The Battle of Kayseri
The Turkish Daily News would be proud of us today as our war correspondent Kirkcaldy Kanka Martyn finally gets round to sharing with us some news from Sunday's Battle of Kayseri. The photo was nicked from Sabah newspaper's website. Over to you Kirkcaldy Kanka:
Kayseri was a wild trip. I actually took my 17 year old nephew along. It was his first trip abroad if you don't include holiday clubs and it changed his world. We went with Maniac Kanka and another teacher called Damon who works here in Bilkent. Damon had only previously been to two home games and has never really known football. He is an Amercan and used to teach at Princeton. We took the bus from Asti at 8 am in the morning rather than travel with a supporters club. There were maybe 600 Ankaragucu fans, but I really have no idea. We were crammed into a small section of the stadium. There were Kayseri supporters to our left and right, but those to our left were mostly hidden from us as they were in a sort of shed. The rest of the stadium was uncovered and mostly full.
I think both the Kayseri teams supporters were at the game. The army were brought into the stadium and stood in the Ankaragucu end between us and the supporters on the left. Our supporters actually cheered them as they entered. These are the heroes who died for Turkey. Our fans were singing as always and the various supporters' club leaders stood together above all on the entrance to the stand. During the game they were trying to prevent their groups from singing any songs that would upset the Kayseri supporters.
However, before the game kicked off there were some problems. The first was the national anthem. Our supporters always sing this song and at the end chant some other words in favour of Turkey. They did this again, but sang the anthem too fast. They therefore did their chant before the anthem was finished. The Kayseri supporters were a little angry. There was then a minute silence which we sang through. Yet this was not out of disrespect, but because we didn't hear anything about it. We didn't hear an announcement at all. When we saw what was happening, all our supporters were quiet. However, the Kayseri supporters reacted angrily and chanted some rude anti-Ankara songs. A pure misunderstanding, but the anger had begun, on both sides. Still the Ankaragucu supporters' club leaders tried to restrict the anti-Kayseri chants during the game. I wonder if this only caused a build-up of tension in the "hooligans".
Yet, the match went well. Our supporters behaved, largely because we went ahead early and stayed in front. Kayseri were unlucky. They hit the post, the bar and were constantly called offside. For most of the 2nd half we stayed in our penalty box. Tension was high on both sides.
And then they scored. In about the 75th minute. 1-1. Just like in Konya, our fans reacted in fury to losing a goal. This is something I've not seen often in Ankara. The Kayseri fans were probably making gestures to us, as the Konya fans had done. There were loud bangs as the Ankaragucu supporters stamped on chairs in frustration. And then stones flew from both directions. I don't know who threw the first stone, but the same thing had happened in Konya. Till this point there was no difference in the fans behaviour in these matches.
But then an Ankaragucu fan was let out onto the running track by the side of the pitch. He was holding his eye and his face was covered in blood. The Ankaragucu masses became enraged. One of their own was hurt. Another followed. More seats were smashed, some thrown onto the pitch. More rocks flew. The riot police stood around our supporters with the low fence and their sheilds to protect them. After a while we quietened. Kayseri won a corner. A lump of concrete (dislodged after the breaking of a seat) narrowly missed the kicker's head. He turned and gesticulated at the Ankaragucu supporters - "why are you doing this". Then countless seats flew at him, stones and more concrete. He ran to the centre of the pitch and more police came in. The Ankaragucu brigade threw concrete, seats, shoes, mobiles and whatever else they had smuggled in at the police. One of their chiefs was hit in the head with concrete.
Have to go sorry. The Kayseri lads wound us up and we never settled down for long. So we were chucked out 10 mins before the end. The game contiued and we won it 2-1.