This week, Oz Kanka, Spine and myself (Cider Kanka) went to see an extremely professional, very funny and even occasionally touching hour-long documentary film on Gençlerbirliği's years out of the top flight of Turkish football in the 1970s and early 80s.
Like Ankaragücü today, Gençler were plagued by financial crisis—at one point the players even depended on the charity of local shop owners to even get fed at night. They dropped down to the third league, and towards the end, even found themselves relegated from that, though the military saved the day and possibly the club by choosing to merge the top amateur league with the third league that season.
The film was narrated by some real characters from those years: fans, players, and the club's then-director who emerged as one of the heroes of the film. They were all in the audience, and their emotional reaction to the retelling could be seen on their faces.
There was only film footage from the final match in which Gençler got promoted back to the Süper Lig. All the Ankaragücü fans turned out as well to support football in the city, and there was not a seat left empty in the 19 Mayıs!
From an Ankaragücü perspective, the message is also clear: keep up the fight, and even if it takes 12 years, we can take our club back to where it belongs in the Süper Lig (and European competitions!)
On the way back, we were sad to note that the Chopin appears to have been one of the victims of the miniature recession that has hit Kızılay since the February bombing. It is no more. Eski Kanka may have to get used to Tuborg from now on :(