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After a long hiatus Mark is back with a new story. Where will it take him?

Discussion
https://i.postimg.cc/Pf3rXDP2/SkySportsHeader_V1.3.png


English boss feeling the heat abroad

Last Updated: 13/12/2020 11:00am

https://i.postimg.cc/jSM2rr25/SkySportsHeader_V1.1.png

Reports are emerging from Finland that Ilves Tampere are set to dismiss their English manager Mark Duell within the next few days.

The Englishman only joined the Veikkausliga side in September after a two year stint in Scotland at Edinburgh City, and managed to keep his new side in the Finnish top division by winning four of his five games at the end of the season. It was a great achievement considering Tampere were looking to be drawn into a relegation scrap when Duell was first appointed, the team finishing eleven points clear in the end compared to just four when he was appointed.

However, sources in Tampere are hinting that despite turning around the club's fortunes: Duell has little to no support in the dressing room and Ilves chairman Tomi Erola might be forced to dismiss the manager. This could pave the way for Duell to return back to British shores and Sky Sports sources believe there will be a number of willing suitors in the English divisions looking to take on the man who also manages the Welsh Under-21 squad.

Neither Erola or Duell were available for comment on this story.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

http://i67.tinypic.com/fo14oy.jpg
Maybe a move away wasn't the best choice!
New save coming for FM20...
You probably should've stayed at Edinburgh City.
Maybe a move away wasn't the best choice!

Feels that way mate, but we'll bounce back. All good managers have a blip now and then.

You probably should've stayed at Edinburgh City.

Nah bud, I felt I had definitely gone as far as I could have with Edinburgh. This was because the ECFC board were being unambitious at Scottish Championship level (i.e. refusing to go full time) so it was time to seek a new challenge elsewhere. Unfortunately Finland doesn't appear to be the right option, well at the moment. New challenge elsewhere methinks.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

http://i67.tinypic.com/fo14oy.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/Pf3rXDP2/SkySportsHeader_V1.3.png


Mixed bag of groups for national youngsters

Last Updated: 04/01/2021 11:00am

https://i.postimg.cc/jSM2rr25/SkySportsHeader_V1.1.png

The draw for the 2023 UEFA Under-21 Championships was made this morning, and it was a bit of a mixed bag for all the home nations.

England's youngsters will face an interesting group. They will face Spain, the Republic of Ireland, Israel, Kazakhstan and Lithuania. With the only group winners guaranteed to make the Finals, Adrian Boothroyd's young lions face a tough ask to finish top of their particular pile. The Irish have qualified for this year's Finals in Denmark so Boothroyd knows he will need to have the team at their best if they are to make the 2023 Finals.

Wales, who missed out on making the Finals this year, have a tough group of their own. Mark Duell will be hoping to finish above Denmark and Bosnia and Herzegovina to avoid the lottery of the play offs, but it's likely to be a new blood of Welsh starlets that begin their campaign on 1 September. The group is completed by Malta, FYR Macedonia and Norway.

Scotland face a real tough assignment as they are grouped with Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, Moldova and San Marino with the first three all capable of winning that group. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland will have to contend with defending Under-21 champions Germany, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and the Faroe Islands.

The 2021 Finals start in Denmark on 15 June when France take on Iceland in that opening game.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

http://i67.tinypic.com/fo14oy.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/yYNcksw0/suomen-cup.jpg

January 2021 in Review


The weird thing about managing in Finland is that the Finnish version of the FA Cup starts in late January but the actual league season begins in April. Still there's a chance to have European football if you go and win it. Just ask FC Inter Turku who won it last season. We have been placed in a qualifying group with TPS Turun, FC Lahti, AC Oulu, KuPS and KPV with the top four teams in each group qualifying for the second round.

