The Veikkausliiga season ended a few weeks ago but that is no reason for anyone to think there is no footballing life in the darkness of the cold Finnish winter. So rather than starting to watch ice-hockey, keep up to date with the goings-on in Finnish football with the Transfer Weekly. I Went For the Ball! will provide you with the hard facts, the unreliable gossip and the blatant lies connected with Veikkausliiga.

After indifferent seasons TamU, Jaro and MyPa have been the early birds in the transfer market. The biggest coup so far was snapped up by TamU who signed a one-year deal with Tuomas Haapala. The former HJK midfield bruiser is already TamU’s third signing as Jonas Emet and Kristian Kojola arrived from Jaro a week ago (Had someone said something about TamU’s financial plight?). TamU are, therefore, well on their way to having a strong squad with which to punch below their weight yet again in 2010.

Rather than flexing their imaginary financial muscles, Jaro have taken the opposite approach to the new season. Adding to Emet and Kojola, Mikko Hyyrynen, Jani Tanska (on trial at Sandefjord) and Joonas Laurikainen have all headed for the exit. However, Jaro have also, errr, strengthened their squad with Jani Bäckman (FC Honka) and Tommi Haanpää (SJK). According to some reports the Weekly hopes it hasn’t made up, the captain Jens Portin is on trial at struggling Serie B club Ascoli. The Weekly draws the conclusion that things are looking so bleak in Pietarsaari that rather than staying there, Portin will be more than happy to spend next season sitting in the stands at Serie C stadiums cheering at his brother. Well, who could blame him, beats playing in the Finnish first division in 2011.

The marketing team at MyPa are in the process of devising a new image for the club since last season’s ploy of bring back a few MyPa has-beens didn’t really set the world on fire, not even the small bit that is Anjalankoski. So in order to add some zazz to the club, they decided to sign a couple of dazzling young go-getters in the shape of Konsta Hietanen (FC Lahti) and Pele Koljonen (KuPS).

After seeing their former nemesis TamU sign their former captain, HJK were compelled to retaliate by signing last season’s hot-shot Rafinha, despite the Brazilian reportedly drawing interest from various clubs abroad. It’s been all smirks at the Finnair Stadium after the deal was finalised as now HJK are convinced that they are better than those foreign teams and think that they will most certainly have enough quality to qualify for the Champions League. In real life, they will have close to an unstoppable right flank by Veikkausliiga standards if Muurinen plays Rafinha at right-back.

Thank you and goodbye

As if November wasn’t depressive enough as it is, it’s also a time when many footballers find themselves in the wilderness of unemployment. And it’s no laughing matter to be on the dole at this day and age when all teams are as keen on touching their coffers as shaking hands with a swine-flu patient.

Feeling too good about themselves after winning the title, HJK spat out two players they deemed to be luxuries they can afford others to have. Haapala already found a happy home from Tampere but the former goal-getter Paulus Roiha is still without a club. The Weekly has a hunch, though, that he’ll sign for TPS before the week is over and make HJK seriously regret letting him go when he bangs double-figures next season. Oh, and Jukka Sauso was released as well. Fancy that.

Meanwhile in the bin behind the FC Lahti office, Mika Hänninen has been wondering what has he done to deserve all the bad luck poured on him. Hänninen was such a bright promise in the early naughties when starting out at RoPS. He earned a transfer to HJK but soon became a casualty of Keith Armstrong. Did OK at Lahti for a while until missing the whole of last season through injury and is currently without a club. Well, whatever doesn’t kill you and so on and so forth, the Weekly thinks he’ll bounce back.

Another player who practically missed the whole of last season, despite somehow managing to feature in fifteen matches without anyone noticing, Petri Oravainen will be continuing his trade of being a paradox in Kuopio. The excellent winger who really isn’t any good, will spend next season being frustrated at KuPS after HJK didn’t use the option in his contract.

And if you must know…

A Brazilian called Raul De Araujo arrived from Spartak and signed a one-year deal with Lahti. Looking at Ilkka Mäkelä’s unenthusiastic assessment of the player, one can jump to the conclusions that they probably only realised after pen had been put to paper that the Spartak in question isn’t a team from Moscow but is actually a third division club from Helsinki.

Oh, and Canal Plus commentator Mikko Innanen’s best bud Mika Nurmela will continue shouting at his fellow players angrily for another season at AC Oulu.

Transfers:

Jani Bäckman;

From: FC Honka; To: FF Jaro; 2009: 9/1; Total: 20/2; Position: F; Date of birth: 20/3/88

Jonas Emet

From: FF Jaro; To: Tampere United; 2009: 25/3; Total: 85/7; Position: M; Date of birth: 13/2/88

Tuomas Haapala

From: HJK; To: Tampere United; 2009: 6/0; Total: 190/17; Position: M; Date of birth: 20/4/79

Konsta Hietanen

From: FC Lahti; To: MyPa; 2009: 24/0; Total: 91/7; Position: M; Date of birth: 20/7/84

Kristian Kojola

From: FF Jaro; To: Tampere United; 2009: 26/2; Total: 45/2; Position: D; Date of birth 9/12/86

Pele Koljonen

From: KuPS; To: MyPa; 2009: 21/5; Total: 52/11; Position: F; Date of birth: 25/7/88

Petri Oravainen

From: HJK; To: KuPS; 2009: 15/0; Total: 133/22; Position: M; Date of birth: 21/6/83

Rafinha

From: TamU; To: HJK; 2009: 25/7; Total: 70/9; Position: M/D; Date of birth: 29/6/82