing and instilled in me the values of the Finnish people. He taught me to be self-sufficient, courageous and diligent.

My mother was a member of the Swiss ambassadorial team during my early childhood. This required us to travel across Europe regularly, and we rarely spent more than a few years in the same country before I was ten years old. From Munich to Paris, from Rome to London, I grew up all over Europe.

While I did grow up without many long-term friends, I gained a lot from these experiences. I became somewhat fluent in a number of different languages, including French, German, Italian and English, while I also learned how to settle in to a new environment quickly.

Sami Heikkinen Spent Some Of His Early Childhood In Munich

When I was ten years old, my mother left her role, and we returned to Finland. We settled in Tampere, a city in southwest Finland. Here, I felt at home with friends that I would have for my entire life, and learned to speak Swedish and Russian in school. I developed interest in sports, and began to develop in to what I would become in my adult life.

Ice hockey was, without a doubt, the most followed sport in Finland. However, my travels across Europe as a child, had brought me to love football. It was all I thought about 24/7, and I relished every moment I was involved in the sport. It fast became my life, and it was a life worth living, as far as I was concerned.

I was fortunate enough to play professionally in Finland, for two clubs. I made my debut for FF Jaro in 1998, at the age of 17, in Finland's top flight (Veikkausliiga). Unfortunately, we were relegated that year, and only made our Veikkausliiga return in 2002. I joined then-champions in the 2008 season, but the club soon ran into serious financial implications in 2011, in a scandal which saw the club disqualified from football until 2014. This prompted me to hang up my boots, at the age of 30.

I turned towards earning my coaching badges, with my Continental Pro License coming earlier this year. I have been working as a part-time football columnist for regional newspapers, while also appearing regularly on radio shows, but my real ambition was to begin my career in management. I just needed somebody to give me my first chance.

Next Update: #2 - The First Step
Great start! Lets hope you get your chance soon!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

The First Step

Sami Heikkinen Was Handed His First Job In Football Management


Helsinki was never exactly a city of priority for travelers, and neither were the other cities of Finland. They were not considered to be historically, or culturally, significant in any way. They were just there, in the far northeast corner of Europe, to make up the numbers.

Not many appreciated the true beauty of the country, of its way of life. It was simplicity in its most beautiful form. Finland was not yet a country controlled by consumerism or gluttony. It was rich in its values and its traditions, which I grew up to have much pride for.

The nation's history in football was woeful, despite the high standard of athleticism. Despite producing the likes of Sami Hyypiä and Jari Litmanen in the past, other products of the country's youth systems were certainly not of a caliber to compete at the top levels. With the most athletic of kids opting for ice hockey or other winter sports, football was certainly an unpopular choice.

Espoo was the second largest city in Finland, with just over 270,000 living in the southern city. As part of the Finnish Capital Region, with approximately twenty kilometers separating it's city center with that of Helsinki's, it was a place of mass-industry and bureaucratic significance. Many major companies, including Nokia, were based in the city.

Espoo Was Finland's Second Largest City And Located Near Helsinki

Despite not having a traditional city center, Espoo was certainly a busy place. It had several local centers located all over its large spread, with a population who had fantastic facilities at their disposal. The city was home to many large golf courses, with a number of facilities located in Tapiola, in the south east of Espoo.

Among the facilities in Tapiola was Tapiolan urheilupuisto, home of FC Honka Espoo. The club was founded in 1957 as Tapion Honka, before reforming as its current form in 1975. The club made its top flight, Veikkausliiga, debut in 2006, but have never been crowned as Finnish champions. Suomen Cup victory in 2012 was the club's greatest triumph, as the club competed in UEFA Cup/Europa League qualifying round between 2008 and 2014.

However, the club hit an all-time low in 2014, as they did not receive a Veikkausliiga license for the 2015 season due to financial issues. The club dropped to Kakkonen, third tier, football in 2015, and were promoted to Ykkönen, second tier, in 2016 in emphatic style.

Honka's quick progress was halted by the reformation of the Finnish FA in 2017 (completely fictional for the purpose of this save only starting in 2018), which saw no competitive domestic action occurring in 2017 at all. As a result, Honka would begin their first season back in Ykkönen in the 2018 season.

Vesa Vesara, who was the manager of Honka since 2016, had recently resigned from his role at the club, citing his displeasure of the Finnish FA's reform as reason to to take a break from management. This left the lucrative Honka job vacant ahead of the 2018 season. Many candidates were approached as the board searched for Vesara's ideal successor, but the man chosen was one of surprise.

Former Veikkausliiga footballer Sami Heikkinen was handed his first role in management at the club, much to the surprise of the fans, and the former Tampere United player would have a large budget and an incredible squad at his disposal, as FC Honka aimed for promotion back to the Veikkausliiga.

It was the beginning of an incredible era for Sami Heikkinen and FC Honka Espoo. It was the opportunity of a lifetime for the Finn, and the start of something incredible for the club. The future was bright, and there were to be many great memories to follow.

Comment Section

Plumps, thank you! As you can see, Sami didn't have to wait too much longer for an opportunity to shine!

Previous Update: #1 - Origins
Next Update: #3 - Fans Bewildered As Honka Hires Heikkinen
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Fans Bewildered As Honka Hires Heikkinen

FC Honka Fans Have Been Left Bemused As Heikkinen Becomes Manager


FC Honka Espoo have confirmed the appointment of Sami Heikkinen as their new first team manager. The unknown tthirty-seven year old replaces former manager Richard Hill, who resigned from his position in protest of the reformation of the Finnish FA, which lead to the cancellation of domestic competition for the entirety of 2017. The appointment defied all odds, with a number of far more experienced managers having shown interest in the position.

Born in Kuopio, Heikkinen spent the majority of his younger years growing up in Tampere. He was handed his first professional contract as a football player, playing as a left-sided central defender, by Veikkausliiga side FF Jaro of Jakobstad in 1998, at the age of 17. Heikkinen spent a trophy-less ten years at the club before moving back to Tampere to play for then-champions Tampere United in 2008. However, he failed to lift any silverware with the club before a three year competitive suspension was handed to the club in 2011. Heikkinen retired from playing when this happened.

Heikkinen had spent the years since earning his coaching badges, and had received his Continental Pro License earlier this year, the highest qualification available in the field of work. He has shared his football views frequently in articles written for popular newspapers Aamulehti and Iltalehti, and has appeared on Yle Radio Suomi on occasion.

Despite having never managed before, Heikkinen appeared to have done more than enough in an interview to impress FC Honka chairman Hexi Arteva. The former Tampere United defender was handed a one-year contract, until 30th November 2018, with the target of winning the Ykkönen league title in his debut season in management.

In a press-conference earlier today, Sami Heikkinen was presented to the public, and was bombarded with a number of questions regarding his vision for the club. Heikkinen spoke of his desire to build FC Honka up 'the right way', and signaled his intent of making the club's home ground, Tapiolan urheilupuisto, a fortress. Heikkinen assured fans he was under no illusion that the Ykkönen league title was expected of him in his debut season in management.

Heikkinen Emphasised The Importance Of Good Form At Tapiolan urheilupuisto

Sami Heikkinen:
"It is an honour and a privilege to sit here as the new manager of FC Honka Espoo. It is a club with great ambitions of contesting the top domestic honours here in Finland, and with further aspirations of playing regular European football.

The club has a set of players who are capable of, not just winning the Ykkönen league title this season but, challenging the top teams in the country. There are some players here who are a class above those around the country, and it is very important that we win the league this year to match the ambitions of the club.

There is a proverb here in Finland; 'tyvestä puuhun noustaan' (a tree is climbed from its base), which is something I solemnly believe in. If this football club is to make forward strides, it will be done the right way. We will make our home, Tapiolan urheilupuisto,an absolute fortress of invincibility, and we will look to use our incredible youth facilities to develop players locally. We may still bring in players from outside the club, but only when the possibility is not available to strengthen from within.

