Hartlepool United announce deal, Pools link up with Finland club FC Lahti

Ronnie Moore, Russ Green Tomi Honkenen and Gary Coxall
Ronnie Moore, Russ Green Tomi Honkenen and Gary Coxall

Hartlepool United have made their first signings of the transfer window – and they will be at Victoria Park this afternoon.

But the new arrivals will not be pulling on their boots against Derby County, or anyone.

We also have co-operation with Fluminense in Brazil and we loan in some of their players who want to develop in Europe

TOMI HONKONEN

The deal Pools have pulled off is with a club from Finland, FC Lahti.

Chairman Gary Coxall, chief executive Russ Green and manager Ronnie Moore met with Lahti officials at the end of last month, with Pools announcing the link-up last night.

The League Two club and their new partners, who were fifth in the Finnish top flight in 2015, are excited by the arrangement.

It is expected that players from both clubs could benefit from spells in each other’s leagues – the Finnish division, not surpringly is played from the spring to autumn so players can inter-change.

“It’s a very competitive league in Finland and we think playing in it could be very beneficial for some of our younger players,” said Green.

“FC Lahti already has links with clubs in Holland and Brazil so they know that good things can come from such partnerships and we’re really excited to take this forward.”

Lahti were fifth in the 12-team Finland league, known as the Veikkausliiga, with 12 wins and 12 draws from their 33 matches.

Pools will host Lahti chairman Mika Halttunen, managing director Tomi Honkenen and head coach Toni Korkeakunnus at this afternoon FA Cup tie against Derby County.

How good will the deal be for Pools? Only time will tell, but if the club can benefit from bringing over a player or two from Finland on a short-term basis it will have been worthwhile.

As Green alluded, it could also help some of Pools younger players to gain experience of Finland.

Pools have had a previous Nordic link during the early years of Increased Oil Recovery’s ownership of Pools and Norwegians Martin Hollund, Thomas Tennebø and, most famously, Jan Ove Pedersen gave sterling service though some of the other arrivals from Norway were not so effective.

However, this is a bold move by Pools owners JPNG and is one to be applauded.

“At FC Lahti we are very interested in co-operating with different clubs,” Honkennen told www.hartlepoolunited.co.uk.

“We have already established partnerships with clubs in Europe, outside of Europe and also in Finland.

“For example we have ties with a club in Holland through one of our former players and we also have co-operation with Fluminense in Brazil and we loan in some of their players who want to develop in Europe.

“We’re very interested in the link with Hartlepool United – we play summertime football and Hartlepool play wintertime so it’s a good fit in terms of players going in both directions.”