Bonkers and Beyond
“Cavcav is bonkers” is actually a perfectly workable explanation for everything that went on at Gençlerbirliği over the last few months. And it is the one I'll use if I am asked by a newcomer to Ankara.
But for those who are curious for more detail, the Hürriyet Ankara supplement provided some additional treats this morning. With the warning that the story is poorly sourced and confusing in some regards, here are some gleanings in summary form:
- Baxter didn't want Naci Şensoy as an assistant, preferring Erdem Akşimşek. But Şensoy was forced on him, and Akşimşek, who'd first brought Baxter up as a possibility for Gençler, soon found himself unwanted at the club.
- Baxter feels that Şensoy was a liability in the dugout. Şensoy questioned decisions, caused arguments, and bears some responsibility for losses. Baxter thinks his assistant was "not well-intentioned". The implication I get from this -- particularly badly sourced -- section of the article is that Baxter feels Şensoy was the Cavcav agent inside the training team. Şensoy is of course now in charge.
- Baxter had no say in new signings, except for Skulason. His call for Kaiser Chiefs players to be signed was received badly by the club.
- Cavcav also didn't like Baxter pushing to bring his son, a goalkeeping coach, to the club.
- Cavcav removed Mervan Çelik from training without informing Baxter. This was after Mervan argued with Cavcav in the club building, silly boy.
- The club felt that while pre-season results in Holland were good, not enough attention was being paid to fitness and condition training. They also didn't like Baxter's reported response: “I'm training a football team, not an athletics team.”
- Cavcav felt the manner of the first two losses was unacceptable and that Baxter's substitution decisions were flawed. (Note: Subbing seems to be a Cavcav obsession.)
- The club didn't like the decision to play Ferhat, when they'd paid out for a foreign keeper.
I can't vouch for any of this reporting, which has the air of being based on a source within the club who has a measure of sympathy for Baxter. But there's a ring of truth in a lot of it, especially since much of it boils down to the question of “Who runs the team?”
If you've managed to follow Gençler without knowing the answer to that question, well, now there's no excuse.