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Home: Ground Hopping & Programmes: International Hopping:
Three Games in The Baltics


Chelsea Transfer Target

Jun 25, 2019, 1:10 PM

Posts: 3394
Location: North West Lincolnshire
Team(s): Scotter United (Scunthorpe League), AFC Telford(home town club),

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Three Games in The Baltics Can't Post or Reply Privately

On Sunday 16th June Mrs Colpic and I flew from Gatwick to Tallinn on Easyjet for a six night trip to Estonia and Latvia. As this was a non-football trip I only managed to fit in three games:-

Tues 18 June

Flora 0 Nomme Kalju 1
Meistriliiga Adm 5 euros Free 4 pager Att 1673

After a couple of days sightseeing and the odd bit of beer sampling it was finally time for football. Flora are now playing at the A La Coq rather than at the neighbouring Sportland Arena. It lies between two railway lines about 2km south of the old town. Tickets and free programme are available from a kiosk, and club merchandise can be bought from a table in the main stand. Only two sections of the ground were open, one side and behind one goal. It's a very tidy stadium with cover on all sides and decent sightlines, but with only one access road in use I imagine it wouldn't be the easiest place to make a quick getaway from.

There was little to choose between the teams until the Brazilian Liliu scored with a powerful header on 40 mins. From then on Flora were on the back foot and never really looked like taking the spoils.

Wed 19 June

HJK Helsinki 0 FC Honka 1
Veikkausliiga Adm 20 euros Free teamsheet Att 7822

We decided to do a day trip over to Helsinki where we haven't been since 1984, booking return tickets online with Viking Line for 58 euros. We sailed out at 0800, returning on the 2115. On arrival at the Tallinn terminal, return tickets are received by typing the booking reference into a machine which means that you can board anytime up until twenty minutes before sailing which gave us time to get an Uber from the ground to the ferry after the final whistle.

The Telia 5g Arena, formerly the Sonera, has been reviewed several times on here and is north of the centre just off Mannerheimentie, one of the main streets in the city, and next to the Olympic Stadium. There's also the Toolon Pallokentaa adjacent, allegedly the oldest ground in the country. Club merchandise is on sale from a shop before entering the ground and food and drink is readily available.

This was another pretty turgid affair, the deadlock being broken by the visitors on 79 mins with the hosts frustration being manifested by the late dismissal of substitute Mensah.

The next day we headed south to Riga, getting a Eurolines Warsaw bound coach from Tallinn bus station having booked and selected tickets online. It's a four and a half hour journey with one short stop at Parnu. Long straight roads, lots of trees! The evening and most of the next day were taken up by exploring the charms of the Latvian capital until match time:-

Fri 21 June

Riga 6 Spartaks Jurmala 1
Virsliga Adm 5 euros No paper Att 763

Riga are now back at the Skonto Stadium having started the season at the RTU. There being no Uber in Riga, I registered with Bolt, a similar concept based in Estonia, and travelled to and from the ground for 4 euros each way. There was no sign of life at the two ticket booths so I went into the stadium cafeteria and was directed to a small club shop where tickets were being sold for the main stand. A few 'ultras' were situated behind the goal but everyone else was in the same main stand.

This was two of the top three playing each other but it was all over by half-time as Rigas positive approach was rewarded by some smart finishing. A fourth went in just after the break and although the visitors scored an excellent goal, Riga added two more to complete the rout.

A couple of general observations:-

Both Tallinn and Riga have 'old towns' of great character and both are equally enjoyable. Flying into one and leaving from the other worked very well(Easyjet in to Tallinn, Air Baltic b a cm from Riga)

Helsinki is well worth a visit in its own right but a day trip provides a good taster. The Viking Ferry Terminal is only a ten minute stroll from the Old Market Square. Helsinki is more expensive though!

Ferries and coaches are easy to book online.

All three grounds are 20-25 minutes walk from the city centres. If, like me, you are lazy, Uber and Bolt are excellent value.

All three clubs sell merchandise. I got pin badges at all three.

If you are into beer, fill yer boots.

Where's the 'ignore this poster' button?


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