Man City Transfer Target!
Aug 10, 2012, 1:54 AM
Location: South Birmingham
Team(s): Barnstoneworth United; Bostock Stanley
Post #6 of 9
Just returned from a fortnight's holiday and managed to get a few games in, and thankfully I can report there is still no sign of the dreaded Wetherspoons making an appearance in Tallinn. Many, many pubs were checked out to see how they compared to JDW and I can report that home-brewing is alive and well in several Tallinn establishments with those closest to the Raekoja being pretty much London prices as already mentioned though a few hundred yards away, half-a-litre of strong stuff can be purchased for 3 Euro or less.
Anyway, Tallinn was the last port of call - first stop was Nasva, 5 km south of Kuressaare on the island of Saaremaa, about 3.5 hours drive from Tallinn airport. Kuressaare is a pretty town of about 13,000 and sadly the home team who play in the top division were away on the weekend in question so the only football on offer was two levels lower.
Sunday July 29th : Division Two (West/South) - Sorve JK 1 Vandra JK Vaprus 2. No admission or programme. Attendance 11
This was idyllic on a sunny afternoon. Sorve obviously have some connection with the lsland's main club but appear to play most of their games at Salme stadium, some 20 km south of Kuressaare. They have used the artificial pitch in the island capital this season, my guess being for weather-related reasons. Salme stadium is signposted off the main road running down the islands south coast and is a little bit of a misnomer. Having said that, the setting is wonderful, being a clearing in the forest with a raised bank on the near side and half-a-dozen bench seats bolted onto terracing in the middle of the far side. No facilities of any kind appeared to be on site, the only building looked like a disused logging station, and I didn't hang around afterwards to see where they wandered off to to get changed. The visitors from Parnu scored twice in injury time to snatch the points and the "crowd" which peaked at 14 drifted off into the forest.
I managed to find some Saaremaa ale at a couple of tourist sights only - a cloudy and pokey 7.6 percenter, it's not to be treated lightly, moreso with Estonia's zero tolerance approach to drink-driving. Containers were available, fortunately.
Four days were enough here, and not sad to leave the bloody mosquitoes behind, having been bitten to buggery.
Four days in another pretty town followed, the west coast resort of Haapsalu, without football. Well, I did see the stadium which was used in the recent U-19 Euro's and which attracted crowds of well over 1,000 to each of the three games staged there and I'd guess more than one forum-watcher was in attendance at one of these, being preferable to a Division Four (West) fixture. Beer prices between 2.50 and 3.50 with lots of cider consumed due to the warm weather. Prices about half those in Tallinn.
Six days in Tallinn's seafront suburb of Pirita finished the trip and no car was necessary as the city has an excellent, cheap and reliable public transport system. The Old Town is justifiably lauded and the city is a pretty good base for football, especaily for the non-discerning who could wipe out the stadia in a few days what with women's games, youth games and reserve matches being spread out over the weekend. I landed lucky, nabbing the three Premier Division grounds I needed, one to a rearranged game thanks to the Europa League fixtures a few weeks back. Plus Helsinki is only 90 minutes away by ferry.........
Saturday August 4th - Meistriliiga : Tallinna Kalev 1 Flora Tallinn 1. Admission with programme 6 Euro. Attendance 710. Cider 2 Euro
This was my favourite stadium - the Kalevi Keskstaadion nominally holds 12,000 all seated and it's a fantastic example of an old-style Soviet bowl with a little concrete verandah in the middle of the main stand providing cover for a few dignatories/party members on padded seats with the rest being open wooden bench seating on terraces sweeping round two sides with the areas behind the penalty boxes left empty. The Keskstaadion did hold in excess of 20,000 for a match between an Estonia XI and a Swedish Amateur team back in the fifties but those days are long gone, along with the Soviets. Current tenants are Kalev, not long up from the lower leagues - indeed only formed in 2002 - so progress has been rapid though they're struggling this season. Flora are one of three Tallinn teams challenging for the title and couldn't really afford to drop points here but they did, to the delight of most of the 710 present, the biggest attendance in the league this season, though I suspect some Hellenic officials may have been involved in that calculation. Flora brought a noisy band of 50 or so complete with flares but there wasn't a hint of bother. For info, Kalev's total home attendance now stands at 2,475 after 11 home games, averaging 225. Only one side of the stadium was open for the game, with the Flora Ultra's kept as far away from the rest of the crowd as possible.
The ground is about 30 mins walk south of the Old Town, not far from the inter-city bus terminal. The programme was the best I got as well, resembling one of those fold-over Chinese take-away menu's. Plenty produced.
Monday August 6th - Meistriliiga : Nomme Kalju 1 Trans Narva 0. Admission with programme 5 Euro. Attendance 237. Cider 3 Euro
I could have got a second division game on the Sunday with divisional leaders Infonet in action (winning 4-1 v Rakvere, attendance 155) but kept the peace due to Tuesday's bonus game. This game saw the league leaders, and best supported club - averaging 299! - in action against mid-table Narva fron the far east of the country, up against the Russian border. Russians therefore, as the programme names suggested - Narva is still 90% Russian speaking and a little out on a limb which may explain why they brought just 5 fans with them. Dreadful game, settled by a scrappy goal in the first half. The plentiful programme was a basic 4-pager and didn't list the late substitute George Cole sadly.
Nomme are temporarily playing at the old National Stadium, the Kadriorg, again an easy 30 minutes walk out from the centre. Or 4.50 Euro in a cab, since you asked, about the same as the previous game, though I did walk back from both Their normal home ground, the Hiiu Stadium, was not deemed fit for their ambitions so they've moved to the Kadriorg which seats 5,000 with a good number under cover on the main side. The far side (not open today) has about 1,000 open plastic seats in 6 rows. They apparently are to move into a new stadium in the high-rise suburb of Mustamae, close to their roots so I don't know how long their tenancy of the Kadriorg will be. Whatever, their supporter with the drum should be shot.
Tuesday August 7th - Meistriliiga : Levadia Tallinn 4 Paide Linnameeskond 0. Admission with programme 5 Euro. Attendance 150.
Levadia play their "bigger" games at the Kadriorg and it is listed as their home stadium in many places though it appears that have now taken up residence at the Maarjamae Staadion which must be the most basic stadium I've ever seen European top-flight football in. Pleasantly located in a wooded area just off the coast road at Pirita - regular bus 1A from Viri Keskus central terminal, cost 0.80 Euro, journey time 15 mins - it holds about 500 at a push in a mixture of open seating of a temporary nature and a couple of rows of plastic seats. There's a small gazebo to (maybe) keep the dignatories dry but fortunately it was dry and sunny this evening. Watching on one of Tallinn's rainy days with the wind whipping in off the Baltic would not be pleasant and may explain why three of their home gates have been under 100 when the team are on fire - unbeaten in 22 league games with 54 scored and only 6 conceded........and yet they trail Nomme by 2 points and have played a game more. Another gazebo sold cold snacks, pop and lager but with facilities consisting of one portaloo, I decided against. The two clubs meet in a few weeks (switched to Kadriorg) which may well decide the destination of the title. I think it was Leo who mentioned that the Estonian league has the lowest average top division attendances in Europe,from those countries that publish these things. The current match average for the season is 190. Any lower offers ?