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Former Forest Green Rovers head of recruitment to be appointed head coach of one-time Champions League club

Ex-Forest Green head of recruitment Stevie Grieve is set to be appointed head coach of SJK Seinäjoki, one-time Champions League club and Veikkausliiga champions.

Grieve has been working at SJK in Finland since April and finished fourth in the second division with the SJK Academy.

The move will promote him from B team manager to head coach of one of Finland’s best domestic clubs.

The 36-year-old Scot left his role at the Gloucestershire club in March having overseen a hectic January period where the club looked to preserve their League One status.

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Grieve has since built a strong reputation in the Finnish game moving to the country and returning to coaching, something he has built up experience of since the age of 16.

In Finland, to manage a club in the top flight, known as ‘Veikkausliiga‘, head coaches are expected to have or are undertaking all of their coaching badges, including a UEFA Pro License but Grieve currently holds an A License.  

He will be assisted by retired Finland international Toni Lehtinen – who has a Pro License – and therefore allows Grieve to take on the footballing activities.

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As a result of not having the required badges to take sole management of the club, Lehtinen will be required to take media duties before and after games.

Similarly to some other cold climate countries, Finland’s top division plays its season predominantly in the summer and in the off-season, Grieve is likely to begin a Pro license, with completion time as long as two years in some cases.

Whilst at SJK Academy, despite being one of the favourites to go down, Grieve managed to reach the playoffs before they faced IF Gnistan in the semi-final.

SJK Academy conceded in the final few seconds of normal time to make it 2-2 before their opponents went on to win 4-2 in extra time.

A win for Grieve’s side would’ve provided an unprecedented situation where both the B team and the first team were in the top division of Finnish football.

SJK were formed in 2007 in the town of Seinäjoki and is located in the west of Finland, 360km northwest of Helsinki.

Their solitary venture in Europe’s elite competition was a second qualifying round match with BATE Borisov, Belarus’ most decorated club, in the 2016/17 season.

Grieve, the former head of recruitment at Forest Green, facilitated deals for 11 players in January 2023, including current key players Charlie McCann, Tyrese Omotoye, and Jamie Robson.

His return to the coaching scene was given the green light by Finland’s one-time Champions League side SJK just a month after his Rovers departure.

BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s lead commentator, Billy Hunt, has covered Forest Green for several years and gave his opinion on his time at the club: “Grieve’s history before joining the club had mostly been recruitment and analytically-based. It seems he’s found his calling in the coaching and managerial side of the game. Forest Green fans may be questioning ‘what if’ he replaced Ian Burchnall instead of Duncan Ferguson.”

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