Ground: Harjun Stadion
Date: 30 April 2012
Match: Jyväskylän JK - Vaasa 0-2 (Veikkausliiga)
Attendance: 2 431
When I visited Finland for the first time in my life, in June 2010, the first match on that trip was Jyväskylän JK (JJK) vs IFK Mariehamn. JJK normally play at Harjun Stadion but since the club installed undersoil heating at their home ground back in 2010 they moved six matches to the stadium in Vaajakoski. With JJK vs Vaasa PS (VPS) being the only match in Finland this Monday evening I finally had the chance to go back to Jyväskylä and watch a match at Harjun Stadion. I actually visited a few more grounds today. I took an earlier train than originally planned and met up with Maik in Tampere. We then visited Ratina Stadion the former home of the now defunct Tampere United, as well as Tammelan Stadion. Tammelan Stadion is where Kakkonen club Ilves Tampere play their matches. Later in the afternoon we continued to Jyväskylä.
Harju means "Hill" in Finnish and once at the ground we knew why. Harjun Stadion is situated on a hill and it was a tiresome walk for two tired groundhoppers. We found an open gate and could sneak in to take some pictures before climbing to the top of the hill. There is an observation tower situated on the top and of course we went up there for some nice overview pictures of Jyväskylä (and Harjun Stadion). After a visit to a Mexican restaurant we then went back to Harjun Stadion and 45 minutes before kick-off there were already plenty of fans inside the ground. Harjun Stadion has a main stand with 2 700 covered seats. There are running tracks but JJK have plenty of mobile stands so the view is actually OK from the other stands as well.
For this match around 15 away supporters turned up and they were given one of the mobile stands mentioned above. With VPS scoring in the 3rd minute it was the away supporters who could celebrate early on. There were som vocal JJK fans behind one of the goals but despite their efforts JJK failed to score and it was 1-0 to VPS at half-time. In the second half JJK had their chances but it was VPS who scored the goal and it finished 2-0 to the visitors from Vaasa. An hour later we boarded the train taking us back to Tampere and Helsinki. The train wasn´t back in Helsinki until 00.52 but I quickly fell asleep once in my hotel. This was my fourth trip to Finland and even if the quality of the football is a bit poor everything else is great. It really is a nice country to visit and I will be back either later this summer or next summer. A visit to Mariehamn and the Åland Islands is top priority then!
Stone stair leading up to Harjun Stadion
Rear of the West Stand
Live on TV
View of play
A closer look at the West Stand
View of Harjun Stadion