Out at the park today kicking a football with Little Oz Kanka and one of his mates and the Turkish father of the other boy asked Little Oz Kanka a question, in English. "Which team do you support? Is it Liverpool or Chelsea?" Matthew gave the bloke a look of complete bewilderment. "Do you like Manchester United?" the man asked. Little Oz Kanka turned to me and asked, "Daddy, what is he talking about?". "Which football team is the best in the world?" I asked little Oz Kanka. That question was easy. "Gencler!", Little Oz Kanka answered. It was now time for the Turkish fellow to be bewildered.
One day Little Oz Kanka is going to hate me. One day he will find out that the Tooth Fairy is in fact his Mum with some spare change, that Father Christmas is a fraud designed to keep children in line in fear of not receiving that cool toy car on Dec. 25, and that Genclerbirligi are not really the best football team in the world.
Today though I believe in all three, as Genclerbirligi won 2-1 to pretty much save us from being relegated.
After dropping Little Oz Kanka off with the nanny, Mrs Oz Kanka has been away in Canakkale for a week and-a-half organising ANZAC Day stuff and making sure the Australians don't do anything stupid (a difficult task) that might piss off their hosts, I headed off to the Chopin Bar.
A wonderful sunny day. Beer in hand and laughing at Mustafa Akyol's latest TDN article (It wasn't a funny article, just another one his silly defences of Hakan Sukur's medieval superstitions and why we should all respect such nonsense).
Then Roger showed up with his mate John. Now John is a Pom who lives in Spain and loves his football. On holidays in Turkey for a week or so, the bloke wanted to see a footy match. In fact I'm quite amazed that with more than 6 million foreign tourists that Turkish football doesn't get more tourists. My guess is that the vast majority of foreigners are scared of going to a match. So, for today, I was glad to escort some foreign tourists to a match.
Alpine Kanka Wolfgang and Christoph showed up at the Chopin with an Italian youngster, whose name I didn't quite catch (sorry mate) and a little while later Arja and Pam showed up.
Finish off the beers, get the bill and then I had to tell the Turkish football virgins the rules. No coins allowed. Out come the coins and then Arja asks, "What about the shoes?"
Arja and Pam had gone shoe shopping before the match! I rolled my eyes and hoped for the best.
Luckily, the copper checking Arja's bags was a women and therefore totally understood that it is completely normal to bring three pairs of new shoes to a match.
Finally, kick off. I haven't seen Genclerbirligi so dominant for a damn long time. Istanbul BBS hardly saw the ball at all. We had chance after chance after chance. The crowd, bolstered by quite a few Ankaragucu fans on our side, was singing away.
Everything, but a goal. Until about the 23rd minute. Engin got a cross in, the keeper seemed to fluff it and Kahe got his head to it and in.
Genclerbirligi 1 - 0 Istanbul BBS
Then we had shot after shot, all just out. Cakir and Mehmet Nas really ought to get some practice in.
So what though as in the last minute of the first half Genclerbiligi did what they seem to have been trying all year to achieve: walk a goal in. Engin sends a short pass to Kahe, who sends it on to Isaac Promise who taps it.
Not long after that the ball was in the back of the net again, this time though the linesman had his flag up.
HT: Genclerbirligi 2 - 0 Istanbul BBS
With the results of other matches quite important to our hopes of staying up we then turned to those who had brought radios to find out how Rize were doing. You don't know just how happy I was to hear they were 2-0 down.
Second half and ... wtf ... a completely different Istanbul BBS came out. They were attacking, they were setting up shots and they were getting closer and closer. At the same time though we were also looking for another goal and again and again we stuffed up right in front. The worst being when Mehmet Cakir made an excellent break down the left, it looked like he was going to send it in to Isaace Promise but instead made the brilliant decision to hold it back for Kahe.... the scene was set for brilliant goal and Kahe!!!! ... sends it over
Not long after that Istanbul BBS scored with a slightly lucky goal.
Genclerbirligi 2-1 Istanbul BBS
Nail biting time now, about 20 minutes to go and another goal from Istanbul BBS could well see us relegated. We held on though, and at the same time made a number of good attacks, including one attack which saw their reserve keeper having to block three shots in about 30 seconds.
After the referee decided to play about 21 minutes of extra time, the whistle was finally blown. Once again we burst into song and we did so again outside the stadium.
Those Galatasaray and Fenerbahce fans out there may find it strange to think that a victory over a team like Istanbul BBS can bring such joy to the heart. For us Gencler fans though, today we are the best team in the world.
For fans of mathematics. Rize now have no chance of getting above us (because we have a better haead to head record). Manisa though still have a chance. If we lose our next two matches - against Fenerbahce away and Sivas at home - and Manisa win both of their last two matches we will be relegated. Unlikely, but possible. We may end up supporting Besiktas against Manisa in the last match of the season.
Let's hope not though, and fingers crossed Gencler will next week help out not only themselves but also Sivas and Galatasaray by beating up Fenerbahce.