Thursday, September 21, 2017

Afyon Afjetspor 2-0 Ankaragucu match report!

For the 2nd season running Ankaragucu were knocked out of the 2nd round of the Turkish Cup by lower league opposition. After an excellent 4-1 victory at leaders Rizespor on Sunday, in typical Ankaragücü fashion they followed it up with another embarrassment of a performance at Lig 2 side Afyon who were well worthy of their victory.

Team - Altay, Yusuf, Alihan, Lukasz, Mehmet, Mert, Abdulkadir, Doka, Dieng, Mahmut, Enes

Subs - Santiago, Gencer, Arif, Oguzhan, Ahmet, Irfan, Ahmet. Mehmet, Kenan

İsmail Kartal has been under fire from day 1 as Ankaragucu manager but gave himself some breathing space after the win at Rizespor. Today was all about keeping that momentum up and making sure Ankaragucu got into the next round ensuring extra revenue. Instead it's another disappointment for the fans who see their team knocked out against weaker opposition.

A number of players were given an opportunity to impress today and challenge for a first team place but it was a huge disappointment. Doka looks uninterested and out of shape, Yusuf and Mehmet are hopeless defensively and Dieng doesn't look anywhere near good enough.

There was a decent crowd at today's game considering the ridiculous early afternoon midweek kick off. The Afyon fans were rewarded when Aykut Uluc score a double to take his team into the next round.

Next up for Ankaragucu is a home match with Samsunspor on Sunday. Which Ankaragucu team will turn up?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Ankaragucu vs Afyon Afjetspor match preview!

The feel good factor is back at Ankaragucu after their stunning 4-1 victory at leaders Caykur Rizespor last weekend. The team will be hoping to now put together a run of results that will see them climb the table and have another big match at home on Sunday against Samsunspor.

Before that match takes place we have the Turkish Cup action as Ankaragucu travel to Afyon Afjetspor in what will be a tricky tie, but one the team must win to keep the momentum going and also bring in some much needed revenue with a good run in the cup.

Last season Ankaragucu were knocked out in this very round after a humiliating 2-0 defeat against amateur side Darica Genclerbirligi. Tomorrow's match will see tougher opponents and Ankaragucu will need to be at their best if they are serious about progressing to the next round.

With the game on Sunday coming up, it's expected that Ankaragucu will make a number of changes in personnel with the likes of Enes Kubat, Santiago Mele, Lukasz Szukala and Doka Madureira all in contention for a place in the starting line up.

Afyon have started their season with a draw a win and a loss although their victory came against Mersin who are in a bad way and are playing with their youth team. If Ankaragucu play to their potential it should be a pretty routine victory. However this is football and anything is possible.

The game will be played at the beautiful new stadium Yeni Sehir Stadi which for an amateur club is an excellent set up. The game will be live on A Spor and we will have the match report here tomorrow night.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Rizespor 1-4 Ankaragucu match report!

Ilhan Parlak and Alihan Kubalas both went from zero to hero today in a stunning 4-1 victory for Ankaragucu at leaders Rizespor.

Team - Korcan, Erdem, Alihan, Gencer, Ferhat, Sedat, Arif, Putsila, Nduka, Ilhan, Umut Nayir

Subs - Altay, Abdulkadir, Dieng, Kenan, Mehmet, Enes, Yusuf, Lukasz, Doka

When the Ankaragucu team was announced today most Ankaragucu fans including myself were disappointed to see Ilhan Parlak in the team yet again after his poor form at the start of the season. I'm delighted that he managed to shut us all up with 2 fantastic goals and an outstanding overall performance.

Right from the very start Ankaragucu were at the races today and played some excellent football while working their socks off all over the park. The first chance came on the 7th minute when Erdem played the ball down the line for Ilhan who put in a dangerous cross but their were no takers and Gokhan Akkan punched the ball away.

Five minutes later and the breakthrough came for the visitors after Ferhat Kiraz put in an excellent ball to the back post for Ilhan Parlak who rose above his man and headed the ball into the top corner making it 1-0 giving Gokhan no chance. It was a fantastic goal and just the start Ankaragucu wanted.

Caykur were struggling to get into the match but a moment of misjudgement from Alihan as he brought down Leonard Kweuke in his own area resulted in a penalty for Rizespor. Up stepped Samu to make it 1-1 with the penalty.

Ankaragucu didn't let their heads drop and were on the front foot again, this time Erdem found Nduka whose shot come cross was pushed away by Gokhan Akkan. Nduka would unfortunately go off injured a few minutes later and was replaced with Cheikhou Dieng.

Leonard Kweuke also went off injured for Rizespor but not before he dragged a shot from outside the box wide of the post.

It's not often you see examples of fair play, but Orhan for Rizespor today showed just that when he was brought down in the penalty box by Ferhat but got straight up and said it wasn't a penalty as Ferhat got the ball. Replays showed that he was indeed correct.

Umut Nayir had an excellent game despite not scoring with his overall link up play and work rate a big factor in today's victory. He went close on the 36th minute as his powerful shot from outside the box was tipped over the bar by Gokhan.

Just before half time Ankaragucu almost regained the lead but Gencer saw his shot cleared off the line and it remained 1-1.

Into the second half and it took Ankaragucu only 3 minutes to take the lead. Ilhan saw his cross into the box cleared for a corner. From the resulting corner Erdem floated the ball into the box for Alihan who headed past Gokhan to make it 2-1Ankaragucu.

Sedat had a shot from distance go well wide before Lincoln almost caught Korcan out with a cross but the keeper tipped it over the bar.

Rizespor went close again when Samu saw his headed effort to inches wide of the post as Ankaragucu defended desperately to hold onto their lead.

With 2 minutes remaining Anton Putsila beat 2 players before his shot was fumbled by Gokhan and substitute Kenan was on hand to make it 3-1 and almost certainly give the team the 3 points.

The game was put to bed a minute later when Kenan turned provider for Ilhan who calmly slotted the Ball past Gokhan to make it 4-1 Ankaragucu and finish of an incredible day and send the fans home happy.

Today's game was the teams best performance from the days of the Super Lig when Ankaragucu were beating the likes of Galatasaray and Fenerbahce. Much credit has to go to Ilhan Parlak and İsmail Kartal who have both been under a lot of pressure and criticism.

Next up is the Cup on Thursday as the team travel to Afyon Afjetspor before a home match against Samsunspor next Sunday.

Rizespor 1-4 Ankaragucu highlights

Still no wins for Genclerbirligi

Genclerbirligi seemed to have played fairly well... but in the end we couldn't convert some good chances.

Goztepe 3 - 2 Genclerbirligi

Just a few questionable referee decisions which favoured Goztepe... the first two goals were scored from offside positions, the third was scored after the ball had gone out.

We just don't look good enough. The players fought all the way to the end but the quality just isn't there. We sold off so many of our good players last year. There are just a few players whose names I even recognise... Oh boy...

That's about it for me. Five matches and just one point... Life is looking very tough.

EDIT: It also appears that we put the ball into the back of the net twice more but the linesman incorrectly ruled offside. Oh dear.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ankaragucu vs Caykur Rizespor match preview!

Winless Ankaragucu travel to leaders Caykur Rizespor this weekend looking to cause an upset and finally get their season up and running. A dismal start to the season for Ankaragucu with 2 draws and 2 defeats is in complete contrast to Rizespor who have won all 4 of their matches.

İsmail Kartal will have a full squad of players to chose from apart from Tonia Tisdell who is injured and won't feature until January and Lanre Kehinde is serving a 3 match suspension. Kibong Mbamba hasn't been registered by the club and is now unable to play until at least January.

Ankaragucu provided the fans with another turgid and sluggish match last weekend in the 2-1 defeat at home against Balikesirspor. Having lead through a debut goal from Umut Nayir, Ankaragucu conceded to awful goals late in the match much to the anger of the fans.

Having watched most of the Lig 1 games this season, It has become apparent that teams such as Rizespor, Elazigspor and Gazisehir will do well due to the pace they have in the team. This is an area where Ankaragucu severely lack as İsmail has esembeled a team full of slow players. Losing Tonia Tisdell is a huge blow to the clubs plans.

On a more positive note, their is plenty of talent in the squad to challenge for the playoffs. Anton Putsila, Umut Nayir, Doka Madureira, Abdulkadir Kayali, Kenan Özer are all quality players who just need to find match sharpness and the team will flourish.

If Ankaragucu are to get anything from the match then İsmail Kartal needs to drop Yusuf Abdioglu and Ilhan Parlak to the bench. Both players have had awful starts to the season and a spell on the bench is what is needed. Alihan Kubalas and Cheikhou Dieng would be better options in the starting line up and Mehmet Sak should also take his place back in the team at left back.

