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Raimo Nõu: football has a big role in Sillamäe

Angelo PalmeriComment

Rumori is offer to offer the English version of an interview to Raimo Nõu, member of the board at Kalev Tallinn (and for many years president till present day) and now more and more involved at Sillamäe Kalev.

The interview appeared in Estonian at Estonian FA website here and we offer the most interesting excerpts.

Despite his young age (34) Raimo has covered already different roles in Estonian football and is probably reaching his maturity at club’s management adding another interesting experience to his CV.

He talks from inside two clubs giving a good picture of differences within the two environments and what is football in Eastern Estonia compared to the rest of the country.



The most attentive football fans and peoples have not missed to notice, that you are connected with Sillamäe recently. Did you leave Kalev Tallinn and joined Sillamäe?

Since spring, I am really helping actively Sillamäe on a daily basis. At the same time, I am still connected to Kalev Tallinn being still member of the board and president. How this is possible, probably is a bit incomprehensible for some people.

There are two nuances here: Both Sillamäe and Kalev Tallinn (the full name of Sillamäe is ‘Sillamäe Kalev’ –edit) belong to the same ‘Eesti Spordiselts Kalev’ (Estonian Sport Association Kalev –edit) so we could talk about ‘sister clubs’. At the same time, the two clubs philosophy is quite different. Sillamäe first team is a professional team clearly orientated at reaching results (they’re currently third on the table –edit). Kalev Tallinn instead, it’s completely an amateur team. The concept of Kalev Tallinn is to give young players Premium Liiga experience. Therefore, the interests conflict is minimal. Obviously, I don’t share info related to one club with the other.

What do you actually do in Sillamäe?

I cannot say my job description is precisely defined. My daily activities go from cooperating in organizing the games to bringing forward special projects and give advice to the club’s management and staff.

The job is definitely interesting, how big is the challenge?

Well, already moving out to a city where most of the people speak Russian, it is already a challenge. In Sillamäe the Estonian speaking population is less than 3%. This is quite interesting! The locals already know me and greet me in Estonian, I answer in Russian.

Talking about challenges, I can say that organizing Sillamäe’s European games (they played against Honka in Rakvere and FC Krasnodar in Tallinn –edit) meant 16-18 hours of workdays. On the day of Sillamäe-Krasnodar game, I travelled 800 km. However, I have always fancied these big games. After the European campaign, the club president, Aleksandr Starodutsev, asked me whether I was happy with everything and what I thought about it. Of course my answer was: kef!

How did you manage with the change of environment?

Sillamäe is 185km from Tallinn. There are 15 years younger graduates with no experience of life who travel the other part of the world and can handle. Sometimes it’s hard to bring my message and will to someone else but with my experience, I can cope with uncertainties.

Which is the thing you have done you are most happy with?

I have visited games from the region’s (Eastern Estonia –edit) other clubs and I can say that, as Sillamäe is a leader on the sport level, we are also a leader in organizing games under many points of view starting from security at games to information in Estonian language. Looking from this season’s Premium Liiga perspective, the most challenging game to organize was Sillamäe-FC Flora. Naturally it all stemmed out of last season incidents when there was a big fight among the fans ended with security service using tear gas and police being involved. This year we prepared the game thoroughly. The locals did not understand much why all this advising was needed from me.

I am very happy with the way I was taken very positively by the people here, starting from the fans and ending with Sillamäe local authorities. Fans have been often helpful. Recently they helped spreading flyers around the city. The mayor, Eevi Paasmäe is usually following the team loudly.

Is there anything you are not happy with?

Since I am an impatient person, there are certain things, which I would like to do quicker. There are situations I don’t understand. I don’t understand why it is told that it’s not possible to do it. The work communications here are a bit different than in Tallinn. In Spring/Summer, it happened several times that stadium workers were having a cigarette break and I had to put myself the advertisement banners, together with other helpful people. Now the situation has improved, out of 9 men, two have started to work.

Raimo has been actively playing football at amateur side, FC Soccernet (

Raimo has been actively playing football at amateur side, FC Soccernet (

What is the main difference between Eastern Estonia and the rest of the country  football?

I dare say that here there is more stress on reaching the result. Developing the game and the club has been less important.

Do you see potential in Sillamäe?

Yes, I do. Regardless the fast growing competitors as FC Infonet and the future coming of FC Santos Tartu, there is big potential in Sillamäe to stay in top football. Here there is everything needed to fight for the title: big and strong sponsors, active fans club, supporting city authorities and there might be soon a refurbishment of the main stadium. Football has even a bigger role in Sillamäe than in Tallinn. One reason is the role football has among the Russian youth here, being the most important sport. Additionally, citizens do not have so many past-times. Football offers both chances of playing and being entertained. At the same time, Sillamäe has good contacts with Russia and Ukraine to bring foreign players in. The key-issue will be to develop the youth sector. In Eastern Estonia there are not so many good young coaches. The club is working on it.