THE VOICE OF THE PUKKI PARTY

20/08/19

Teemu Pukki's goals have created quite the stir in his native Finland, helped by Mikko Innanen's iconic commentary. Matthew McGregor caught up with him for ACN to talk about the Pukki Party.....

He was already the GOAT, but Teemu Pukki’s four (4) Premier League goals are now making him an out-and-out Norwich legend. Yet for all the excitement you might have felt watching Pukki slot each of his goals home, you had nothing on Mikko Innanen.

Innanen has been commentating on Premier League football for Finnish TV since the 1990s, and he cannot wait to get the Pukki Party started.

Videos of Pukki’s goals, with Innanen’s incredible commentary started circulating after the Liverpool game and have generated a ton of positive feedback.

I tracked Innanen down to ask whether he was ready to be part of the Carrow Road fun. He responded by laughing. “I heard some rumours because yesterday or Saturday when you played against Newcastle, I heard that Twitter was quite hot. I don’t know how many have seen these videos, but the main stars are there playing on the pitch at Carrow Road, or Anfield. But if I can make some Norwich supporters happy then I am happy as well.”

If you haven’t watched any of the clips, you really should - the joy of the ball hitting the back of the net is doubled by Innanen’s delirious commentary. “Now Pukki is leading the Premier League goalscorer table… the Pukki-party just continues and continues,” he screamed after Teemu’s second went in on Saturday.

Is that your usual style, I gingerly asked… “It came from my heart, but of course let’s say maybe a bit more extra atmosphere when I was commentating because after Jussi Jääskeläinen, who played for West Ham, Teemu is the first [Finnish] guy after him who has played in the Premier League.”

“It is so nice and so amazing to commentate on Teemu’s games. I have commentated on his games when he played for the national team, and of course in the UEFA nations cup last September, October, he scored in every game he played for Finland. Whether he plays for Finland or the Canaries, it doesn’t matter.”

Innanen knows what he is talking about, following English football for many years before getting into the commentary gig. “My first ever English game I watched live was at Portman Road, Ipswich again Sunderland, in December 1989. John Wark scored for Ipswich.” He has the good grace to make a joke of the irony, and explains he was dating a girl from Chelmsford at the time by way of explanation.

Given you know English football from commentating on the Premier, how do you think Norwich will get on this year, I ask him. “Hey! Last season I commentated on many Norwich games when you played at the Championship level… you played very well.”

“Even though you lost at Anfield, you didn’t play so bad. Early on Pukki got it to Stiepermann twice but he shot the balls high over into the Kop. But you played well and that’s what I like - with Farke’s side, he knows how he wants Norwich to play. Even when Liverpool scored almost every time they had a chance, you played with your own philosophy.”

It’s not just Pukki catching the eye of the Finnish commentator. “Onel Hernandez was very unlucky that he fell down his stairs, he was a very big part of your last season - it was so nice to commentate on his cooperation with Pukki and Hernandez when they played together, plus Buendia. You have a good team, you have a good chance..”

Of course, Innanen’s passion for Norwich’s goals this season are a passion for Teemu Pukki. “We had Jari Litmanen who played for Liverpool and Barcelona, and he is still for me, and for many Finnish football lovers the biggest player ever, but Teemu Pukki is on his way, he has a good chance to go even bigger than Litmanen.”

Pukki’s goals mean a lot to us Norwich fans, but they’re special to football fans in Finland too, and that’s what helps give Innanen that extra yard in his commentary of Norwich games.

“It was a special moment for me of course,'' he says of Pukki’s goal at Anfield. “There are not too many Finnish players at the highest level in England. I tried to do my best but the biggest stars are playing, I am just commentating.”

Does Innanen think more Finns want to get in on the Pukki Party? “I just read an article when I was preparing for the Norwich Newcastle game, that the official Finnish Norwich supporters club has maybe 20-30 fee paying members but I am sure that it will get bigger and bigger if Pukki keeps playing like that.”

Watching Saturday’s goals again after our interview, I had a translation on my phone provided by another Finnish journalist on Facebook. As Cantwell breaks through and lays it off to Pukki, Innanen positively breaks out of the speakers. “Shall we believe that Pukki will strike a hat-trick from this one. Yes it is! The saviour of Carrow Road strikes again.”

Pukki is scoring some great goals, and Innanen is providing a great soundtrack. Hyvä Suomi!

 

While you're here. If you love Teemu as much as we do, you might be interested in our latest G.O.A.T. t-shirt which is available to pre-order now until 23 August

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