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stupalace
16-05-2005, 07:04 AM
Football



May 16, 2005



Life and death? Ask my grandfather
By Aki Riihilahti



WHAT CAN I SAY? NOTHING REALLY. There is no word for this. At least nothing that can be printed. Time for heroics, a game of life and death, a football war; they were the most common things said about the last day. Unfortunately, we couldnít live up to these phrases, and went down in the final moment. Among many others I have used all these words. Not just because we got relegated yesterday, but in any case I would have apologised for it now. I think it is wrong, inappropriate and disrespectful. Not just to the losing team and its people but also for those who have experienced the real meaning of these words.
I realised this last Sunday watching my grandfather at my grandmotherís funeral. Sure I cry and feel pain about football results, itís my life and this was one of the darkest days of it. However, the view of an old man grieving next to his wifeís coffin is real pain. I felt then embarrassed being worried about a tight hamstring. Like I feel now about being so miserable about football that I broke some furniture at home.



I saw many times a picture in my head that I was going to score the winning goal to keep us in the Barclays Premiership. In that picture I was the hero. I had it again when I came on as substitute in the 90th minute. It didnít happen. And even my dream, would that have made me any better? Would my grandfather have considered that heroism? The answer lies in the way he lived his life.

Football doesnít belong in the same sentence with heroism for a young married man going to a war against an enemy ten times stronger. My grandfather saw his friends killed but he still miraculously won independence to my country. He came back to his wife, into a destroyed land and built a happy home. After thin years he built another one. He would have built as many it would have taken. The only time I have ever heard him complain was when the doctor finally banned him from riding a bicycle. The unjust decision was made four years ago when he was 94. Age didnít matter, he always thanked that he could see his wife one more day. When she passed away there was no next day. Nothing could change that.

I can never forget how brave and honourable he was at the funeral. He was deeply hurt, but still carried it through with dignity. It was heartbreaking but taught me a lesson. Before that I had thought there could be nothing worse than relegation. Sure, my daily worries and life is depended on it. However, it is nothing in the bigger scale, nothing that canít be fixed, things have to be put into perspective.

Iíd have done anything for us to stay up. It is painful and Iíve been crying a lot since yesterday. I put everything into it and still it wasnít enough. This has a massive impact on my future. Still, it is not a permanent fall. It is not a matter of life and death. It is just a bad outcome. Our team can still look at the mirror because we gave it our best go. We now have to carry adversity honourably. Itís not what happens, more meaningful how you lived it. That ís my grandfather written all over it.

You canít choose all the outcomes in life. My grandfather had great years together with my grandmother. His sorrow is deep. I had a chance to experience the Premiership. Crystal Palace and me are still not far from it.

Everyone will experience adversity. And meet grief and sorrow. Those are just the laws of life and you canít change them. You can look back, though, and see if youíve given it your best go. That is the choice you can make everyday. To make your best effort for your cause. Be the husband you can be. Or be the honourable person playing football. For me, there has never been a footballer even half a man of my grandfather. His story is heroic. I apologise even writing about him next to a football game.

Palace will always bounce back. And God will bless my grandfather.

colin_cork
16-05-2005, 07:16 AM
says it all really

stupalace
16-05-2005, 07:17 AM
i cant read it , it makes me cry

forest glazier
16-05-2005, 07:18 AM
As always this is just a perfect reflecticve article. This guy is real class.

HOVE EAGLE
16-05-2005, 07:19 AM
puts everything into perspective -very well written

Ruskin Old Boy
16-05-2005, 07:19 AM
Palace will always bounce back. And God will bless my grandfather.

Fine words

Barcaeagle
16-05-2005, 07:30 AM
Perfect remedy to a shitty monday morning .... Just wondering how many of our players futures.

He is right Palace will bounce back, as we always do with I think at least some dignity in the way that we played, the way that we fought this season,and with self belief in our team that I havent seen for many years.

From a fan to the first team ... Thank you .... please just give it 'One more round ' for next season ... Come up as Champions with Mr Dowie at the helm !!! ( here's hoping and praying we can keep the back bone of our team together) .... Remember money isnt everything .... Hand on your heart ... eye on your soul !!! Barcaeagle signing off until the first game of the pre-season, as I cant deal with 3month of AJ staying / Going , Dowie staying / going posts.

Eagles

Flappy Chicken
16-05-2005, 07:38 AM
At least we get to watch more games!

st albans
16-05-2005, 07:41 AM
really does put yesterday in to perspective and has made me feel much better about the whole thing. legend, hope he stays, will need his experience next season

Isle of Wight
16-05-2005, 07:44 AM
Aki the Man.

