Friday, March 31, 2006


Greetings Kankas. Just to deviate from Ankara footie for a moment - well....... Oz Kanka did introduce the subject of Jock footie !!!

The semi finals of the Scottish Cup are being played this weekend. Tomorrow, Gretna from the 2nd Division (God bless them for reaching this pinacle in their history) is playing Dundee FC of the 1st Division. However, the BIG ONE is on Sunday KO 12.15pm when the Mighty HIBERNIAN play Edinburgh's 2nd team, Hearts. There is an historical note about this match. It is the first time EVER that Hibs have played Hearts at the National Stadium Hampden in Glasgow. It is also the first time that the teams have met at this stage in the competition for about 100 years. So, Glasgow will be invaded and taken over by Edinburgh on Sunday which will see Hampden filled to capacity - I think it is about 70,000. I understand that the match is going to be beamed live throughout the world in selected countries, but unfortunately, not here !! I heard a snipit from Edinburgh that it is going to be shown live in New York City Grand Central Station !! Now that really is recognition !!! As a loyal and devoted Hibs fan since the age of 5, or was it 6, my memory fails me, I am not going to tell you the last time Hibs won the Scottish Cup, suffice to say that it was a long time ago !!! This will be a true test of cup footie and ............ winner take all !!

Let's wait now for Hibbie Kanka Athole's report from Edinburgh on Sunday night if he is sober....... or on Monday if he has recovered, or Tuesday if he hasn't !!!

GLORY TO THE GREAT HIBEES. All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

What the hell are the Scots thinking?

Ever since I met Eski Kanka Jim I've become interested in all sorts of Scottish things. I didn't really ever think that I might become even remotely interested in how Hibernian are going in the Scottish Cup but I've now come to the point where I actually read Hibbee Kanka's reports, rather than just deleting them immediately from my message inbox.

That was a long-winded way to introduce one of the weirder stories coming out of Scotland at the moment. Here's some stuff from the Scotsman.

MORE than two-thirds of Scots will be cheering for the England team during this summer's World Cup finals, according to a survey for the BBC - a statistic described by a leading member of the tartan army as "astonishing".

The ICM survey found that an average of 67 per cent wanted the Auld Enemy to win the cup.

The precise percentage varied marginally according to who England played in the final. It rose to 69 per cent if Sven-Goran Eriksson's side were to end up playing Germany, and fell slightly in the event of England meeting Brazil.

I have to admit that in the olden days when Australia was lucky if FIFA even allowed them a chance of getting to the World Cup, most of my mates would support England, but I thought the Scots were different.

So Scottish Kankas, where do you stand in this great debate?

Saturday's plans

Okay boys and girls. A short post to explain the set up for tomorrow (Saturday). Ankaragucu take on Besiktas at the 19 Mayis Stadium. Kick-off is at 6:30 pm and I'll be down at the Chopin pub at 4:30 pm. Eski Kanka Jim knocks off work at 5 pm and will then sprint across Ataturk Bulvari and (if he isn't hit by a taxi) will be at the pub at 5:01 pm.

The Chopin bar is in amongst all the pubs on Inkilap sk in the pedestrianised section of Kizilay. Check out this earlier image I put up on the blog if you are still unsure or if you get lost ask someone for where the more famous "Net Piknik" pub is - Chopin is kust a few doors down from there.

At 5:30 pm we are heading off to the stadium to see Besiktas get beaten up and then heading off to the Knight and Flight bar on Cevre sokak (next down to Manhattan bar) for the amazingly late 8:45 pm kick off of Galatasaray - Genclerbirligi.

Fingers crossed.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Not the happiest of pictures

Eski Kanka Jim has sobered up but his computer hasn't so he has asked me to post this.

Greetings Kankas. Where do I start ? Well, let's start at about 2or 3 minutes to go before half time and with both teams playing attacking footie and Ankaragucu looking good, Eski Kanka had to open his big mouth with one of his earth shattering comments. When will Eski Kanka learn to engage brain before opening his big trap !!! Eski Kanka turns to Oz Kanka (having consumed about 3 or 4 large EFES at this point) and said.... `I think we should shore-up the defence for the last few minutes and go in at 0-0 for a half-time tactics talk, because this is a dangerous time in a match for goals to be scored`. I think Oz Kanka nodded his head in agreement but due to the alcoholic intake, I can't be quite sure !! Anyway, no sooner had I said it than Galata....spit...saray broke out of defence at speed, the ball was cut back by Hasan Sas at the goal line, and there was Hakan Suker to steer it into the net. There was a stunned silence and dirty looks from Oz Kanka. OK, so I promise I am going to keep my statistical comments to myself until after the match in future !

So, as I was saying, Ankaragucu played good footie in the 1st half and were spreading the ball around and giving as good as they got. We also had 3 reasonable efforts on goal which might have gone in another day. Into the 2nd half then, and it was a different story. Ankaragucu spent most of the time chasing the game and panic defending. Lots of long balls hoofed up the field hoping to find Umut. All credit to Umut who, as usual, covered every blade of grass on the field and never stopped trying. However, the coach really needs to find a partner for him up front, and soon ! Another excellent goal arrived at speed in the 65th minute courtesay of Cihan and, game over. No complaints. They were the better team on the night and proved again that Ankaragucu are not as fit or fast as the Big 2 from Istanbul. I hope Hikmet Bey the coach reads this blog and takes note !!! Oh I almost forgot, there was further excitement about 5 minutes before the final whistle when the door of the Knight and Flight flew open and in came about 12 Robo Cops (also known as Dolphin/Yunus Cops !!). I've never seen so many in one place at one time - they normally ride around in twos on motor bikes. We were all frisked and all IDs were checked (except mine because Oz Kanka said that I looked like an upstanding and honest young man !!!). Oz Kanka had to show his probably because he looks like a hippy from the swingin 60s !!!!! When they left we gave a cheer and that was the only cheer I gave in the whole 2nd half of the match !!!