Rizespor are the team to beat and have arguably the best forward line in the league with Leonard Kweuke and Braian Samudio forming a formidable partnership. It was surprising that Rizespor managed to keep hold of Kweuke with interest from Super Lig sides. The Cameroonian is a big physical presence who works hard and has a good goal scoring record. Samudio on the other hand is a technically gifted South American who has an excellent range of passing and is very quick. I would be surprised if the Paraguayan doesn't win a big move in the next 12 months.

Other notable players for Rizespor are Recep Niyaz, former Ankaragucu trio Ozgur Cek, Umit Kurt and Gokhan Akkan, and Brazilian U20 international Lincoln.

Hikmet Karaman the former Ankaragucu manager is in charge of Rizespor and last week claimed that Ankaragucu owe him a substantial sum of money from his time at the club. Reports suggest he has reported Ankaragucu to the TFF.

Will Ankaragucu finally turn up this weekend and give the fans something to cheer about or will it be the same old rubbish?

Ankaragucu have also been drawn away in the cup against Afyon Afjetspor and the match will take place next Thursday afternoon live on channel A Spor.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Could've been worse. I guess

Thanks to Sir Eski having hassles logging in to the blog I managed to miss the match. Well, that's my excuse, basically I forget about the time. Which all goes to show just how enthusiastic I am about this season.

Trabzonspor 3 - 1 Genclerbirligi

We scored early and played well for the first half and then in the second Trabzon came out all guns blazing. Er... that's it.

One good thing yesterday was that Osmanlispor lost as well which means we are coming second last, on goal average.

The way we are going makes me very glad they only sold half-season tickets for us this year.

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

After our pre-match ‘refreshments’, we entered the Stadium full of cheer and optimism on a
beautiful cloudless day with the temperature in the high 20sC. However, that’s the last of the
good news !! We left the Stadium 2 hours later dragging our feet and with long faces ! We
only started to smile again during our post-match ‘refreshments’ in the Yeni Sedir Pub when
Basaksehirspor beat the hated Fenerbahce yesssssssss !!!

ANKARAGUCU 1 Balikesirspor 2

Rewind ................ The day didn’t start well when Battle Damaged Kanka Damon and I
couldn’t get tickets for Maraton to join Maniac Kanka Harun and Kaleci Kanka Tansu. The
problem arose when it was announced in early Summer that Ankaragucu would play all their
matches this season in the effin Yenikent Stadium (home of the hated Osmanlispor) because it
had been decided to knock down the 19 Mayis Stadium and build a new Stadium in its place.

However, that decision was rescinded and a stay of execution given for 6 months, but not
before we had bought season tickets for Sag Kapali at Yenikent. So, today we tried to buy
Maraton tickets with our Passolig cards but the Stadium computer system wouldn’t accept it,
therefore we had to go to Sag Kapali in the 19 Mayis Stadium. Posh Kanka Ahmet, Damon
and I in Sag Kapali, with Harun and Tansu in Maraton !

C’est la vie living in an inflexible computer based society, especially this one controlled by
Passolig. Oz Kanka Chris has had many a rant over the years on the subject of Passolig in
this Blog and his experiences in respect of Genclerbirligi matches when it was first introduced
so I will not elaborate !!!

Anyway, as I was saying ................ we entered the Stadium but the Passolig nonsense has
obviously affected Ankaragucu in addition to most of the Clubs in the league. The Stadium
was only about a quarter full and surprisingly there were about 200 in the away end.

The first half was a bore quite honestly with Balikesir threatening only once in the 6 th minute
when a shot went narrowly past the post.

4 minutes later Ankaragucu was unlucky when a shot from outside the box hit the crossbar
with the goalkeeper beaten. There was nobody there to pick-up the pieces and the ball was

On the half hour mark an Ankaragucu goalbound shot was blocked and just before the half
time whistle there was a strong claim for a penalty from Ankaragucu for handball in the box,
but the referee decided on a corner.

So, a fairly even first half with both teams failing in the final quarter. Man of the Match,
Erdem, was a constant threat down the right with his attacking runs, but unfortunately he
didn’t have much help from his team-mates !

The 2 nd half was only 5 minutes old when there was a disputed free kick awarded to Balikesir
below us on the right. Some heated words were directed towards the referee and he banished
the Ankaragucu Assistant Coach from the Technical Area to the Stand.

3 minutes later we were smiling and cheering. An Ankaragucu corner on the right was well
taken and flighted and Umut rose above everyone else to bullet a header in for a classic
strikers goal.

Was this the beginning of a goal spree ? No !!!! It didn’t materialise much to our
annoyance !

Then on the 70 th minute Balikesir received a piece of luck when an Ankaragucu clearance was
deflected into the path of a Balikesir attacker who probably couldn’t believe his luck. Thank
you very much says he and off he goes with a one-on- one with Korcan who had no chance.

Ankaragucu still pressed forward but from a free kick and a corner chances were spurned with
headers flying over the bar. We were muttering about yet another draw when disaster struck.

4 minutes from the final whistle and a piece of brilliance from a Balikesir defender.
Receiving the ball in his own half on the right, he looked up and spotted an unmarked
colleague way out on the left wing. His perfectly flighted ball was collected and off he
scampered down the wing, looked up and crossed perfectly for another colleague who’s
goalbound shot hit the post. The rebound fell conveniently for another attacker who had the
easiest of tasks to slot the ball in for the winner !

Where was the Ankaragucu defence you might ask ??? The word Ankaragucu capitulation
springs to mind Aaaaaargh !!!

Apart from Erdem, Umut and Abdulkadir, the team have to look at themselves and ask what
they were playing at yesterday. There was no urgency in midfield to get the ball into the
danger zone. Too often the midfield ran out of ideas and played pass-the- ball between
themselves and Korcan.

This is now the responsibility of The Coach who is now 4 games in without a win. In the
dying minutes of the match all the tribunes were calling for his head. However, I still
believe he needs time to gel this team together and make them an attacking force. The
potential is there, but we haven’t seen it .............. yet !!!

Next weekend will be a real test of his tactics when they travel to top of the league Rizespor.
Optimism will not be on the menu for the kankas me thinks !!!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Friday, September 08, 2017

Ankaragucu vs Balikesirspor match preview!

Ankaragucu return to action after the International break with a home tie against Balikesirspor at the 19 Mayis Stadium in Ankara. The team will be looking for their first win of the season and have much work to do after their disappointing performance at Elazigspor.

Ismail Kartal has 6 new players to chose from with Lukasz Szukala, Tonia Tisdell, Umut Nayir and Santiago Mele all signing from Osmanlispor, while Abdulkadir Kayali signed from Gaziantepspor and returns to the club he started his career with. Doka Mudureira also signs from Basaksehir.

There are no excuses for the manager or team anymore as the club have been backed financially whether we like it or not from Gokcek and some Ankara businessmen. The team on paper is equipped to challenge for the title and minimum target should be the playoffs.

The worrying thing for Ankaragucu fans is if Ismail Kartal is the right man for the job. He needs to be given time and he has all the tools to help him have a succesfull season, but the worry is that some of the players he brought in at the start of the season such as Alaaddin Okumus and Sercan Kaya have already been let go, while he has broke up the whole winning squad from last season.

You can look at it both ways, its either going to be a success or disaster. The club have spent a lot of money this season on building a whole new squad. If we win promotion to the Super Lig it will bring in more revenue and will have been all worth it. The worry is that the club dont win promotion and end up in more financial debt which again will put the clubs future in doubt.

The club have also announced today that they have released Ferhat Culcuoglu who was instrumental in the club winning the league last season. His hard work in midfield and leadership will be missed and we would like to wish him all the best in his future.

Balikesirspor have started the season with a with a draw, loss and win and will be no pushovers in Ankara tomorrow. They have also strengthened their squad over the transfer window adding Ismail Assati, Steve Belek and Mahtma Osumanu. I watched their match with Erzerumspor who beat them 4-3 in week 2 and their defence is an area of weakness that Ankaragucu can exploit.

The pace of Tonia Tisdell and the attacking options in Doka, Umut, Putsila, Doka, Ilhan give Ismail Kartal a nice headache at the weekend as he decides who to go with in the starting line up. Hopefully we will see Tonia and Umut in the starting line up as they will both be key players this season.

The Kanka group will be attending the match in the usual place, anyone wanting to join them contact Jim for full details.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Umut Nayir returns home to Ankaragucu!

Ankaragucu tonight completed the signing of their top target during the transfer window after months of negotiations to bring Umut Nayir back to the club. He will also be joined by Tonia Tisdell who also had a previous spell with the club and both have agreed 1 year loan deals.

Umut is a huge coup for the club and was a key player in helping Goztepe to promotion last season scoring 18 goals in all competitions. There was interest from Super Lig clubs but Umut is studying in Ankara and wanted to stay close by so not to effect his education.

