the article knoert posted is from summer 2012 btw...but not much has changed as last year our average attendance in Premium league was 215 people. In fact our local basketball league brings 2x the average attendance...we must be the only country in Europe other than Lithuania where bball is much more popular than soccer on local league level.
average attendances of our biggest clubs (both basketball and football):
1. Tartu Ülikool/Rock (Alexela korvpalli meistriliiga) - 1075 inimest
2. Kalev/Cramo (Alexela korvpalli meistriliiga) - 825 inimest
3. TYCO/Rapla (Alexela korvpalli meistriliiga) - 590 inimest
4. Rakvere Tarvas (Alexela korvpalli meistriliiga) - 550 inimest
5.-6. Tartu Tammeka (Premium liiga) - 357 inimest
5.-6. Pärnu korvpalliklubi (Alexela korvpalli meistriliiga) - 357 inimest
7. TTÜ korvpalliklubi (Alexela korvpalli meistriliiga) - 350 inimest
8. Tallinna Flora (Premium liiga) - 336 inimest
9. Tallinna Levadia (Premium liiga) - 305 inimest
10. Nõmme Kalju (Premium liiga) - 250 inimest
11. Tallinna Kalev (Alexela korvpalli meistriliiga) - 215 inimest
12. Jõhvi Hito (Alexela korvpalli meistriliiga) - 213 inimest
13. Sillamäe Kalev (Premium liiga) - 180 inimest
14. Paide Linnameeskond (Premium liiga) - 178 inimest
15. Valga/Maks&Moorits (Alexela korvpalli meistriliiga) - 175 inimest
16. Tallinna Infonet (Premium liiga) - 155 inimest
17. Tallinna Kalev (Premium liiga) - 147 inimest
18. FC Kuressaare (Premium liiga) - 138 inimest
19. Narva Trans (Premium liiga) - 107 inimest
It has been just unbelievable transfer window. Just massive arms race. Almost every team has brought in some very experienced international player. Even Pärnu, Viljandi and Paide. Or has just got some other great quality from other Premium liiga clubs (like Narva and Sillamäe).
Some words about every club. In bracketts clubs position last year. Levadia (1)
After tough beginning for the transfer window, when they lost their best defender Artjom Artjunin to Romania, Premium liiga best gk Roman Šmisko to Narva (pretty shocker transfer ofcourse), Maksim Podholjuzhin got suspended etc, they since had built very strong team. Most exciting new players are example internationals Siim Luts and former Flora player+74x time international Taavi Rähn (Flora didn`t offered him a new contract) and as a latest shock-news, Kaimar Saag`s time in Scandinavia ended and he returned to Levadia. + some legionnaires example Ivan Pecha, who has even some minutes Champions league group stage experience and new goalkeeper Aleksei Širokov from Moscow Lokomotiv II.
So again, very strong squad.
Sillamäe Kalev (2)
Lost many many important players. Whole europe one of the biggest goalscorers Kabajev left to Indonesia, Nikolai Mašitšev, Aleksandr Volodin, Mihhail Lavrentjev left to Infonet.
They have been example another former international Tihhon Šisov, Janar Toomet and former Napoli player Giorgi Di Vicino. Their biggest strenght should be again head coach Sergei Frantsev, who did magnifiecent job in the second half of the last season. Nevertheless, I think they lose again their place in top 3.
Flora (3) - Almost perfect pre-season, and has won all-most all their friendlies. Lost both their two best centre-backs. Estonia football biggest prospect Karol Mets was sold to Norway and Taavi Rähn wasn`t offered new contract and he joined Levadia as a free-agent. 109x time international Enar Jääger has trained for Flora all winter and if he decides to join Flora, they could be biggest favourite for title. Very important was also Gert Kams comeback to Flora from Seinajöki and he has been also in fantastic form. Main striker should be new man from Finland, Sakari Tukiainen.
Nõmme Kalju (4) - Has made some kind of revival as a club. Returned to their roots in Nõmme and they decided to play whole-season there (Hiiu stadium). Sergei Terehhov has brought some new fresh also their playing-style and with shock-signing Ats Purje they could also fight pretty easily for title. Pretty difficult was also losing Martin Vunk, who also left to Indonesia. From China is back Voskoboinikov.
Infonet (5) - Probably most exciting transfers. Latest is problably Estonia all-time best DM from Estonia Aleksander Dmitrijev, who didn`t got a contract from Estonia and instead continueing in Levadia, he decided to play his final years in Infonet. He replaces retired Meistriliiga legend Konstantin Nahk. Also has i mentioned before, they brought from Sillamäe 3 very good players, + several foreigners are on trial there. Could fight for top3 place easily
Narva Trans 8 - Also very decent winter. In some weird decision, Roman Šmisko decided to leave Levadia for Trans + they signed match-fixer Aleksei Jahhimovitš
Paide Linnameeskond (6) - Althrough most of squad has remained, their biggest surprise come also few days ago, when they announced signing of Vjatseslav Zahovaiko. Meistriliiga all-time 2nd goal scorer, who has even 13 games in Portugese league in CV! Probably fights with Trans for 6th place.
Tartu Tammeka (7) Squad hasn`t changed all-most at all. Some africans were on trial there, but didn`t got a contract here.
Viljandi Tulevik - Two main names - Sander Post and Joonas Tamm. Both are born in Viljandi. Both could play in forward or defence. + some youngsters from Flora and Levadia on loan.
Pärnu Linnameeskond - Uh, my hometown finally back in top flight. Althrough they rely mostly on their own youth players, they have signed example former international Karl Palatu and scorer of last year goal of the season, Rauno Tutk. Probably fight with Tulevik for 9th place.
Must say, it is really a year, when it´s impossible to predict a champion. Levadia squad seems to be strongest, but they had pretty much luck in past 2 years, so hard to believe they can repeat it again. Flora title chances depends probably on signing Jääger and I`m not sure how Terehhov can deal with his job in his debut season. Nevethless they still have enough quality. Also Sillamäe and Infonet are capable to surprise. Trans and Paide could also steal many important points from top 5, and maybe one of them could even hang up in the top5 tail.
Top 3 finishes in four points
1. Flora - 80
3. Kalju - 76
some points gap and
5. Sillamäe (I have no trust in that Napoli guy )
now 10 points gap
five points gap
And Tammeka, Viljandi, Pärnu decides together 8-10 places. Finishes with 3-4 points gap, Pärnu will be relegated straight and Tulevik goes to play-off matches
Cup 1/4-draw. Althrough most exiting game will be Sillamäe vs Flora I, then weirdest point is, that Infonet has still chance to play in Europe League, if their reserve team can win the Cup.Btw all those new players, who came to Infonet in winter, can help Infonet II in the Cup games.
Tallinna FC Flora (ML) - JK Sillamäe Kalev (ML)
FCF Tallinna Ülikool (II) - Tallinna FC Flora II (EL)
Nõmme Kalju FC (ML) - Jõhvi FC Lokomotiv (II)
Paide Linnameeskond (ML) - Tallinna FC Infonet II (EL)
But season starts tomorrow with Super Cup. League and Cup winner Levadia faces against Esiliiga A new team and Cup runner-up Tartu Santos