As for the remainder of the season, Mr Optimistic remains optimistic and I have no doubt that the Big R word will not be an issue. The main thing is that Ankaragucu are trying to play footie and they still have the passion during the match, even if they do tend to slow down a wee bit in the 2nd half. We are not going to hit the panic button......... well........not yet anyway !!!

You will have seen the emails flying around concerning the matches on Saturday. Hope we can all get together and have something to cheer about........... and I don't mean the EFES either !!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

On our way to Europe?

Some of us are luckier than others and Lanky Kanka Jorg is the luckiest of the lot. He actually managed to get down to the match today and has sent me this report of Genclerbirligi beating Ankaraspor 2-1.

It was a really tense game, very nervous from both sides. 1:0 Ali Cansun scores after a fulminant shot of Mehmet Cakir. 2:0 Tuna Uzumcu scores after heading a crossover from Ugur Boral into the box. Immediately after this a change, Ali Cansun taken off, Kerem Seras on. And then 2:1. A big error in the defence including goalkeeper Gökhan, but in the end we managed the game. Risp was great in holding the tall Ersin Martin down, it was very hard 90 minutes of tackling and headers. The team gave me the impression that they were weak today. Was it the eclipse? Was it the game coming up against Galatasaray on Saturday? In this mood they have no chance against Galatasaray, thats for sure. But at the end we heard one lucky thing, Kayseri drew 0:0 - so we are nearer and nearer...

Thanks Lanky Kanka. Yes the footballing Gods seem to be on our side today. The Kayseri draw is great news, as is the fact that as I write this Besiktas are 1-0 down at halftime away to Denizli.

UPDATE: Unfortunately Besiktas got back into that match and it ended 1-1. Still a good result for us though. We are now in fourth spot, just one point behind Kayseri and that all important UEFA Cup spot. An interesting little note from the Besiktas-Denizli match. Apparently they accidently played the 10th Anniversery March instead of the national anthem. The players and ref then did their own unaccompanied version. Who says these fooballers aren't talented.

UPDATE again: Oh dear, Ankaragucu managed to lose two nil away to Galatasaray. I was really looking forward to making sarcastic comments on Gulay's blog. Not to be however. Eski Kanka Jim has promised a report as soon as he is sober (that might be quite a while).

TFF: friend of the working class

Big match on tonight. Galatasaray versus Ankaragucu. Kick-off 8 pm. Eski Kanka and myself are heading off to the Knight and Flight (next to Manhatten on Cevre sk) to watch. So, if you are reading this Kirkcaldy Kanka, try to come along. Eski Kanka will be easy to spot. Just look out for a Scottish bloke swearing a lot.

Now that is out of the way. Time for a rant.

What the hell are the Turkish Football Federation doing? Have a look at the times for today's matches. I guess I should point out that the matches are being played today because all football was cancelled in late January because of unpredictable snow.

Genclerbirligi are taking on Ankaraspor at 2:30 p.m.. This may come as a surprise to the federation but some people in this world have to work. So I'm not going. There are four other matches that kick off at 2:30 p.m. as well. Madness. The good people of Denizli will have to knock-off early if they want to make it on time for the 4:30 p.m. kick-off for their match against Besiktas.

That leaves just one match scheduled for today in which decent working people (the sort of people who check out this blog while pretending to work) can attend, Galatasaray-Ankaragucu.

Only one problem though. The federation has ordered the match to be played without spectators due to crowd trouble a few weeks ago. Brilliant.

I only have one word to describe the federation. Idiots.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

National embarrassments

The TDN ran a brilliant story yesterday by the wonderful folks at Agence France Press (AFP) on a survey of British men and their allegiance to their football teams. Some snippets:

Some 94 percent said they would never stop loving their team no matter how bad they were while 52 percent would gladly ditch a relationship that was not going well, the survey of approximately 2,000 men across Britain found.

Statement of the obvious really. I've only ever supported one rugby league team (the Balmain Tigers) since about the age of three but have had more than a few girlfriends in that time. Just one wife though, but perhaps that is thanks to the fact that she lets me go to the football.

The research also discovered that a majority of Englishmen surveyed (59 percent) said football gave them a sense of national pride, while a majority of Scotsmen (55 percent) said it gave them a sense of national embarrassment.

Are you in that 55 percent Eski Kanka? What about you Kilcardy Kanka?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Joy comes in twos

Dear Kankas,
Eski Kanka Jim is having yet more hassles:

I have to ask you to do the honours again. I can't get
The PC tells me every time that I've performed an illegal action, so perhaps it's time to think about updating my system and go 2006 !!!

Wait until my little dragon graduates in June and I'll be ready !!!

Greetings Kankas. A good weekend in Ankara.

Let's begin at the bottom and move to the top !! Ankaragucu won
today 2-1 against Ankaraspor and so moved 3 points further away from
the DZ. They are now on the magic 30 points mark and with Besiktas
coming to visit next weekend that could be increased !!

Mr Optimistic is mega optimistic today !!!! I have no details of the
match because I was working until 7.30pm, but I will give scorers and
any other scant info in the comments block when I have it. Or,
perhaps Oz Kanka can do that tomorra after he has found a newspaper
which speaks `Ankara Speak` !!!!

Or is that asking too much ??? (Yes it asking too much, says Oz Kanka)

Good news at the top too. Besiktas lost on Friday and Erciyes beat
Trabzon today which moves Gencler closer to the UEFA Cup slot.

Watch this space for next weekend's fixture dates and KO times.

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A class above

A great day in Ankara Saturday with Genclerbirligi coming from behind to beat Vestel Manisaspor 2-1.

Viking Kanka Jens, Finlania Kanka Marcus and myself met up as usual (even though Viking Kanka's military background failed him as he was yet again late - today he used the excuse of having left his ID card at home) and went off to the Chopin Pub in Kizilay where we have become such match day regulars that the waiters now shake our hands.