Wednesday 20 January 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/mDJkkWMy/Ilves-20120.png

This was the ultimate 1-0 hammering to be honest! We dominated this game from the first whistle to the last but only had one goal to show for it. That goal came six minutes from time when two substitutes combined. Jack White with the left wing corner, Tuomas Rannakari heading home from six yards out. The perfect start to the new season. It was my fifth win in just six games at Ilves, taking my win percentage there to an amazing 83% - not bad for a manager who is undervalued by his players and are trying to force him out.

Wednesday 27 January 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/43MsbbdJ/Ilves-27120.png

What is about FC Lahti and Ilves? Twice I have played Lahti and twice they have beaten us, in fact they are the only side to inflict defeat on us during this Ilves career. Must be holding some kind of Indian sign over us. The game winner came in the 34th minute when Stênio found the back of our net. We struck the bar, had shots well saved but just couldn't score all night. It certainly felt like we had been jinxed, a tough loss to take.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

http://i67.tinypic.com/fo14oy.jpg
Hoping to post another update later tonight or in the morning.

Have things got any better? Tune in and find out!
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

http://i67.tinypic.com/fo14oy.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/yYNcksw0/suomen-cup.jpg

February 2021 in Review


One win and one loss in the Suomen Cup qualifying group as we entered February. Two more games coming up, could we get into that top four. We started the month in fifth place but only on goal difference. Each one of the teams from second to fifth had three points, KuPS were the sole side with a 100 per cent record.

Wednesday 3 February 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/zGNmp0Kj/Ilves-3220.png

Game three in the qualifying group saw us on the road to Western Finland and to face KPV in Kokkola, a 190 mile journey. We made an horrendous start when former Ilves player Multanen netted inside 25 seconds. I feared the worst after this. However Lauri Dalla Valle provided a composed finish to level ten minutes before half time. We had two goals in the latter stages, first of all our captain Matias Ojala put us after 78 minutes when he reacted first to a loose ball despite me shouting penalty as he appeared to be baulked before he put the ball into the net. But they always say you're at your weakest when you've just scored a goal and we only went and proved it. Jani Tanska turning a cross into his own net, and denying the team what would have been a massive away win.
Wednesday 10 February 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/9fX6H0xw/Ilves-10220.png

The penultimate qualifying game was against newly promoted AC Oulu. They had to change their side drastically as three of their loan signings were from us so they couldn't play, plus they also had a cup-tied player in their ranks too. Just before the half hour, left-back Martti Haukioja curled home a brilliant free-kick, shades of what Craig Thomson used to do for me all the time at Edinburgh City. The lead was doubled in the 61st minute when Jack White took a touch from a Daniel Garcia pass before confidently finishing. Onugha pulled one back for Oulu in the 79th minute but we held for an impressive win. The win was good enough to virtually confirm our place in round two, a point against KuPS would definitely secure that.

We also played a couple of friendlies to close out the month. These ended as follows:
Saturday 13 February 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/LsTZhCB0/Ilves-Friendly-13220.png

For both friendlies, I took the opportunity to give some of the fringe players in the squad some game time whilst resting a lot of the first teamers or not letting them play the full 90 minutes. The first friendly was at part-timers Salpa and we were two ahead after half an hour thanks to Colombian winger Daniel Garcia and Tanska; who headed in at the right end this time. Atakayi pulled one back with quarter of an hour left but then a comical own goal and one from Tiemoko Fofana made it 4-1 with ten minutes to go. Atakayi scored his second in the last minute but it made no difference in the final outcome.
Saturday 20 February 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/L8VzZ8mT/Ilves-Friendly-20220.png

Another much changed side played the second friendly at Division One FF Jaro. We took a 14th minute when English midfielder Alex Bradley slammed home from twelve yards off the post and in. Yet we didn't kick on and put the game to bed, and paid the price when they equalised seven minutes from time. They were reduced to ten men three minutes after that equaliser but we couldn't find a winner. A very disappointing performance.

