Date: 25th February 2009 at 11:38am
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Sheffield Wednesday have expanded their global brand recently by announcing a link with Finnish club IF Gnistan. Here is a little about the philosophy of the Helsinki based club.

The club has certain aspects that they try to instil into their players from a young age. There is an emphasis on three particular areas: Healthy soul in healthy body, good behaviour and socially.

Healthy soul in healthy body: Good physical condition is the basics of high-class and stable life. Mental endurance in strenuous working life requires that people will learn to take care of their physical condition already at a young age.

Football is clearly the best way to get the children to excercise. 25% of young have football as their hobby at some point in their lives. The interest to this sport is big. And the sport is easy to get started: all you need is a ball, a pair of football shoes and a team, where you’ll get to play in.

Good behaviour: Manners – both good and bad – are learnt through your social environment. Gnistan’s teams are known from their good behaviour, and it will get accentuated and be an even bigger part of our education work.

Social: Working in a team forces to take also others into consideration. In the world of computers young people might easily get isolated into fantasy world without sufficient amount of social life.
Football as a team sport offers healthy balance to this (being isolated and alone).

A contingent of three players and coach Fipi Ulvas had been in Sheffield last week to secure the deal. Of the three players Sami Simola, Jan Elf and Lukas Nyback, one has impressed sufficiently enough to be invited back to Middlewood Road at a later date.

This link with Gnistan adds to the ever growing list of affiliates that the Owls are linked with, alongside Cookstown in Northern Ireland, TFA in Australia, Kalamazoo Outrage in U.S.A and FC Victoria in Canada. The Owls were also hoping to forge a link with an Argentinian club with the help of ex-player Juan Cobian as Wednesday leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of talent.

Gnistan could well be the source of Wednesday uncovering the next Sami Hyypia or Jari Litmanen.

I would like to thank Finnish student Outi Hokkanen for helping me with the translations.