A couple of beers in and a fellow who thinks he can play darts called Emin gave me a call asking if we wanted to join him at the match. The answer was "of course".

We finished up the beers and headed down to the stadium and arrived about 45 minutes before kick-off, plenty of time considering Genclerbirligi don't exactly generate the biggest of crowds. I rang Emin back to ask him where he was and he said he would be leaving for the stadium and wouldn't be there for another 30 minutes.

While I didn't tell him, I did think this would be cutting the whole thing a bit fine. My other thought was that we should have stayed at Chopin and had another beer. But with time to kill I suggested we check out our old hang-out, the Sahil Pub in Genclik Park. Certainly no opposition to this idea from Viking Kanka or Finlandia Kanka so we trecked across the road to find a scene something out of downtown Baghdad.

Of course, the water was drained out of the "lake" ages ago but the municipality seemed to have taken great delight in smashing everything that used to sell alcohol down. The place next to Sahil was in ruins as were a quite a few other places. Sahil appeared untouched but regrettably was not open. So we sadly trudged to what seemed like the only place open and had a cup of tea.

Emin phoned back about 15 minutes to kick-off and we met up with his friend who let us in for free to the protocol section. Compared to gecekondu where we usually watch the matches this was like entering a king's palace. No police searches, lighters and batteries from cameras allowed in no worries, no queueing, clean toilets, and, most importantly nice plush seats right on the halfway line.

There was also the monthly Genclerbirligi magazine on every seat and an actual match day programme, something I'd never seen before.

And so finally, looking over at the boys in gecekondu and feeling absolutely no jealousy at all, it was on to the match.

Genclerbirligi in the first half weren't all that good but I think they had a slight edge over Manisaspor, coached by former Gencler and Turkey manager Ersun Yanal, we had a few chances, one quite funny one when I think it was Ugur Boral sent a floating ball in from the left which the Manisa keeper buggered up. He went up to punch the ball clear but only managed to hit it against his own post. In the follow up Tayfun Korkut couldn't control it and the ball went out.

Disaster struck on 35 minutes though when former Ankaragucu player Yilmaz Ozlem struck a free kick that seem to go through everybody and ended up in the back of the net.

Half time: 0-1.

As I was waiting in the no pushing queue at the toilets, I noticed a tall man who looked quite Germanic. Could this be the famous Genclerbirligi fanatic Jorg who I had only communicated to by e-mail but had never met. I asked him, and yes it was.

During the half-time break Jorg said he thought that I always sat in Gecekondu and I have to admit that I felt a little bit guilty about betraying my working class roots.

All that guilt dissapeared pretty quickly as I sat myself back down in my comfortable seat a few rows up from Gencler chairman Ilhan Cavcav.

Second half. Well it didn't seem to great at first, but, the second half of the second half and Genclerbirligi finally came alive. While there weren't many shots on goal there definately seemed like a sense of much needed urgency had finally been found.

On about 58 minutes we should have been given a penalty for handball but the ref dismissed it. (By the way someone put the words "hande bolle" into google and somehow managed to be sent to this blog - I wonder what the Spanish speaker thought when he found that the only hande here was French Kanka Hande).

Two minutes later though the ref did give us the penalty, their keeper came out and almost took off Baki Lentil's head. Ugur Boral took it calmly. 1-1.

I didn't notice the build-up to the second goal but Mehmet Cakir was one-on-one with the keeper and didn't miss. 2-1

A tense last few minutes as Manisaspor threw everything at us but in the end we hung on.

A great result, thanks Genclerbirligi, and thanks Emin.

I'll update on positions once the other matches have been played.

Update: Sunday night. The results of the weekend matches are in, and they are good. Besiktas of course lost on Friday night and so did Trabzon today (Sunday). Third-placed Kayseri could only manage a draw . So that leaves Gencler in fifth, one behind Besikats and only three behind Kayseri. All we need to do now is to overhaul those two in front of us and we have some serious Euro football on our hands. Fingers crossed.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Genclerbirligi to join the G14

As reported everywhere (except here) the G14 group of Europe's biggest clubs are thinking of starting up their own competition. It seems that the group (which actually consists of 18 clubs, not 14???) want to guarantee themselves European competition so they can make their long-term business plans and keep the rest of us down.

All good lovers of football will be pleased to hear that UEFA have finally made a rational statement condemning all such moves.

"We will leave the door open for clubs from smaller nations to play at the top level of European club football," UEFA said in a statement on Thursday.

UEFA are now out to win the hearts and minds of football supporters and will fight to defend "historic" values.

Well, they have already won this football supporter's heart and mind, at least until Genclerbirligi are invited to join the G14.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Of race and racism

FIFA has recently outlined big penalties to be imposed on teams whose fans engage in racial abuse. About time too considering some of the stuff that has been happening in the Italian and Spanish leagues in recent years in which UEFA have punished with fines that amount to being hit with a leaf of wet lettuce.

That little bit of football (old) news leads to my introduction to a story out of Sydney concerning cricket and the upcoming Ashes (only about 15 months away).

I quote an AAP report in the SMH:

Australian fans could be kicked out of cricket grounds at this year's Ashes series for calling an English player a "Pommy bastard".

That is the word from Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland as he attempts to clamp down on racial abuse after South African players were subjected to racist taunts from the crowd last summer.

"I would have thought so, yeah, I would have thought if it is regarded as a racist comment then yes," Sutherland told AAP.

I never considered "Pommy bastard" as racist. Abusive when shouted at full bore to a fielder on the ropes, but in almost every other case said in the spirit of the fierce competition that is the entire relationship between England and Australia.

There is no way that the word "bastard" is racially offensive (you'll more often hear it as a term of endearment in Australia) so the racist word must be "pommy". Now in Australia the term "pommy" refers to any Englishman, in the same way that the Yanks call them "limeys".

