Belfast Telegraph

Tainio relishes the challenge posed by Keane's Sunderland revolution

Twelve months ago Roy Keane embarked on his anti-WAG, anti-London rant, caused by his frustration over the difficulties of signing players for Sunderland.

This summer has been easier and one of Keane's four new signings, Teemu Tainio, revealed a fresh reason why, at least for him, Wearside was no bar to leaving Tottenham, and London.

"I'm originally from Lapland," Tainio said, "so I don't really mind where I live. This is warm in comparison to Lapland."

There has been an upbeat feel to Sunderland this week, with El Hadji Diouf's arrival being followed by that of Tainio's former colleague at Tottenham, Steed Malbranque.

"There's great ambition here," Tainio observed. "When I arrived at Spurs three years ago I had a good feeling about how the club wanted to push on and I get that same feeling here now, so I'm up for the challenge. The momentum is starting to build."

At White Hart Lane, Tainio, 28, realised that once Martin Jol was replaced by Juande Ramos, his prospects were reduced. Jol had signed the Finn from Auxerre in 2005.

"The last year at Spurs was quite frustrating," Tainio said. "I was played out of position, at left-back or right-back. I'd never played there before.

"The players who had played under Martin Jol suddenly didn't play any more so there was a feeling that something was going to happen," he added.

"When you've had two fifth places, to finish 11th is not what the club wanted – and it was a disappointing season. Of course we won the Carling Cup, but the club really wanted to be in the Champions League."

Belfast Telegraph


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