Smurph
16-05-2005, 07:51 AM
I've tears in my eyes. I love this man, for that is what he is.

The first thing I did this morning was apologise to my wife for how miserable I was yesterday evening.

Time to move on, but I hope Aki doesn't.

sydney eagle
16-05-2005, 07:52 AM
Magic

zonin2000
16-05-2005, 07:52 AM
God bless Aki's grandfather.

See, we may get relegated, but we have some genuinely fantastic people at this football club. How proud we all are, to have been able to cheer on Andrew Johnson, Gabor Kiraly, Michael Hughes, Aki Riihilahti and co. Absolutely stellar human beings, who burst every nerve and sinew trying to keep us up.

But Aki's right. It's a game, one in which there is always the chance to bounce back.

Daveyboyross
16-05-2005, 07:59 AM
Amazing how someone's whose first language isn't English can write something so amazing and eloquent. Aki is going to be massive next season - would love to see him as Captain one day.

Richard
16-05-2005, 08:00 AM
What a moving article. Aki is such a decent human being.

Kevin T
16-05-2005, 08:03 AM
I think we've seen his last minutes in a palace shirt

JohnA
16-05-2005, 08:09 AM
Aki Platinum.

That is a marvellous article - the integrity, intelligence and decency of the man are manifest throughout it.

mblack
16-05-2005, 08:20 AM
:p The guy is a legend :p

Skippymoo
16-05-2005, 08:23 AM
We CAN be champions and up by Christmas next year, thats my hope and one I want to see happen..COME ON BOYS..Aki and the rest of the team, THANKYOU! (Malakite)

Granada allover
16-05-2005, 08:27 AM
How weird. I saw my dying mother in Mayday before going on to the beamback. She can only mumble, can't eat or drink, all she can do is hug without any strength. It may well be the last time I see her alive ( I had to drive up north back home last night). All through that rollercoaster of a match, I could look over and see Mayday from my seat. I genuinely prayed for peace for her, and hoped for a Palace victory to ease the pain. Life doesn't always deliver, does it?

Thanks, Aki. Once again, proportion and perspective.

Nelson Muntz
16-05-2005, 08:29 AM
Originally posted by Kevin T
I think we've seen his last minutes in a palace shirt
He said last week that he wasn't leaving Kevin. I hope he doesn't, I love him on and off the pitch.

SKATE
16-05-2005, 08:35 AM
Now that has made me cry. :sob: I love aki :love:

Richard
16-05-2005, 08:43 AM
Originally posted by Kevin T
I think we've seen his last minutes in a palace shirt What a shame. For me, he's one of our unsung successes of this season, and the sort of player I regard as a typical Palace player - not the most talented, but absolutely dedicated to using every ounce of the talent he possesses

Alf Noakes
16-05-2005, 08:47 AM
What a fine article from a great man. Putting life into perspective. I hope he will be with us next season as we experience the utter joy of promotion again. I have been married fro 33 years and my wife says promotion and relegation are part of the fun and heartache of supporting the palace. No mid table boredom for us.
I can't wait for next season to see us wopping the likes of Luton and of course the little team from down the A23!

Gerry from Sussex
16-05-2005, 08:49 AM
Like I said before Sunday's game on the Geoff Thomas thread, having lost a sister and a brother to cancer during the last 12 months, relegation wouldn't seem like the end of the world to me. Like Geoff, Palace can have another chance (probably plenty of chances) and, as they say, while there's life, there's hope; always something to lokk forward to.

Must admit, I did forget my own advice for a few hours yesterday evening as I was really gutted. But my sense of perspective is back today and that feeling for 12 minutes when we were safe was in fact a perfect reminder of the good times that still lie ahead for Palace. I'm glad to be alive and proud to be a Palace fan. Life is still good and Aki is a wonderful human being!

swirly007
16-05-2005, 08:49 AM
:( So sorry to hear that Granada...I guess life really is just one big jumble of ups and downs...

lightweight
16-05-2005, 09:43 AM
Brilliant stuff from Aki & so true. It doesn't stop us hurting when palace are relegated, no matter what other things are going on in our lives, but it does put things into perspective after the event.

It is only football - whilst it's a great passion in our lives, we can only appreciate the ups by having the down moments. A bit like life I guess!!!

CK
16-05-2005, 09:45 AM
Wife away so on me own last night. Felt a bit low obviously but not too bad and felt a bit lighter when I woke up. Another season, another league etc....

I knew yesterday that I shouldn't read the new Aki. But I did didn't I.

