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A Viking's Tale

He relinquished a career among football's elite to pave his own path in his home country. Can Kalle Koskinen guide FC Viikingit to glory?
Started on 15 May 2021 by Justice
Latest Reply on 2 September 2021 by Mauve
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Season 2024: Objectives


01/04/2024

Ahead of the 2024 Veikkausliga season, Kalle Koskinen met with the club's board to discuss objectives for the 2024 season. The objectives included on-field performances, controlled by Kalle Koskinen himself, as well as of-field performances. Janne Partanen, the owner of the club, conveyed his objectives through his assigned task leaders who ran the rule over the various aspects of the fooball club.

Footballing Objectives

Jack Bamford

Jack Bamford: "Last season was a dream one for this football club. A top half finish and securing European football marked another step in Viikingit's journey to the top, and we now ask for another step to be made this season. Avoid relegation from the league, reach the knockout rounds of the Suomen Cup and get to the Second Qualifying Round of the UEFA Europa Conference League. They are our on-field expectations. Anything more will be considered a bonus."

Last Season's Veikkausliga Objective: Fight bravely against relegation (ACHIEVED)
Last Season's Suomen Cup Objective: Be competitive in group stage (ACHIEVED)

This Season's Veikkausliga Objective: Avoid Relegation (ONGOING)
This Season's Suomen Cup Objective: Reach Second Round (ACHIEVED)
This Season's UEFA Europa Conference League Objective: Reach Second Qualifying Round (ONGOING)

Attendance Objectives

Luke Hendricks

Luke Hendricks: "The growth of this football club has been evident by the increase in numbers at our games. We had a total attendance of over 10,000 across last season, with our average attendance at 578. With a season of Veikkausliga football behind us, and European football to look forward to, we can be optimistic about our attendance figures increasing further this year. We can set lofty objectives."

Last Season's Total Attendance Objective: More than 8,000 fans across all games combined (ACHIEVED)
Last Season's Peak Attendance Objective: Have at least one game where more than 1,000 fans attend (ACHIEVED)

This Season's Total Attendance Objective: More than 15,000 fans across all games combined (ONGOING)
This Season's Peak Attendance Objective: Have at least five games where more than 1,000 fans attend (ONGOING)

Season Ticket Objectives

James Viduka

James Viduka: "The season ticket holders are really the core of our at-game club support. They attend every game and embody the passion and aspirations of this football club. We were delighted with the increaee in fans we experienced last season, and we hit our target for this season. We set a target of 240 season ticket sales and achieved 241 season ticket sales this season. We hope to continue seeing this go in the right direction in the coming seasons."

Last Season's Season Ticket Sales Objective: Sell more than 200 season tickets (ACHIEVED)

This Season's Season Ticket Sales Objective: Sell more than 240 season tickets (ACHIEVED)


The club is making such tremendous progress in all areas, and there's a serious amount of talent within the squad too. I've no doubt that a few of the lads will attract enormous offers in the future, which will help for the club to keep moving in the right direction. The fact that Kalle seems to be guiding the club into a position where he's meeting [or going to meet] all the objectives that they've set him is a real testament, and I'm hopeful that we'll see some silverware this season.

Vestnes is crucial to EVERYTHING.
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Season 2024: April - June


Kalle Koskinen's men were fit and ready for a new league season and fans were optimistic. The expectation was to avoid relegation but, deep down, the club's supporters knew that their young, star manager could bring the club to an even higher level. New players had come in to add some fresh talent to the squad and the future was bright.

Results


Veikkausliga
Viikingit's league form started out indifferent in April - an opening day hammering of VPS was followed up by two draws and a loss to end the month for Veikkausliga football. However, Viikingit turned the screw in May and June and won every game. The results included a 3-1 win over champions HJK, 4-0 wins over FC Lahti and FC Ilves, as well as a thrilling 5-4 win over FC Haka. Viikingit's goal scoring exploits showed and had fans off their seats every single minute.

Suomen Cup
Viikingit kicked off the Knockout Rounds with comfortable wins over KTP and MP Mikkeli to set up a Semi Final clash against familiar opponents AC Oulu. Viikingit fell at this obstacle back in 2021, but goals from Tom Vestnes and Joseph Sery saw them win 2-1 and entertain a place in the final. The final was played at Viikingit's home ground against SJK, and Viikingit demolished them. A 3-0 win saw Viikingit win the Suomen Cup and earn European qualification for the 2025/2026 European season.