I look forward to my time here at this football club, but I am no under no illusion of the dedication that is required to make good at this level. I will dedicate the next year of my life to this football club, and even more if the club will have me after. Thank you for the incredible support so far, and I hope to repay the faith shown by the fans."

Previous Update: #2 - The First Step
Next Update: #4 - Club Overview: FC Honka 2018
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Club Overview: FC Honka 2018

An Overview Of FC Honka Espoo In January 2018

Basic Info

Name: FC Honka Espoo
Location: Espoo, Finland
Club Status: Semi-Professional
Nickname: Keltamustat (The Yellow & Black's)
Founded:1957 (As Tapion Honka)
League: Ykkönen (2nd Tier), Finland

Chairman: Hexi Arteva (FIN)
Manager: Sami Heikkinen (FIN)
Assistant Manager: Sampo Koskinen (FIN)
Captain: Ilari Äijälä (FIN)
Vice Captain: Robert Ivanov (FIN)

Club Facilities

Stadium: Tapiolan urheilupuisto
Location: Espoo, Finland
Capacity: 4,500 (4,000 Seated)
Under Soil Heating: Yes
Roof: No
Surface Type: Grass/Synthetic Mix

Corporate Facilities: Fairly Basic
Training Facilities: Average
Youth Facilities: Basic
Data Analysis Facilities: None
Junior Coaching: Good
Youth Recruitment: Established

Club Rivals

PK-seutu Derby vs Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi (FIN)

Fierce Rivals

Other Rivals
Etelä-Espoon Pallo (FIN)
FC Espoo (FIN)
Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi (FIN)
Idrottsföreningen Kamraterna i Grankulla (FIN)
Idrottsföreningen Kamraterna i Helsingfors (FIN)
Turun Palloseura (FIN)

Club History

Trophies Won: 6
League Competitions
Ykkönen x1 (2005)
Kakkonen x2 (2015, 2016)

Cup Competitions
Suomen Cup x1 (2012)
Liigacup x2 (2010, 2011)

Last Five Seasons:
2017: No Competitive Fixtures Due To Finnish FA Reform
2016: Kakkonen - 1st
2015: Kakkonen - 1st (Lost promotion playoff)
2014: Veikkausliiga - 11th (Lost Veikkausliiga license for 2015 season due to finances)
2013: Veikkausliiga - 2nd

Club Heroes

Raimo Konkola (1975 - Present) -- Board Member & Supporter

Hermanni Vuorinen (2005 - 2006, 2008 - 2010, 2012) -- Player
John Weckström (2005 - 2011, 2015 - 2016) -- Player
Jussi Vasara (2007 - 2014) -- Player
Mika Lehkosuo (2005 - 2014) -- Manager
Nicholas Otaru (2006 - 2012, 2015 - 2016) -- Player
Roni Porokara (2005 - 2008, 2013 - 2014, 2015 - 2016) -- Player
Sampo Koskinen (1997 - 1998, 2001, 2005 - 2007, 2008 - Present) -- Player, Assistant Manager
Tuomas Peltonen (2001 - 2014) -- Player
Vesa Vasara (1994 - 1995, 2006 - 2014, 2016 - 2017) -- Player, Director of Football & Manager

Fan Favourites
> N/A

Club Records

Highest Attendance: 9,106 vs Racing Santander (UEFA Europa League, 02/10/2008)
Lowest Attendance: N/A

Biggest Win: 9-0 vs Rovaniemen Palloseura (Veikkausliiga, 10/04/2009)
Biggest Defeat: 0-5 vs Fotbollsföreningen Jaro Jalkapalloseura (Veikkausliiga, 20/07/2014)

Most League Apps: Tuomas Peltonen (2001-2014) - 222
Most League Goals: Hermanni Vuorinen (2005-2006, 2008-2010, 2012) - 52

Most Total Apps: Tuomas Pelton (2001-2014) - 252
Most Total Goals: Hermanni Vuorinen (2005-2006, 2008-2010, 2012) - 59

Most League Goals In One Season: Tim Vayrynen (2013) - 17
Most Total Goals In One Season: Hermanni Vuorinen (2009) - 21

Previous Update: #3 - Fans Bewildered As Honka Hires Heikkinen
Next Update: #5 - Finnish Domestic Competition Overview
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Finnish Domestic Competition Overview

An Overview Of The Format And Rules Of The Finnish Domestic Competitions


April - October

Number of Teams

Number of Matches
33 (Each team plays each other three times)

Match Squad Rules
The match squad must have no more than 3 non-EU players.
The match squad must have at least nine players trained by a Finnish club.
There must be at least four players trained by a Finnish club in the starting XI.
Seven subs to be named, maximum of three to be used.

Disciplinary Rules
One match ban for every three yellow cards.
Two match ban for each of first two red cards.
Three match ban for each additional red card.

Transfer Windows
November - August (Free Transfers & Loan Transfers Only)
January - April (Regular Transfer Window)
July - August (Regular Transfer Window)
April - September (Affiliate Loan Transfers Only)

Continental Qualification
1st: UEFA Champions League Champions First Qualifying Phase
2nd: UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round
3rd: UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round
4th: UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round (Dependent on Suomen Cup winner)

11th: To compete in Relegation Play-Off Against 2nd place of Ykkönen.
12th: Relegated to Ykkönen.


April - October

Number of Teams

Number of Matches
27 (Each team plays each other three times)

Match Squad Rules
The match squad must have no more than 3 non-EU players.
The match squad must have at least nine players trained by a Finnish club.
There must be at least four players trained by a Finnish club in the starting XI.
Seven subs to be named, maximum of three to be used.

Disciplinary Rules
One match ban for every three yellow cards.
Two match ban for each of first two red cards.
Three match ban for each additional red card.

Transfer Windows
November - August (Free Transfers & Loan Transfers Only)
January - April (Regular Transfer Window)
July - August (Regular Transfer Window)
April - September (Affiliate Loan Transfers Only)

1st: Promoted to Veikkausliiga.
2nd: To compete in Promotion Play-Off against 11th place of Veikkausliiga.

9th: Relegated to Kakkonen.
10th: Relegated to Kakkonen.

Suomen Cup

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.

Number of Matches
Group Stage: Each team plays each other once.
Knockout Stage: One-game ties, with extra time & penalties if required.

Disciplinary Rules
One match ban for every three yellow cards.
Two match ban for each of first two red cards.
Three match ban for each additional red card.

Continental Qualification
UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round

Previous Update: #4 - Club Overview: FC Honka 2018
Next Update: #6 - Season 2018: Season Review
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Season 2018: Season Review

A Review Of FC Honka Espoo In Season 2018

Sami Heikkinen: It was my debut season in football management, and I was at the perfect club for me to learn my trade. It was a club with aspirations to reach the pinnacle of Finnish football, and to make an impact on the European scene. The expectations for the season were to win the Ykkönen league title comfortably, and earn promotion back to the Veikkausliiga.


Mathias Pogba Was Honka's Most Reputable Signing Of 2018

Transfers In
(Name - Age - Position - Fee - Signed From)
Beka Vachiberadze - 21 (05/03/1996) - MC - €0 - Free Transfer
Despite the strength of the squad, it could be argued that there was a lack of true quality in midfield areas. Beka was available on a free transfer, having been released Real Betis in the summer of 2017. The Ukrainian youngster was a very well-rounded midfielder, with the potential to become a future international.