Welled up, lump in throat and a large tear in the eye. That bloke certainly has another career when he's finished in footie.:lux:

lauren_of_hove
16-05-2005, 11:45 AM
Glad I'm not the only one to well up at that.

Must not cry at college.

:(

michael
16-05-2005, 11:53 AM
You have the respect of many Palace fans Aki

The Eagleman
16-05-2005, 12:08 PM
What a great read. Aki that hit the spot. Never cry over anything really, however last night and today have been really gutted about Palace.

Have not gone work as I truly believed we would do it when we went 2-1 up.

Aki you have brought a tear to my eye, however at the same time shaken me by the shoulders to bring be back to reality.

Aki people like you are very rare. :p

Buglebob
16-05-2005, 12:15 PM
Notice how the media found plenty of Norwich and Saints fans crying yesterday, but struggled to find a blubbing Palace fan. I remarked last night that we seem to be more capable than others at keeping the situation in perspective (goes without saying that we care just as much as others). Probably because we are more used to the "rollercaoaster" than others.

Congratulations, Aki, excellent article. And congratulations to the Times as well, excellent match report.

PalaceFan in Alabama
16-05-2005, 12:28 PM
Thanks Aki for reminding me that there are more important things than CPFC losing a football match.
Today the sun came up on another day in my life, but your grandfather will forever feel as his reason for living will not be there, but even that will get better.

Bungalow
16-05-2005, 12:54 PM
Good old Aki.
He has a bright future after football. Maybe he'll be a manager?

ammiller
16-05-2005, 01:43 PM
In the scheme of things I feel very grateful for having a quality person like this in my life.

Sussex Eagle
16-05-2005, 02:09 PM
Great stuff :)

I have to say I also suspect we've seen the last of Aki for Palace. Dowie prefers Leigertwood by the looks of it, and I don't think we need both in the Championship. I'll tip him to go to the Bundesliga and do well there. If he sticks around I'll be happy as the proverbial Larry though, one of my favourites and clearly a really intelligent and sorted bloke.

Excowboy
16-05-2005, 03:31 PM
AKI: "PALACE WILL BOUNCE BACK"

Aki Riihilahti

Life and death? Ask my grandfather

WHAT CAN I SAY? NOTHING REALLY. There is no word for this. At least nothing that can be printed. Time for heroics, a game of life and death, a football war; they were the most common things said about the last day. Unfortunately, we couldn't live up to these phrases, and went down in the final moment. Among many others I have used all these words. Not just because we got relegated yesterday, but in any case I would have apologised for it now. I think it is wrong, inappropriate and disrespectful. Not just to the losing team and its people but also for those who have experienced the real meaning of these words.

I realised this last Sunday watching my grandfather at my grandmother's funeral. Sure I cry and feel pain about football results, it's my life and this was one of the darkest days of it. However, the view of an old man grieving next to his wife's coffin is real pain. I felt then embarrassed being worried about a tight hamstring. Like I feel now about being so miserable about football that I broke some furniture at home.

I saw many times a picture in my head that I was going to score the winning goal to keep us in the Barclays Premiership. In that picture I was the hero. I had it again when I came on as substitute in the 90th minute. It didn't happen. And even my dream, would that have made me any better? Would my grandfather have considered that heroism? The answer lies in the way he lived his life.

Football doesn't belong in the same sentence with heroism for a young married man going to a war against an enemy ten times stronger. My grandfather saw his friends killed but he still miraculously won independence to my country. He came back to his wife, into a destroyed land and built a happy home. After thin years he built another one. He would have built as many it would have taken. The only time I have ever heard him complain was when the doctor finally banned him from riding a bicycle. The unjust decision was made four years ago when he was 94. Age didn't matter, he always thanked that he could see his wife one more day. When she passed away there was no next day. Nothing could change that.

I can never forget how brave and honourable he was at the funeral. He was deeply hurt, but still carried it through with dignity. It was heartbreaking but taught me a lesson. Before that I had thought there could be nothing worse than relegation. Sure, my daily worries and life is depended on it. However, it is nothing in the bigger scale, nothing that can't be fixed, things have to be put into perspective.

I'd have done anything for us to stay up. It is painful and I've been crying a lot since yesterday. I put everything into it and still it wasn't enough. This has a massive impact on my future. Still, it is not a permanent fall. It is not a matter of life and death. It is just a bad outcome. Our team can still look at the mirror because we gave it our best go. We now have to carry adversity honourably. It's not what happens, more meaningful how you lived it. That 's my grandfather written all over it.

