After my Man Utd save I wanted to do one with a club that I could really sink my teeth into and spend a bit of time turning into not only the best club in their country, but eventually Europe. After my long search I came up with.....
FC Honka: Putting Finland On The Map
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It would have been easy to pick a semi decent country like Croatia, Sweden or Scotland that had a high reputation and pick a team within those countries like Dinamo, Hajduk, Malmo, Celtic or Rangers. Maybe i have one season that was tough and then dominate domestically before getting to the latter stages of the Champions League within a couple of seasons thanks to being able to buy ridiculously good players (we all know how it goes). FC Honka is a completely different proposition and i will go into why below.
Finland is an interesting country. The national team has never made it to a World Cup or European Championship and apart from Jari Litmanen and Sami Hyypia, they've not really produced a load of top class players.
Domestically it's all about Helsingin Jalkapalloklub or HJK for short. They are 28 times Finnish Veikkausliiga champions with 15 Finnish Cups as well. In comparison FC Haka, who play in the First Division (Ykkonen) are the next most successful with 9 and 7 trophies respectively. HJK are also the only Finnish club to make it to the group stages of the Champions League in 98/99 finishing bottom of their group while they have only made the one appearance in the Europa League group stage finishing fourth.
All of this points to a country that has been pretty unsuccessful in footballing terms but I am hoping to change that with FC Honka.
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FC Honka (also known as Esport Honka) is a Finnish football club, based in Espoo.
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It was promoted into the Finnish Premier Division (Veikkausliiga), for the first time in its history, at the end of the 2005 season. Until 2005 FC Honka was thought of as a "nearly, but not quite" team, always underachieving in the Finnish First Division (Ykkönen).
In the late 1990s the objective was promotion but year after year they failed. In the beginning of the 21st century FC Honka almost went bankrupt but was saved at the last moment. In early 2005 the club was taken over by Jouko Pakarinen and Jouko Harjunpää, who had a plan to turn FC Honka from underachievers to a UEFA Champions League candidate.The club plays its home matches at Tapiolan urheilupuisto that has a capacity of 4,500.
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In the first year of their takeover of FC Honka, the management succeeded in assembling a squad which won the First Division (Ykkönen) with ease and also made the semi-finals of the Finnish Cup.
FC Honka was able to fight for top positions instantly, but narrowly missed the top three in their first two seasons. However, in 2007 they lost the Finnish Cup final to Tampere United on penalties. As Tampere United also won the league title, FC Honka qualified for the 2008–09 UEFA Cup. In 2008, FC Honka achieved its first medal by finishing 2nd in the league.
FC Honka won the Finnish Cup in 2012. Due to financial difficulties the team was relegated to the third tier Kakkonen in 2015. In 2015 the fitness center company Esport bought the club and after that, the club has also been known as Esport Honka. The club dominated their first season in Kakkonen in 2015 and lost only two games, but were defeated in the promotion battle. After the 2016 season, the team was promoted to the second tier Finnish First Division (Ykkönen).
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FC Honka is largely renowned in Finland for its extensive youth scheme with over 1000 youth players playing in various age groups. I'll be hoping to tap into this with my save as funds will be at a minimum to begin with.
Rasmus Viitanen (DRC), Joachim Bockerman (DRLC) and Arlind Sedjiu (STC) are the three best prospects within our youth ranks and I will be looking to bring them along this season.
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Two Spaniards and a Serbian are our best players who i will be looking to lead us towards the top of the Ykkönen.
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These are the areas that I will be judging some of my success on. Firstly i will be looking to get to the top of the Finnish ratings then get amongst the top of the European standings. Finally if those two are improving then the league ranking will take care of itself.
My first goal for the save will be to make it to the Premier Division then establish ourselves, qualify for Europe and win the League for the first time. From there it'll be about becoming the best team in Finland by beating HJK's 28 league titles and 15 Finnish Cups as well as consistently qualifying for the European group stages.