Veikkausliga


Viikingit's incredible run of form in the league saw them end the month of June comfortably on top of the league. Their superior goal scoring form was the difference as they placed 5 points above second placed SJK after 12 games. With 10 games to go in the regular part of the season, Viikingit have probably already secured a top-half place, and passage to the Championship Group of the league season, but will be hoping they can continue pushing for loftier objectives.




Upcoming Fixtures


FC Viikingit will finish the regular part of the Veikkausliga season in July and August with ten more games, before the split into the Championship and Relegation Groups, which will be played in September. While Viikingit will be gearing up to continue their fine league form, their focus will be on the UEFA Europa Conference League First Qualifying Round fixtures against Vardar Skopje of North Macedonia. Viikingit will be favourites in their European debut, but anything can happen. Can Kalle's men progress to the next qualifying round?



J_ames, Vestnes is the future!

Season 2024: July - August


Following an incredibly-strong start to the season, which included FC Viikingit lifting the Suomen Cup for the first ever time, Kalle Koskinen's team had a lot to be excited about. His semi-professional side was challenging for the league title and had UEFA Europa Conference League qualifiers coming up. 2024 was set to be a massive year in FC Viikingit's history.

Results

Ah yes, Viikingit's annual second-half season syndrome kicked in. July started well, including the demolition of Vardar Skopje in the First Qualifying Round of the UEFA Europa Conference League. Then it all went to shit. A defeat to HJK was followed up by losses to Viktoria Plzen in Europe, eliminating Viikingit from the Conference League qualifiers, and then Viikingit finished August poorly, with no wins in the last four.

I'm going to sound like a broken record, but a fourth season in a row where the club drops off in the second half of the season is not a coincidence. It is a result of the club being a semi-professional outfit and not being able to keep players' condition and match fitness high throughout the campaign. Without full-time training, the players get destroyed and end up picking up niggly little injuries or are just not maintaining fitness levels. It'll be difficult for the club to progress without going Professional in the near future.

Veikkausliga


Pain. Viikingit's shocking form in July and August saw them relinguish top spot. The league will split into a Championship Group and Relegation Group after GW 22, meaning Viikingit have only one more game in the regular season. There will be 5 more games in the Championship Group, but SJK look uncatchable. The difference between a Professional team and a Semi-Professional team.



Upcoming Fixtures


There is just one more game of the regular league season scheduled currently - a trip to KuPS. After that, the league will split into Championship and Relegation Groups and each team will play five more games across September and October.


Ooof, the drop off in form is absolutely incredible, but as mentioned: to be expected when you're still a semi-professional team. The board really to pull their finger out and turn the club professional, because that's when we'll really see the club realize its full potential. With that being said, it's still so impressive what's being achieved at present. Fingers crossed there's a few moves made in the near future to shore things up, with the defensive unit looking quite leaky atm.
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Season 2024: Youth Intake


24/09/2024

'The importance of bringing through young players from your academy can not be undervalued. They embody everything that your club stands for and, in the darkest of hours, produce the brightest of lights. They were born learning about the history of the club, live in the present as fans of the club and will go on to create and establish the future of the club. They are everything' - Kalle Koskinen.

It was Kalle Koskinen's 4th youth intake with FC Viikingit, and it was shit. Absolute dog shit. A couple of players who looked like they could do something in Finnish football (with a lot of luck), and very little else. Here's an overview of the three best (I use that loosely this year) prospects.


Mikko Kärkkäinen was one of the two better players in the intake. The fifteen year old from Helsinki was a left winger who had a bit of pace and flair about him. He was a good leader and a decent dribbler, but that was about it. At a young age, he had the capacity to become a very good player in the future, and perhaps be good enough to play Veikkausliga football.


Ilpo Haarala was a little bit better. At sixteen years of age, the central attacking midfielder was a decent technical player. He had a good bit of fitness and was very much a team player. If he can work out some of his flaws, like his strength and other anaerobic fitness qualities, he could become a decent little player in the form of a Juan Mata (to a much lesser ability).


Aki Peltonen was a pacey right winger.