You can't choose all the outcomes in life. My grandfather had great years together with my grandmother. His sorrow is deep. I had a chance to experience the Premiership. Crystal Palace and me are still not far from it.

Everyone will experience adversity. And meet grief and sorrow. Those are just the laws of life and you can't change them. You can look back, though, and see if you've given it your best go. That is the choice you can make everyday. To make your best effort for your cause. Be the husband you can be. Or be the honourable person playing football. For me, there has never been a footballer even half a man of my grandfather. His story is heroic. I apologise even writing about him next to a football game.

Palace will always bounce back. And God will bless my grandfather.



:sob:

SmithEagle
16-05-2005, 03:37 PM
Already a thread on this:
http://forums.cpfc.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=107657

gaborgabor
16-05-2005, 04:21 PM
I dont know who has read it but i felt it was very well said and i would recomend it to people who are relly upset about our relegation because it basicly says that football is just fun and there are more important things than football belive it or not! (those people who have read it did he not play vs Charlton due to his grandfather or was that the sunday before?)

i also felt that ID's interview on sky sports omn saturday was very well spoken as he said 'the sun will still be shining on monday and we must get on with life whateva league we are in'

Look at the aki interview on WWW.CPFC.CO.UK (http://www.cpfc.co.uk) or it may be in the times.

Hey ho. life goes on!!

CPFC Guy
16-05-2005, 08:03 PM
I read an article by Aki Riihilahti on the .co.uk site and was amazed by how down to earth this guy is. If u want to read it then:
http://www.cpfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/News/WTPS/0,,10323~665804,00.html

What do you think? I've decided to get on with my life (or exams in a weeks time :( ) and look forward to kickin ass next season

Well done Aki - top guy :p I hope u stay

nicknackpalace
16-05-2005, 08:10 PM
Aki has the intelligence and decency that many of us could usefully emulate.

p4penny
16-05-2005, 08:15 PM
Up until I read that I had managed to hold back the tears!

Eaglesmad1
16-05-2005, 08:23 PM
Anyone care to copy and paste it up here?

Velocity
16-05-2005, 08:41 PM
"PALACE WILL BOUNCE BACK"

Aki Riihilahti

Life and death? Ask my grandfather

WHAT CAN I SAY? NOTHING REALLY. There is no word for this. At least nothing that can be printed. Time for heroics, a game of life and death, a football war; they were the most common things said about the last day. Unfortunately, we couldn't live up to these phrases, and went down in the final moment. Among many others I have used all these words. Not just because we got relegated yesterday, but in any case I would have apologised for it now. I think it is wrong, inappropriate and disrespectful. Not just to the losing team and its people but also for those who have experienced the real meaning of these words.

I realised this last Sunday watching my grandfather at my grandmother's funeral. Sure I cry and feel pain about football results, it's my life and this was one of the darkest days of it. However, the view of an old man grieving next to his wife's coffin is real pain. I felt then embarrassed being worried about a tight hamstring. Like I feel now about being so miserable about football that I broke some furniture at home.

I saw many times a picture in my head that I was going to score the winning goal to keep us in the Barclays Premiership. In that picture I was the hero. I had it again when I came on as substitute in the 90th minute. It didn't happen. And even my dream, would that have made me any better? Would my grandfather have considered that heroism? The answer lies in the way he lived his life.

Football doesn't belong in the same sentence with heroism for a young married man going to a war against an enemy ten times stronger. My grandfather saw his friends killed but he still miraculously won independence to my country. He came back to his wife, into a destroyed land and built a happy home. After thin years he built another one. He would have built as many it would have taken. The only time I have ever heard him complain was when the doctor finally banned him from riding a bicycle. The unjust decision was made four years ago when he was 94. Age didn't matter, he always thanked that he could see his wife one more day. When she passed away there was no next day. Nothing could change that.

I can never forget how brave and honourable he was at the funeral. He was deeply hurt, but still carried it through with dignity. It was heartbreaking but taught me a lesson. Before that I had thought there could be nothing worse than relegation. Sure, my daily worries and life is depended on it. However, it is nothing in the bigger scale, nothing that can't be fixed, things have to be put into perspective.

I'd have done anything for us to stay up. It is painful and I've been crying a lot since yesterday. I put everything into it and still it wasn't enough. This has a massive impact on my future. Still, it is not a permanent fall. It is not a matter of life and death. It is just a bad outcome. Our team can still look at the mirror because we gave it our best go. We now have to carry adversity honourably. It's not what happens, more meaningful how you lived it. That 's my grandfather written all over it.