The 24 year old started his career with Ankaragucu and became a key player for the club during the Dirilis season where he formed an excellent partnership with Levent Kale helping the club to the playoffs. Osmanlispor moved to sign the big forward and have loaned him out to Yeni Malatyaspor and Goztepe over the last couple of seasons.

He will be joined by Tonia Tisdell and Uruguay U21 International Goalkeeper Santiago Mele in the next couple of days who also join on loan from Osmanlispor.

Two players moving in the opposite direction are Sercan Kaya and Alaaddin Okumus who have both left the club having only joined in the summer. İsmail Kartal tonight said the club will sign 2 more players before the transfer window shuts on Friday night.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Darius Vassell on his time in Turkey and at Ankaragucu!

The Guardian today printed an extract from former Ankaragucu star Darius Vassell's new book "The Road to Persia" which has just recently gone on sale.

I didn’t want to become a journeyman footballer. Aston Villa was the only club I’d ever wanted to play for and I’d grown to love Manchester City, but I just didn’t want to go through all of that again in England; I wanted something new, something completely different. I knew that there was nothing right for me in England and I told my agent that a move abroad was the only option. I was capable of living abroad, learning a new language and adapting to a new culture, so I felt like it was a great opportunity. I had been learning French and I wanted to play there, but we just weren’t able to find the right club. My agent came to me with the option of joining a club in Turkey. He said that a Super Lig club called Ankaraspor were interested in me. I asked if he was sure it was them and he corrected himself and said it was actually Ankaragucu who wanted me. They were even more obscure! ‘I had my whole body tested, my eyes, even my hair was inspected.’ FacebookTwitterPinterest ‘I had my whole body tested, my eyes, even my hair was inspected.’ Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Their club website didn’t seem to be official and I felt I must have been looking at the wrong page, but no matter how much I searched for something else, it was their site all right. I got my head around everything and decided it was worth flying out to meet them and take a look. I travelled on 1 July, 2009, but I simply wasn’t ready for the welcome I received at Ankara Esenboga Airport. There were thousands of supporters there to greet me, with flags, shirts and they made such a noise; I was totally taken aback, I’d never experienced anything like this before. There were people holding up welcome banners, flares were set off and every television camera available seemed to be pointed at me. I must have looked like a rabbit in headlights when I walked out of the airport doors and into the madness. People were bouncing up and down, chanting: “Dar-ee-us Varr-sell, Dar-ee-us Varr-sell, Olé, Olé, Olé!” As I made my way through the crowds, I was given a club scarf to wear and then another couple of scarves and a shirt was draped over me. A young woman handed me a blue and yellow bouquet of flowers, the club’s colours, and it soon became a real scrum to get to the waiting cars, with people pushing their way through to get close to me. It was the kind of reception you would have expected for a world leader, someone like Nelson Mandela, or a rock star, not an English footballer visiting a Turkish football club. We eventually made it to the sanctuary of our cars, although many fans then jumped into their cars and followed us out of the airport. I said to the agents this unbelievable reaction seemed very strange to me. I reminded my agent that I wasn’t signing, I was just there to look at the club. My agent and I had an honest conversation and we both spoke along the same lines about trying to make this work. I returned to Ankara to sign the agreement on 21 July and then there was the most thorough of medical tests I’ve ever been through. I had my whole body tested, my eyes, even my hair was inspected. I knew my signing was big for them, but it really hit home at this point how serious this was for them. Put it this way, I felt like I was in a film being prepped to go to space. The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian's sport coverage Read more This was a chance for a fresh start for me and a chance to grow up again. Unfortunately, there was no real time to settle. I had to fly to Austria for the club’s pre-season training camp. At my first dinner with my new team-mates, I was immediately made to feel comfortable by Barbaros, a midfielder who could speak English and had come through the ranks at Bayern Munich. I noticed that no one could eat until the captain arrived, and no one could leave the table until the captain said so. There was huge importance placed on respect and I loved that. I shook everyone’s hand and I was nervous of the reaction I would receive. We went to sleep and the next day was the first training session for me. That day, after dinner in the evening we all went to a little bar at the camp with some music on. Our coach, Hikmet Karaman, was there with us, too. Obviously there was no alcohol given the culture and religions, but everyone was up dancing to Turkish music and then suddenly I can hear the group clapping together to the beat of the music, and one by one people are going into the middle and dancing. I could see it coming round to me, exactly the kind of attention that I didn’t want. I was dreading it. Shit, shit, shit! I just took a deep breath and jumped in, danced and suddenly they all welcomed me and were patting me on the back. I was one of them now. Hikmet was quite a thinker and I felt as if he’d set this up as a small test and was watching for my reaction. He needed me to show I was comfortable as there was pressure on him as he was responsible for bringing me to the club. I hated that feeling of having eyes on me, but it was something I’d had to get used to over the years. Hikmet got that awkwardness out of the way in the space of a few minutes and I thank him here for that. Darius Vassel in action against Aydin Toscali of Kayserispor. FacebookTwitterPinterest Darius Vassell in action against Aydin Toscali of Kayserispor. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images The next day the trainer had given me a bike to ride, but it had brakes on the opposite sides. I didn’t release until I was forced to emergency brake going downhill on a mountain; I went flying over the handlebars and into the bushes. The trainer was mortified. He had a look like ‘how am I going to explain this?’ It was just the two of us sent to do some light fitness work in the mountains, while the rest of the team trained at the stadium. He certainly didn’t want to be the man responsible for my absence through injury after the almighty effort it had taken to get me signed, and I hadn’t even kicked a ball yet. Luckily, I was fine. I brushed the bushes out of my hair and carried on with a lot of caution. In the meantime, we started to sense an ongoing vibe around the club, something was happening behind the scenes. Schedules would change last minute and staff members and players started to appear aggravated. There were electricity cuts, players leaving suddenly with no explanations and stories of supporter group unrest. The toilet in the dressing rooms was just a hole in the ground, and I was concerned that I might fall in For example, on one occasion early in my time there, I was told that after we had finished training, the bus would drop me into town and I would be picked up by a driver to take me home, but no driver came and I rang Volkan Demir and he confirmed no one was scheduled to pick me up. Staff had gone home by then and the team bus had already left and I was stranded, sweating, with nothing but my boots slung over my shoulder and my mobile phone in my bag. The training facility was locked up so I was outside in the middle of town totally alone but fully kitted out. I contacted my agent and explained what was going on and that nothing had been organised contract-wise yet. I was supposed to have a driver “at all times” and they said I would always have someone with me until I knew my way around. I was quite agitated, tired from training too and I was taking it out on my agent I guess. He got back to me and was clearly frustrated as he remembered that the club assured us what wouldn’t happen just as much as what would. My agent said that I should expect teething problems and he couldn’t do much given that he was in the UK at the time. I was so angry by now and that was my last interaction with my agent. It was clear my agent could do nothing, if he could then I’m sure that he would have already. I was months into my contract and they hadn’t yet arranged a thing. The fact we spent hours negotiating seemed to hold no importance. My agent emailed me many months later to apologise for how things ended up in Turkey, but I had no response. I was still trying to work through it all at the time. After that initial response from my agent I knew I was on my own in Ankara. I made my debut for the club on 8 August as a substitute against Diyarbakirspor in a 2-2 away draw. I can’t remember much from the game, but I can remember a lot from the place and the atmosphere. Barbaros had warned me that Diyarbakir was a very different place. It is on the south-east side of the country towards Syria and Iraq. It was culturally far removed from Ankara, with the city and stadium both very old too. I had a stomach ache all that day and let’s just say that when I needed to go to the toilet in the dressing rooms it was just a hole in the ground, and I was concerned that I might fall in. There was no flush or anything. It was another world, but one I had to get used to. The last thing I wanted to do was to complain about Turkey as this was now my home. On a previous visit, the Ankaragucu players were warned by locals at their hotel door that there would be trouble if they won; they had even had bottles of piss thrown at them when they’d come out on to the pitch, but Barbaros had just told me to ignore any intimidation. I was a little nervous and wary of it all, to say the least. Darius Vassell celebrates scoring against Manisaspor. FacebookTwitterPinterest Darius Vassell celebrates scoring against Manisaspor. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images If I thought that was different, it was nothing compared to a home game later in the season. We travelled to the ground on the team coach and stopped outside our stadium for a goat to be sacrificed before the game. It was just the staff and players around. I felt like the goat looked at me just before and as I’d said at the time, via my blog, it was the point in time when I realised that I was most definitely an animal lover. I know I’m being dramatic but I’ve seen a lot from the seat of a coach during the years but this was certainly new. Some players then smeared the blood on their boots and head for good luck. I didn’t want to disrespect them at all, as it was part of their culture so I just watched. I wasn’t asked to join in but the players made sure I was OK after, which was very respectful and not needed. They had no idea my family back home in Jamaica would find this quite normal too. I changed iPod album from Tupac to Bob Marley, and got myself ready. My second game for the club, and my home debut, was against Manisaspor a week later, where I managed to grab a last-minute equaliser to seal a 1-1 draw. I’d realised by this stage that we were a decent side, but not good enough to be in the top six, so every game was going to be difficult. A week later and I was at it again, scoring my second goal for the club in a 2-2 home draw against Istanbul Basaksehir. That was three draws in three games and I’d scored twice. Barbaros was telling everyone who would listen that I was going to be the top scorer and there was a real buzz in the dressing room about the impact I’d had, not just by scoring but by work rate also. I was labelled the “Black Bull” by supporter groups and my confidence was sky high. Despite that, we didn’t win our first game until 26th September, 3-1 away at Gaziantepspor, so we were nearly two months without that win. That month, Volkan was sacked from his role at the club, which was one of many warning signs that things weren’t right at Ankaragucu. Hikmet was under huge pressure from the club to finish in the top eight and the less-than-impressive start didn’t help with the mood, so he knew he wouldn’t last the season with the uncertainty above him and changes at ownership and management level off the field. He was sacked on 12 November. I was staying at the Crowne Plaza at the time and just a day after Hikmet was fired I was sat in my room, when I received a call from the hotel manager. He was a nice guy and he had looked after me well during my stay, always trying to help if I needed anything. The tone of this call was different though. He spoke English well and was suddenly very blunt and explained that I had to leave the hotel by the end of the day. It was around 7pm, and he informed me that he’d met with the club and said that I needed to speak to them about the situation. I was thinking, “surely the club should come to me and tell me what’s going on? I mean, it’s the evening and I’m being kicked out of my hotel.” It just didn’t make any sense. I should have been given some notice or something. I didn’t know who to ring at the club as there were new people in charge and I didn’t feel comfortable with it all, so I rang the team secretary, Osman, who had heard about it already. He told me not to worry and said he would come to the hotel and speak with me. When he arrived, he turned to me and said, “It’s starting now,” a reference to everything he had been telling me over the previous weeks about changes in management and the structure of the club. He felt that they were trying to create an issue for me and portray me in a bad light. I loved my off the field time in the country and the people were fantastic to me They needed the hardcore supporters on their side not mine. Representatives of the club’s new regime were apparently spreading rumours about me having an active nightlife, with people in my room and wild late-night parties. My problem with this is that the hotel was the best judge of this surely? The new regime had also tried to influence Hikmet in this way. He knew it was rubbish. All this just to get rid of me? Osman turned to me and said to let me make a call. I was packing frantically and getting everything together. He was trying to find another hotel for me to stay in, and he knew someone at the Rixos Grand Hotel in Ankara. I managed to haul all my possessions down to the lobby, where I was greeted by reporters and photographers. I thought to myself, “how do they know I’m being evicted already?” Someone had leaked this story to them. It got to the stage where if we didn’t win, score or draw a game, the staff wouldn’t get anything and it felt good to be a part of rectifying that. It kept the team closer through times like when our team bus got repossessed or whenever the power was cut. At meal times before and after training the staff would fill our dinner plates. I was growing closer to my team in the background of everything and slowly our frustrations would be shared and their English response was, “this is Ankaragucu, it’s normal.” We all laughed together. They really were so humble. The next thing I knew we had a new manager, Roger Lemerre, who had won Euro 2000 with France, and we were signing the likes of Geremi, who had played for Real Madrid and Chelsea, and Jérôme Rothen who came in on loan from Paris Saint-Germain. Robert Vittek, an international striker from Slovakia, was promptly signed too. I scored my final goal for the club away to Gençlerbirligi in a 1-0 win on 28th February 2010. It was such a release for me. I was in bits and all my emotions came out. I had to fight back the tears, and it took me five minutes or so to compose myself. It may have seemed strange for me to cry after something so joyous as scoring, but scoring was what I wanted to do every week for them. All of those meetings at the notary that took hours to process, all the missed payments, the travelling back and forth from England, the sackings and sad faces, the accusations, the disappointments and above all the loneliness; it all came out and the tears streamed down my face. I can picture this day like it was yesterday, and it was so symbolic of a lot of my time in Ankara. Football shouldn’t feel like this. I really didn’t like it. A warm welcome for Darius Vassell at Ankaragucu FacebookTwitterPinterest Darius Vassell arrives at Ankaragucu. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images My last appearance for the club was in the final home game of the season, a 3-0 defeat to Fenerbahce on 9 May. Looking back on the season, there were some very talented players in Turkey, such as Harry Kewell, Milan Baros, Elano and Roberto Carlos, so the standard was good. There were some amazing Turkish players such as Alper Potuk, Canir Erkin, Arda Turan, Emre and our very own Ceyhun Eris and I felt like I could do well in Turkish football. I loved my off-the-field time in the country though, experiencing the great food, like mouth-watering kebabs and lovely fresh fish and wine, and the people were fantastic to me. I had to leave the money on the table to pay, as they didn’t want to take it. They couldn’t have been more welcoming. I often spent meal times with supporters or my lawyer Cem Papila, Volkan or Osman. It was great to see the look on supporters’ faces when we arranged to meet up and enjoy the fine food Ankara had to offer. Darius Vassell: the blogging footballer Read more I had Turkish cutthroat shaves, that rivalled those of my English barbers, George and Theo. I received gifts from supporters, got to know hotel staff by their first name, learned a little about Ataturk and slowly started to familiarise myself with roads and shortcuts to some tranquil places to dine out. Even when I returned to Ankara in 2015, people stopped me in the street and would recognise me, shake my hand and make me feel like I was returning home. Who knows, if things had worked out differently, perhaps I would have stayed there? The Road to Persia, by Darius Vassell, written with co-author Dean Eldredge, was self-published by Darius’s company Inama Enterprise Ltd andis available to purchase here priced at £15 plus p&p