J_ames, I understand the board's reluctance to commit to a potentially catastrophic business decision but it has to be the aim for the club over the next couple of years to get to a position where the switch to Professional Status can be achieved safely

Season 2024: September - October


FC Viikingit's second-half season syndrome was in full swing and Kalle Koskinen's side had fallen well out of the title race at the 11th hour. With the squad exhausted and without any sort of morale, the end of the season was looking to be a difficult time.

Results


Viikingit won the final game of their regular league season narrowly over KuPS. Drawn into the Championship Group, fatigue caught up. A 1-1-3 record in the Championship Group was less than anything to be excited about as Viikingit struggled to maintain any sort of consistent form. Tired legs and a lack of preparation, due to being a Semi-Professional club, was the main reason for a drop off in form. Oh well.

Veikkausliga


Viikingit's drop in form saw them finish 11 points behind new champions SJK. However, Viikingit's incredible start to the season saw them earn a very impressive 2nd place finish. For a club tipped for a relegation battle, it wasn't a bad position at all.





Season 2024: Review


The 2024 season was FC Viikingit's third ever, and second consecutive, in the top flight of Finnish football - the Veikkausliga. The Helsinki-based football team had earned themselves European football last time out but were still not certainties to avoid relegation, according to the media. Kalle had lofty ambitions on his mind and he was aiming much higher than just avoiding relegation again.

Veikkausliga


A horrific run to end the season did not do much to take away from the fact that FC Viikingit finished second in the league. An incredible opening half of the season meant that Viikingit were able to record their greatest ever finish in Finland's top flight. Viikingit's ability to find the back of the net was the main reason why they were able to finish so highly. If they can improve defensively, they could win the league next time.




Suomen Cup


Kalle Koskinen's might FC Viikingit went all the way this season and stormed through the rest of the competition to eventually go and win the competition for the first time in the club's history. Victory over SJK in the final meant that Viikingit earned European qualification for the 2025/2026 European season. A magnificent feat.

UEFA Europa Conference League


Viikingit acquitted themselves quite well in their first ever European campaign. Victory over Vardar Skopje in the first qualifying rounf of the UEFA Europa Conference League got them excited. However, they were overpowered by a significantly-stronger Viktoria Plzen side who had superior financial support. Viikingit will be hoping they can have even more successful European campaigns in the future.

FC Viikingit Performance


Player Stats
Teenage goalkeeper Verneri Malm played every single game for FC Viikingit this season and, despite only keeping 10 clean sheets, was a strong performer, making plenty of saves in every game. Never injured, he has become a very reliable No.1 for Viikingit.

Jan-Hendrik Marx started the season as Viikingit's first choice right back but tore his thigh muscles midway through July and failed to break back into the starting lineup after that. Ville Sevón started at right back for the most part but failed to impress, and manager Kalle Koskinen may look at signing an upgrade for this position.

Christian Enemark continued to be a solid, consistent performer for FC Viikingit and Kévin Mouanga came to the club for the 2024 season to become a very strong partner. The French defender was brilliant defensively and also added more of a goal threat from set-pieces.

Heikki Huhtamäki, for the most part, was Viikingit's starting left back this season. He was okay, but not overly amazing. However, still at a young age, he could go on to develop into a very good Veikkausliga player.

Despite adding significant quality to Viikingit's midfield options, including young Finnish starlet Toni Aho, none of the midfielders put down a very good run of form in midfield. Matti Klinga scored a lot of goals, but he mainly played as a right-sided Inside Forward. Otherwise - nothing special. However, the other options were young and still developing and expected to become senior internationals for their respective countries.

Danish winger Souheib Dhaflaoui was a reasonably creative source as a right-sided Inside Forward. He scored and assisted a total of 15 goals, as he battled for a starting role with Matti Klinga who scored and assisted a combined 16 goals.

Noah Männerstrom Egvik was Viikingit's primary central attacking midfielder. The young Swede had a direct involvement in 19 goals as he continued to show he could go on to become a real asset.

Bosnian left-sided attacker Alen Karahasanovic came to the club ahead of the 2024 season but failed to impress. He scored and assisted a total of 15 goals in all competitions but really struggled to settle into the team since joining from Ajax.

Viikingit had much better fortune up front. Norwegian starlet Tom Vestnes scored a total of 23 goals throughout the season, while his deputy Joseph Sery scored 8 of his own. Viikingit had a pair of strikers they knew they could rely on.