Then there is the arguement that the English are in fact a different race. I've always considered them as being, shall we say, "different", but if I had to put myself into a racial catagory I'd say probably that I'm "English".

All too weird for me, but I'd be interested in what some of our English readers think. Add a comment, you can also leave the comment "anonymous" if you are shy.

EDIT: Just found this piece of history from the SMH.

During the controversial Bodyline series of 1932-33, the English captain Douglas Jardine was said to have visited the Australian dressing room to complain bitterly to his counterpart Bill Woodfull that an Australian player had called him a bastard.

Woodfull turned to his team and said: "Which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?"

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Three blind mice

There is nothing better than reading completely biased reports of matches and more and more I'm starting to enjoy the Turkish Daily News football reports.

The sports editor Udo (an old friend by the way) has been a Galatasaray supporter for about 30 years now and the tense run in to the end of the season (with Galatasaray and Fenerbahce on equal points at the top of the table is obviously starting to get to him.

Udo was in top form today in this article on the Galatasaray - Erciyesspor match played on Sunday.

Some snippets:

I try to write good things about Turkish soccer because as Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül told reporters at the Turkish Daily News' 45th anniversary reception, the TDN readers are very important personalities. "It takes 2,000 readers of other newspapers to equal one Turkish Daily News reader," the foreign minister said.

With counting like that I'm glad to announce that this blog had more than 40,000 people on Sunday catching up with the Genclerbirligi and Ankaragucu reports

Back to Udo:

However, I cannot do the ostrich thing of shoving my head into the sand, and I feel I'm hiding after the terrible and horrible refereeing by Zafer Onder Ipek on Sunday night.

Udo then goes on to describe the obvious handball by an Eciyes defender on the line that saved a goal when the scores were 2-2. The ref didn't give it.

Let us assume (the ref) could not (see it). He had two assistants, Metin Kitmir and Ayhan Akgoz. And if the three of them combined could not still see this position, it reminds us of the lyrics from our good old kindergarten days:

Udo then prints out the words to "Three Blind Mice".

Great stuff Udo. Now all the TDN needs to do to become a truly great paper is print a link to us for all of those who wouldn't mind some Ankara football reporting.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Traffic calming measures

The Turkish justice system has always been a mystery to me for reasons that probably shouldn't be listed here but I have to take my Gencler cap off to judges in Kayseri who have come up with some novel ways to punish wrong doers.

According to a story in the online version of Milliyet 26 year-old Umit Dirgen was sentenced to one-month imprisonment for (I think) dangerous driving. Under provisions allowed in the new criminal code, the judges reduced the sentence to a ban on attending Kayserispor or Erciyesspor matches for two months.

The story doesn't actually state whether Dirgen was given a choice between the two (I know that Eski Kanka Jim would gladly take the jail time rather than miss out on Ankaragucu for two months).

The decision is clearly good for Turkey. I can imagine that in the weeks leading up to a Galatasaray - Fenerbahce derby it will be a dream to drive in Istanbul, with fans politely giving way, using their indicators and actually stopping at red lights.

The court has also in recent days handed down a one-month ban from attending matches for 57 year-old Metin Cetin who was found guilty of breaking the co-operatives law (whatever that is).

In both cases the court has ordered the local cops to enforce the bans. Good luck.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Cold and miserable Ankara (Part II)

More misery from Ankara to report with Genclerbirligi losing 2-1 away to Sivas.

Of course the match wasn't on television so I can only give the most basic of reports, thanks to the Anatolian news agency.

It seems as if the first goal on the 11th minute mark might have been interesting to see.

Ugur Boral sent the ball in and Tayfun whacked it towards the goal. With the keeper off picking his nose or something or other Sivasspor captain Hakki cleared the ball. The referee said play on until the linesman pointed out that the ball had actually crossed the line. Goal awarded and Sivas players start the usual "full on argue with the referee" routine.

One nil up and at this point I lose all further interest as we eventually go down 2-1.

Coupled with the other results this weekend the loss means Genclerbirligi slide back to sixth position, still five points off third place Kayserispor and that coveted UEFA Cup spot. Trabzon and Besiktas are also ahead of us.

Am I feeling confident. Not really.

Perhaps Lanky Kanka Jorg, who apparently went to the match, can fill in the blanks that this report has left wide open.

Cold and miserable Ankara

Greetings Kankas from a cold and miserable Ankara. Managed to watch
the match on the Big Screen last night and only missed the first 5
minutes - taxis drive fast in Ankara ! Well, the bottom line is
that Ankaragucu lost 1-4, but sometimes the scoreline doesn't tell the
true story and this is no exception. I'm not saying that Fener
were lucky, but circumstances conspired to assist them !

The match was only 10 minutes old when the referee decided to give
Fener (an assist) - now where have I heard that one before ! Fener
were on the attack and Hakan Kutlu running away from the attacker when
the attacker attempted a pass. Unfortunately, the ball hit Hakan on
the back of his arm as he was trying to anticipate a run down the wing
and the referee gave a free kick for hand ball. I just can't believe
that a Class 1 referee and linesman can be so ignorant of the laws of
the game. It was clear to all that ball played man and that it was
not INTENTIONAL so therefore there was no foul ! From the
resulting free kick Alex curved one in and the moment the ball was
struck Tuncay was clearly in an offside position, however, the same
linesman must have removed his spectacles at that moment because he
didn't lift his flag ! The ball sailed over the rest of the players
in the box and Ibrahim (of Ankaragucu) dived in to head a magnificent
goal past a surprised Serkan in goal !! What a start - or should I
say..... I wonder how much the referee was paid for that one !!!