Matteo Gentili - 28 (21/08/1989) - DC - €0 - Free Transfer
Gentili became the second new signing of 2018, also arriving on a free transfer. He was brought in with the view of partnering already-present Jorge Cano in the heart of defence. The Italian defender was a graduate of Atalanta's academy, but only managed one league appearance for the club. He was released by Serie C side Carrarese in the summer of 2017.

Mathias Pogba - 27 (19/08/1990) - ST - €0 - Free Transfer
The lesser-known of the three Pogba brothers, Mathias joined to add firepower up top. The target man most recently played for Sparta Rotterdam, but found himself released from the club last summer. He arrived in Finland with a big reputation, mostly due to his brother Paul, and had a swagger about him.

Alexandre Cuvillier - 31 (17/06/1986) - AML - €0 - Free Transfer
Cuvillier was brought in to the club with not much known about him, but his history. The French winger had previously played for the likes of Reims, Lens, Caen and Nancy, and was recently released by Boulogne. Cuvillier added some flair to Honka's attack, and significantly strengthened an already-superb left side.

Romário Leiria - 26 (28/06/1992) - DC - €0 - Free Transfer
Leiria came in to further strengthen the depth of defence. The former Internacional player made the move to Europe in 2016, when he joined Portugal's Maritimo. However, he only made 9 appearances for the club before moving on. The physical central defender was hoping to challenge Gentili and Cano for a starting spot in Honka's squad.

Rafael Gava - 25 (20/05/1993) - MC/AMC - €0 - Free Transfer
Gava came in as a replacement for the outgoing Beka Vachiberadze, who left the club in a big-money move. Gava impressed in a trial period at Honka, following spells with Guarani, Internacional and Londrina in Brazil. Gava was of a different mold to Vachiberadze. The Brazilian was seen as playmaker, similar in style to Juan Mata, and was expected to become one of the top players in Finnish domestic football.

Transfers Out
A number of players left the club on free transfers, in search of regular football. Despite signing in January, Beka Vachiberadze was quickly on the move as he earned a dream move to Hammarby. The offer received from the Swedish club was, quite frankly, too good to turn down, and the money was pocketed for future seasons.


Honka Were Unbeaten In An Impressive Ykkönen Campaign

An impressive early run set the tone for a successful league campaign. We went eight games without conceding at the start of the league season, which demonstrated good defensive organisation and consistent performances. Pogba, Borjas and Cuvillier were consistently among the goals as we proved to be a real force. The only blemishes were draws against OPS Oulu and FF Jaro, but it is also worth noting that we scored in every game we played, showing we always found a way to penetrate defences.

League Table

Honka Won The League Title By A Resounding 26 Points

We were, in the end, quite comfortable champions. FC Haka were our closest challengers, but even they were a clear 26 points adrift. We recorded the most goals scored and least goals conceded. Ekenas IF and Gnistan Helsinki suffered relegation to Kakkonen, as they struggled with life in Ykkönen.

Suomen Cup

Honka Claimed The Double As They Won The Suomen Cup

We also added the Suomen Cup to our trophy cabinet with victory in 2018. Four wins and one defeat in the group stage saw us progress top of our group, and from then on it was the Mathias Pogba show. A brace from Guinean forward defeated FF Jaro, while he was also at the double against Finland's top team, HJK. Pogba, again, was on target twice in the final, including a stoppage time winner to win the trophy.

FC Honka Team Of The Season

Veteran Midfielder Joel Perovuo Was Among Honka's Top Performers

GK: Tim Murray - 7.25
(35 Appearances - 24 Clean Sheets - 14 Goals Conceded - 0 Player of the Match)
The American shot stopper had little to do all season, in truth. He had a very solid defence in front of him which helped keep shots faced down to a minimum. Murray did well when called upon, however, and 24 clean sheets in 35 games is a record to be very proud of.

DR: Jatuli Laevuo - 7.25
(33 Appearances - 0 Goals - 3 Assists - 0 Player of the Match)
A product of Honka's famous academy, Laevuo was rock-solid at full back. While he was now renowned for his attacking ability, he recorded three assists in a solid season.

DCR: Jorgen Cano - 7.17
(32 Appearances - 2 Goals - 1 Assist - 2 Player of the Match)
Cano's first season in Finnish football went to plan. The Spaniard took time to settle in things, having played very little senior football previously. The Mallorca product formed a solid partnership with Gentili and was hard to displace.

DCL: Matteo Gentili - 7.27
(33 Appearances - 5 Goals - 2 Assists - 2 Player of the Match)
Gentili came to the club with plenty of experience, and he showed that on the pitch. He showed great resilience and added leadership to defence. Not all signings in football pay off, but Gentili certainly did.

DL: Ilari Äijälä (C) - 7.44
(34 Appearances - 0 Goals - 5 Assists - 4 Player of the Match)
Captain fantastic. The marauding full back combined defensive responsibilities with attacking nous. Well in to his thirties, Ilari showed no signs of slowing down as he produced a masterclass in football over the course of the season. He was such an important player in every game, and signed his name in Honka's history books as he lifted the double.

DM: Duarte Tammilehto - 7.13
(32 Appearances - 1 Goal - 1 Assist - 1 Player of the Match)
The midfield required an anchor to keep it sound, and Tammilehto provided stability. Capable of performing in defence and in attack, Tammilehto proved himself to be an important player in the latter stages of the season.

MCR: Joel Perovuo - 7.33
(35 Appearances - 4 Goals - 9 Assists - 6 Player of the Match)
Another veteran of the club, Perovuo produced a truly sensational season. Well in to the twilight years of his career, Perovuo wowed the fans with some superb long range goals, and his set-piece delivery brought about many goals.

MCL: Beka Vachiberadze - 7.43
(23 Appearances - 5 Goals - 8 Assists - 1 Player of the Match)
While his stay with the club was a short one, Beka proved his value. Thirteen goal contributions in twenty three games as a box-to-box midfielder outlined his qualities going forward. While he did not stay for long, his impact was certainly felt.

AMR: Borjas - 7.26
(33 Appearances - 14 Goals - 9 Assists - 4 Player of the Match)
The tricky Spaniard often moved from playing as a central striker to out wide on the right. He provided fourteen goals and nine assists in a strong season.

AML: Alexandre Cuvillier - 7.43
(26 Appearances - 9 Goals - 10 Assists - 6 Player of the Match)
The tricky Frenchman came to the club to enjoy the twilight years of his career. He was directly involved in nineteen goals in just twenty six appearances, showing he still had the ability required to win trophies.

ST: Mathias Pogba - 7.22
(32 Appearances - 22 Goals - 6 Assists - 7 Player of the Match)
He came with a big reputation, and produced some memorable moments. He almost single-handedly won the Suomen Cup for the club, scoring key goals in each of the knockout stages. His aerial presence provided a different quality to what was already at the club.

World Football

Spain Regained The FIFA World Cup In Russia

Spain were, once again, champions of the world as they lifted the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Extra time victory over Argentina in the final secured the trophy, which they last won in 2010.

Neymar and Eden Hazard had to settle for second and third, respectively, in the running for the Ballon d'Or as Lionel Messi claimed the accolade. The Argentine was crowned as winner for the sixth time in his legendary career.

Previous Update: #5 - Finnish Domestic Competition Overview
Next Update: #7 - Season 2019: Season Review
Wow. Just Wow ! What a season!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Season 2019: Season Review

A Review Of FC Honka Espoo In Season 2019

Sami Heikkinen: Following an impressive season which saw us win the Ykkönen title and the Suomen Cup, we were set for our first game back in the Veikkausliiga, Finland's top flight. While our squad was already more than capable of challenging the top teams in the country, we had our sights set on being better than the best, and so we looked to improve every single day.


