The Next Chapter
Kalle Koskinen Began A New Chapter In His Life
"I guess all that is left for you now, Kalle, is to put pen to paper and confirm yourself as our new manager."
Making the choice to work for UEFA was one of the most difficult decisions in my life. It was an organisation whose corruption had previously rattled me to the core and hung me out to dry for the fault of man. I was the victim of the negligence of football's most infamous governing body and painted as a villain by their hierarchy.
Despite all that, years later, I was representing them. I was brought in to make a change and to defeat the darkness demonstrated by a small minority of football fans across Europe. It had become my job to devise a strategy to target those responsible for abusing, physically or verbally, others.
With a team of highly-professional law-makers and advisors, a plan was formulated to combat abuse in football. The objective was to create a law-binding act which would see an over-ruling body liaison directly with every football club and police service to target law-breaking fans and to deal out punishments to those responsible which fitted their associated crime. It allowed for true transparency all the way from the crime itself, to the club, to the police, to the governing bodies.
The act was constructed in a manner which protected clubs from punishment for their fans' actions, provided the fans were not repeat offenders, did not act in a group of offenders, and any law-breaking scenario was dealt with immediately and effectively by the club's staff. This was an important aspect of the act which most clubs agreed with, as it protected the clubs from legal prosecution if the clubs followed the rules.
I wished for every nation involved in UEFA to implement the act within their own football federations, with a governing body for the act working in each federation. Almost every federation agreed to the changes without too much discussion, but there was significant opposition from the Italian federation (FIGC) and from the English federation (FA). The two federations required a significant amount of negotiation time in order to persuade them to join the act.
By 1st September 2018, every federation within UEFA had agreed to the act and the act had come into force. The Mia Koskinen Act was officially recognised across every federation within UEFA's govern. Reputable footballers Raheem Sterling, Mario Balotelli and David Alaba were among the high-profile supporters of the act and they acted as unofficial ambassadors.
Following the pass of the Mia Koskinen Act, which was named to honour my late mother, I resigned from my role at UEFA. My work was done and I felt that I left European football in a far better place. Within three months of the Mia Koskinen Act being passed, reports of law-breaking supporters had decreased in number by almost 82%, a remarkable figure in such a short space of time. Football had become a safer place for everybody.
I returned to my native Finland where I completed my football coaching badges. During my time with UEFA, I had worked my way through the various coaching courses to receive the highest qualification possible. I wished to return to football in a managerial capacity and earning my qualifications allowed me to move in a direction I was put off so many years ago.
I was considered as a high-profile figure within the football world at the time and I received a number of interesting offers to take over as manager of clubs across Europe. Lille OSC of France were the first to approach me, shortly followed by ACF Fiorentina of Italy and FC Rubin Kazan of Russia. Each club offered a large wage package for me to take over but I had no interest in joining a club in one of Europe's top flights any time soon.
My eyes were set on a job closer to home. I had followed domestic football in Finland quite closely when time allowed me and the 2018 season threw up some major surprises. SJK were surprise winners of the Veikkausliiga (Finnish top tier), pipping RoPS and HJK narrowly to the top spot, while KPV Kokkola produced an outstanding campaign to top Ykkönen (Finnish second tier).
I wasn't the first former Finnish international to return to a management role, or similar, within Finland this year. Sami Hyypiä became Kemi Kings manager in September but was unable to rescue them from relegation from Veikkausliiga. He was looking to earn instant promotion back to the top tier with his side. Jari Litmanen became FC Haka's assistant manager in July, his first job in football since his playing days which ended in 2011.
It was now my turn to join the party and all I required was a starting point for my managerial career. There were several vacancies within the Finnish football structure which included TPS, VPS and FC Lahti. However, I wished to begin my managerial career with a far less reputable club. I wished to get a feel for Finnish football from its roots, a little further away from the top tiers.
My search for a football club found me in Paimio, a small town close to the city of Turku, in the west of Finland. With a population of just over ten-thousand, it was far from a major dwelling area compared to other towns and cities in the south of Finland. Despite its size, it was a truly beautiful location and one I instantly fell in love with.
My visit to Paimio brought me to Ravintola Poimari, a pub-turn-restaurant-turn-karaoke bar in the heart of the town. With the restaurant's famous bacon hamburger and a pint of Lapin Kulta beer on a table in front of me, I had struck an agreement to become the manager of a football club whose owner sat across the table from myself, detailing his admiration for my career.
Antti Eklund was a proud owner of one of Paimio's football clubs and he was eager to have me on board to take his club to the next level. He had aspirations for his club to become one of the most renowned clubs in the southwest of Finland and he was certain that I would be the ideal candidate to bring about the change required to make that happen.
"Once you have a contract written up and ready for me to read and sign, Antti, let me know and we shall continue this discussion further. I would love to become manager of your football club and I imagine that it should not be too difficult for us to come to an agreement."
"Kalle, thank you for taking the time to come here to Paimio to discuss the job with me. I will have a contract ready for you tomorrow morning and I do hope that I have done enough to convince you to join us on our mission. On behalf of Peimari United, it would be an honour to have you on board."
"The honour would be mine, Antti."
Comment SectionLil' Griff, if I set the standard, you raise the bar higher than the standard each time xo
ScottT, yeah thankfully he did make a difference, but will that be the last of the saga? You'll have to keep reading to find out
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