All credit to Ankaragucu after this setback that they continued to
attack Fener and at the same time they were playing some attractive
footie. Balic and Petrov were holding their own in midfield and
Ankaragucu were looking good. It came as no surprise therefore when
they equalised just before half time. A very good move down the
left wing allowed Balic to cross the ball into the box and there was
Emre running in to smash it into the roof of the net. It was argued
by some of the Fener supporters that it was offside, but as I saw it
(and also the linesman on the far side) it was a cut-back and
therefore was NOT offside.

Into the 2nd half and Jim's 3rd ............. or was it 4th .........
EFES......... and Ankaragucu were continuing to play good footie
albeit at a slower pace than Fener who were picking up the pace and
looking dangerous. The goals eventually came and no excuses either.
A great headed goal from Tuncay, a stunning shot from outside the
box from Alex and a late breakaway goal from Appiah. So, no
complaints or sour grapes - Fener took their chances well and deserved
to win. However, I still remain upbeat about Ankaragucu's
performance. They never stopped trying to play footie and attack
Fener, but they didn't have the guile to compensate for their lack of
speed and this was their undoing. It was also too much to expect
Umut to score when most of the time he was alone up front, although
Ankaragucu's game plan was supposed to be 4-4-2 ! As for the
referee, Cem Deda, well, the least said about him the better.
Hurriyet game him 4 points this morning and I think those were
probably sympathy points.

So, still a lot of water to go under the bridge before we hit the
panic button. Every match now becomes crucial and next week's falls
into that category. A `Six Pointer` against Ankaraspor which is
vital for both clubs. I am going to make every effort to attend
this one and will let you know KO date and time when I have them.

All the best from Mr Optimism Himself, Eski Kanka Jim

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The future looks grim - for Scotland at least

I noticed that Eski Kanka Jim has yet to report on yet another nail in the coffin for Scottish football.

Not only is the senior team not doing well but the future isn't looking too bright either after Scotland Future lost to Turkey Future 2-3. I think the future bit refers to this being some sort of under 12s tournament.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

More football plans

A few weeks ago I posted a link to various nation's football plans. And then yesterday our Kanka Dave in Tehran sent me two others that weren't included in the first lot

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Nusaybin show the way

Dedication is a word that is used way too often in modern football. But I think the word aptly describes the actions of the management and players of Nusaybin Demirspor.

Nusaybin is a small town that most of you have probably not even noticed as you whizz by on your way to your annual summer holiday in northern Iraq, but the actions of the team deserve to put Nusaybin on the football world map.

They have gone on a hunger strike in protest not just at blatent favouring by referees of their opponents down in Division Three of the Turkish leagues but also in protest at the fact that no one will pump money into the club.

Nusaybin Chairman Mehmet Ata Sevinc says that the management and players will stay on the hunger strike until a solution is found... could be quite a while then.

But full marks to the brave boys from the south east. This is dedication to football at its best.

Perhaps Galatasaray who are having their own financial problems could try the same tactic. Now that would certainly generate a lot of stories in the press, not just in Turkey but around the world.

Just a shame that big ears Sergen plays for Besiktas and not Galatasaray, he could do with shedding a few pounds.

Thanks to Istanbul Kanka Steve for alerting me to this story.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The jinx is over

Viking Kanka has finally been to a match in which Genclerbirligi have played with some style (well a bit). For a team that is in the running for a UEFA Cup place Viking Kanka has amazingly managed to watch heaps of Gencler games and never seen them play well. Until today!

Yes my good Kankas, Genclerbiligi ran out 3-1 winners today at home to Gaziantepspor.

For those of you new to the world of Turkish football (I mean you Wayne Rooney as you search the web for something to put into your books) Gaziantepspor have normally been a team that has fought with Gencler for the scraps just below the top Istanbul teams

This year however they have been crap and after today's loss are still in danger of being relegated.

But enough of the opposition, on with our own story of the day, and a glorious day it was.

While winter is pretty much over, it is still pretty chilly in Ankara and so I put on the thickest socks I own, pulled the longjohns out of the cupboard, wrapped myself in the Genclerbirligi scarf and made sure I had my gloves and hat. Admittedly, I did look pretty silly strolling down to Viking Kanka Jens place but hey, people think I look silly most of the time.

Viking Kanka Jens is of course from Nordic climes and 15 degrees (c) is almost swimming weather. Silly bugger almost froze to death at the stadium. I meanwhile was nice and warm.
But first it was off to the Chopin bar for the traditional discussion of pretty much anything but football and then off to the stadium.

The weather certainly didn't dampen Genclerbirligi's spirits. For the first time in quite a while we came out attacking. The passes in the middle were not just fast but they were connecting and shots on goal were forthcoming.

The first few minutes though were a bit of a bore but then Gencler turned it on. When I say turn it on, I mean they gave us some opportunities to rise to our feet.

The first goal was marvellous, 18 minutes in Isaac Promise went into the box with the ball, and as usual managed to pick out the goalkeeper, but as luck would have it the ball fell to the feet of Ugur Boral who absolutely smashed it into the top post and in it went. 1-0 Gencler.

We then had a variety of shots on goal, balls off posts (Viking Kanka, you are right, in the incident we were talking about the ball did indeed come off the post) and all sorts of other mayhem until the man this blog has yet to come to a favourable opinion, yes you guessed it Isaac Promise, buggered up what surely was a simple chance.

It was the 40th minute and Promise was put through with what seemed like a miss kick from the previous goalscorer Boral. Promise played it forward, he was on his own, all the time in the world (and Promise actually took all that time available in order to set up his shot) and ........ straight to the diving keeper.

Moans all round. How many chances does this boy need.

The answer to that is "just one more".

In the 44th minute Mehmet Nas sent a long pass to Promise who again showed his speed and ball control to take it again to a one-on-one situation with the Gaziantep goalkeeper. This time however, the ball beat the man. Cue rejoicing (as Istanbul Kanka Steve says). Promise at this stage ran to the corner post to celebrate. Quite why he chose a corner where there were no fans at all I'm not sure, but I bet it has something to do with the pure relief at having scored.

