"This blog is not necessarily for lovers of art, it includes a variety of topics and whatever. I'm a painter who likes to know what's really going on in the world today. So you might find anything from Shamrocks to Salmiakki mentioned here on my blog. There will of course be some boring, factual and informational posts, but I'll keep them to a minimum, I promise!

And I might get a bit nostalgic now and then.

So you have been warned!"

- Alan Hogan

Showing posts with label soccer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label soccer. Show all posts

Saturday, June 14, 2014

World Cup 2014 ...Gezondheid!!!

Well, World Cup football fever is here and this is day 3. 
Of course it's always that little bit special when your own country is taking part, whether it be the country you are from or the country you are living in. But unfortunately neither Ireland or Finland made it to the finals this year in Brasil. Nevermind, for me being a football fan I will be enjoying all the teams in this year's tournament anyway. So far, the biggest surprise has been the 5-1 defeat to World Champions Spain by fellow europeans Holland. A rejuvenated looking Robben and a spectacular diving-header goal by Robin Van Persie destroyed the Spanish legends.

 ...Van Persie scores!!! 

I love watching great players from around the world play in this tournament, the biggest stage of them all in football. Players such as those in the Chilean team for example. Last night I watched as they beat Australia with some wonderful flowing football skills. Well, I watched them until half-time at least. By that time it was already past 2 o'clock in the morning here in Finland and my eyes were half asleep. As I couldn't see any reprisal for the Ozzies I went off to bed. As I predicted Chile eventually got another goal and won the match 3-1 anyway! ....Bravo Chile!!!

Tonight a very fresh-looking England squad play against a tough Italy. The Italians are never easy to play against, especially at World Cup level. It should be a hard game for England to deal with. Being a fan of the English league and Liverpool Football club I hope England play well and get a win if they deserve it. I know a lot of Irish don't like to support England, but I find it rather hypocritical not to cheer the same players on also at an international competition level. Unless Ireland is in the finals too I don't see why not. I know I want to see Gerrard and company do well and maybe it will help him get over an upsetting end to last season's English premiership. He's had a great career and no better player/captain to make it so. It's a very late kick-off here in Finnish-time so it had better be a good game so I can stay awake!!!   

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- Alan 


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Kick-off! - football in Finland

It was time to give my BK-46 football jersey a good wash
in preparation for this year's football season in Finland.

This year's football season has just started here in Finland and I took myself along to the local derby-match between my local team here in Karis/Karjaa called BK-46 and nearby neighbours EIF in Ekenäs/Tammisaari

Ekenäs / Tammisaari

This Finnish League second-division match took place yesterday in the beautiful seaside town of Ekenäs with the home supporters wearing their EIF green shirts and the visitors wearing their BK-46 red and white shirts. The second division or Kakkonen in Finnish is the third-tier of Finnish football.

BK-46 fans arrive at Ekenäs train station

Having watched my favorite English team Liverpool lose out to Manchester City in the English Premier League title race I needed a bit of a lift.

Some matches are already over in this years Finnish football season, in both the league and the Finnish Cup. But for me it really feels like the beginning when the weather improves and I can leave my coat at home. And this was just the case yesterday afternoon. Blue skies and warm sunshine made for a great afternoon as myself and other fans boarded the train and made our way to the game. 

EIF Ekenäs and BK-46 players line out before kick-off.

The match began in a very competitive manner as expected and my team BK-46 were playing good. The home team EIF have beaten BK-46 in their last three meetings. Supporters from both sides were in full voice cheering on their respective teams with plenty of colour added from waving flags, jerseys and scarves. There was even a Norwegian flag being waved from the BK-46 fans in honour to their neighbouring country's national day which is celebrated on May 17th. 

As the match progressed the home team were gaining more possession and control of the game, and eventually scored the first goal in the 34th minute of the game (EIF 1-0 BK-46). It stayed that way until half-time. 