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Ankaragucu complete signing of Doka Madureira!

Ankaragucu have completed this signing of Basaksehir playmaker Doka Madureira until the end of the season. The Brazilian is a big coup for the club having being a key player for Basaksehir up until last season.

Doka spent 6 years in Istanbul and surprised many by staying with Basaksehir when they were relegated 3 years ago to the PTT Lig. He played a big part in their promotion to the Super Lig and Ankaragucu fans will be hoping he can recapture that form.

The transfer deadline day is on the 8th September and Ankaragucu are hoping to add another couple of players between now and then.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Elazigspor 2-0 Ankaragucu - Match Report!

Ankaragucu sit 2nd from bottom with only 2 points from their opening 3 PTT Lig games after a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Elazigspor last night. Pressure is now mounting on Ismail Kartal and some of the first team players due to the nature of the defeat and how bad the team played.

Team - Emre Koyuncu, Erdem Ozgenc, Gencer Cansev, Yusuf Abdioglu, Mehmet Sak, Anton Putsila, Cheikhou Dieng, Ilhan Parlak, Lanre Kehinde

Subs Altay Bayindir, Mert Aydeniz, Alihan Kubalas, Alaadin Okumus, Enes Kubat, Kibong Mbamba, Ferhat Culcuoglu, Kenan Ozer, Sercan Kaya, Mehmet Akan

Ismail Kartal much to the anger of the Ankaragucu fans dropped Kenan Ozer for Lanre Kehinde who made his debut while Ilhan Parlak still found his place in the team. He then decided to play Ilhan out wide, a position that needs pace and someone who can beat their man, both of which Ilhan cant do. Emre Koyuncu also came in for the injured Korcan Celikay. Leaving Altay Bayindir on the bench is a mistake, the youngster is one of the most highly rated Goalkeepers in Turkey and if Ankaragucu want to keep him, he cant be 3rd choice.

When a team wins promotion it always makes sense to build the team around their key players from that season. Instead Ismail let Muhammed Gonulacar, Omer Bozan, Cenk Kaplan, Alihan Kubalas, Muharrem Ozan and Serkan Balci leave. If you are going to let those key players leave then their replacements must be of a higher standard.

Instead based on the first couple of games only Anton Putsila and Cheikhou Dieng look to be the next level up. Yusuf Abdioglu in defence was all over the place last night and Mehmet Sak was the same. You just have to look at the Ankaragucu bench to see the amount of new players who are making no contribution while picking up a salary.

The good news is there is enough time to turn things around with only 3 games gone, but Ismail Kartal isnt the man to take this club forward. Its not an opinion based on 3 games, just ask Gaziantepspor and Fenerbahce fans what the think.

It took only 30 seconds for Elazigspor to create the first chance. A long ball over the top while Yusuf was caught sleeping let the Elazig forward in on goal but Emre made a good save.

On the 4th minute Putsila fired a 30 yard shot on goal but it went wide of the post.Then came the big moment of the game 10 minutes later. Lanre Kehinde making his debut against his former club got into a tussle for the ball, he then got up off the ground and proceeded to headbutt the Elazig defender in the face. An instant Red card and he has already received the backlash from Ankaragucu fans on social media. It will be interesting to see how the club deals with this selfish individual.