Carljohan Eriksson & Fredrik Lassas Were Among Honka's New Recruits

Major Transfers In
(Name - Age - Position - Fee - Signed From)

Tatu Varmanen - 20 (09/07/1998) - DR/DL - €0 - FC Inter Turku
Varmanen joined from FC Inter Turku following the expiration of his contract. The young full back failed to break in to the senior side while in Turku, and saw a move to FC Honka as a possibility to ignite his career. He was highly rated, having played sporadically for Finland's youth teams, and had the defensive skills required to add to the competition within Honka's squad for places.

Erdinc Karakas - 20 (23/03/1998) - DL - €0 - Free Transfer
Karakas was of Turkish/German descent, and played his youth football for VfL Bochum and FC Schalke 04. However, he failed to break in to either senior team, and was released from Schalke in 2018. Karakas was a relatively fit full back with reasonable skills. He was brought in with the hope that he would develop in to a good Veikkausliiga-standard defender in the future.

Fredrik Lassas - 22 (01/10/1996) - MC - €0 - Free Transfer
Lassas was one of Honka's top signings of the season. The Finnish midfielder actually spent two years as part of Honka's youth team in the past, before moving to HJK, where he made his breakthrough in to senior football. Lassas had most recently played for HIFK in the Veikkausliiga, but left the club after last season. Lassas' technical abilities shone, while his willingness to work hard made him a valuable asset to Honka's midfield.

Nosh A Lody - 29 (17/07/1989) - DC - €0 - Free Transfer
What a name! Nosh was a product of HJK's youth academy, and made his senior breakthrough for the club's B team, Klubi-04, in Kakkonen and Ykkönen. Following spells at FF Jaro, MYPA, KTP, and even Honka, Nosh A Lody most recently played for HIFK before rejoining FC Honka. The central defender added to the depth of the squad.

Filip Hlupik - 27 (30/04/1991) - AMR/ST - €0 - Free Transfer
The Czech inside forward was Honka's best signing of the season, by far. Hlupik broke in to the Slovacko senior team in 2009, and made 96 league appearances for his hometown side, before moving to Cherno More of Bulgaria. However, he didn't spend long at the Bulgarian side, before moving to IFK Mariehamn last season. He scored three times in Veikkausliiga last season before leaving. Hlupik was expected to add plenty of quality to Honka's attack, with his versatility a great asset.

Carljohan Eriksson - 23 (25/04/1995) - GK - €0 - Free Transfer
Eriksson was another product of HJK's academy, and the goalkeeper made his senior breakthrough for the club's B team, Klubi-04, back in 2012. Despite making six Veikkausliiga appearances for the first team, Eriksson left in search of more regular first team football. At HIFK, he made forty-nine league appearances, but left the club after last season in search of even more regular football.

Major Transfers Out
A number of fringe players left the club for free throughout the season, including former key player Caloi. The Spanish midfielder had reached the twilight of his career, and left for regular football in his native country. Romário Leiria left for an incredible fee of €700,000 to Russian side SKA-Khabarovsk, further lining the pockets of FC Honka. It was an offer too good to turn down, for a player which Honka felt was replaceable.


Honka Stormed Through Veikkausliiga On Their Return To The Top Flight

It was an incredible return to the top flight for FC Honka, as we absolutely smashed teams left, right and center. It started with a thrilling 4-2 victory over IFK Mariehamn. Two victories over HJK over the course of the season set an impressive tone, while the game of the season was, undoubtedly, a 4-3 victory over IFK Mariehamn in May, as Tolonen and Hlupik both scored in the last six minutes of the game.

League Table

Honka Cruised To The Veikkausliiga Title By A Ten Point Margin

We completed an absolutely sensational feat of lifting the league title following promotion. It was our defensive record which impressed the most, as we conceded just 25 goals over the course of the season. Our goal scoring record was second only to HJK, as we scored 61 compared to their 66.

Suomen Cup

Honka Suffered Penalty Shootout Defeat In The Semi Finals

A strong group showing, which included victory over HJK, saw us top the group and qualify for the quarter finals. We required extra time to defeat FC Ilves, but we were unsuccessful in the semi finals against FC Lahti. We suffered defeat in a nervy penalty shootout, knocking us out of the competition.

UEFA Europa League

Honka Defied The Odds To Finish Second In Their Europa League Group

We entered the UEFA Europa League in the first qualifying round, courtesy of our Suomen Cup victory in the previous season. We first faced Cracovia and Dundalk, of Poland and Ireland respectively, and comfortably dispatched of both. The third qualifying round saw us pitted against Basaksehir of Turkey, who we defeated by a very slim margin. Astana was the final team to stand in our way of qualifying for the group stages, and two solid defensive performances saw us progress.

The group stage had us drawn against FC Schalke 04 of Germany, AEK Athens of Greece and Anderlecht of Belgium. We suffered heavy defeats against the Germans, but four victories in our other four games saw us qualify for the knockout stages. We were to play in the knockout stages in our 2020 season (next update, guys), which was certainly not expected of us.

FC Honka Team of the Season

Rafael Gava Was In Incredible Form In The 2019 Season

GK: Carljohan Eriksson - 7.10
(43 Appearances - 25 Clean Sheets - 29 Goals Conceded - 0 Player of the Match)
Eriksson's debut season with FC Honka was a splendid one as he kept a superb 25 clean sheets across all competitions. The Finnish shot stopper was a step up from Tim Murray, and filled the defenders with a great amount of confidence.

DR: Jatuli Laevuo - 6.96
(41 Appearances - 0 Goals - 5 Assists - 3 Player of the Match)
Laevuo was, once again, a solid option at full back. His defensive work was reasonably good, considering the change in quality of opposition, and his five assists proved he could contribute going forward.

DCR: Jorge Cano - 7.10
(39 Appearances - 1 Goal - 1 Assist - 2 Player of the Match)
Cano went from strength-to-strength, as he continued to be a rock in our defence. The Spaniard was irreplaceable in our lineup, as his defensive partner changed from game to game.

DCL: Romário Leiria - 7.20
(21 Appearances - 2 Goals - 0 Assists - 0 Player of the Match)
Despite the Brazilian leaving in a big money move midway through the season, he was possibly our best defender. It was possibly his intelligence on the pitch which set him apart, as he always seemed to do the right thing.

DL: Tatu Varmanen - 7.15
(23 Appearances - 0 Goals - 0 Assists - 0 Player of the Match)
Varmanen came to the club to play a role in the senior squad. While there were a number of players who played in the left back role, Varmanen probably played there the most, and he did so very well. While his attacking contribution was, quite frankly, crap, his defensive work helped secure our defence.

DM: Duarte Tammilehto - 7.10
(33 Appearances - 3 Goals - 1 Assist - 3 Player of the Match)
Tammilehto was possibly the weak link in our midfield, but was still a superb performer. He was the anchor of the midfield, and was very combative in his work. He picked up plenty of cautions, but that did not stop him from holding down the midfield for us.

MCR: Rafael Gava - 7.43
(44 Appearances - 7 Goals - 16 Assists - 5 Player of the Match)
Gava's first full season at the club was one to remember. He made the playmaker role his own as he directly contributed to twenty-three goals. This included seven goals and sixteen assists as the Brazilian ran the show. He created several opportunities for our attack each game, as the maestro quickly became a fan favourite.

MCL: Joel Perovuo - 7.05
(42 Appearances - 2 Goals - 5 Assists - 2 Player of the Match)
Perovuo was quickly reaching the end of his career, but that did not stop him from performing well. He played as a box-to-box midfielder in this season, where his overall work came to the fore.

AMR: Filip Hlupik -7.34
(31 Appearances - 15 Goals - 12 Assists - 6 Player of the Match)
Hlupik's first season at the club was an impressive one. Twenty-seven direct goal contributions, which included fifteen goals, was a decent record for a right-sided attacker. He switched, at times, between the right wing and striker positions, as he proved to be a fantastic signing.

