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Women and Children Only at Turkish Football Matches

22 Sep

Men are pigs. Bullish, impatient, mindless, and above all selfish. It is why I only love women. And apparently, so do the Turks. In an effort to punish clubs for crowd trouble while acknowledging that such trouble comes from a small percentage of individuals, the Turkish Football Federation proposed barring all males over the age of 12 from the stands as punishment. So instead of playing behind closed doors in front of nobody, women and children to the front!

The first team to fall victim was Fenerbahce, who drew 1-1 with Manisaspur on Tuesday in front of 41,000 screaming women and children in the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium. A pre-season pitch invasion against Shakhtar Donetsk prompted the Federation to act and the “no men” policy was born.

One would expect a rather tame atmosphere and very little attention paid to the match itself. However the women rocked the Sukru Saracoglu throughout the night with many holding signs reading “Welcome to Hell.” Each and every chant was sung with as much zeal as the ultras, albeit without the baritone.

The Turks should be commended for implementing this policy to punish only those responsible, and for having a female population that is not only extremely easy on the eye but also as enamored with football as the men. More matches like this and the women will start invading the pitch. Although I can hardly imagine the players taking issue with being gang tackled by a group of females…

Like I said, men are pigs.

A Lesson in Showmanship

31 Jan

In one of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld, George Costanza, a pathetic loser who lies and cheats his way through life, learns to cut his losses my immediately leaving the scene after a humorous remark – “leaving on a high note.” Why risk reverting back to your questionable and often problematic behavior, when you can escape leaving everyone else with a fond memory? Showmanship, the ultimate getaway.

In Turkey this past weekend, we were treated to such behavior by the manager of Ankaragucu, Ümit Özat. His club currently lie 13th in the league table, just seven points off the drop zone and fourteen points from a European place. Despite some impressive results, the fans have become restless with the manager and the stagnant form of the club, repeatedly calling for his resignation.

Facing Manisaspor on Sunday, Özat’s club desperately needed three points to silence the critics, and they conceded the first goal. However, a 42nd minute equalizer from Metin Akan gave the home side a breath of fresh air, and a chance for the manager to lash out. In complete ecstasy and rage, Özat threw his clipboard to the ground and punched the air in the direction of the ultras, which didn’t exactly go over too well. One maniac ran onto the pitch to attack the manager only to be met by a shuddering right hook. As if that wasn’t enough, Özat proceeded to river dance on the young man’s head connecting with two thunderous blows of the foot. Both men were ejected.

As for the game itself, Manisaspor scored twice in the 90th and won 3-1. Immediately following the match, Özat resigned as manager and left a love note for the supporters: “These dogs got what they want.”

And just like that, he rode off into the sunset with a 1st round KO under his belt and a claim to glory as the best departure by a manager on a high note. Nobody will remember the declining form of the club and the bad results. Only the animal inside him and his lasting mark on the ultras, a show of force and pride. Showmanship.

Ali Sami Yen Stadium Extinguished

12 Jan

Quite literally and figuratively. Last night, Galatasaray capped off a 47 year run at their famed stadium, one of my all-time favorites, with a 3-1 win over third-tier club Beypazarı Şekerspor in the Turkish Cup.

A fire marshal’s nightmare, the Ali Sami Yen became notable through the years for it’s inferno – a combination of smoke, flares, fireworks, firecrackers, and anything else resembling a flammable or explosive device. This was not just a product of the passionate supporters, but rather a tactic employed by the stadium officials to intimidate and strike fear into the hearts of any visiting team. Modest in size (only seating about 24,000), the united voices and theatrics of those in attendance created a nightmare for any team coming to play in their house. To this day, Galatasaray hold the record for most consecutive home wins at 25, tied with Boca Juniors.

European nights were the ultimate display of Galatasaray’s home field advantage. Some of the more famous Champions League victories included a 3-2 win in 2001 over then defending champions Real Madrid, as well as a 2-0 defeat of AC Milan during the same campaign. The past decade saw the Turkish club win twice more than they lost in Champions League matches at home.

Galatasaray will now move to the modern spaceship that is the Türk Telekom Arena, with a capacity of 52,000. Whether or not the inferno will follow the team is yet to be seen, but you can bet “I Will Survive” will continue to blast through the sound system after every goal scored.

More videos and utter madness after the jump: Continue reading

Guti Says He Was Sober. Really!?

7 Dec

I was waiting for the video and now it’s here! If you haven’t heard, the former Real Madrid and current Besiktas midfielder drove his car the wrong way on a one-way street and crashed into an oncoming bus at about 4:00am in Istanbul. No injuries were reported and for the most part his car came away unscathed save a broken rear-view mirror.

Speaking with the Madrid based newspaper Marca, Guti said after the accident:

“Everything is being taken out of proportion. I understand that here in Turkey the press over exaggerates my actions, but it was a complete lie that I was drunk.”

Not drunk you say? For starters, your eyes are closed and you’re clearly singing to yourself, out loud, and out of tune. And the stumbling belligerency? It’s one thing to feint injury on the field and scam everyone watching, but we all know that’s crap. This is some bona fide drunk stupidity – barely unable to keep yourself upright as you helplessly flail at the surrounding press. It’s not even worth it to fake your intoxication because there is nothing funny about punishment from local law enforcement!

By the way, reports today suggest his blood alcohol content was five times the legal Turkish limit. He has since been charged with drunk driving and his license suspended for six months.

(Photo Courtesy of Marca)

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