It took only 10 minutes after that for Elazig to take the lead. A corner to the back post was flight on for Mertan who again was unmarked to head the ball into the net to make it 1-0. How can a team at this level leave a man unmarked at a corner???

Ten minutes later it was almost 2 as Welliton outpaced Yusuf but again Emre made a good save. The score remained that way for the rest of the first half.

Jeffrey Sarpong came on in the 2nd half for Elazigspor and made an instant impact. Firstly he rounded Emre before hitting the side netting. He went 1 better minutes later though when Welliton went past Mehmet Sak who again was caught napping and crossed the ball to the back post for a Sarpong tap in to make it 2-0.

Sarpong and Alpastan both had long range efforts for Elazigspor while Ilhan and Kenan had chances for Ankaragucu at the other end.

Full time 2-0 Elazigspor and overall a horrible performance from Ankaragucu. Awful defending, hopeless attacking play and lack of discipline. The team now have a break with the International games coming up and will need to reflect on the last 3 games. Anything but a win in the next match over Balikseir and Ismail will be gone.

Gencler fight hard but Fenerbahce take home the points

A really short report because I have to get up in a couple of hours to go on yet another holiday.

Genclerbirligi 1 - 2 Fenerbahce

Bernard, Spine, Oz Kanka, Laura and
John are all smiles after the equaliser
Gencler finished the game with nine men after two silly sendings off. I'll let others decide as to whether they were deserved...

Fener went ahead early on after we scored an own goal... way too soft.

We got back into it after a penalty and then we had the first sending off. Bloody annoying

Then Fener scored again with about 15 minutes to go and then we got our second red.

A much better performance from Gencler but still we aren@t sure whether Umit Ozat really knows what he is doing.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Ankaragucu vs Elazigspor match preview!

Ankaragucu are again away from home as they face another tricky match at Elazigspor on Sunday night. With 2 draws in their first 2 games of the season the team from the Capital will be looking for their first win of the season which would see a respectable start to the season.

Elazigspor pulled off a big upset last weekend with a 2-1 in at Eskisehirspor and will be looking to continue that form into the weekends game. They did however lose 2-0 at home against Altinordu on the opening game of the season, while Ankaragucu shared the points with Altinordu last weekend.

As the PTT Lig has shown all too often, results from the previous week mean nothing for form. Anyone is capable of beating anyone in this league with only Caykur Rizespor and Umraniyespor the teams who have remaining 100 % records.

Some good news for Ankaragucu this weekend in regards to team news with Lanre Kehinde receiving his licence and is available for the weekends game. Ilhan Parlak has yet to find the net and with Muharrem Ozan Cengiz signing for Altay midweek, it looks like Kehinde will be a big player for the club.

Despite drawing the first two games of the season, there has been a lot of positives to take for İsmail Kartal. There is enough quality in the squad to challenge for the playoff places but they need to be more solid at the back and concentrate for 90 minutes. The forward line also needs to be more clinical in front of goal as they have squandered to may chances in the first 2 games.

Anton Putsila will again be the key man for a Ankaragucu. Having only trained with the team twice last week and then making his debut, he impressed with a good performance at Altinordu. He just has that extra bit of quality to unlock the opossing defences and can create something from nothing.

The game again will be shown live on BeIN Sports and we will have the match report straight after the game.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Things aren't looking good for Gencler

Genclerbirligi have two (sort of) close away matches this season. One of them is at Karabuk (which will be in February approximately). The other was tonight, a Monday night. Kick off at 9:45 pm. Last train back to Ankara had left well before the final whistle. Thanks TFF.

Konyaspor 3 - 0 Genclerbirligi

No home fans for this one as Konya supporters were banned after their performance at the pre-Season Super Cup match against Besiktas during which a flick knife was thrown at Besiktas players and fans invaded the ground.
A radio. Similar to the one that Oz Kanka listened to the match to.  

As for us, about 20 brave souls ventured to Konya for what was, as I predicted, a slaughter.

Listening to a radio commentary of the match wasn't the easiest of things as I still have little idea of who our players are. So it was in the fifth minute or so I got extremely excited only to freak out when it was Konya who almost scored.

Konya was definitely on the front foot at first with our only (very slight) chance coming from a free kick that Kahlili put wide.

It really wasn't a surprise though when Konya went ahead about 25 minutes in. A fast attack, fast pass and goal.

Konya continued to attack and the social media comments from the Alkaralar crowd started to sound just a touch frustrated.  

The comments were along the lines that we weren't getting more than a pass or two together, some players appeared totally lost, Palitsevich started the match sending out an SOS signal.

Not looking good and then just before half time Konya scored again. All doom and gloom.

It was no surprise that Gencler coach Umit Ozat made three changes at half time. The bloke really doesn't know who should be in the first team (as we mentioned last week).

It almost paid off in the first minute of the second half but somehow former Ankaragucu keeper Serkan Kirintili kept it out.

Rest of the half was all depressing. Konya got another and the Gencler fans started calling for Ozat to resign. With no home fans it was easy for Ozat to hear them. He gave them a clap. Not much else you can do I guess.

And that was that. Next week we are at home against Fenerbahce. We may well be in for one hell of a pasting.

PTT Lig Week 2 Review!

Only 2 teams have a 100% record remaining in the Turkish PTT Lig as it looks set to be another competitive season with everyone capable of beating each other. Caykur Rizespor and Umraniyespor are the two remaining sides with both overcoming difficult games at the weekend to go joint top.

The Friday night games saw Istanbulspor make it 4 points in their first two games with a 1-0 at Denizlispor, while Samsun won by the same scoreline at Manisaspor. Newly promoted Istanbulspor will be delighted with the start they have made but we're somewhat fortunate to escape with all 3 points. Denizlispor had a number of chances in the game but couldn't put the ball in the back of the net. Samsunspor were made work for their victory at Manisa and ran out deserved winners.

Onto the Saturday games and there was a 7 goal thriller in Erzerum as Erzerumspor won 4-3 at home against Balikesirspor. The visitors were 3-1 up until a late fight back from Erzerum where last weeks villian Hamza Younes became the hero with the winning goal.

Caykur Rizespor showed again why they are favourites for the title with an excellent 3-1 win at Adana Demirspor. Goals from Suleyman, Kewuke and the impressive Paraguayan Samu saw Rizespor fight back from a goal down to take all 3 points.

Giresunspor caused a bit of an upset with a 3-0 win over Adanaspor who will be angered by the actions of their star striker Magaye Gueye. The French striker headbuted one of the Giresun players after an exchange of words between the two which left his team with a mountain task. Giresun took advantage and will be delighted with the 3 points in what was an even game up until that point.

Sundays first match saw Elazigspor cause an upset with a 2-1 win at Eskisehirspor thanks to a much debated penalty which look d harsh. Huseyin Acar gave the home side the lead but goals from Erman and Tom gave Elazigspor the 3 points much to their delight in front of an empty stadium due to the ban.

Ankaragucu came back to the capital with a good point at Altinordu after a 1-1 draw. Anton Putsila scored on his debut for Ankaragucu to level the match after Alican had given the home side the lead.

The result of the week goes to Gaziantepspor after their brilliant win in the derby with Gazisehir with most pundits including myself not giving them any chance before the game. Alpay Kocakli scored the only goal of the game and gives this young a Gaziantepspor side some hope that the can fight against relegation.

Umraniyespor tonight won 1-0 at Boluspor with Emircan scoring the only goal sending them joint top. It was a deserved win and Boluspor were lucky to come away with a respectable scoreline.

Ankaragucu sit 11th after the fist two games and won't be too disappointed but will be looking to take all 3 points at Elazigspor this weekend.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Altinordu 1-1 Ankaragucu - Match Report!

Ankaragucu are still searching for their first win in their return to the PTT Lig but they can be happy with their overall performance tonight. There were clear improvements from last weeks home draw against Erzerumspor and İsmail Kartal will be hoping the team can push on and take all 3 points against Elazigspor next week.

Team - Korcan Celikay, Erdem Ozgenc, Gencer Cavsev, Yusuf Abdioglu, Mehmet Sak, Arif Morkaya, Mbamba Kibong, Anton Putsila, Cheikhou Dieng, Ilhan Parlak, Kenan Özer

Subs - Emre Koyuncu, Mehmet Akan, Alihan Kubalas, Sercan Kaya, Sedat Agkay, Alaaddin Okumus, Ferhat Culcuoglu, Mert Aydeniz, Muharrem Ozan, Enes Kubat

There was a place in the starting line up for new signing Anton Putsila and if today is anything to go by, the Ankaragucu fans are in for a treat with hints of Marek Sapara about the Belarusian international.

Ankaragucu started the match brightly with both Cheikhou Dieng and Kenan Özer looking lively in the wide areas. It was Altinordu however that had the first chance of the game with a glancing header going inches wide of Korcan's post.