Half time and 2-0 up. I went off to inspect the plumbing facilities and while I was there some fellow in a silly hat asked Viking Kanka if he was Gencler defender Risp's brother. Apparently there was much much laughing and joking at this point.

On with the game, Genclerbirligi were obviously told by coach Mesut Bakkal to defend like Italians and defend the lead. Unfortunately we don't have any Italian players and the result was Gaziantep were allowed back in.

On the 63rd minute this strategy failed completely when Gaziantepspor scored. 2-1.

In general dismay at the turn of the events we ignored the game for a bit and started talking to a couple of students from METU University, one of whom spoke impeccable English (much better than Eski Kanka Jim anyway). Our new found friend then asked Viking Kanka if he was Risp's father and then proceeded to tell Viking Kanka that he was way too old to have a six year-old daughter. I have to admit that Viking Kanka took this all very well.

Back to the match and Genclerbirligi decided that attack is the best form of defence and finally we saw some real action. Once again, we had shots going just over, balls bouncing off the post and fun all round.

At about the 65th minute a Nigerian by the name of Abwo (I have no idea what his first name is, or possibly that is his first name) came on for his first appearance for Gencler and while he buggered up a few passes there were flashes of brilliance, including one pass that almost resulted in a goal. I reckon this Nigerian kid, he looks as if he would qualify for the Under 15s World Cup, is someone to watch out for in the future. He isn't big, but he is prepared to try his flare. I'm definately looking forward to seeing him in the future.

At this stage the shots were flying and Gaziantepspor were lucky not to be down by five or more. It was then we put the nail in the coffin.

81st minute: Corner from Eren, Mahmut Cakir controls it, takes a bit of time and the blasts it into the net. 3-1

Ahhh, days like these it truely is fun to be a Genclerbirligi supporter. Although I did find it weird that we, the home side, were playing in white and Gaziantep were playing in our colours of red and black. It certainly made the Gencler fans chants of "siyah, kirmizi" seem rather odd.

In other news, I'm afraid I have to report that Ankaragucu lost away to Rizespor to the tune of one goal to nil. With Ankaragucu down near that zone "which dares not speak its name" I'm sure Eski Kanka Jim will at least be pleased that Gaziantepspor lost today.

By the way, the cops gave neither Viking Kanka or myself any grief today. Have the authorities taken note of the complaints listed here last week? It seems so.

Edit: Sunday night. Kayseri and Besiktas both won on Sunday and so Gencler were kept back. At the same time, however, Galatasaray drew with Trabzon. The upshot of this all. Gencler go to fifth, one behind Besiktas and still five behind Kayserispor (who are in third). Trabzon have now fallen behind Genclerbirligi.

At the other end of the table. Ankaragucu are in 11th place, five points above Diyarbakirspor who would be going down if the league ended today. But as Eski Kanka Jim notes in the comments below, Ankaragucu are in for a few torrid weeks.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Something out of nothing

You don't have to be an Einstein to figure out that the blogging world will no doubt be full of jokes after the news that Wayne Rooney has signed a five volume book deal worth some 5 million quid.

How many other people at the age of 20 have been given five volume autobiography book deals? More importantly, how on earth is the fellow going to fill up five volumes.

That's where Eski Kanka Jim and I come in. With the advertising revenue from this blog not being enough to allow us to retire just yet, this could be a great opportunity. My guess is that this is a ghostwriters' dream and hacks in England must have already started lining up for the job.

But just how many of them have the experience of conjuring something out of nothing (which surely will be the job of whoever has to ghostwrite this). Eski Kanka and myself are experts at conjuring something out of nothing.

Surely anyone who writes a blog about Ankara football where the actual analysis of actual games is practically nothing is perfectly suited to such a job.

Once we get the job I can assure you we shall leave no stone unturned. Rooney's feelings on wearing the three lions shirt, his views on the development of the game in Australia and I know that Eski Kanka is definately interested in Rooney's view on whether former Ankaragucu goalkeeper Zalad's efforts in the 8-0 loss to Galatasaray in the final match of the season that allowed Galatasaray to win the league more than a decade ago were actually indicative of the man's talents.

I'm dusting off the CV now.


This is one of the most often asked questions which I have had to answer in Turkey, and although my answer satisfies most people, there are some who don't understand the logic. I think we have to accept that there is a wide diversity in culture between countries when it comes to supporting a football team, and in my country we normally follow our home town team. For example, my father supported East Fife because he was born near Methil in Fife. My mother and brother support Rangers because they were born in Glasgow, and I support Hibernian because I was born only one mile from Easter Road Stadium in Edinburgh. This scenario is quite common in Scotland if the family was born or have lived in different parts of the country. However, I think it would be rare to find an equivalent set of circumstances in Turkey. It is sometimes difficult for foreigners to accept, but the fact is that most families in Turkey support one of the 3 Istanbul teams and it is usually passed on from generation to generation. The fact that a person was born and bred in Ankara for instance is not considered so important in most cases. I for one think it is sad that home town loyalty seems to be a secondary issue here in Turkey.

Anyway, back to my original question. I have to go back to 1988 when I had left the Royal Air Force and joined British Aerospace in the Middle East. My family were living in Ankara at that time and on one of my holidays back to Ankara that year I attended a `Parents Evening` in the British Embassy School. During the evening my wife introduced me around and it was then that I met the Ankaragucu goalkeeper whose daughter was also in my daughter's class. We entered into an in-depth conversation about football (I played and coached football in the RAF and was also a Class 1 Referee) and in the end he invited me to the Stadium as his guest the following weekend - an invitation which I accepted. The gentleman in question was ZALAD from Serbia who was held in very high esteem by the Ankaragucu supporters, however, there may be some Turkish football supporters reading this with long memories who may take the opposite view due to an alleged misdemeanour which I will not expand on here (libel is still a crime in Turkey !!!).