AML: Borjas - 7.31
(36 Appearances - 20 Goals 8 Assists - 4 Player of the Match)
Borjas scored twenty goals in yet another wonderful season for the Spaniard. He played on the left this year, due to the arrival of Hlupik. He was coming towards the end of his career, but was a fantastic player to have in attack.

ST: Maximo Tolonen - 7.11
(41 Appearances - 22 Goals - 10 Assists - 5 Player of the Match)
Tolonen was a graduate of Honka's youth academy, and this was certainly his breakthrough season. He made his debut for the club back in 2016, and twenty-two goals this season certainly marked him as a player who was expected to become a key player in the future (he did not).

World Football

Lionel Messi Once Again Lifted The Ballon d'Or Award

Despite his age, it was Lionel Messi who won the Ballon d'Or. The Argentine attacker pipped Paulo Dybala and Kevin De Bruyne to the award. It was the seventh time Messi won the award, and he was hoping to add to this ever-growing collection.

Comment Section

Pumps, yeah it was some way to start the save!

Previous Update: #6 - Season 2018: Season Review
Next Update: #8 - Season 2020: Season Review
Among other things, I'm scared of Finnish names. So kudos to you for taking it on. Lovely stuff here as always, Justice.

Author's Rant

Okay, as there will be no update today, I thought it would be a good time to write to any readers I have, even if that may be just the one person, to discuss the current situation with my story, and the general situation with stories here on this site. I'm going to be blatantly honest, as that is what the readers deserve.

Where have the stories gone?

To start with stories on this site as a whole, there is no point in denying that the volume of work here has diminished considerably in the last few years. Back when I first started writing here, there were 20+ consistently-updated stories which were followed well, and offered the greatest of varieties in FM saves.

These days, the story section is nearly dead. There are maybe two or three other stories here which are regularly updated (shout-out to tenthreeleader especially), while even the number of one-time posts have decreased to nearly non-existence. Views have gone down, and comments have become more rare than gold dust. While some of us are still going on strong, we are no much lesser in volume than we used to be.

As a whole, the site really founded its success with the popular tool Genie Scout, and now FMSE has further added to that. There is no point in denying that they are the reason why 99.9999999% of people come here in the first place, to use these tools. Personally, I don't use them, but I know their magnitude is effectively running the site.

Back in the day (I say that like it was fifty years ago!), these tools may have been the reason why a lot of people came to the site, but the stories and the online chat community became a reason for them to stay. There was a real vibrancy and an authenticity about this forum, with creativity and variety in the community, especially the stories.

That is no longer the case. Without being critical of those who I speak of, because questions are always welcome, the forums and online chat have now become a place for people to ask the same repetitive questions over and over again about the two aforementioned tools, and sometimes about graphics or tactics. Nobody comes here to talk about stories.

I know that on other FM forums, stories are still running very well. I need not look to find one in particular where there have been a staggering thirteen story updates today alone (as of writing this)! It has taken over three weeks to hit that level here. That is quite unbelievable, considering is, in fact, the most visited FM forum in the world. The Premier League of story writing is no more.

What can be done about it?

Maybe people just don't want to write here anymore. Is there something toxic about this website? Sometimes I believe I'm the toxic element, as I seem to be one of the only elements remaining! Is it because there is a general lack of feedback when people start writing stories, or a lack of viewership? Or is it because there is something else lacking here?

Whatever it is, I would like to see a change, for the better. But the only way this can change is if there are more people willing to write stories here. If anybody who is still actually reading this would like to write a story, give it a chance. We have all the facilities you require to make it work. We have bbcodes and vector icons to add graphical elements to your stories. We have general guidelines to help you get started. Heck, the author of this forum (Stam) even founded his own image hosting site,, to aid people using this site! Everything you could possibly need to get started as in the palm of your hands.

The one great thing about stories here is/was people having their own ideas of how things could be done. If you feel like you have an idea on how to improve things, feel free to comment here, or even message me, and I'll try my best to make it happen. There isn't much else I can do except encourage people to try their arm at story writing. What's the worst that can happen? You might even enjoy it!

What's the deal with this story?

Well, truth be told, I do not have the time to update every single day. I have plenty of material prepared but, in order to ensure that there never comes where I cannot write updates for a number of days, I am constantly stockpiling pre-made updates and posting once every two days. This way there shouldn't be a period of nothingness from myself here.

In game, the current date is 01/01/2026. I'll be doing season reviews up until that point and then, hopefully, do something a little more detailed. I cannot promise anything though as I need to find a balance between spending any free time I allocate to FM between writing, and actually playing the game.

I'm really enjoying the save, although it has been quite easy to progress to the next level, in terms of performances. I think that is, without trying to sound too arrogant, due to the level I am at now as an FM player. Perhaps I'm beginning to sound like The Special One (Mr. Mourinho), but I do feel that I could jump in to any save with any team, and pull positive results out of somewhere. I think that is down to my experiences playing the game, I just understand how it works now.

I know the viewership and feedback for my writing has dropped significantly in the last couple of years, the numbers don't lie (I do see your comment tenthreeleader, it is not forgotten or unappreciated!). But I've never done this for the publicity, no matter how little it is at best. I enjoy writing, most of the time. Sometimes it is tedious, but it helps me to find a new gear when it comes to being creative with my saves. Otherwise, the saves can become a drag at times as it is forgettable season-after-season. At least, with a story, I can track my progress, and remember the great moments I have experienced in the game.

To Conclude....

There will be another season review update tomorrow, that is already made and is waiting for then. If all goes well, Update #16 should bring this story up to date with the save. Thank you for following thus far, and my appreciation goes to those who have made their support known. As aforementioned, if you have suggestions for this story, or stories in general, feel free to comment or even message me. If you did manage to read the whole thing, fair play to you! I'd have gotten bored after the second paragraph :P Arsenal Fan TV, if you are reading, I'm free to rant any time fam blud fam.

Word Count: 1146
(Not including titles.... or this)
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Season 2020: Season Review

A Review Of FC Honka Espoo In Season 2020

Sami Heikkinen: Following a triumphant first season in Veikkauliiga, which saw us win the league title, we were looking forward to UEFA Champions League football. We were already set to compete in the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League this season, and qualification for the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League in July was something to look forward to.


Honka Smashed Their Transfer Record On Bringing In Bjarne Hilska

Major Transfers In
(Name - Age - Position - Fee - Signed From)

Marlon Ritter - 25 (15/10/1994) - AMC/AML - €0 - Free Transfer
Ritter was an exciting transfer which was certainly approved by the fans. Ritter spent his youth career at RW Essen and Gladbach of Germany, before moving to Fortuna Dusseldorf. However, he spent most of his time with the B team, making only sixteen league appearances for the first team. He was released midway through the 2019/2020 season, and was available on a free transfer for Honka to sign. Despite not being the most athletic, his technical ability was superior to almost every other player in Veikkausliiga.

Farzad Mahmoudi - 17 (22/05/2002) - DC - €275,000 - HJK
Mahmoudi was one of the brightest prospects in Finnish football, and it took a relatively large bid to secure his services from HJK, our biggest rivals. The teenage defender was expected to become a rock in the national team's defence in the future, having already made fourteen senior appearances for his former club before the move.

Abdou Aziz Thiam - 22 (15/01/1997) - DM/MC - €200,000 - FC Inter Turku
With Tammilehto and Perovuo coming towards the end of their careers, a holding midfielder was required to bolster their squad.The Frenchman was a youth product of AS Monaco, but moved to FC Inter two years ago, where he made a total of thirty-one appearances. He was noted for his high standard of athleticism and his incredible tackling technique.