So all in all, February wasn't too bad a month. My player managerial support has increased from 19% to 27% but I just know I'm living on borrowed time. Jobs back in the English leagues are being applied for but Ilves are asking for too much in compensation and as a result, the move never happens. I might just have to quit just to escape this Finnish nightmare, and perhaps then I might find a club that I can start to rebuild my career. This is a move that's turning sour but it was worth a risk in the early stages in the career. Good managers have a bad spell somewhere, just ask Sir Alex Ferguson about his ill-fated spell in St.Mirren in the 1970s. If that's not motivation, what is?
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

http://i67.tinypic.com/fo14oy.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/yYNcksw0/suomen-cup.jpg

March 2021 in Review

Could we get the point we sought to make the second round of the Suomen Cup?
Wednesday 3 March 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/vBWXcCtn/Ilves-3321.png

What a bore draw. Neither side wanted it to be honest; so we got the point that secured our place in round two. Did we get a nice draw though? Well...

https://i.postimg.cc/wjwDbg0F/Suomen-Cup-R2draw.png

Only the current league champions! Oh s**t. That's the expectation to make the quarter-finals right out of the window unless we can pull off a major surprise on Sunday 25 April 2021. Could be my death knell in Finland.

Four friendlies to be played now before the new Veikkausliga season starts on 10 April 2021 away to newly promoted AC Oulu. Player management support is an unexpected high of 33%, am I winning them over?
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

http://i67.tinypic.com/fo14oy.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/qqDRbwrP/Ilves-Web-Page.png

28/03/2021

The new season is amongst us, and here are this season's squad numbers for Ilves. Some are unchanged, some are new completely and some have swapped.

Who's going to be on the back of your jersey this season?


https://i.postimg.cc/FHMZ6qfq/Ilves-Squad-Nos-2122.png

Manager Mark Duell has confirmed that Matias Ojala retains the club captaincy, with Tuure Siira staying on as his vice-captain.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

http://i67.tinypic.com/fo14oy.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/qqDRbwrP/Ilves-Web-Page.png

Pre-Season Friendly Round Up

We played four more pre-season friendly (taking it to six in total) games before the big kick-off, one of them being an inter-squad game between the reserves and the first team.

Saturday 13 March 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/Qd3gk7RG/Ilves-Friendly-13321.png

Pre-season friendly game one of four was a trip to Oulu to face semi-professional side JP Hercules. We looked in absolutely sensational form as we netted all our goals in the first 35 minutes. Both defensive midfielder Tuure Siira and left-back Martti Haukioja scored a delicious free-kick apiece with lone striker Niklas Jokelainen poaching in the third. For some reason though, we switched off in the second half and Wanderlan pulled one back midway through. Moreno scored their second with a minute to go but we managed to hold on.

Saturday 20 March 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/fWYJ7PZy/Ilves-Friendly-20321.png

The second friendly was a trip to Jyväskylä to face JJK, who are one of our two feeder clubs. Jokelainen gave us an eighth minute lead only for Voutilainen to level three minutes later. However, that was about as good as it got for the home side as we seemed to learn from the previous Saturday's lapses to absolutely run riot. Jokelainen ended up with a hat-trick, his third goal being an absolute bullet from long range that simply flew into the top corner. Jyrki Saarinen and upcoming strikers Tiemoko Fofana and Jack White added one apiece to complete the rout.

This game also marked the début of Danish central defender Daniel Stenderup who was signed just two days previously.

Saturday 3 April 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/HssdJvkf/Ilves-Friendly-3421.png

The penultimate friendly was a trip to Helsinki to face another semi-professional side in FC Viikingit. Once more we were ruthless with three goals in the first half. Jokelainen was on target once but the real star of the show was Colombian right winger Daniel Garcia. Garcia scored, assisted on Jokelainen and Lauri Dalla Valle's goals, and was generally unplayable all game. I can surmise the home side breathed a sigh of collective relief when I decided to bring him off in the 61st minute. He had run them ragged. Young Bulgarian striker Iliya Marchev added the fourth.

