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FC Skonto 2013 Away Shirt

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After an amusing night of watching Galatasaray of Istanbul hold Juventus of Turin to a draw in the UEFA Champions League at an Irish bar in the old town of Riga I woke up with the taste of Black Balzams in my mouth and a thirst for…my soccer shirt. Indeed I made it out to the Skonto Stadium and promptly picked up an FC Skonto shirt for 20 Latvian Lats. The shirt is made by a German brand, Jako, and it marks my first shirt from that brand–a milestone of sorts. I chose navy blue over the traditional red of FC Skonto because 1) I have many red shirts and 2) the tree on the “Granat” sponsorship stands out better on the navy.

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Skonto Stadium, Riga, Latvia – FC Skonto

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Welcome to the home stadium of Riga’s FC Skonto, Europe’s longest-running champion! After the fall of the Soviet Union the Latvian side won a European record 14 League championships in a row before finishing in second  in 2005. Despite not having the best of years lately, they are still Latvia’s most successful team. Here are a few pictures of the 9,500 capacity Skonto Stadium (which doubles as the national stadium) taken on a pleasant fall day in Riga, before I acquired a Skonto shirt.

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FC Flora Tallinn 2012 Away Shirt Matchworn

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This shirt came out of a cardboard box at the souvenir stand/ticket stand run by the team before their match with JK Narva Trans at the A. Le Coq Arena. Its a nice extra-large Nike shirt sporting a number two, as well as a sponsor (a good thing, since I think that otherwise jerseys can look dull depending on their design). The only drawback is that this shirt is gold, and not the green and white stripes that FC Flora traditionally sport. Overall, its nice to have a shirt from the team that is arguably the most famous in Estonia.

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Nomme Kalju Tallinn 2013 Away Shirt

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Another shirt purchased at the Sportland beneath the A. Le Coq arena, this might be the best shirt available for purchase in Estonia during the 2013 season. It is a quality Adidas shirt, with a nice badge that includes recognition of their championship last year. Additionally, this shirt has a A. Le Coq Premium Liiga badge on the left arm and it is Formotion, making it player quality. The help.ee sponsor is also very amusing, topping off a well-designed jersey. It was nice to get the shirt before watching them face Levadia Tallinn in a top of the table clash.

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FC Levadia Tallinn 2013 Home Shirt L/S

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A Levadia Tallinn shirt purchased  at the Sportland shop underneath the A. Le Coq Arena before attending their match against Nomme Kalju. Levadia Tallinn are a pretty obscure team, but I remember them as having faced Galatasaray in the Play Off round of the 2009-2010 Europa League where they lost 5-0 in Istanbul before a 1-1 draw in Tallinn. A bonus of this shirt is that it is long sleeved–a feature that is surprisingly hard to find in Estonian shirts, despite the harsh winter weather conditions in the region. It is part of a trend in football shirts more generally, as increasingly it is only short-sleeved shirts that are being made. It must be something about profit margins . . .

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Kalevi Keskstaadion, Tallin, Estonia – Kalev Tallinn

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The Kalevi Keskstaadion, home to Kalev Tallinn, is a quintessential Eastern European concrete bowl of a stadium. It’s grey facade fit in with the grey skies under which I visited it. This aging bowl was built in 1956, when it was named the Komsomoli Staadion. It is fairly large, with a capacity of 12,000, but something tells me that it has not seen that many fans in a long long time, at least for a football match. Despite its obvious shortcomings, there was something about this stadium that warmed my heart. Perhaps it was the echoes of the past that this stadium evoked in me that pleased me, or maybe it was the fact that this stadium is still standing even after the construction of the A. Le Coq Arena that impressed me. Whatever it was, here’s to the Kalevi Keskstaadion’s defiance of the years.

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A. Le Coq Arena, Tallinn, Estonia – FC Flora Tallinn

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A few views of the Le Coq arena taken the day before the match took place, the first picture is the street sign of the beautiful Katariina Kaik–St. Catherine’s Passage–in Tallinn’s old city, taken on the way to the arena. Many visiting fan groups have left their mark, including those from Spartak Moscow and Dinamo Moscow. Pictures of the same stadium during matchday can be found at the following link: A. Le Coq Arena FC Flora Tallinn-JK Narva Trans Matchday (thisisfootballislife.wordpress.com).

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