Lázaro - 29 (28/06/1990) - DC - €0 - Free Transfer
With Champions League football on the horizon, experience was required. Lázaro had played for a vast number of clubs in Brazil, Holland and Malaysia. The Brazilian defender was expected to become a key figure of the squad during the peak of his playing career.

Jere Karlsson - 18 (03/09/2001) - MC/AMC - €575 - Turun Palloseura
It was an objective of the club to add young Finnish players to the squad to build for the future, and Karlsson fit the bill. The enthusiastic midfielder was seen as capable of playing as a playmaker, as a box-to-box midfielder, and as a ball winner. Jere already had thirty-four senior appearances to his name before joining Honka, and was expected to become an important player for Finland in the future.

Christ Koffi - 19 (10/06/2001) - ST - €575,000 - ASEC Mimosas
This signing was seen as a risk, with not much known about Koffi. However, the young Ivorian striker had already recorded an incredible goal tally for his former club ASEC. Thirty-seven goals in sixty-four appearances, at just nineteen years of age, was a tally which had clubs all over Europe vying for his signature. Honka were lucky enough to sign him, but unfortunately with a €675,000 release clause.

Bjarne Hilska - 17 (30/12/2002) - AMC - €2,000,000 (€2,600,000) - HJK
This was the signing of the year. Bjarne Hilska was Finland's greatest talent since Sami Hyypiä and Jari Litmanen. The signing of Hilska required a record-smashing fee, as HJK were determined not to sell their greatest talent to their rivals. Hilska was certainly a similar style of player to Litmanen, and the attacking midfielder had already played twenty-six times for HJK, at just seventeen years old.

Jani Roschier - 17 (30/07/2002) - ST - €200,000 - HJK
With Hilska and Mahmoudi already joining from Honka's rivals HJK, Roschier completed the set of talented youngsters joining. HJK had been looking to bring in high quality Brazilian players, and so were happy to sell their youngsters, at a high price. Roschier was renowned as a talented goal scorer at youth level, and was expected to become a key figure for Honka and Finland in the future.

Kristján Sverrisson - 18 (04/02/2002) - ST - €28,000 - Leiknir Reykjavik
Sverrisson was a superb addition from Leiknir of Iceland. The young striker had already scored twenty-one goals in forty-five appearances for his former club, and was touted to be a future international striker. He would be loaned out to IFK Mariehamn straight away, due to the number of strikers already in Honka's squad.

Andrea Punzi - 23 (02/03/1997) - DC - €0 - Free Transfer
Despite Honka already possessing a number of central defenders, Punzi was a player who could not be turned down. The former Palermo youth player was available on a free transfer, and was more than happy to come to Honka in an attempt to reignite his career. He was extremely intelligent, and a superb defender with good leadership qualities.

Major Transfers Out
(Name - Age - Position - Fee - Signed For)

Carljohan Eriksson - 25 (25/04/1995) - GK - €140,000 - Blackburn Rovers
With the arrival of Virtanen, a slight upgrade, and the emergence of the very special Thomas Axberg from our youth academy, Eriksson would have been pushed back to being third choice goalkeeper. As a result, he was sold on to the English leagues, where had an opportunity to earn more money, by sitting on the bench every week.

Fredrik Lassas - 23 (01/10/1996) - MC - €1,500,000 - Amkar Perm
It was a big money deal which allowed us to fund a number of signings. Lassas had played incredibly for us, but the offer was too good to turn down.

Other Transfers
Other signings included the likes of left winger Billy Ions and full back Roni Peiponen. Burkinabe right winger Yaya also joined the club to add pace and flair to the attack. Mathias Pogba and Borjas were among the departures from the club, having dropped down the pecking order.


Honka Remained Unbeaten Throughout The Entire Veikkausliiga Campaign

What a season! It started incredibly well with five straight wins, while high-scoring victories over FC Ilves, FC Haka and IFK Mariehamn set the tone for the season. A 6-1 victory over FC Ilves was the biggest win of the season, while a thrilling 3-3 draw against FF Jaro was certainly one way to end the season.

League Table

Honka Finished The Season With A Twenty Point Margin Of Victory

Nobody came close to us! We kept the joint-best defensive record, alongside HJK, while an eighty goal haul was more than enough to completely destroy the opposition.

Suomen Cup

Honka Stormed To Suomen Cup Glory With A 6-2 Final Victory

Despite drawing our opening group game against HJK, we powered our way through to top the group. Filip Hlupik came in to his own in this tournament, as he scored a total of eleven goals. The Czech attacker helped us to victories over FC Ilves and SJK on the way to the final. A 6-2 victory over IFK Mariehamn showed our domestic dominance over the season, as Hlupik scored an incredible hat trick.

UEFA Europa League 2019/2020 Latter Rounds

Athletic Bilbao Dispatched Of Honka In The Last 32

This game was probably just a step too far for our squad, which was not yet at the quality required to compete in Europe. We were still very inexperienced, but showed tremendous quality to keep the score tight against Athletic Bilbao. The Spanish side deserved to go through, and we can count ourselves unlucky that we drew such a high quality opposition.

UEFA Champions League 2020/2021 Earlier Rounds

Honka Stormed To The Group Stages Where They Faced Top Opposition

Our first taste of UEFA Champions League qualifiers saw us pitted against the likes of Shkendija, RB Salzburg, FC Midtjylland and Celtic. However, we proved to be too much for our opposition as we stormed to the group stages. Filip Hlupik and Christ Koffi proved to add the attacking quality required to make it to the group stage.

The group stage saw us drawn against AS Monaco, Napoli and FC Porto. A crushing opening game defeat against AS Monaco showed a difference in class, but surprising victories against FC Porto and Napoli put us in a strong position. We lost two of our remaining three games, but a victory over AS Monaco helped us to finish third place in the group, securing our progress to the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League.

FC Honka Team Of The Season

Filip Hlupik Scored 37 Goals In An Incredible Season

GK: Carljohan Eriksson - 7.10
(35 Appearances - 15 Clean Sheets - 33 Goals Conceded - 0 Player of the Match)
Despite leaving in the latter part of the season, Eriksson was our standout goalkeeper for the most part. His performances didn't match those of the previous season, but he still conceded less than a goal per game, and a total of fifteen clean sheets was impressive.

DR: Jatuli Laevuo (C) - 7.09
(31 Appearances - 0 Goals - 3 Assists - 2 Player of the Match)
In the absence of Perovuo from the starting lineup, Laevuo was the stand-in captain. The full back produced another consistent season. Playing in Europe was a new challenge for many of the players, and Laevuo stepped up when it counted.

DCR: Jorge Cano - 7.09
(42 Appearances - 0 Goals - 1 Assist - 1 Player of the Match)
While Cano still proved to be a regular in the starting lineup, he played with a number of different partners. This may have seen his performances dip slightly, but he still produced quite a consistent season.

DCL: Lázaro - 7.24
(39 Appearances - 2 Goals - 1 Assist - 3 Player of the Match)
The experienced Brazilian defender came to the club and was our best defender during 2020. He performed extremely well in Europe, and even scored twice during the year.

DL: Tatu Varmanen - 7.22
(27 Appearances - 0 Goals - 1 Assist - 0 Player of the match)
Varmanen's role in the team was still a rotational one, but he was the one who played the most at left back for us. He played well, and his defensive skills came to the fore in crunch European matches.

MCR: Jere Karlsson - 7.20
(43 Appearances - 4 Goals - 4 Assists - 3 Player of the Match)
The teenage midfielder made a superb impact when he joined the club, fitting straight in to the starting eleven. Karlsson's all-action performances endeared him to the fans as he gave fantastic balance to the midfield.

MCL: Fredrik Lassas - 7.50
(29 Appearances - 5 Goals - 5 Assists - 1 Player of the Match)
Despite leaving in the latter part of the season in a seven figure deal, Lassas was absolutely outstanding for us. Playing as a ball winning midfielder, Lassas also produced ten goal contributions, which included five goals.