BK-46 looked alive for a brief period in the second half. But they lacked leadership and it was evident that individual performances were substandard. This allowed EIF to improve their already good performance and add a second goal in the 52nd minute. It didn't look like any response was coming from the BK-46 players with most of the play taking place in their own half of the pitch. And when one of their players was red-carded it became an impossible task. Heads were down among the many fans including myself who had made the trip from Karis. It came as no surprise when a third goal by the team in green arrived in the 79th minute, and eventually EIF 3-0 BK-46 was the final score of the match. I must mention that three key players on the winning team have moved from the opposition team over the last two years, which along with the appointment of a new trainer at BK-46, must be considered as factors in this poor result.

... a bad day at the office!

Luckily it's only the beginning of the season, so a lot of work can be done to improve the side from Karis. One thing's for sure though, BK-46 still have the best fans (aka the Pälkka Sviinen) around these parts of Finland to help out and support their team.


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- Alan 


Saturday, October 6, 2012

When Saturday Comes

It's been quite a while since my last proper blogpost here. This is partly because of my own pure laziness, and also because I have been preoccupied with other things. One of those things has been my interest in my local sports club - Football team BK-46 from the town of Karis here in southern Finland. 

Pallohonka v BK-46, Esbo 2012

It's been a long summer and today brings the last game of this year's Finnish football season for most clubs. It's the second division or as it's called here Kakkonen. You can see the league table and results here. Unfortunately the fate of BK-46 was decided last month when they were beaten by division leaders ÅIFK from Turku. 

After fighting hard all season with a lot of great performances, only a series of player injuries and a few missed chances could keep BK-46 from going forward to qualification for promotion. 
Now with the consolation of second place in their division, BK-46 travel to Helsinki to play Klubi04 this afternoon. By all accounts Klubi04 should be well above BK-46 in status as they have a larger selection of players as well as the backing, facilities and funding of big brother club HJK. In fact they have beaten BK-46 twice already this season, 2-0 at Helsinki in June and 3-4 at Karis in August.

Klubi04 v BK-46, Helsinki 2011

So with the season practically over for the Karis team, there may be still some pride to fight for in this last match of the season. While BK-46 have sealed their second-placed position in this division, it would be somewhat gratifying to end with a victory in the capital. And it's definately not impossible if last season is anything to go by. Last year I travelled with the rest of the club's supporters to witness one of BK-46's sweetest victories as they beat Klubi04 in the Sonera Stadium. Here's a reminder of that match last year, just go to 7:55 in this video.

A performance like this would be great to see again today. A famous bird resident in Helsinki came to support the good Karis folk last year, let's hope Bubi the owl can come out and support us again today! The match kicks-off at 14.00 at the Sonera stadium in Helsinki today. So come out and support the best team in Finland, BK-46!

For anyone interested I used the title 'When Saturday Comes' for several reasons. It is traditionally the day when most football games are played in most footballing nations. Also, today is Saturday. And mainly because it is the title of a good movie starring Sean Bean about a footballer who plays for another team wearing red and white stripes, Sheffield United. The full movie is here below if anyone wants to watch it. It's worth it just to hear BBC commentator David Coleman say the words  "Manchester United were cruising, they're not cruising now!".

Finally, one of my favorite songs from a band who's home team Derry City FC also known as 'The Candystripes' as they play in red and white stripes. This is The Undertones with their song 'My Perfect Cousin'.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012