Kenan Özer had the first chance for Ankaragucu as he cut inside his man in the box then fired into the side netting. Ilhan Parlak was angry that his team mate didn't pass the ball as he was standing in space but Kenan went for glory himself.

Then came the opening goal, and what a poor goal to give away it was. The defence allowed the brilliant Murat Ucar to dance past them before cutting back the ball to an unmarked Alician Ozfesil who fired past Korcan. There were five Ankaragucu defenders in the box marking no one while Alihan was standing alone. If Ankaragucu want to challenge for promotion these are the mistakes they need to cut out.

Altinordu nearly doubled their lead on the 40th minute mark after poor defending again but this time the headed effort was straight at Korcan who held onto the ball.

Five minutes later came the equaliser, and what a goal it was too. Nice build up play from Ankaragucu saw Kenan spin his man before passing to Putsila who took one touch before firing his shot low into the bottom corner from outside the box giving Erce no chance in the Altinordu goal.

There were still time for 2 further Altinordu chances in first half stoppage time. The first effort hit the cross bar and the second Korcan managed to deflect the ball away. Both chances came down the left hand side of Ankaragucu defence. Mehmet Sak looks a very good player going forward but to often was posted missing with his defensive duties.

Half Time

Altinordu 1-1 Ankaragucu

Into the 2nd half and Ankaragucu replaced the wasteful Mbamba with Sedat Agkay who made a big difference and had an excellent game. He almost scored within minutes of coming on but his shot was tipped wide for a corner.

Sedat and Dieng both had efforts from long distance go over the bar as Ankaragucu searched for that 2nd goal. Anton Putsila and Kenan then combined to set up Dieng whose shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Erce.

Altinordu went close again on the 71st minute after another glancing header went just wide of the post. With 5 minutes remaining they had a deflected shot that just went wide.

There was time for one last chance for Ankaragucu in the final minute. Erdem Ozgenc hit the crossbar with a well taken free kick from 30 yards.

The game ended 1-1 and a result that both teams can be happy with. Altinordu is a difficult place to go and they won 2-0 at Elazigspor last week who in turn won 2-1 at Eskisehirspor tonight. Ankaragucu need to sign another striker as Ilhan Parlak doesn't look like he will be the 15-20 goal man the club need.

Next up is another away match at Elazigspor next Sunday night. We will have the preview midweek of that match and the rest of the PTT games.

Altinordu 1-1 Ankaragucu match highlights!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ankaragucu vs Altinordu - Week 2 PTT Lig preview

A tough task awaits Ankaragucu this coming weekend as they travel to Izmir on Sunday for their match with Altinordu. These are two clubs worlds apart in terms of history, size and the way the clubs are run.

Ankaragucu are a household name within Turkish football without having achieved many major honours in their history. They do however have a large and faithful fanbase and still maintain the traditions that were installed in the club when they were first formed in Istanbul many moons ago.

Altinordu on the other hand, are a small club from Izmir who have spent their history in the lower leagues in front of a couple of hundred fans each week who don't have many expectations other than watching their beloved team play football.

When you look at both clubs, one who can attract crowds of 23,000 each week, have expectations of playing in the Super Lig every season, and are based in the Capital City of Turkey, while the other a small team with very few fans or sources of income, you could be forgiven for thinking the Ankara club shout be lightyears ahead commercially off field. You would indeed be wrong.

While Ankaragucu have  experienced years of financial difficulties, corruption, lack of commercial income and uncertainty over their future, Altinordu on the other hand have been an example to all clubs on how a club should be run.

They have a Turkish only signing policy with the aim to develop young players and send them on for profit. They have a top class training facility in Izmir for their First Team and youth academy which has produced some fantastic young players such as Cengiz Under, Caglar Soyuncu and Berk Özer.

Cengiz now plays with Roma having signed from Basaksehir in the summer for a record €15 million, while Soyuncu is playing in the Bundisliga with Freiburg.

A Turkish only signing policy puts the club at risk due to having such a small pool to chose from compared to every other club. The chairman Mehmet Ozkan is proud of their policy and even claimed they wouldn't sign Lionel Messi if they had the chance.

Not only do they have this policy in place but it's very rare that any players in the first team is over the age of 21. Last season there were occasions where every single player startin the game was a product of their youth academy.

One thing Ankaragucu can be proud of is their youth academy, they have produced many talented young players but it looks doubtful that many will be given a chance under İsmail Kartal. The team looked solid last week in the opener against Erzerumspor and we don't expect many changes this weekend. Anton Putsila has joined the team and could come in but both Nduka and Kehinde miss out due to injury.

Altinordu won 2-0 at Elazigspor and look a strong side who will cause problems with their pace and skill in attack. Mbamba Kibong will be a big player for Ankaragucu again and the fans will be hoping he can be more effective in the final third along with the wide players and Ilhan Parlak.

In the weekends other games Denizlispor host Istanbulspor and it will be another tough game for the home side. Istanbulspor were excellent in their 2-2 draw against Eskisehirspor and I expect them to take all 3 points in this one against a poor Denizli side who were thumped by Adanaspor.

Manisaspor are at home against Samsunspor and will be looking to improve on their awful showing against Caykur Rizespor last week. Samsunspor are capable of taking something from this one but will need to improve in the attacking field after their 0-0 draw with Gaziantep BB.

Erzerumspor will fancy their chances at home to Balikesirspor after a good performance in Ankara last weekend. They will however need to take their chances and Hamza Younes could find himself on the bench after a couple of sitters against Ankaragucu.

Giresunspor will provide tough opposition this weekend for Adanaspor who won 3-0 at Denizlispor on the opening game. Magaye Gueye will again be the key player after scoring two goals in that match and looks to be a step above this level.

Adana Demirspor have a difficult home tie against Caykur Rizespor the early pace setters and will need a huge performance if they are to take anything from that one. Rizespor have this week been linked with a move for former Man City forward Robinho.

Eskisehirspor should take all 3 points at home against a poor Elazigspor side and will have to do it in front of an empty stadium due to the ban after the crowd trouble in the playoff final with Goztepe.

It's the Gaziantep derby this weekend and unfortunately the only winners here are the municipal side. Gaziantepspor have lost all their key players and had their team bus repossessed this week. They are playing with youth players and lost 3-0 at home to Umraniyespor last weekend.

Finally Umraniyespor host Boluspor on Monday night in what should be a tight match with two good sides who have plenty of attacking options.

The Ankaragucu match will be shown live on BeIN Sports on Sunday at 8pm Turkish time.

Big crowds for the first week of the season

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ankaragucu sign Anton Putsila!

Anton Putsila was today granted his license to play with Ankaragucu and has joined the team for training. The Belarusian International is a huge coup for the club having played for Hamburg and Freiburg in the Bundisliga, while also playing under İsmail Kartal at Gaziantepspor.

Capped 50 times for his country the 30 year old plays in the number 10 position and is seen as the key playmaker in the Ankaragucu midfield. Having watched the match with Erzerumspor he is exactly what the team was missing.

Lanre Kehinde is yet to receive his licence and his move has still yet to be completed but the club are hopeful it will be done in the coming days.

PTT Lig Week 1 Roundup!

I was pretty much bang on the money with Week 1 predictions as Caykur Rizespor already set an early benchmark at the top, while poor Gaziantepspor look too be facing and impossible task of avoiding relegation.

Ankaragucu kicked off the PTT Lig 2017/18 campaign at home against Erzerumspor and with both sides having overhauled their squads, the 0-0 scoreline was a fair reflection on the game. Ilhan Parlak missed two golden opportunities for Ankaragucu although one of them should have resulted in a penalty after his effort was hand balled off the line. Hamza Younes also had two great chances at the other hand end but failed miserabley with his finishing.

Next up it was Caykur Rizespor who I believe are the favourites having kept their key players from last seasons Super Lig team. They swept Manisaspor away with a 4-1 win, two of the goals coming from ex Ankaragucu player Ozgur Cek, a sole goal for Ogulcan Caglayan and an own goal sent their fans home happy.

The Istanbulspor vs Eskisehirspor was a 4 goal cracker and the home side showed they will be no pushovers this season. Just a couple of years ago Istanbulspor were playing amateur football while Eskisehirspor were playing in the Europa League. It was Eskisehir who took the lead through Ofoedu. Onur Kolay and a Mehmet Celik scored two goals in 5 minutes to put Istanbulspor 2-1 up before Hasan Acar gave Eskisehirspor a share of the points.

Adanaspor got off to a flying start with a comfortable 3-0 win over Denizlispor. A brace from former Everton forward Magaye Gueye and a Bahuttin Kose strike gave them all 3 points.

Their rivals Adana Demirspor had a hard fought 2-2 draw Balikesirspor and will be disappointed they didn't take all 3 points having lead. Savas Yilmaz and Robert Tambe twice gave them the lead before the impressive Foxi Kethevoama and Mehmet Boztepe gave he home side a share of the points.