AMR: Filip Hlupik - 7.65
(48 Appearances - 37 Goals - 12 Assists - 10 Player of the Match)
What.A.Season. Thirty-seven goals in all competitions, and twelve assists, showed Hlupik's quality. The Czech inside forward scored eleven goals in the Suomen Cup as Honka won the competition, and his goal contributions in the league and in Europe made him a vital player.

AMC: Rafael Gava - 7.32
(47 Appearances - 6 Goals - 10 Assists - 5 Player of the Match)
Gava went from strength to strength with another superb season. The Brazilian playmaker assisted ten goals, and scored six himself, as he helped keep the attack moving fluently. He was becoming a real cult hero at Honka.

AML: Marlon Ritter - 7.29
(44 Appearances - 12 Goals - 16 Assists - 5 Player of the Match)
The German magician arrived at Honka with a bang, producing twenty-eight direct goal contributions, scoring twelve. His set-piece ability was note-worthy, as he scored and created from dead-ball situations regularly.

ST: Christ Koffi - 7.64
(18 Appearances - 15 Goals - 5 Assists - 3 Player of the match)
He only played eighteen games, but what an eighteen games they were! Fifteen goals and five assists were enough to make him our best striker of the season, as he proved he could become the next Samuel Eto'o, as expected.

World Football

France Became European Champions With Victory Over Germany

It was a year to remember for France as they ran to victory. Victories over Holland, Serbia, Belgium and Germany in the knockout stages got the French fans off their feet as they saw their team become European champions.

Lionel Messi, once again, won the Ballon d'Or, pipping Cristiano Ronaldo and Juan Mata to the title. It was title number eight for Messi as he furthered his claim to be the greatest player of all time.

Comment Section

tenthreeleader, I'm glad you're enjoying it, and I'll make sure to sign as many complicated names as possible ;)

Previous Update: #7 - Season 2019: Season Review
Next Update: #9 - Heikkinen: This Is Only The Beginning
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Heikkinen: This Is Only The Beginning

Sami Heikkinen Insisted That Honka's Rapid Rise Was Not Yet Over

Sami, it has been an incredible first three years for you as Honka manager. How can you some up your experience so far?

Sami Heikkinen: "Special. It has been very special for me. I don't think anybody could have anticipated just how far we've come in the last few years, with the trophies we have won and the progress we have made in Europe. We've taken many huge steps in the last few years which we can be proud of.

When I first arrived here at Honka, it was to see if I had what it takes to be a professional football manager. From that very first day, I have been assisted by every member of the club, from the chairman to the fans, and as a result I have grown as a manager, and as a person. With Honka, Espoo has become my home for life. I hope to spend many more years here."

Your side just completed an incredible unbeaten Veikkausliiga campaign. How did your side manage that?

Sami Heikkinen: "Our objective at the start of the season was not to remain unbeaten throughout the whole year. We've only ever taken each game as it comes. We set out to perform as well as we possibly can, and hope that our performances bring positive results. Luckily for us, our performances have been good enough to earn positive results throughout the entire season.

The players have to be given a ton of credit, really. We've had plenty of new players coming in to the club in recent seasons, and they've all settled in well. They've shown terrific attitude each and every day in training, and the performances have been a result of their good work."

Europa League and Champions League football have come to Honka in the last couple of years, with Honka performing well above expectations. How exciting is it to be competing among the best clubs in Europe?

Sami Heikkinen: "We love playing in Europe! The atmosphere at the games, the travels across Europe, the ability of teams we have faced; they've all been special experiences for us. We've been able to compete against the likes of Napoli, Monaco, Porto, Bilbao, even Celtic, in our European fixtures in the last couple of years.

We get to look forward to competing in the Europa League knockout stages in February, for the second year running. I don't think anybody in Finland, or in Europe, could have anticipated that from happening. It is a significant step in the right direction for this football club, and for Finnish football in general. It is a sign that we can compete against some of the top teams in Europe, and we will make even more significant steps in the future."

Honka's transfer policy under your management has changed, with a number of young players arriving at the club recently. Is this your way of preparing the club for future seasons?

Sami Heikkinen: "Not just for future seasons, but also for the present. Many of the players we have brought in our young, but age is no direct indicator of ability. These guys have the ability to make a real difference right away and that is something a number of them have been doing. Jere (Karlsson), Bjarne (Hilska) and Jani (Roschier) have already been involved in the senior squad.

We've been fortunate enough to have a number of players with real ability come through our youth academy. Maximo Tolonen, Kai Hakala and, most recently, Thomas Axberg have all come through to prove capable of playing at senior level for us. We hope to continue producing players of a high quality from our youth academy to bolster our senior squad over the next few years.

Honka's meteoric rise over the last few years was certainly not predicted. Is this the summit for this football club?

Sami Heikkinen: "No, this certainly isn't the highest point this club can reach. We don't want to stop at being champions of Finland, we want to create a legacy which stretches further than domestic success. While it might seem unlikely now, I believe we can become one of the best teams in the world and really prove that a country's footballing reputation does not decide its ability to win on the big stage.

We've made some outstanding progress in the last few years, coming from the second division of Finnish football competing in the knockout stages of the Europa League. We can be proud of what we have achieved so far, but we're not done yet. This is only the beginning."

Previous Update: #8 - Season 2020: Season Review
Next Update: #10 - Season 2021: Season Review
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6 yearsEdited

Season 2021: Season Review

A Review Of FC Honka Espoo In Season 2021

Sami Heikkinen: We were beginning to form a squad capable of becoming a true force in Europe. A number of young, exciting players had arrived in recent seasons, and more were on their way in as the Honka was on its way to the top. Continental glory was a long way away yet, but Honka were closing in on the reputable teams in terms of player quality, facilities and finances.


Former Liverpool Starlet Yan Dhanda Joined Honka's Ranks In 2021

Major Transfers In
(Name - Age - Position - Fee - Signed From)

Juha Tuomi - 17 (06/02/2003) - AML - €450,000 -

Another young signing from our rivals! Tuomi was hot property and the pacey winger was expected to become a star player for club and country in the future. In the age of the Inside Forward, Tuomi was throw back to what wide players were all about. He had pace, he could cross, and he made up the ground in wide areas. The only question was, could he break in to Honka's senior team straight away?

Rasmus Schüller - 29 (18/06/1991) - MC - €1,000,000 - Minnesota United
A hero returned! Rasmus was a Honka graduate, and played for the club between 2008 and 2011, before joining rivals HJK in 2012. The Finnish international midfielder eventually made his way to the MLS to play for Minnesota United. Sami Heikkinen brought Rasmus back to his home to add leadership to a young midfield, and his ability to play as a playmaker or as a ball winner singled him out as an ideal candidate to fit in to any team shape or lineup.

Santier Hostikka - 23 (30/09/1997) - AML - €300,000 - FC Lahti
Big money was shelled out to bring the versatile Finnish winger to Honka. Capable of playing on either side, Hostikka had made a name for himself in the league. His ability to beat defenders and to be involved in goals made him an ideal candidate to add to Honka's ever-increasing firepower. The winger was to be retrained in to becoming an inside forward, with the hope of forging a fearsome attacker out of traditional winger.

Dragan Obradovic - 17 07/05/2002) - DL - €2,600,000 -
FK Rad

Obradovic was brought to my attention by his agent, an ambitious (yet greedy) man. I tracked Dragan's progress closely, and signed the seventeen year old full back after him having made 32 senior appearances for his club in Serbia's top flight. He was expected to become a world beater, and we were willing to pay a club record fee to bring him to Honka. Big things were expected of him, and we were determined to ensure he would not flop.

