It seems that every newspaper is writing their best moments of the year columns to fill up space. Unfortunately, I follow almost no football outside of Ankara and so this is probably going to be a short piece.
As a friend of mine told me a few weeks ago. "You know almost nothing about football and your articles are much better when Genclerbirligi lose." I think it was a compliment.
So to the 2005 awards.
The Salvation Army Award for services to the poor:
An honourable mention to Ankaraspor who did a good job by actually giving away tickets for free for their game against Genclerbirligi. They did charge us Gencler fans 50 kurush (about 15 pence). Even so, nobody showed up and so the award has to go to Ankaragucu for their efforts a few weeks ago selling tickets for just 1 lira.
The Turkish Bureaucracy Award for massive incompetence:
Fenerbahce did well by forgetting to pay the electricity bill and thus having one of their games blacked out for 15 minutes but the award has to go to Ankaragucu for having failed to anticipate that selling tickets at 1 lira a pop on a lovely Sunday during Ramadan might mean that a few more punters than usual might show up. We didn't get in until almost half time while Ole Kanka couldn't get in at all.
The Article 301 "Should've kept your mouth shut, idiot" Award:
Being Turkey, this award had hundreds of potential winners. Close runners up include FIFA head Sepp Blatter for going way over the top and not waiting for his own organization's report in his blasting of Turkey for the fight between Turkish and Swiss players in the world Cup play-off; Turkish coach Fatih Terim for his press conferences in which amongst other things he expressed sympathy with those who threw eggs at the Swiss bus. But the winner has to be Genclerbirligi chairman Ilhan Cavcav who last week said Fenerbahce were acting like PKK separatists for their role in trying to corner all the money from TV broadcasts. Cavcav could face criminal charges over the statement and I'm certainly not going to travel to Istanbul for Fener V Gencler in about a month's time.
The Australian Cricket Team Approach to the Ashes Award for most overconfident build up to a match/competition:
Fenerbahce were definately a candidate for this award after manager Christoph Daum said at the start of the season that the Champions League was his biggest priority. Fener crashed out coming fourth in the group. The winner however has to be our own Eski Kanka Jim who didn't even bother to watch the return match of Trabzonspor against some Greek Cypriot team instead predicting Trabzon would be up against Rangers in the next round and that we should start organising how to get to Trabzon. In the end Rangers got to visit Cyprus instead.
The Enron/Conrad Black Award for creative ways to lose/waste money:
High marks to Galatasaray who are in big trouble at the moment with banks refusing to lend them any more money and the players and coach haven't been paid for months. This is all thanks to their complete stuff up of plans to turn Ali Sami Yen Stadium into some sort mall cum football pitch. Then there are all of those over-the-hill foreigners clogging up the chances of young Turks getting some football practice: namely Anelka and Aileton. But as I'm making up the awards the prize goes to Gencler whose coach at the beginning of the season decided he didn't like Josip Skoko, so the club gave him away for free to Wigan. About a week later we sacked the coach for being a total idiot. At least a million dollars down the drain on that deal.
The "God I'm sick of the English talking about 1966" Award:
A good performance by all those Poms in Ankara who still haven't stopped reminding me of the Ashes, and the dismal performances by our rugby union and rugby league teams. But the award goes to me for reminding every Turk I've met in the last few weeks that Australia is in the World Cup, and Turkey isn't. Neither is Scotland for that matter.
Happy New Year