Tuesday 6 April 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/FHw4B9V4/Ilves-Friendly-6421.png

We concluded our preparations with an inter-squad game against the second string and for the first half, the reserves were deservedly three goals to the good with Italian striker Lorenzo Piireca (another new arrival this season) scoring a superb double and experienced midfielder Jani Virtanen the other. I rollocked the first teamers at the break and boy did they respond to the hair dryer treatment. Sir Alex Ferguson would have been proud of that tirade.

Five unanswered goals then followed in that second half to take the win, the biggest surprise being that Jokelainen didn't net. Garcia, an own goal, Russian winger Ivan Belikov, Siira and White did the damage and it's now time for the real stuff to take over.

In other news: Our opening game against AC Oulu has been selected for live TV screening, here's hoping that we turn in an excellent performance. That said, the previously unhappy Jani Tanska is now a happy camper again and wants to stay at the club which is what I wanted all along. There was no need for his outburst. My managerial support from the players has also rocketed to an all time high of 65%. Considering it was a lowly 19% a few months ago, it seems like I might have won over the players. Well for now I have....

Oh and my old club in Scotland Edinburgh City have been predictably been relegated from the Scottish Championship, and sacked my replacement Paul Hartley in the process. I did think about going back but then again; would it have been a good move for me? I've passed my Continental A coaching licence so my reputation is on the up at the moment too. A move back to Ainslie Park would have been a backwards step and I want to keep moving forwards: bettering myself.

The new season awaits!
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

http://i67.tinypic.com/fo14oy.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/qqDRbwrP/Ilves-Web-Page.png

06/04/2021

Here are the opening month's fixtures for Ilves this season. All are Veikkausliga unless stated.

Saturday 10 April 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/YSQrwxgX/Ilves-10421.png

We open the new league campaign with an away trip to newly promoted AC Oulu, who won the Ykkönen (Second Division) last season. Our most recent meeting was just a couple of months ago in the Suomen Cup group stages, where we won 2-1 thanks to goals from Martti Haukioja and Jack White. The game is the first game of the new season overall and will be screened live on Finnish TV.

Thursday 15 April 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/L4brN1gh/Ilves-15421.png

Our opening home game of the season is against VPS, who finished 5th in the Veikkausliga last season. The most recent meeting saw VPS triumph 2-1 with Niklas Jokelainen scoring our sole strike. This game will be the first time that manager Mark Duell has taken charge against this opponent.

Sunday 18 April 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/SQHmj5rZ/Ilves-18421.png

Three days after the VPS home game is another home game. This time we face FC Lahti, who are the only side that have managed to beat Ilves under Mark's stewardship. Brazilian striker Stênio scored the winner in the most recent game which was a Suomen Cup group qualifier, we'll be hoping for better this time out.

Wednesday 21 April 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/kXNL9hhR/Ilves-21421.png

The hectic start to the season continues with a fourth game in just 11 days as we travel to KuPS. Again the most recent encounter was in the Suomen Cup group qualifiers and it was a boring 0-0 draw. That result put Ilves into the second round which ironically is our next game.

Sunday 25 April 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/wjwDbg0F/SuomenCup_R2draw.png

A tough task in the Suomen Cup which we will be the underdogs against the current league champions. Can we send them tumbling out on their own pitch? Our last meeting with them saw SJK edge home with a 2-1 win at Tammelnstadion. Bulgarian striker Illya Marchev scored our goal in that game.

Thursday 29 April 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/FH8y6hgy/Ilves-29421.png

The busy first month ends with a visit from Henrik Larsson's RoPS. RoPS were ironically the first opponents we faced after the appointment of Mark Duell as our manager. Winger Jusif Ali scored twice in a 3-1 win with Lauri Dalla Valle netting the other. A repeat of that would be nice wouldn't it?
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

http://i67.tinypic.com/fo14oy.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/qqDRbwrP/Ilves-Web-Page.png

11/04/2021

The transfer window has closed in Finland and these were our ins and outs.

https://i.postimg.cc/P57FGyCB/Ilves-Transfers-202122-v1.png

We had seven of each, with the most notable transfer being that of Finnish internationalist Ari Laitinen. Ari moved to Serie A side Atalanta for £750,000 after the Italians met the minimum release clause in the defender's contract. I did not want to let him leave but when the clause is met then there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. I did wish for the deal to collapse at the last minute but it wasn't to be. I do wish him the best in Italy, he will be an absolute star there.