Some of you reading this who know me will also know that I have another passion apart from painting. For those of you who don't know, my other passion is soccer. As a young boy living back in Ireland I used to watch weekly football matches broadcast live from England on our television. My father was a supporter of Arsenal football club. This was mainly because of good connections between Irish players and the club during the 1960's, 70's and 80's. Names like Niall Quinn, Pat Jennings, Frank Stapleton, David O'Leary and the fantastic Liam Brady come to mind. I don't suppose he was too happy when an uncle of mine came along and converted me to a supporter of Liverpool football club. This was quickly done by my uncle as Liverpool was a liitle easier to travel to from Dublin instead of London where Arsenal FC are based. A quick trip on the ferry and before I knew it I was in Liverpool watching The Reds at Anfield Road. I didn't feel too guilty as there was quite a good connection between Liverpool and players coming from Ireland back then also. Think of names such as Ronnie Whelan, Mark Lawrenson, Ray Houghton, John Aldridge and of course the brilliant winger Steve Heighway. I was six or seven years old when I went to Anfield. Unfortunately this is the only time I have been there. I saw Liverpool play again at a friendly in Dublin and a league match against Arsenal in their home ground at Highbury, London. 
I know some will say that's hardly being passionate about your club, but I have always been more of an armchair fan. And also ticketprices were never really within my budget. I have spent a small fortune on beer at several Dublin pubs over the years however. 
And on one particular evening in May 2005 I spent a little more than usual. 
Here's a ticket I made up especially for myself and all my friends who went to watch the match at The Flowing Tide pub in Dublin city. It was the incredible night when Liverpool FC beat AC Milan in Istanbul to win the Champions League Final in what for me was the greatest ever final to date in that competition. It was an especially good night for me as all my friends and my brother were also there to share the celebrations. Nights like this don't happen that often so it's important to enjoy and remember them. 
I must have been on a wave of euphoria for days afterwards. So much so that I even agreed to buy a pet for my girlfriend. I'm not a great fan of having pets in small household spaces. But this was a dwarf rabbit, and we had the space. And as I paid for the rabbit I took the honour of naming him. I had a few ideas, but I finally decided on 'Rafa' after the Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez. Here's a short clip of Rafa out in our garden.

After our little friend settled in to his new home in Ashbourne he seemed very happy. Apart from keeping him from chewing on the television cables he was great fun. I would definately recommend having a dwarf rabbit as a pet. 
Towards the end of 2005 I started working on a new painting. I wanted to experiment with contrasting colours, in this case yellow and violet. I also wanted to paint something a little contemporary with influences from my recent trips at the time to Finland. I painted this canvas in my kitchen as it was the only area in my house which had plenty of natural light. I did however have to bear constant interruptions from the kitchens main resident, Rafa the rabbit. He was very fond of climbing up on the table to see what was going on. I reckon the colours I was using had something to do with it also, especially the flourescent yellow which he was so attracted to. It was a battle of brush and whiskers! Anyway, with the 'help' of my hoppy friend I managed to get my painting finished. The result was a simple flower-like figure on a yellow background. Now all I needed was a title. 
It was spring 2006 now and this is when something terrible happened. I got up one morning to find my rabbit very ill. After a trip to the vet we discovered he had developed diarrhea. After giving it medication all we could do was wait. Unfortunately as with many dwarf rabbits, once they get diarrhea they very rarely recover and Rafa was no exception this time. I came home one day to find him gone to the big pile of straw in the sky. It was sad. We did give him a nice send off and buryed him in a nice strong Guinness box at the back of our garden. 
After this upsetting incident I returned to look at the painting I had created and decided that it could only have one title, and that was 'Flower for Rafa'.

'Flower for Rafa' 2006 - Alan Hogan

This painting completed during 2006 in Ireland is presently on view in Helsinki, Finland. It can been seen along with some more of my work from now until June 2012 at NDN Studio, Eerikinkatu 18, 00100 Helsinki. 

Thanks for reading my blog and please share it with all your friends. And here's a reminder of that wonderful night in Istanbul back in 2005 for any Liverpool fans reading this. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

World Cup 2010 - Vuvuzelas for pan pipes anyone?

As the soccer World Cup invades our livingrooms I recently received an interesting theory from my brother.

Mathematic Calculations To Determine the 2010 World Cup Winner
Mathematicians have worked out a formula to determine
who will the 2010 World Cup.

In 1970 and 1994 the winner of the world cup was Brazil
And when you add 1970 and 1994 together you get 3964

In 1978 and 1986 Argentina won the world cup.
And when you add 1978 and 1986 together you get 3964

In 1990 and 1974 Germany won the world Cup
Again when you add 1990 and 1974 together you get 3964.......