You can't choose all the outcomes in life. My grandfather had great years together with my grandmother. His sorrow is deep. I had a chance to experience the Premiership. Crystal Palace and me are still not far from it.

Everyone will experience adversity. And meet grief and sorrow. Those are just the laws of life and you can't change them. You can look back, though, and see if you've given it your best go. That is the choice you can make everyday. To make your best effort for your cause. Be the husband you can be. Or be the honourable person playing football. For me, there has never been a footballer even half a man of my grandfather. His story is heroic. I apologise even writing about him next to a football game.

Palace will always bounce back. And God will bless my grandfather.

Chunt
16-05-2005, 08:45 PM
A truely amazing article, I have all the respect in the world for this man.

Ben H
16-05-2005, 08:51 PM
A few people on here could do with some of Aki's perspective.

Strathclyde Eagle
16-05-2005, 08:55 PM
Quite emotional to read that in The Times today, although I must admit it was more for Aki than us as a club. A thoroughly decent human being.

Angry Eagle
16-05-2005, 08:56 PM
Stunning and humbling!
I'm sure his Grandfather is looking down and is extreamly proud of him.
Aki has played his part in showing we can work together to make next season something special.
Palace will always bounce back. And God will bless his grandfather.

forsells no1 fan
16-05-2005, 09:01 PM
Aki is great!:) :p

Tor
16-05-2005, 09:07 PM
He should get the Nobel Prize. End of.

m355y
16-05-2005, 09:21 PM
that's a fantastic article.

I looked around his site a few months ago, spent ages going through his articles, funny, touching, down to earth, interesting, and usually all at once. Great self-depreciating sense of humour and genuine intelligence.

You look at thugs like Bowyer and it's easy to get blinded by the 'footballers are all horrible people' propeganda but it's nice to see an example to the contrary. Turned into a bit of a Riihilahti fan this year, hope he stays with you.

AndyStreet
16-05-2005, 09:22 PM
You gonna come down for the game at Selhurst m355y?

m355y
16-05-2005, 09:24 PM
yeah, if I can definately. Wouldn't miss it:D

daz_eagle
16-05-2005, 09:29 PM
sublime piece of writing.

i hope aki stays with us for "one more round". we can build our midfield around him and hughesy again.

Chunt
16-05-2005, 09:30 PM
I put everything into it and still it wasn't enough.

I think this quote pretty much sums up our season. Every player tried their hardest, and gave their all bar maybe a few performances, but we were just unlucky, and at times not good enough.

Clapham Grand
16-05-2005, 10:48 PM
He has to play next season. He has epitomised all that is good about football and Palace. A true gent

mapcontractor
16-05-2005, 11:47 PM
Originally posted by Skippymoo
We CAN be champions and up by Christmas next year, thats my hope and one I want to see happen..COME ON BOYS..Aki and the rest of the team, THANKYOU! (Malakite)

If we are up by Christmas then maybe we can loan out AJ to a premiership team for the rest of the season so that it doesn't harm his World Cup ambitions. :p ;) :p

Hedgehog
17-05-2005, 01:21 AM
Originally posted by Buglebob
Notice how the media found plenty of Norwich and Saints fans crying yesterday, but struggled to find a blubbing Palace fan. I remarked last night that we seem to be more capable than others at keeping the situation in perspective (goes without saying that we care just as much as others). Probably because we are more used to the "rollercaoaster" than others.
This is a very good point. Look in the Gallery... the one picture taken at the end, people have a look of shock but not sorrow.

Little bit how I was feeling listening on the Internet. I did have a tear in my eye when we were winning 2-1 and it looked like a miracle was taking place. But at the end, just a little head shaking TBH.

Taking the thinking of Aki, we have Stavros 69, Bert Head is God and Geoff Thomas to put things into perspective. Also we cannot forget the young lad who lost his battle with cancer earlier in the year. Who will ever forget the posting of his brave father on these boards. I wish we could have stayed up in his honor, but you know whatÖ.. I bet there is a West Brom fan with the exact same story.

NZsparky
17-05-2005, 01:31 AM
Originally posted by Granada allover
How weird. I saw my dying mother in Mayday before going on to the beamback. She can only mumble, can't eat or drink, all she can do is hug without any strength. It may well be the last time I see her alive ( I had to drive up north back home last night). All through that rollercoaster of a match, I could look over and see Mayday from my seat. I genuinely prayed for peace for her, and hoped for a Palace victory to ease the pain. Life doesn't always deliver, does it?

Thanks, Aki. Once again, proportion and perspective.
Your note was just as moving

christopher
17-05-2005, 02:23 AM
Tear to the eye stuff.