The rest of the departures were all loan deals, but Tuomas Rannakari is now back here at Tammelnstadion after he expressed a wish to return and fight for a regular place in the side. He has to displace Martti Haukioja for that but it does give me an excellent back up in that position.

Of the newcomers, I was delighted to land experienced Dane Daniel Stenderup on a free transfer, he's a quality acquisition. Italian newcomers Lorenzo Pirreca and Alessandro Garattoni are signings which also excite me and I hope will excite the fans. Pirreca is a striker who knows where the net whilst Garattoni is a full back who has plenty of experience behind him despite his tender years, he might not have made the grade in Italian football but he has serious promise about him. English defender Kornell MacDonald is another one I have high hopes for and is one for the future. Goalkeeper Daniel Kollar and defender Pekka Mattila are loan signings that add depth to our squad. Welshman David Cornell is a back up signing in case we have a goalie crisis.

All in all, I'm delighted with the activity we have had. But we'll keep looking to bolster further if the chance arises.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

http://i67.tinypic.com/fo14oy.jpg
Hope you're all enjoying this still - some more updates coming soon. Stay tuned!
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

http://i67.tinypic.com/fo14oy.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/yYNcksw0/suomen-cup.jpg

Second Round Action

Sunday 25 April 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/qBj2JQ5Q/Ilves-25491-Cup.png

The Suomen Cup Second Round saw us make the trip to Seinäjoki to face the current league champions. It was probably the toughest draw we could have asked for.

Our task was not made any easier as we were without both Tuure Siira and Daniel Garcia (suspended) and captain Matias Ojala (injured). That's three first teamers against the team who have been the best in the country for the last two seasons. I also opted give Daniel Kollar a start in goal, and new signing Alessandro Garrattoni a début at right-back. Johannes Luukkanen and Miika Tuominen were given a rest to accommodate those two whilst Jykri Saarinen, Alex Bradley and Juho Aromaa replaced the suspended and injured trio. Odds definitely against us you would have thought.

Predictably, they made the stronger start. However just after the half hour, we took the lead and silenced the home support when Saarinen reacted first to a loose ball after Jesse Öst couldn't hold onto the midfielder's initial effort. Martti Haukioja had provided the testing free-kick. That rattled them and they ramped up the pressure on our back four more. It was only a matter of time before the equalised, and that came in the 53rd minute when Aristote Mboma turned it in from virtually on the goal line: the goal hanging so and so. You wouldn't have given us much hope now.

However, this team doesn't know when to quit these days. They are showing the same passion that I had at Edinburgh City, and I guess I've brought a bit of self belief about them as anything is possible. So it proved as we netted an unlikely winner with just 14 minutes to go. Aromaa with the deep right wing cross and Lauri Dalla Valle, on for the ineffective Ivan Belikov, got his head to it and send it into the top corner out of the reach of Öst. Cue the proverbial kitchen sink being thrown at us. We stood firm and resolute and pulled off a remarkable win which nobody saw coming. Probably my highest point so far in my short career here so far at Ilves.

The quarter-final draw was as follows:
https://i.postimg.cc/tJp0B9jd/Ilves-Cup-QFDraw-2021.png

A trip to FC Honka in Espoo awaits us, and a very good chance to progress into the semi-finals. Consider this, if we can beat the league champions, then we can go that bit further right? We targeted the quarter-final as a minimum requirement, there's no reason why we can't progress beyond that.

The quarter-final will be played on 2 May 2021.


Another update coming later tonight.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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