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International A-Z

Andy Greeves explores the vast number of countries our players have represented on a letter-by-letter basis. The series continues with letter ‘F’ and covers Finland and France.

Teemu Tainio celebrates scoring a goal for Finland against the Netherlands in October, 2004.


When Teemu Tainio signed for us from French club Auxerre in 2005 it was a self-proclaimed “dream come true” for the Finnish international midfielder, who had grown up supporting the club.

The Tornio-born player began his career with FC Haka prior to his switch to Auxerre in 1997, where he went on to play 204 matches in all competitions and netted 19 times. Tainio’s debut for us came away at Portsmouth on August 13, 2005, as we won 2-0 at Fratton Park on the opening day of the 2005-06 Premier League season. It was the first of 83 matches he would play for us in all competitions prior to a transfer to Sunderland in 2008.

Tainio managed three goals in our colours – the first coming against Newcastle United in a 2-0 win at White Hart Lane on December 31, 2005. He also netted against Charlton Athletic on December 9, 2006, in a 5-1 win and scored in our memorable 4-3 triumph at West Ham United on March 4, 2007. The midfielder was part of our team that won the League Cup on February 24, 2008, coming on as a 75th minute substitute for Steed Malbranque during our 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.

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