Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Jock and Geordie Football Part II

Further to Eski Kanka's bit about Souness I thought I'd cut and paste this preamble from the Guardian's Minute by Minute report before the match between Souness's Blackburn Rovers and Genclerbirligi in 2003. The whole report can be found here

By the way Eski Kanka, will you stop capitalizing your headlines. It is considered shouting in the cyber world of the 21st century.

But here is the preamble:

With his track record at Galatasaray, Graeme Souness probably wouldn't be the FA's first choice as special envoy to Turkey ahead of next month's decisive Euro 2004 qualifier.

Celtic and Rangers? Newcastle and Sunderland? As footballing rivalries go, little compares to heated steam bath of an atmosphere which accompanies the Istanbul derby between Galatasaray and Fenerbahce. Consider, as an example, the 1996 Turkish Cup final - the first time the two had met in the final in more than 30 years - which ended in a full-scale riot. The reason? Graeme Souness.

I t was 1-1 on aggregate in the return leg at Fener with a penalty shootout looming. But then, after 206 minutes of football, Dean Saunders got on to the end of a hopeful cross from the left to larrup an unstoppable shot on the bounce into the roof of the net. Four minutes later, the final whistle went and Souness set off for the Galatasary end. He relieved a fan of an eight-foot high flag, like waving a red rag to Istanbul, he paraded it to the centre of the pitch and speared it erect in the centre-circle. It was a dagger in the heart of Fenerbahce fans and the ultimate incitement to riot. They duly obliged.

Souness, pelted with bottles of water, had to beat a hasty retreat as angry Fenerbahce fans tried to force the dressing-room door. The flag was quickly kicked over by supporters, and the cup presentation by President Suleyman Demirel could barely be seen for police riot shields held up to beat away fireworks and other missiles.

"We were all on the victory podium collecting our medals but after that we were being pelted with all sorts of things and we needed a police escort to get out," recalls then Gala goalkeeper Brad Friedel, flinching with the memory. "They are still selling T-shirts of that incident in Turkey."

"You can go f*** your mother with the cup," chanted the crowd. Truncheon-wielding police sent alsations in to the stands, armoured cars bulldozed angry fans who mobbed the ground's main entrance, the windows of both team coaches were smashed, three people were wounded in knife attacks and even President Demirel was assaulted.

"I think Souness thought he was making Turkey a colony of Britain and, if he'd done that in Scotland or England, I don't think the hooligans there would have let him out alive," said Fenerbahce president Ali Sen, shaking his fist angrily and bearing his teeth. "Flags should only be planted in Antarctica or on mountain summits!"

Souness feigned innocent bemusement. "Pah, it's a quaint English custom, we do it all the time," he said before reeling off a catalogue of examples. "I can't understand why the Fener fans reacted so strongly." The ambassador's reception was so bad that Souness was sacked at the end of his only season at the club.

No comments:

Post a Comment