Attendances
Viikingit's participation in European competition, as well as the Suomen Cup final, helped drive attendance figures up in the 2024 season. Season ticket sales went up from 220 last season to 241 this season, and average attendance went up from 578 to 653. Early projections expect attendance figures to continue to go in the right direction.


Finances
Income nearly tripled from the previous season. Gate receipts alone nearly doubled with the club playing in bigger games and with more fans attending. The big improvements were prize money in from winning the Suomen Cup, as well as European football participation, as well as from the sales of Moshtagh Yaghoubi and Benjamin Thurling.

Expenditure was up. Player wages went up, which was the big kicker, while the costs of playing more games added up. More bonuses were paid out for winning the Suomen Cup, while a better Veikkausliga finish also meant more bonuses paid out.



Kalle's job so far has been incredible and the money that he has bought in through sales, trophy wins and increased attendances purely because of results on the pitch, now needs to be re-invested with the club going professional. It makes no sense for the board not to, as its clear what Kalle can do without the professionalism, what could he do with it!
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Continued progression again, made even sweeter by the fact that the clubs income nearly tripled. It makes sense that the expenditure went up too, but I've no doubt there'll be more sponsorship opportunities for the club considering the season its just had.

I'm not surprised that Tom Vestnes or Verneri Malm have become key figures in the starting-11, but I'll admit that I'm surprised that Alen Karahasanovic hasn't done so. He looked a very exciting signing, and I guess we can take some solace that despite not hitting the heights that we expected: he still managed 15 goal contributions.

With another off-season of wheeling and dealing, I'm excited for what next season can bring to the club.
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Season 2025: Preview


Following a debut season in European (qualification) football, FC Viikingit had the taste for playing against Europe's top clubs. Despite being just a Semi Professional club, Viikingit were aiming to to have an impact on European football once more and show Europe just what they could be capable of.

Upcoming Fixtures


Ignoring the spate of friendlies to be played, Viikingit's season will start with Suomen Cup group games against FC Lahti, FC Haka, FC Inter Turku, TPS and SJK. Viikingit will be looking to qualify for the knockout rounds of the Suomen Cup, while Veikkausliga football will start in April with a trip to FC Honka Espoo. UEFA Europa Conference League qualifiers will begin for FC Viikingit at the end of summer.

New Kits


FC Viikingit will don a red home kit and a blue away kit domestically once again, both sporting a white trim. Viikingit extended their continental competition sponsorship with KONE for another year, with a different kit design. They will don a darker red kit with contrasting dark-blue blocks on the chest, and a darker red trim.



TheLFCFan, it looks like the board want to remain careful of going professional, which is fair enough. Hopefully they will soon feel they can make that jump.
J_ames, I think the expenditure will continue going up every year. I've no qualms over that - Amazon spend more than the local corner shop but still make a much bigger profit.

Season 2025: January - March


Kalle Koskinen's FC Viikingit were making progress year-on-year, and were set to take a further step forward going into 2025. After a maiden season in European (qualifying) football, the Helsinki-based club had the taste of continental football and did not want to let go. The club's owner, Janne Partanen, had promised that another successful season would be enough for the club to file for Professional status.

Transfers

2024 Transfers

2025 Transfers

Few players out, few players in. Viikingit bolstered defensive options with the signings of Kristian Heinolainen, Peter Olsen and Lauri Kesti. They were young, enthusiastic and competent defensively. Thijs van Leeuwen and Kevin Yakob were brought in to improve attacking midfield options. van Leeuwen was a former Eredivisie player, while Kevin Yakob was an Iranian international who played his football in Sweden previously.

Player profiles to come in the next update.

Results


An unbeaten Suomen Cup group run for FC Viikingit. A 3-2-0 record was impressive, which included a 5-1 win over FC Haka. Three clean sheets and just two goals conceded in the five games demonstrated an improvement in Viikingit's defensive performances.

Suomen Cup


Viikingit qualified from 2nd place in the group. Viikingit scored the most goals in the group and had the jouint-best defensive record. There were no real big casualties from the group, with both big clubs FC Inter Turku and SJK also progressing to the knockout rounds.

Upcoming Fixtures


Viikkingit will start their league campaign in April with a trip to FC Honka Espoo. Viikingit will play 11 Veikkausliga games across April, May and June, and will also continue their Suomen Cup campaign with a Second Round clash against FF Jaro.


Haven't seen a FInish-story in a long time, interesting to see the newgens in the first division.

You are reading "A Viking's Tale".

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