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Aapo Virtanen: Don’t Look Back In Anger

Started on 6 November 2018 by Jack
Latest Reply on 5 September 2019 by Justice
I'm not too surprised to see you outclassed by the riches of PSG. You've enjoyed a fantastic run to the knockout phases nonetheless and Aapo ought to be proud of his side. I feel his words of "a beautiful experience" may be understating the sheer brilliance of his work. It is quite more than that, for me.
The miracle run had to end somewhere it's just a shame it had to be at the hands of P$G and not a team that has built their success not bought it

In possibly two of the strangest transfers to take place in all time, ex-Real Madrid stars Sergio Ramos and Ángel Di Maria have both joined Finnish champions and Champions League last 16 side AC Oulu on free transfers.

Ramos, 36 and Di Maria, 35 both won the 2014 Champions League together in Benfica's stadium as Real Madrid defeated their city rivals Atlético Madrid 4-1, with Sergio Ramos scoring the pivotal equaliser deep into stoppage time to take the game to extra-time where Bale, Marcelo and Ronaldo tore into Diego Simeone's team.

After 17 years of service at the Santiago Bernabeu, Ramos announced that he would be leaving the club at the end of his contract last June after winning 16 trophies, including five La Liga titles and four Champions League titles. A truly phenomenal spell in the capital city.

The centre-back also achieved remarkable success with his national side of Spain as he captained his country to a World Cup trophy in 2010 as well as two European Championships in both 2008 and 2012 in what was a golden era for the Spain national team under Vicente Del Bosque. He becomes the most decorated player to ever play in Finland and probably will remain that way until the end of time with the amount of silverware to his name.

In the summer after his Champions League triumph with Real Madrid, Ángel Di Maria departed from the club to join Manchester United in a €75million transfer in what turned out to be a disaster spell for the Argentinian winger under Louis van Gaal. Di Maria left Old Trafford just a season later as PSG snapped him up and he enjoyed a great five years in the French capital, winning four Ligue 1 titles between 2015 and 2020.

At the end of his PSG contract, Di Maria signed on a free transfer with Russian giants CSKA Moscow where the winger failed to win any trophies in Eastern Europe and his contract came to an end last July.

Ramos and Di Maria have both penned nine-month contracts at their new club Oulu under Aapo Virtanen but both have announced their retirements from the game at the end of their deals. The manager of Oulu has already handed over the captaincy to Sergio Ramos due to his undoubtedly excellent leadership skills.

With Oulu qualifying for the Champions League again this season, it will sure be interesting to see how the duo end up!

Scott: Hora is certainly someone I am very excited about already! And with PSG, I had no qualms about losing to them given their unbelievable riches and talent, I'm quite surprised the score wasn't higher!

Griffin: We all have our dream endings, but hopefully we have a happily ever after this season ;)
Unlucky in the last 16 of the Champions League. And some great signings, especially the two old heads of Ramos and Di Maria.
Ermmmm sorry what?
Some will argue that they're past it, whilst others will argue that signing these two up will go down as one of the biggest coups ever, let alone in Finland. Let's hope that they perform in Finland, although I'm sure they will!

As the 2023 season draws ever closer, we are delighted to reveal our new kits for the season as well as the list of squad numbers.

Kappa have manufactured this kit for the fourth year in a row now and the kit is now available to pre-order.

The new jersey keeps a traditional look with the navy and dark navy colour combination on the home shirts, as has been the look ever since the club was established back in 2002.

Our away kit also reverts to the clubs traditional away colours with an Oulun Luistinseura-influenced yellow and a light yellow combination.

The club are also announcing a new third kit with a similar dark and light green combination for circumstances where both the home and away kits are clashing with the opposition colours.

We are also delighted to announce a new main kit sponsor as Nordic financial services company Nordea have agreed to a two-year sponsorship deal.

"We are delighted to have Nordea on board with the club in what is the most lucrative kit sponsorship deal in the entire Finnish footballing system. We look to represent Nordea in the most favourable light by achieving excellent placement in the league and Europe."
- Risto Ihalainen, club chairman

With the shirts available in all Oulu club stores and good sports shops in Finland, Oulu have announced the squad numbers for the upcoming campaign so that customers can have their favourite Oulu player on the back of their new shirts.

The club have given numbers to 55 of the contracted club players. New captain and former Real Madrid icon Sergio Ramos has been given his iconic number four shirt on his arrival in Finland, whereas Ángel Di María also returns to the number 22 shirt he wore at the Santiago Bernabeu up until 2014.