So to work out the winner of the world cup,
you need to take 2010 away from 3964,
which leaves you with 1954......

And who was the winner in 1954: Germany!
So logically you should all put your money on Germany
to win the 2010 World Cup!

We shall have to wait and see if it comes true. From what I have seen of Germany so far, it may be a good bet. It's early days though!

I haven't got into this 2010 World Cup as much as I'd like to, especially as my home country Ireland didn't qualify. Neither did Finland, the country where I now live. I followed every match in Finland's World Cup campaign on television with the same passion I normally reserve for Ireland. It was a special treat to watch two of my favorite ex-Liverpool players Sami Hyypiä and Jari 'The King' Litmanen play together in the Finland jersey.

Unfortunately we will not see Ireland or Finland in South Africa, and I thought they both deserved to be there.
Nevermind, for the moment I have placed my hope in Chile, a team I'm not that familiar with. I do know they have a few skillful players and I would really like to see them do well.

As we have withnessed, there seems to more and more money issues entering the game of football these days. The latest news being the eviction of a group of female Dutch fans for wearing mini skirts. Apparently they had something to do with 'ambush marketing' for a beer company. As far as I know they were only wearing plain orange dresses, although I heard they wear designed by the beer company. Anyway, haven't the Dutch been wearing orange for many years now at World Cups, the girls were simply wearing the colours of their country.

I know soccer has had money interests and involvement for decades. It needs it just the same as any other professional sport, otherwise the sport just wouldn't be worth watching. And what sort of supporters would travel half way around the globe to watch a bunch of amateurs play?
I do feel however that the more and more of a role money has to play in this sport, the sooner we will see an implosion of what soccer is all about.

To me soccer is a great game. A game enjoyed by many nations around the world. A game that can make a star out of the poorest child who starts his talent kicking an old can around dirty streets. It's not a sport one needs to have wealth to go forward. Soccer is also a sport that can unite and uplift the spirit of an entire nation. As an Irish citizen living in Dublin during a remarkable spell for Irish international soccer, I witnessed how a country can be transformed by a few balls kicked in the back of the opposition's net. Between 1988 and 1994, Ireland had qualified for one European Championship Finals and two World Cups Finals. A remarkable feat for a small country. Such was the excitement of being on the world stage of soccer, the whole country was sent in to a state of massive euphoria.

O'Connell Street, Dublin City, Ireland
2.30pm, 12 June 1988
This is a painting I made back in 1988.
It depicts the scene on Dublin's busiest city street at kick-off time
during the Republic of Ireland and England match at the
1988 European Football Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
I made this drawing from a newspaper photograph later that week.
I was a little busy to paint 'plein air' at the time!

Just ask any Irishman what it was like in Ireland at this time and they will give you a long and detailed answer. I believe it was this happiness and positivity that set the wheels in motion to creating a better country and the hope of a better economy. Times were hard in Ireland in the eighties, politicians were more reckless than usual, but public spirits were high from 1988 onwards. Once the Irish football team were playing well, people had a reason to cheer and be optimistic.

This in a way is why I would like to see Chile get a few good results. The country suffered a lot earlier this year when a massive 8.8 earthquake occured there. I think one or two good results and maybe a few magical goals will unite it's people and give a little hope and encouragement to make things better again. So throw away those awful vuvuzelas and let's hear the pleasant sound of the Chilean pan pipes instead! (Surely these vuvuzelas should be banned after players from both the Netherlands and Denmark complained they could not hear each other over the deafening sound)

Incantation - Cacharpaya 1982

This is a great tune by a band that features an Irishman, a Scotsman, two Englishmen and three Chilean musicians. You may remember their music from the 1986 film 'The Mission' starring Robert De Niro.

Chile begin their World Cup 2010 campaign today,

so Go Chile!!

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The Art Garage, Finland

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