Samsunspor played out a 0-0 draw with Gaziantep BB in the first competitive game at their new stadium. The Samsun fans will be hoping for more goals in their next home game.

Rydell Poepon will again play a big part in Boluspor's season and he got off the mark in their 2-2 draw with Giresunspor. Boluspor were heading for all 3 points until a last minute striker by Fatih Atik levelled the game. A cracking match where both sides had plenty of chances.

Gaziantepspor have a beautiful new stadium but sadly their were only a couple of hundred fans who attended their opener with Umraniyespor. The team have serious financial problems and have a transfer ban in place. They look to be facing the same fate as Kayseri Erciyesspor which is a shame as they have a lot of history within Turkish football. Umraniyespor ran out 3-0 winners with Ibrahim Akdag scoring a double.

The last game of the week was Elazigspor vs Altinordu and it was the visitors who ran out 2-0 winners with an impressive performance. Two brilliant goals from Mirkan Aydin and Fatih Aktay were enough to see off Elazigspor and Altinordu will now welcome Ankaragucu at home this Sunday.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

It could be a very frustrating season

First touches were missing and two open chances squanded. asdfghj

Genclerbirligi 1 - 1 Karabukspor

More horses than supporters.
Bloody hot here in the capital but that did mean that we enjoyed an ice-cold refreshment at the Alerta beforehand. The Passolig system is slowly but surely destroying us Gencler Kankas. Just Spine and me today.

Passolig is also destroying the Gencler crowds. I'd guess at a couple of thousand last night.

Anyway, just as we were trying to figure out who our new players were... and also getting used to the new black strip, one of our more familiar players, Ahmet Oguz, buggered up at the back, the ball was passed on and Karabuk found themselves one nil up after just two minutes.


Slowly we came back into it and we managed an equaliser from a well taken free-kick from Khalili.

It was fairly even for a while but we lacked a certain something. As we made changes the team seemed to play strategically better but as Spine pointed out it doesn't seem as if Umit Ozat really knows who his first 11 should be.

We probably should have won it. In both halves we had real scoring opportunities but fluffed them. Karabuk had one almost certain goal hit the post.

In the end though the game ended with us attacking and some real sloppy first touches had the crowd groaning in frustration. It won't be the last time this season.    

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Ankaragucu 0-0 Erzerumspor match report!

Ankaragucu kicked off their 2017/18 League campaign with a goalless draw at home to Erzerumspor.  The club managed to lift the transfer ban yesterday which meant the new signings were all free to play. Only Alihan, Korcan and Ferhat started the game from last seasons squad. The club also completed the signings of Cheikhou Dieng from Basaksehir and Erdem Ozgenc from Bursaspor. Also completing his move was Mahmut Akan from Karabukspor.

Team - Korcan Celikay, Yusuf Abdioglu, Gencer Cansev, Alihan Kubalas, Mehmet Sak, Arif Morkaya, Mbamba Kibong, Ferhat Culcuoglu, Cheikhou Dieng, Ferhat Kiraz, Ilhan Parlak

Subs - Emre Koyuncu, Altay Bayindir, Mert Aydemir, Kenan Özer, Alaaddin Okumus, Enes Kubat, Muharrem Ozan, Erdem Ozgenc, Sercan Kaya, Mahmut Akan

A decent crowd despite Passolig of just over 8,000 were in attendance tonight, however there were about 12,000 missing from last seasons numbers. A small part of that was due to it being a Friday night game, but the major issue was a Passolig. Unfortunateley unless you sign up you can't get into the stadium. The fans who did turn up yet again made a fantastic atmosphere.

With 8 new players starting for Ankaragucu the fans got a taste of what is to come and it looks like the big focus will be on improving the attacking play. The team have now went 5 games without scoring a goal if you include pre season.

The first chance of the game came for Ankaragucu and it was a free kick from Ferhat Kiraz which was easily saved by Kaya in the Erzerum goal after 2 minutes.

Ten minutes in and Erzerumspor should have taken the lead. Hamza Younes just had Korcan to beat but he somehow miss hit his shot and fired high and wide. Replays showed he was clearly offside but it would have counted.

Gokhan Karadeniz fired a shot wide of goal on the 18th minute from outside the box as Erzerum were starting to look dangerous.

One of the most frustrating aspects of Ankaragücü's play tonight was the decision making and final ball. On 25 minutes Mbamba broke free in midfield and drove forward with a man at each side. Ferhat was free on the left and was in a great position but he played the ball out to the right and the move came to nothing.

Mbamba was impressive with his power and was the main driving force going forward from midfield. He wasted the ball far to often though and will need to work on this moving forward.

Then the main talking point of the first half came just a minute later. A mistake in the Erzerum defence let Ilhan Parlak in who rounded the keeper and his shot on goal was cleared with a handball. Unfortunately neither the referee or linesmen saw it and the penalty appeals were denied.

The score remained 0-0 going into half time which was a fair result with both sides having a chance each to open the scoring.

Only a minute into the second half and Hamza Younes had another chance but again fired his shot wide of the post with only Korcan to beat.

Ankaragucu nearly took the lead on the 61st minute through and own goal but the ball went wide of the post. Then on the 78th minute Ferhat Culcuoglu played a nice ball through for Ilhan Parlak but again he fired his shot wide and was having a similar night to Hamza Younes.

Erzerumspor had one more chance late on from Lokmon whose bullet header was just over the bar much to the delight of the concerned Ankaragucu fans behind the goal.

So week 1 and a share of the points which was a fair result and I think both sides will be happy. Ankaragucu will be delighted with their defensive display and it looks like Gencer Cansev, Arif Morkaya and Yusuf Abdioglu are all nice additions in that area. Mehmet Sak also impressed at left back.

In attack the team will be hoping Lanre Kehinde and Nduka Ozokwu return to action soon and add much needed firepower.

Some news just in from Muhammed Erdogan at Sporanki, he has advised the club are set to sign Gaziantepspor playmaker and Belarusian international Anton Putsila in the coming days. The club will also look to sign another defender.

Next up for Ankaragucu will be a tough away match at Altinordu next weekend. Yusuf Abdioglu and Arif Morkaya will face their former clubs.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

PTT Lig Week 1 preview - Ankaragucu vs Erzerumspor

The long awaited return of competitive league football returns this weekend in Turkey and first up on centre stage is Ankaragucu vs Erzerumspor on Friday night. Both clubs were promoted from Lig 2 last season and have overhauled their squads which makes it difficult to predict the favourites at this stage.

It wouldn't be Ankaragucu if things were to go according to plan and with only 3 days until the game it's still unclear who will be eligible to play for Ankaragucu. As it stands there are only 12 registered players for the club with all the news signings awaiting clearance to play. The reason is due to the transfer ban still yet to be lifted with Mehmet Yiginer claiming the club need 6 Million Lira by tomorrow or none of them can play.

Mehmet Yiginer was very vocal last night on Bursa TV where he challenged the Ankaragucu fans who haven't signed up to Passolig yet. As it stands their are only 7,925 Passolig holders and they would be the only fans eligible to enter the stadium. With the game being played on a Friday night we can brace ourselves for a poor turnout of about 5,000 fans maximum which is another embarrassment for Turkish Football which we will talk about in more detail later.

Former captain Aydin Toscali was also the bearer of harsh words from Yiginer as he stated that Aydin rejected his proposal of receiving his owed money in instalments. Some Ankaragucu fans have been vocal against Aydin questioning his loyalty while others have leapt to his defence.

Back to matters in field and İsmail Kartal is in a difficult situation where he doesn't know which 11 players will take to the field on Friday. If the ban isn't lifted he will be forced into playing some youth players alongside the likes of Alihan, Kenan and Muharrem.

If the transfer ban is lifted then it makes the managers life a bit easier but will still be a difficult match. Ankaragucu have struggled in pre season and İsmail Kartal has been honest enough with his assesment. He said that the team isn't anywhere near where they want to be due to fitness and the number of new players that have arrived.

Of the new players that have arrived Mbamba Kibong has looked the pick of them. His powerful running from midfield along with his use of the ball will be key for Ankaragucu this season. Lanre Kehinde looks like a useful signing but struggled due to the lack of creativity and chances made for him by the midfield and wide players.

Nduka Ozokwu and Ilhan Parlak both arrived late and will be the ones responsible for supplying the ammunition for Kehinde along with Kenan Özer and Enes Kubat. The club are also still looking to sign Cheikhou Deing from Basaksehir and held talks today.

Erzerum like Ankaragucu have had a large turnaround in players over the summer and will also take time to gel and settle in. One of their key players is someone who knows the Turkish Leagues and what's required if they are to challenge for promotion. Mert Nobre the former Besiktas and Fenerbahce Captained the team to promotion scoring 12 goals. His experience and quality will be invaluable if Erzerum are to take anything from the game.

