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HJK Helsinki

Ground: Sonera Stadium

Visits: 1

Date: 6th July 2015

Match: HJK - Helsingfors IFK  1-1  (Veikkausliiga)

Attendance: 10 521

 

My first visit to Finland was in 2010. Back then I went to four games and the second of those were a Kakkonen (level 3) game involving Helsingfors IFK (HIFK). The club were promoted to Ykkönen at the end of 2010 but were then relegated back to Kakkonen. At the HIFK game I went to in 2010 I was surprised to find out a club in the Finnish third division had a vocal home support. HIFK is however one of Finland´s best supported ice-hockey clubs and with this in mind it is not surprising the club can mobilize a lot of fans for a big football match. Back to back promotions meant HIFK were promoted to Veikkausliiga at the end of last season and for the first time in 42 years they will play in the top division in Finland. This meant a unique chance of attending a proper Helsinki derby. Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi (HJK) is by far Finland´s best and leading football club and match at home against a newly promoted team would normally attract maximum 3 000 spectators. A derby against HIFK is something else though and as soon as the kick-off time was confirmed I booked the trip. Last week it was announced the game was sold-out (and a sold-out game is very rare in Finland). When I visited HIFK in 2010 they played at Töölön Pallokenttä (Tölö Bollplan), which is situated next to the Olympic Stadium as well as Sonera Stadium. Sonera Stadium, the home of HJK, has a capacity of 10 700. The stadium was opened in 2000 and apart from HJK games it also host some of Finland´s international matches. The big games, like Finland against Sweden or Germany, are played in the Olympic Stadium. HIFK are also playing their home games this year at Sonera Stadium.

 

I arrived in the city centre of Helsinki around 14.30 and being very hungry I went to a local restaurant immediately after checking in at my hotel. Kick-off for the derby was at 18.30 and feeling like I needed some fresh air I decided to walk to the ground from my hotel. The walk took me around 30 minutes and as I approached the Olympic Stadium I noticed both sets of fans had gathered in the same park. Songs and chants but no troubles. The turnstiles opened an hour before kick-off and as usual I went inside as soon as it was possible. As the game was about to start it was apparent this was not a typical football match in Finland. HJK fans packed the south end of the ground and HIFK the north end. Smoke bombs and pyros were set off as the players entered and from now on it was not silence even for a minute inside Sonera Stadium. I was expecting a good atmosphere but was still positively surprised. Fantastic support from both sets of  fans and a day football fans in Helsinki can be very proud of. It felt more like a big match in Germany than a league match in Finland. The quality of the actual match was not like in Germany though. HJK made it 1-0 early on in the second half but HIFK equalized in th 87th minute and the match ended 1-1. Games like the Helsinki derby are the ones you really want to visit and hopefully HIFK will stay up. After the match I walked back to my hotel and the following morning I went back home. I have travelled a lot in recent weeks and will now take it easy for two weeks. More trips coming up at the end of July though.

 

hjkfans

HJK fans

 

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HIFK fans

 

fans

Fans (with the viewing tower in the background)

 

3 stadiums

Three stadiums in one shot

 

sonera stadium

Sonera Stadium

 

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Sonera Stadium

 

west stand, rear

Rear of the West Stand

 

stadium map

Stadium map

 

sold-out

Sold-out

 

south stand

South Stand

 

west stand

West Stand

 

north stand

North Stand

 

east stand

East Stand

 

avspark

Kick-off

 

south stand1

South Stand

 

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HJK fans

 

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HJK fans

 

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HJK fans

 

hjkfans4

HJK fans

 

west stand1

West Stand

 

spelbild

View of play

 

north stand1

North Stand

 

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HIFK fans

 

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HIFK fans

 

hifkfans2

Pyros

 

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HIFK fans

 

hifkfans4

HIFK fans

 

east stand

East Stand

 

pano, sonera stadium

Pano

 

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Pano

 

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Pano

 

pano, sonera stadium8

Pano