Back to the match and I was so impressed with the atmosphere in the Stadium and the obvious fanatical loyalty of the Ankaragucu supporters that I promised myself that I would return in the future. I kept my promise and supported them on my infrequent visits to Ankara until I returned here permanently in 1999. So, I have much to thank Zalad for. He `opened the door` of Ankara footie to me and for that I will be ever grateful.

As for the fans, I have never had reason to change my opinion of them. In all honesty, I have never seen such a loyal band of supporters in all my travels around the world. Their love and dedication to the team never fails to amaze me ! There is a strong bond not found in other clubs and I return to the `Istanbul` factor again. Whilst they love their own team, there is also an underlying feeling of `ANTI-ISTANBUL` fervour among most of the supporters which is easy to understand when you consider that most of Ankara's residents support Istanbul teams but only bother to watch them on TV or when they visit Ankara !! As far as I'm concerned, armchair viewers of football should NOT call themselves fans or supporters !!!!

I am proud to stand/sit in the Gecekondu Section of the 19 Mayis Stadium with REAL football fans and in my next article I will give more information on the formation of the Ankaragucu Kankas Club in 1999, which later expanded with the inclusion of our Genclerbirligi brother kankas into the fold, and a name change to the Ankara Kankas Club. The qualifications for entry ? Simple.........a love of Ankaragucu and Genclerbirligi and a deep dislike for the Istanbul 3 !!!!

Hope you enjoyed the `history` lesson ??!! All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tales from Tripoli

Dear Kankas,
Another great football story, this time from Murat, our Kanka in Tripoli, Libya, where the official ban on alcohol obviously results in home brews being a litlle bit to high on the alcohol strength side.

Murat takes over:

The story starts on monday night at the team's darts practice(most of the time it is a brewing competition, you do everything except darts)

here are few notes

Houston: the buddy, Chelsea fan but for sure not a die hard one.

CLT: Central Libyan Time

Monday Practice CLT 2130 hrs
Houston; “ I would give my left leg to be able to see Chelsea vs Barcelona but its not on any channel.”
Murat: “I’ll find it, I have so many channels it will be on one of them.”
Houston: “You sure?”
Murat: “Yep.”
Houston: “I’ll be there half eight with a sample of my new brew.”

Tuesday CLT 1415 hrs
Telephone call:
Houston: “Hi Kevan, you watchin’ the match tonight?”
Kevan: “Nah its not on. Even Bill Mcristy rang us but he cant find it on any channel.”
Houston: “Come and watch it at Murats he’s got so many channels it’ll be on one of them (he thinks)”
Kevan: “Nah kick off is too late to travel back like.”

Tuesday CLT 2030 hrs
Houston and Murat pre-match preparation: pasta and tomato yogurt sauce a few scoops and watching ‘Madagascar’ I like to move it- move it, I like to move it-move it, we like to move it-move it great pre-match warm up COME ON CHELSEA.

Tuesday CLT 2145 hrs
Not only does Murat find the match BUT he only has BARCA TV – commentary in Spanish – but what the hey – this is the biggest match of the season. COME ON CHELSEA. (Why are Barca (at home) wearing their ‘away’ kit?) I like to move it- move it, I like to move it-move it

Tuesday CLT 2206 hrs
Lampard free kick, edge of Barca box struck so hard the goalie knock its in Chelsea one nil up COME ON CHELSEA.

Tuesday CLT 2212 hrs
Messi makes a drama out of a Del Horno tackle and Del Horno is shown a straight red (again) – unbelievable – a complete repeat of the first game – Chelsea down to 10 men (again) COME ON CHELSEA.

Half time – Chelsea one nil up – down to 10 men but only need to score one more to level the match on aggregate.

A breathless second half see’s Barca equalize and then finally go 2-1 up in a complete repeat of the fist leg. What a match.

Wednesday – all day – Houston emailing friends and family bragging he saw the match live on Barca TV and how unbelievable that Del Horno got sent off again etc. upon reading Yahoo sport decided that the Reuters reporter who was reporting a last minute penalty equalizer from Lampard must have been drunk or watching a different match. I like to move it- move it, I like to move it-move it

Let the record show – that the Reuters reporter was watching a different match. He was watching the second leg. I will say no more and will spend today trying to explain to family and friends …….

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Forget about tonight

There is some sort of derby on tonight in the Turkish up but I'm focussing on Saturday.

Genclerbirligi versus Gaziantep. Saturday 4 p.m. kick off at 19 Mayis Stadium.

As is usual I'll be heading off to the Chopin Pub in Kizilay for pre-match refreshments and so if anyone wants to come along and join me please do.

If anyone needs directions to the pub please just ask.

I'll be there at about 2 p.m., with the plan being to leave for the stadium at 3 p.m.

It should be a decent game what with Gencler still in the hunt for the Uefa Cup spot and Gaziantep fighting to avoid the drop.

My only worry is that Gencler might not show up at all. On the Gencler website it says that the match is on Sunday at 2pm. I do hope they all read this blog and not their own official site.

EDIT: It is Thursday afternoon and still the Gencler site says the match is on Sunday. Silly buggers.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

On top down there

The Turkish Super League (I'm not going to name it after the company who has the naming rights until they offer this blog a big load of cash, or perhaps a lot of free phone credits to Australia) is at a very tense stage what with Galatasaray back on top and the fight for the UEFA Cup place hotting up.

But I've decided to ignore Turkey for a bit and focus on Australia. In particular the football grand final between Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners.

Aussie football, and nowadays it is called football, not soccer, has been revamped in the last year or so. This is the first year of a completely new competition organised to try and rid the game of the ethnic rivalry (perhaps that should read ethnic hatred) that has plagued Aussie football for years.