The game will be played at the 19 Mayis Stadium and will also be shown live on Bein Sports 2 after they bought the rights from TRT. Let's hope Ankaragucu take all 3 points and get off to a good start.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

PTT Lig 2017/18 Season Preview!

We are only 6 days away from the start of the new PTT Lig 1 season in Turkey and it looks set to be another competitive year with a number of teams capable of promotion. It's difficult at this stage to predict the favourites as most clubs have overhauled their squads with a number of new transfers.

Every season in Turkey teams make big changes to their squads due to players contracts coming to and end and their being no real structure or future plannng due to miss management and financial problems. It's common to see teams lose their star players for nothing due to them running down their contracts or clubs failing to pay their wages.

A perfect example of this is Adana Demirspor who are a club with a fantastic and loyal fanbase who despite failing to meet expectations each season still turn up in their numbers to follow their team. They have signed an incredible 20 new players, but even more incredible that 21 of last seasons squad have left the club including Mickael Pote.

The Frenchman was the clubs top scorer for the last two seasons and topped the PTT Lig charts with 24 goals last campaign. Apoel Nicosia moved to snap the powerful forward up in the summer and he will be a big loss for Adana who will be looking for Atabey Cicek to fill the void after his loan move from Basaksehir.

Caykur Rizespor, Adanaspor and Gaziantepspor were the 3 sides relegated from the Super Lig last .season and the first two have a chance of going straight back up with Rizespor the early favourites if
.we had to pick. They have somehow managed to keep hold of Leonard Kweuke despite interest from teams in the Super Lig. They have also kept the majority of last seasons squad together and can rely on former Ankaragücü keeper Gokhan Akkan who has impressed with his performances between the sticks. It's important when teams are relegated that they maintain the quality players they had in their team and there isn't too much movement in th squad unless it's necessary and Caykur have done exactly that.

Gaziantepspor on the other hand are in big trouble financially and are struggling to even put a team on the pitch. Okan Cinar has moved to Besiktas, Ilhan Parlak has signed for Ankaragucu and Nabil Ghilas is now playing for Goztepe. You have to feel for Gaziantepspor as they have been a Super Lig side for a number years and have just moved into a beautiful new stadium but are facing 2 releagations in successive seasons.

Adanaspor should be there or thereabouts this season as they have some quality players for this level such as Magaye Gueye, Vladimir Koman and Vinicius to name a few. They haven't lost too many players from last season apart from Roni who has went back to Brazil after his loan spell.

Of the promoted clubs from Lig 2, Ankaragucu, Erzerumspor and Istanbulspor all have a chance of making playoffs but at the same time could also be dragged into the releagation zone. That's how tight the division is between top half and botto.

Ankaragucu have made some good signings but the issue they have is that the transfer ban hasn't been lifted and they have only 2 days to pay 6 million Lira otherwise none of the new players can play against Erzerumspor next Friday in the season opener. Kibong Mbamba, Ilhan Parlak, Nduka Ozokwu, Lanre Kehinde, Yusuf Abdiuglu and Arif Morkaya are just a few of the new players the club has agreed contracts with.

Erzerumspor will be looking to experienced striker Mert Nobre again to lead the squad to the playoffs and they have wasted no time in adding to the squad. Hamza Younes and Haris Habra look interesting signings and they can also count on the backing from a vocal and large home support.

It's been a while since we heard of the name Istanbulspor and seems like a lifetime ago that the club were playing in the UEFA Cup. Years of financial problems and playing in the lower leagues finally came to and end after they were promoted at the end of the season. They have former Turkish wonderkid Muhammed Demirici in their squad and have signed Konyaspor winger Ali Dere as they look to challenge for a place in the Super Lig.

Eskisehirspor narrowly missed out on promotion last season after loosing in the playoff final against Goztepe. They still have enough quality in their squad to be considered one of the favourites for promotion but the transfer ban imposed means they can't add to their squad. Hasan Ayaroglu will return from a successful loan spell at Kastamonuspor. On the way out is Ruud Boffin who signed for Antalyspor and Kamil Korecki who signed for Trabzonspor.

Altinordu are one of the most well respected clubs in Turkey due to their incredible youth program and community work. They have produced some quality young players such as Cagalar Soyuncu and  Under who has just signed for AS Roma. They also have a policy of signing Turkish only players with the view of developing them and selling for profits. So far it's a policy that is working and drawing many plaudits.

The PTT Lig has some other historical teams such as Samsunspor, Elazigspor and Denizlispor with decent fan bases but who have al struggled in the lower half of the table due to financial problems. Samsunspor have just moved into a new stadium, Elazigspor have lost highly rated Hamidou Traore to Karabukspor and Denizlispor face a fight for survival due to finances.

The PTT Lig has everything for fans who are fed up with corporate modern football. It has lots of goals, hostile atmospheres, comical defending and much more. Like the Super Lig their are plenty of empty seats in the stands due to Passolig with many fans still refusing to go and keeping to their boycott.

Next Friday night Ankaragucu vs Erzerumspor will kick off the PTT Lig campaign at the Osmali Stadium in Ankara. Let's hope we start with a home win.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Ankaragucu 0-0 Hacettepe match report!

Ankaragucu completed their pre season schedule today with a 0-0 draw with Hacettepe in what can only be described as another boring dull encounter under new coach İsmail Kartal. It's early days and he needs time but that's now 0 goals in last 3 games with hardly a shot on goal.

Team - Korcan, Alaattin. Yusuf, Alihan, Mehmet, Ferhat, Arif, Kenan, Nduka, Ilhan, Kehinde

It took 34 minutes for Ankaragucu to create their first chance of the game. Ilhan Parlak was put through on goal, he cut inside his man and overhit his pass to Kehinde who still got his shot away but the ball was cleared off the line.

The only other chance in the first half was when Kehinde went past his man in the box but his shot was easily saved by the keeper.

The second half was up their with the most boring awful games of football I've seen. Only one chance  and that fell to Hacettepe but the headed effort was into the side netting.

İsmail Kartal has his work cut out as the league campaign starts next Friday night at home against Erzerumspor. He will be looking for a much better performance and will be hoping to bring in 2-3 new players especially in attack.

The club also announced that Ali Sinan Gayla has been released and is free to find a new club. We wish him all the best.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Ankaragucu set for double swoop!

With only a week remaining until the season starts there is still a lot of uncertainty at Ankaragucu as to how the squad will look. Both Henrique Da Silva and Samuel Owusu who were both on trial have been told they won't be offered contracts with the club and have left.

İsmail Kartal today confirmed that both Omer Bozan and Muhammed Gonulacar are free to leave the club due to disciplinary problems. Omer is wanted by Hatayspor and Bugsasspor while Harun Aydin is also set to sign for Bugsass.

Arda Karademir and Metin Aydin are both set to sign for Adliyespor after their contracts ended last month.

The transfer ban still hasn't been officially lifted although İsmail Kartal said he is expecting it to happen in next few days. He also wants to bring Tonia Tisdell back to the club along with team mate Lukasz Szukala from Osmanlispor. It would be a massive coup for the club if they pull that off.

Ankaragucu will take on Hacettepe tommrow night at 18:00 in the TSYD Cup, the game will be played at Ostim Stadium.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Ankaragucu sign Ferhat Kiraz!

Ankaragucu today completed the signing of Yeni Malatyaspor midfielder Ferhat Kiraz on a free transfer. The 28 year old ex Bursaspor man who started his career with Genclerbirligi can play in midfield or defence and becomes the lates signing for İsmail Kartal whose side kick of their campaign next Friday at home to Erzerumspor.

One player on his way out of the club is Cagatay Ceken who signed in the January transfer window from Sivasspor but only managed 2 appearances. Ankaragucu also hope to completed the signings of Cheik Dieng from Basaksehir and Hasan Aslantas by the weekend.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Samsunspor 1-0 Ankaragucu!

A disappointing performance from Ankaragucu last night especially in the final 3rd of the pitch as the team lost 1-0 to Samsunspor at the opening of their new stadium.

Team - Korcan, Alaadin, Gencer, Yusuf, Mehmet, Sedat, Arif, Mbamba, Kenan, Enes, Kehinde

Subs - Altay, Alihan, Muharrem, Owusu, Cagatay, Mahmut, Erhan, Ferhat

The only goal of the game came in the first half through Jonathan Chibuike from the penalty spot. The closest Ankaragucu came to a goal was when Sedat Acgay hit the crossbar from a free kick Justin outside the box.

Overall their wasn't much to get excited about apart from Mbamba Kibong who looks like an excellent addition to the team. The defence looks shakey especially in the fullback positions and the team failed to create any decent chances.

A lot of work still to be done by the new manager İsmail Kartal who has just under two weeks to get the team in shape for th visit of Erzerumspor in the opening match of the season.