January signing Roope Riski will don the number thirteen shirt as a striker this season, with Teemu Savolainen taking the number nine shirt.

Adult Men:
Long sleeve: €40
Short sleeve: €36
Shorts: €12

Adult Women:
Short sleeve: €36

Long sleeve: €31
Short sleeve: €29

Shorts: €10
Baby Kits: €24
Socks: (7-11 adult) €8, (3-6) €7 (12-3) €6

SonsOfAnarchy: Thanks mate, disappointed but not surprised about the UCL, but the arrivals of Ramos and Di Maria have boosted morale for sure.
Griffin: It's just the kinda club we are now ;)
Scott: On free transfers and such low wages, they are massive coups for definite! They've got proven quality and it's just a case of putting it on show for Oulu now.

We have made a very great start to the season, beginning with two friendly fixtures in which we scored 19 goals in with a 14-0 win in one of the games. We have played the lowest amount of games in the league and we are top of the league. In the cup we have played superb, finishing 1st in the group phase before eventually winning the cup in May against Inter Turku with an emphatic 4-0 victory.

Our first two games in April were friendly fixtures against Keminmaan who we defeated 14-0 with help from a Moshtagh Yaghoubi hat-trick, as well as a good win against our own reserve team. Our first league fixture was against Helsinki who we defeated with ease at Raatin Stadion. We continued good league form despite a loss against our bogey team Mariehamn. In the Suomen Cup 2nd round we faced Kesko-Uusimaa and progressed with an easy 5-1 win with Roope Riski scoring a hat-trick.

In May, we had a superb month with not a single loss throughout the entirety of May. Additionally, we only conceded one goal all month with the 1-1 draw with Lahti where we dropped our only points of May. In the cup we played Ekenas Tammisaari in the quarters, Helsinki in the semis and finally Inter Turku in the final where we ultimately were successful in our hunt for our first trophy of the season, with Roope Riski finishing as the top scorer in the competition as added silverware.

As we head into the busiest part of the season, we lead in the Veikkausliiga with two games in hand on 2nd place Seinajoen and David Obi has been on exceptional form between the sticks with a conceding rate in the league of 0.5 goals per game.

In terms of the challengers, Seinajoen and Inter Turku have risen back to prominence with a good start after some bad seasons for the pair. Inter Turku's Bismark Ngissah has been on incredible form with a goal every 101 minutes in the Veikkausliiga.

Last seasons runner-up IFK Mariehamn have had a tough beginning despite beating us in April, they find themselves in 6th place after losing three games and having no games in hand.

The Veikkausliiga new-boys FC Lahti and Turun have also had a great start in the league with Lahti sitting high up in 5th place and Turun hovering four points from relegation safety - a huge improvement on promoted teams of recent seasons who have consistently gone straight back down to the Ykkonen.

At the bottom of the table are our local rivals Rovaniemen which we are taking pleasure in mocking. Following them up is FC Ilves in 11th with just six points from nine and Honka Espoo are hovering once again very closely to relegation after finishing 10th last season.

At the end of May we go into over a two week break where we have no matches in any competition now the Suomen Cup is all done. We firstly take on Inter Turku in June who have had a great start under new manager Sami Hyypia after a very underwhelming performance last season.

July is by far our busiest month of the season with no less than nine fixtures which will no doubt be rearranged due to our Champions League qualifying round commitments which will once again be an interesting competition.
Stellar Kits with Stellar Results!
Quite tight at the top, but i'm sure you'll run away with it. And the kits look really good.
Absolutely love those kits, I may have to purchase one. ;) Love the new banner that you mentioned too, very professional.

Some great results to open the season. One loss from eight is certainly a decent return and to have only conceded four shows a very competent back-line. Although we all know that the true adventure begins in Europe.
Faapo Virtanen

Veikkausliiga leaders AC Oulu have today announced the arrival of three players upon the reopening of the transfer window this July.

All three players were signed on pre-contract arrangements, with Colombian attacking-midfielder Wilson Gutiérrez being the first to be agreed as Oulu spend €1,000,000. Despite not appearing in many Liga Postobón fixtures for his former team Atlético Nacional, he appeared several times over his three year professional spell in the Copa Libertadores for his boyhood team.

At just 18 years old, Gutiérrez has already appeared 13 times for Colombia's Under 20 side.

Oulu's second arrival of the summer transfer window comes all the way from England as Bolton Wanderers' Joe Fairs agreed a two-and-a-half year deal at Raatin Stadion as Aapo Virtanen shelled out the highest transfer fee ever paid by Oulu or a Finnish football team as Bolton agreed to a €2.6million deal for the centre-back.

