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Official Review by Elias Aaltonen, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
KTP (Kotkan Työväen Palloilijat) was founded in 1927 and it is one of the more traditional soccer clubs in Finland. If translated into English the club name would be something like The Working Class Ballplayers of Kotka. Originally the team was created for the working class people of Kotka, a harbour city in southeast Finland with approximately 54,000 inhabitants. KTP has won the Finnish Championship twice (1951, 1952) and the Finnish Cup four times (1958, 1961, 1968, 1980).
Arto Tolsa Areena (formerly known as "Urheilukeskus" or Sports Center) was built for the 1952 Olympics and some of the Olympic soccer matches were played in the stadium. In 2000 the stadium was named after Arto Tolsa who was a famous football player from Kotka and one of the first Finnish professionals to play abroad. Tolsa died in 1989. The stadium is owned by the city of Kotka.
There will be renovations after the 2015 season is finished and there will be a new stand replacing the wooden stand opposite the main stand that should be ready in 2016. At the end of the 2015 season KTP was relegated from Veikkausliiga (1st level) to Ykkönen (2nd level) after a two legged promotion playoff against PK-35 Vantaa.
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A large variety of snacks are available with very reasonable prices. There is also beer and long drinks available for a good price and you can even watch the match from a hillside pub, although there is a little fence between the pub and the pitch which disturbs the view a little. If really hungry, eating before or after the match is a preferable option. Otherwise, go for a sausage and a beer.
Overall, Arto Tolsa Areena is a good place to see a match. There are stands on three sides of the pitch and at the other end there is also a hillside pub. The main stand and the end stand have a roof.
When the weather is good, the best seats are in the stand opposite from the main stand. From there you can also read the K O T K A text written in the seats of the main stand.
The stadium is located in a park-like neighbourhood with the Sapokka water park next to the stadium. At the other end of the pitch there is a swimming hall. The stadium is basically 500 meters away from the city center, so there are many options for pre and after match activities.
Before the match most KTP supporters go to 4U's or Hakapirtti pub, which are within few hundred meters of the stadium. After the match it's a good idea to head to Soittoruokala Karoliina bar and restaurant where they sometimes have some of the players interviewed after the match. There are also some other pubs near the stadium that might have some pre and after match offers available.
There is a very affordable fast food grill right next to the stadium that is likely to get crowded after a match, but for more eating options one should make the short walk to the center of the city.
There are some lodging possibilities within walking distance of the stadium. One such hotel is the Sokos Hotel Seurahuone.
KTP fans get behind their team as long as the players give everything they've got. The supporters group calls themselves "Boys From the Docks" which highlights the working class history of the club. There are around 100 fans getting vocal, and the rest of the crowd sometimes gets involved usually by clapping their hands. A shouting of the letters K-T-P is the most common chant heard in the stadium.
The typical attendance is between 2,000-3,000 but during the summer and for the bigger matches the attendance is usually above 3,000. Very rarely is Arto Tolsa Areena sold out for KTP matches.
If you are staying in the city center the best option for going to the stadium is by foot. The bus station is only 300 meters away from the stadium and the railway station is less than a mile away. The parking is free, but there are not too many parking places around the stadium so people usually park on the sides of the roads nearby which is legal and free. There are other parking possibilities near the stadium. For example you can leave your car at the bus station.
KTP offers a very affordable match experience by Finnish standards.
A normal ticket to the main stand costs 17 euros, and the price is only 14 euros to sit in the other stands when you buy at the gate.
It's cheaper to buy tickets beforehand from the internet (www.lippupalvelu.fi). These tickets are 2-2,5 euros cheaper. Also,students under 18-year-olds and pensioners get cheaper tickets.
There are some soccer related paintings and an art project next to the wooden stand in the stadium.
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Kotka, Finland 48100
+358 10 76 35930
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Kotka, Finland 48100
+358 10 7821 000