Greetings Kankas, and in my previous `historical` article (WHY ANKARAGUCU ?) I mentioned that I would give some information on the formation of the Ankara Kanka Club, which was originally named `The Ankaragucu Kanka Club`.
It all began in January 1999 when I returned permanently to Ankara from the Middle East. I started to go on my own to watch Ankaragucu and usually watched the matches in Kapali - I have to be honest and admit that I didn't have the courage to go into Gecikondu on my own in those days !! I made a few Turkish friends in Kapali and we frequently sat together at the matches. Even the Cekirdek (nuts) seller was on talking terms with me !! (Incidentally, he is still there and sometimes we wave to each other !!!). However, it wasn't until season 1999/2000 that other friends (Turkish and British) discovered that I was attending Ankarargucu matches on my own and asked if they could join me. In those early days of the Kanka Club we used to meet ouside the Stadium (opposite Genclik Park) and I remember one cold and miserable day standing there waiting for Serhan and Murat and thinking to myself that it was time I used my initiative and arranged a warmer and more socialable meeting place. It was then that I decided to make Sahil Restaurant/Pub in Genclik Park our meeting place and this proved to be a master stroke for several reasons. Firstly, it was warm and it was also the only Restaurant in the Park which sold EFES draught beer. Their kebabs were not too bad either !!! Secondly, it was also used by other Ankaragucu supporter groups who have since become friends. And thirdly, as Oz Kanka mentioned recently, it was where he and I first met and formed our friendship.
Many Ankaragucu Kankas have come and gone since those early days, but as they made me promise to keep them in touch with Ankara footie, I have kept my promise and they are still checking our blog. Some of their names are -
Murat (Desert Kanka) who has been in Libya for the past 5 years but who will be returning soon, so we will need to find a new name for him me thinks !!! He is still famous in the Stadium for his Baritone voice and his wide range of Ankaragucu songs !!
Karl (Misir Kanka) in Cairo and a Norwich City supporter (no comments please !!).
Jon (China Kanka) in a Chinese City whose name I won't bother to spell because I can't ! He is a Southampton supporter (no comments please !!). Incidentally, Jon's wife Ozlem introduced me to the Ankaragucu Pegasus Supporters Club - a great bunch of guys.
Dave (Baggie Kanka) and his lovely wife. Dave supports West Bromwich Albion (no comments please !!). They are currently in Iran.
Emma (Geordie Kankie). She is back in Ingallind and supports Nookassill (no comments please..... titter titter titter !!).
Mike (Singapore Kanka) and his lovely girlfriend. His real love is the funny shaped ball and we should try to forgive him for that !!
Kurt (Bellgeek Kanka) in Antwerp. He has only been once to see Ankaragucu, but everyone in the Stadium will never forget him waving his huge Ankaragucu flag for 90 minutes throughout the match, oh yes, and also during the half time interval !!
If I have forgotten anyone, then please let me know and I will apologise. We should also make mention of the kankas who have joined our club from afar even though they have never visited the famous Ankara 19 Mayis Stadium. We should also mention our Gencler Kankas who have been introduced into the fold by Oz Kanka Chris. We are now truly The Ankara Kanka Club.
To end on a sad note. With the closure of Genclik Park for renovation we have lost our initial meeting place. No matter though because we now have the Chopin Bar, and who knows what Genclik Park will look like when it rises from the ashes. Perhaps The Mayor (who will remain nameless !!) will relent and allow Sahil to re-open in all its new renovated glory ??!! Mr Optimistic is at it again !!!
I hope you have been enthralled (and entertained ?!) by your history lesson ??!! Long live the Ankara Kanka Club and the Round Ball in Ankara Blog !
All the best from Eski Kanka Jim