Fairs broke into Bolton's first-team last season in League One as he appeared 21 times in the league campaign as Bolton finished in 10th place under Andy De Smet. In addition to lots of first-team appearances, Fairs has also broken into England's Under 19 team.

And finally, Oulu's most recent agreement to sign a player comes from the Brazilian top-flight as a €165,000 fee takes central midfielder Vinícius from Santos to Oulu. The 18-year-old joined Santos' prestigious academy back in 2017 and has emerged as another one of their great youth products over the years.

After making his Santos debut back in 2021, Vinícius became more integral over the past two years at Vila Belmiro as he made just under 40 first-team appearances in all competitions before joining Oulu today. In addition to his club achievements, Vinícius has made 7 Brazil Under 20 caps and even won the Campeonato Sudamericano Sub-17 with his national youth team.

KekFM: Say what you see ;)
SonsOfAnarchy: It's certainly interesting to see Inter Turku reemerging as contenders this season!
Scott: Thank you very much for the comments on the visuals ;) Our defence is consistently working wonders and in my opinion are a much better asset than our attack! Can't wait to begin the European adventure once more.
Justice: I was looking forward to your weekly pun but this weeks has not been as great from you :(

Yet another fantastic month for us here at Raatin Stadion! We did not lose a single game in neither the league or the Champions League. We faced what could be considered our closest title rival twice in the space of the past two months and successfully flattened them on both occasions as we won 3-0 and 4-1 against Inter Turku in June and July.

In Europe, we started our third successive venture in the Champions League with a visit to Bosnia & Herzergovina's reigning champions Maribor where we won 3-1 in our first qualifying game.

Teemu Savolainen had a fantastic start to June as he bagged a hat-trick against our nearest title rivals of the time Inter Turku in an emphatic 3-0 win. He followed his hat-trick up with a brace against Ilves in the corresponding fixture which ended 4-0. This began a six-game run of not conceding a single goal to any of our opponents in what was a remarkably fantastic show of defensive ability and attacking prowess.

July signalled the entrance of Cristian Pina into the first-team as Oliver Antman saw a period out on the sidelines. He rewarded my faith with goals against Turun and Maribor in the number 10 role as a trequartista. We won 6-1 on aggregate in our first qualifying match against Bosnian side Maribor and we have drawn our home tie against the 2nd qualifying round opponents of Slovenian descent, Zrinjski Mostar as we struggled to capitalise on numerous chances against the Slovenian champions.

June and July saw us rise to the top of the Veikkausliiga table by a considerable margin. After defeating Helsinki and Inter Turku in this period, we have extended our lead to seven points ahead of 2nd place Helsinki with the added bonus of three games in hand on our title rivals this season.

Unlike other seasons, the teams promoted from the second tier last season are performing very well in comparison to new teams of seasons gone by as both FC Lahti and Turun are performing above the relegation zone, with Lahti even sitting eight points ahead of the relegation playoff spot.

However, at the bottom of the table it is two very unlikely teams occupying the relegation spots. In the relegation playoff spot of 11th is Kuopion who finished 4th last season and even qualified for the Europa League in the process. In tumbling so far down the table, their short-lived appointment of Mika Lehkosuo came to an end with a sacking in June, lasting only 188 days in the job. At the bottom of the table are Vaasan, who also have qualified for the Europa League due to their 3rd place finish last term despite not losing last seasons top scorer Matias Forsman and only one player leaving the club in the transfer window. After almost three years in charge, Vaasan sacked Jari Ahman and have appointed our very own club icon David Ramadingaye - who was a coach at the club - as manager to replace him in what will be Ramadingaye's first managerial post.

Our Player of the Month award had to go to a defender this month simply because of our full month of clean sheets throughout June, which Erik Dahl was an integral part of as he started every game that month. With a 95% header win rate and a 94% tackle completion ratio, as well as a goal against 2nd place Helsinki in June, he was the best of a very good bunch of candidates for the award.

Next month we have another very busy schedule in August as currently we are set to play nine games (not including the prospective European fixtures). We start the month off in the Champions League 2nd qualifying round 2nd leg against Slovenian champions Zrinjski Mostar who we are currently level with after a 1-1 draw in the first leg. This is followed by lots of Veikkausliiga fixtures where we could potentially seal the title early on if results go our way.

In September, we play 5th placed Seinajoen in back-to-back fixtures before playing gameweek 30 at Raatin Stadion against Veikkausliiga new-boys FC Lahti.
Title all but secured at this point! Yet another to add to the cabinet! Loving the look of Fairs could be a key part for years to come!

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