Yan Dhanda - 22 (14/12/1998) - AML/AMC - €0 - Liverpool
This was, arguably, our most high profile signing of the season. Dhanda had struggled in recent loan spells at Tranmere, Northampton and Mansfield, and Liverpool were unwilling to extend his contract. We picked him up following the expiration of his contract in the summer, with the goal of helping him find the talent which had previously made him one of the mostly highly anticipated youngsters in England. The attacking midfielder was capable of playing on the wide left, or more centrally. However, I envisioned him playing on the right hand side, where he could cause havoc. Little did I know what kind of impact he would have in future seasons....

Major Transfers Out
(Name - Age - Position - Fee - Signed For)

Jatuli Laevuo - 25 (19/05/1995) - DR - €145,000 - Shinnik Yaroslav
It was disappointing to let Laevuo go, as he had been a key figure in previous season. He had played for the club since junior level, but he had become a peripheral player in the squad, and he deserved to be playing regularly. A venture to Russia gave him the opportunity to do so, as well as a nice wage increase.

Christ Koffi - 19 (10/06/2001) - ST - €675,000 - Hamburger SV
The release clause in his contract came back to haunt us, as he was quickly out of the club. He was possibly valued at an eight-figure fee, but he was allowed to leave for a fraction of that. Hamburg got themselves the future of African football, and we wished him all the best for the future. He may have refused to agree to a new contract at Honka, but he put in high quality performances in each and every game he played for the club, no matter how few they were.

[img][/img] Other Transfers
A few other signings were made to plug any holes in the backup brigade of the squad. Robert Taylor and Haukue Hauksson were the more high profile of those. Burkinabe winger Yaya and Turkish fullback Erdinc Karakas also left the club, in search of more regular football.


Honka Were High-Scoring In Another Dominant Veikkausliiga Campaign

We opened the league campaign with eight straight victories, which included a 5-0 mauling of HIFK. However, the biggest result of the season was a 6-1 hammering of fierce rivals HJK away from home in June. They failed to cope with our devastating press, inspired by Klopp, and we absolutely tore them to pieces with every move.

League Table

26 Points Was The Margin As Honka Strolled To Glory

It was no surprise that an impressive set of results culminated with the league title. We deserved to lift the trophy, despite being disjointed at times. Our squad was still a very young one, with the prospect of its potential a frightening one.

Suomen Cup

Honka Suffered Extra Time Heartbreak In The Final

GAHHHHHHHHHHH! So close! We strolled through the group stage comfortably, before facing what can only be described as a tedious knockout stages. Extra time was required to dispatch IFK Mariehamn and FC Lahti, and 120 minutes would be played again in the final against FC Inter Turku. However, we were on the receiving end of a beating, as the Turku-based side lifted the cup. So close for us!

UEFA Europa League 2020/2021 Latter Rounds

Honka Were Eliminated In The Last 16 Of The Competition

After a tense 3-3 draw against Standard Liege in the first leg, we secured progression to the next round thanks to a strong second leg performance. However, we were then pitted against Italian side Fiorentina, who proved too much for us. Defeat in each leg saw us eliminated, but we could hold our heads high with reaching that round in the first place.

UEFA Champions League 2021/2021 Earlier Rounds

Honka Impressed In A Very Strong Champions League Group

Same old story. Honka does well to progress to the group stages, against all the odds. Honka is rewarded with the group of death. Manchester City, Atlético Madrid and FC Schalke 04. Wow. Thank you UEFA. Thank you. A 0-4 spanking in Madrid set the tone, but then we miraculously secured a point at home to Schalke. However, in swooped Manchester City to deliver two defeats, before the greatest thing in the history of man occurred (I am not exaggerating). At home to Atlético Madrid, with minutes remaining, Kristján Sverrisson scored the winning goal in a thrilling 3-2 victory for Honka to give us hope of progressing! In the final game of the group stage, away to Schalke, we pull off the greatest of upsets to claim victory at the home of the Germans, securing second place in the group stage of the tournament for us, and progression to the knockout stages of the UEFA f*cking Champions League! HOORAH!

FC Honka Team Of The Season


GK: Thomas Axberg - 7.07
57 Appearances - 24 Clean Sheets - 57 Goals Conceded - 0 Player of the Match
The young goalkeeper played his first full season at senior level at the club, having come through the club's youth academy the previous season. He may have conceded one goal per game, but that is mainly down to playing against the big European clubs. He performed well, and 24 clean sheets shows that.

DR: Haukur Hauksson - 7.11
40 Appearances - 1 Goal - 2 Assists - 1 Player of the Match
The Icelandic enjoyed a solid campaign in his debut season at the club. Haukkson performed well defensively, helping hold a solid line when required. While the club was not renowned for its defensive exploits in 2021, he played well throughout.

DCR: Jorge Cano - 6.94
47 Appearances - 3 Goals - 0 Assists - 0 Player of the Match
In truth, it was a difficult season for our defence. However, Cano performed reasonably well throughout the season and could hold his head high. The Spaniard's stoppage time goal against Schalke will live long in the memory of the Honka faithful.

DCL: Andrea Punzi (C) - 7.18
42 Appearances - 3 Goals - 2 Assists - 0 Player of the Match
While not the official club captain, Punzi was the skipper on the pitch. The Italian was composed and offered reliability in a rocky season defensively. He organised the defence well and was able to start moves from the back.

DL: Dragan Obradovic - 7.15
33 Appearances - 0 Goals - 1 Assist - 1 Player of the Match
The teenage fullback did indeed put in a decent first season at the club. He provided solidity on the left hand side, and he showed reasonable ability moving forward. He was expected to become a world class player in the future, and he put down a good marker.

MCR: Rafael Gava - 7.43
29 Appearances - 5 Goals - 7 Assists - 2 Player of the Match
The influx of midfielders could not keep Gava out of the team, and the Brazilian put down another good season of football. He was creative and industrious in attack, as ever, and was a figure of consistency.

MCL: Jere Karlsson - 7.19
45 Appearances - 3 Goals - 8 Assists - 5 Player of the Match
It was another all-action season for Karlsson, who produced another solid season at the club. The youngster was quickly becoming a key part of the social core of the squad, and his influence was undoubted. While not the most technically advanced, he was a player that made the team tick.

AMR: Filip Hlupik - 7.21
31 Appearances - 15 Goals - 8 Assists - 3 Player of the Match
Another good season for the Czech attacker. Hlupik scored important goals at important moments, and his experience was invaluable in a young and vibrant attack.

AMC: Bjarne Hilska - 7.42
38 Appearances - 8 Goals - 6 Assists - 5 Player of the Match
Talk about lighting up the show! In his first full season at the club, Hilska showed why he was being likened to Jari Litmanen. The attacking midfielder was in the thick of the attacking action, and provided several goals of his own.

AML: Marlon Ritter - 7.26
45 Appearances - 23 Goals - 13 Assists - 7 Player of the Match
Goal machine. He played primarily on the left, but was often deployed behind the striker. Ritter banged in 23 goals, and assisted 13 more in a remarkable season.

ST: Jani Roschier - 7.27
(40 Appearances - 20 Goals - 14 Assists - 2 Player of the Match
A very solid season for Jani Roschier. A goal every other game wasn't a bad record for the teenage striker.

World Football

Eden Hazard Was Named As Ballon d'Or Winner

It was a year to remember for Real Madrid's Eden Hazard as the Belgian attacker earned himself the coveted Ballon d'Or prize at the expense of Neymar and Lionel Messi, who finished second and third respectively. It was the end of an era, with Hazard being the first player other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to win the award since Kaká in 2007.

Previous Update: #9 - Heikkinen: This Is Only The Beginning
Next Update: #11 - Season 2022: Season Review

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