Ground: Wismari staadion
Date: 1st May 2015
Match: Puuma - Maardu FC Starbunker 2-4 (Esiliiga B)
In 2016 FC Puuma went bankrupt and the club was dissolved
Last year I visited Lithuania and Belarus the 1 May-weekend. This year 1 May was on a Friday and being free from work an extra day meant I looked at different options. I wanted to visit a new country and in the end I decided to spend the weekend in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. There are not many big football matches being played in Estonia but a Flora vs Levadia derby, in combination with two other matches, was enough to convince myself Estonia was the correct choice. From Copenhagen there are daily flights to Tallinn and at 09.45 on Friday morning my Estonian Air flight left Kastrup airport in Copenhagen. 80 minutes later, 12.05 local time, I was in Tallinn.
Estonia is the most northern of the three baltic countries and became independent for the first time in 1918. In 1940 Estonia was occupied the Soviet Red Army. A year later Nazi-Germany invaded the Soviet Union and Estonia was between 1942 and 1944 occupied by the Germans. In the autumn of 1944 Estonia were once again occupied by the Soviets and until 1991 Estonia was part of the Soviet Union. 20 August 1991 Estonia became independent for the second time. The population of Estonia is nowadays around 1.4 Million, of which 25-30 % are Russians. Tallinn itself has a population of 450 000 and is situated on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. Across the sea it is only 80 km to Helsinki, the Finnish capital. The airport in Tallinn is quite close to the city centre and for 10 Euros a taxi brought me to my hotel. Staying only two nights I had booked a hotel in the Old Town of Tallinn. I had heard positive things about Tallinn and I have to say it is a really nice city. The Old Town must be one of the nicest in all of Europe. See the Tallinn page for pictures of the city.
For my first match of the trip I had three options, Tallinna Infonet II vs Vändra or Levadia Tallinn II vs Tartu in Esiliiga (level 2) or Puuma vs Maardu FC Starbunker in Esiliiga B (level 3). Since the latter match was played at a ground (Wismari staadion) only a 15-minute walk from my hotel I made the decision my first ever match in Estonia was going to be Puuma vs Maardu FC Starbunker. The Esiliiga matches were being played in the outskirts of Tallinn and with all three matches kicking-off at 14.00 (less than two hours after landing) I wanted to keep things as easy as possible. During the walk to Wismaari staadion I passed some of Tallinn´s main tourist attractions. 13.30 I was then finally at Wismari staadion. Having an artificial pitch there are plenty of matches being played at the ground. On Sunday I noticed there are three different, kick-off times being 14.00 16.30 and 19.00, II. liiga (level 4) matches being played at Wismari staadion. The ground itself is very basic. There are a few benches in front of the dressing rooms in the north side of the ground, but no proper stands at Wismari staadion. For this top (1st vs 3rd) of the table clash in Esiliiga B 86 people, most of them Russian-speakers, turned up. The match itself was actually quite entertaining. Puuma made it 1-0 early on but at half-time it was 1-3. In the 50th minute Puuma pulled a goal back but the couldn´t find the equalizing goal. Instead it was the visitors who scored the last goal in this match, 2-4 and a great start to my weekend. After the match I did some sightseeing in the Old Town of Tallinn before returning to my hotel. More sightseeing tomorrow but also two games in the Meistriliiga to look forward to.
Entrance to Wismari staadion
One of the benches in the north side
Players getting ready
Maardu FC Starbunker
View of Wismari staadion
View of Wismari staadion
View of play
Police interviewing the manager