Paavo Nurmi Stadion (Turku)
Ground: Paavo Nurmi Stadion
Date: 29th April 2012
Match: TPS - Haka Valkeakoski 2-0 (Veikkausliiga)
I visited Turku (or Åbo as we say in Sweden) last year for the biggest match in Finnish football, the Turku derby between TPS and Inter. I went to a Kakkonen match as well and thought I had visited Turku for the last time in my life. However, a new pitch being laid at Veritas Stadion meant the first home matches of the 2012 season for TPS and Inter were to be played at Paavo Nurmi Stadion. Being next to Yläkenttä, the Kakkonen ground I visited ast year, I actually visited Paavo Nurmi Stadion last summer. Paavo Nurmi Stadion is normally used for athletics only and the ground was opened in 1997. The capacity is 13 000 and 4 500 of those can sit in the impressive West Stand. The ground is of course named after the great Paavo Nurmi. In 3 Olympic Games (1920 to 1928) he won 9 gold medals in different running events and he is widely regarded as Finland´s greatest ever athlete.
My day started in Helsinki, my base for the trip to Finland. At 12.06 I boarded the IC train and two hours later I was in Turku where Maik waited for me at the train station. We then headed towards a nice restaurant where we both had a delicious elk pizza. It was a sunny and warm afternoon in Turku so I had an ice-cream as well. After a short visit to the ground we went to Maik´s hostel so he could check-in. We returned to the ground approximately an hour before kick-off and by now it started to feel a bit chilly. We watched the first half of the match from the top row of the West Stand and it was a great view from there. Having a glass window right behind us it was quite pleasent having the sun to warm us as well.
The actual match was OK, TPS scored in the 8th minute and managed to hold on to that lead until half-time. At half-time we could notice there were no fixed toilets. Only a couple of "Baja Maja" and I can understand why the Turku clubs don´t really want to play at Paavo Nurmi Stadion. A lot of temporary solutions and not at all a modern stadium. One interesting thing about Paavo Nurmi Stadion is the windmill next to the main stand. I can´t remember seeing a windmill at a ground before. In the second half the visitors, Haka Valkeakoski, had a couple of decent chances but TPS scored again and they won by 2-0. Not the best of matches, a poor atmosphere, but yet another relaxed day out in Finland. Glorious weather and a visit to an interesting ground meant Maik and I could leave Paavo Nurmi Stadion in a good mood. Tomorrow we leave for Jyväskylä for the 3rd and final match on this tour.
Turun Linna (Turku castle)
Paavo Nurmi´s Stadion!
A closer look at the West Stand
View of play
View of play