When most people think of Australian sports they think of games such as cricket, rugby, rubgy league or that aerial ping pong rubbish known as Aussie Rules. Little is it known that football, the old soccer, has more registered players than the rest combined.

Your good correspondent even played the game on a semi-professional level in the under eights division of his local league (I was playing for a team comprised of kiddies from two local Catholic primary schools and so naturally our team was called Saints United. As for being semi-professional, the coach used to buy us a milkshake after the game, win, lose or draw).

The problem was there was no professional team in the region of Sydney for me, an eight year-old kiddie of English-Irish background who was not really all that clued up on the background of why the Croats hated the Serbs.

We had teams such as Sydney Olympic (for our cousins across the Aegean), Apia Leichardt, for our cousins from across the Adriatic from Olympic and various other teams but who was I to support. Well the answer was clear, my local rugby league team, Balmain.

To cut a bloody long story short (and this is getting much too bloody long anyway), a whole new non-ethnic league was set up last year and surprise, surprise, the crowds have shown up. Sydney has just one team, Sydney FC, and everyone in Sydney, the Turks, the Greeks, the Serbs, the Croats and even the Scots, have joined together.

Now onto the grand final that was played today.

Oh, one last background point. The winner of the league in Australia isn't based on the final standings. The top four go into a finals situation. ie 3 plays 4 (with the loser bowing out), 1 plays 2, with the loser playing the winner of 3v4 etc etc. In the end we had 4th placed Central Coast Mariners up against 2nd placed Sydney FC with the final played in Sydney.

If you have got this far into the post you are now going to be rewarded with some choice quotes from the Sydney Morning Herald's review of the match.

Take another look at the photo (my lawyer would like me to attribute this to the SMH, photographer: Craig Golding).

It was (former Manchester United player Dwight) Yorke, the captain (of Sydney FC), who raised the silver trophy, which when held aloft is a halo of beauty, but resembles a toilet seat when laid flat.

I'm not even sure what the (your company's name could be here) Turkish super league trophy looks like. But on with the SMH.

The final had been billed - even by the football chief John O'Neill, who recognises a classy promotional cliche when he sees one - as glitz versus guts, millionaires versus minnows, latte-sipping city slickers versus lager-slurping country cousins.
Of course, whatever the result, the winner, according to O'Neill, was always going to be - you guessed it - football. New-fangled football. Soccer as was. For this was the day - fittingly on the weekend Sydney hosted the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras - when football, world football, a code once thought suitable only for "sheilas, wogs and poofters", finally came out.

I can finally tell my Aussie mates, "I love football!" That is unless there is a rugby league match on the telly, but not much chance of that here in Ankara.

I almost forgot to tell you the score, Sydney won it 1-0 in what was described as "full of honest endeavour but short of real drama".

Not much different to here then.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Reasons to be cheerful, but not reported in the Turkish press

This post was supposed to be an extended review of the Ankaragucu and Gencler victories yesterday but I can't find anything in any of the papers.

Zaman ran the minute by minute reports that the Anatolia news agency generates for all matches.

Hurriyet had a compacted version of these reports for the Ankaragucu 5-1 win of Diyarbakirspor. But at least mentioned that there was a good homeside crowd.

In the online editions of Milliyet, Vatan and Yeni Safak I couldn't even find the scores, let alone a report.

In the end the best effort came from Fotomac which gave very brief reports on the matches, ie who scored the goals but which actually went one further than the rest and quoted Ankaragucu coach Hikmet Karaman.

"We've performed well in the last few weeks but we haven't goals to show for it. This week we experienced a goal explosion. I'm very happy", Karaman said.

Some have accused this blog of being wrong to criticize the Istanbul teams so much. Well, at least we actually bother as the Turkish press doesn't even seem to care at all.

For the record. Isaac Promise scored again for Genclerbirligi in their 3-1 away win to Malatyaspor, as did Mehmet Nas and Ali Cansun.

For Ankaragucu: the scorers were Stavrevski, an own goal, Umut with two goals, including one from the penalty spot, Cordion with one and Abdurrahman topped off what could possibly have been a good game with a goal three minutes into extra time.

The moral of this story is that we are going to have to actually get to the matches more often. I'm pretty sure I can make it on the weekend but I don't have any details yet of when or who Genclerbirligi are playing. I'll post the details when I'm certain.

Just before pressing the "publish post" button I decided to take the good advice of Adiyaman deputy Husrev Kutlu and I had a cigarette for medical reasons to relieve my stress (see story "Civilization going to pot" below) .

While doing that I realised I should be very happy, the wins over the weekend were excellent results for both teams. Genclerbirligi are still in the hunt for Europe (although it would have been better if Fenerbahce had beaten Kayserispor) and Ankaragucu are slowly but surely pulling away from the drop.

I feel much better now.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Jim is on a natural high, well sort of

Dear Kankas,
Poor old Eski Kanka Jim has been having extreme hassles with his internet this evening and so has asked me to post this on his his behalf. I'd like to point out I'll send a slightly (with the emphasis on slightly) more detailed report on Monday depending on whether the Turkish papers bother to report more than just the scores.
Cheers Oz Kanka

Nothing to say ............ except happiness and a sigh of relief that we can now move forward a little with more optimism. The thought of Ankaragucu down `there` and no more Ankara Derby matches is unthinkable, eg....... Hibs V Hearts, Celtic V Rangers, Real Madrid V Atletico Madrid, etc, etc. I was hoping for 1-0 or 2-1 today because I understood that it might prove to be a tense struggle for both teams, but to win 5-1 is remarkable, given Ankaragucu's unpredictable form this season. I am trying to `clear up` and finish most of my weekend classes so that I can see them in the final run-in to the end of the season, and I also hope I can be there to witness Gencler qualifying for the UEFA Cup. It is all to play for now !!! Look forward to your report of both matches tomorrow. Ankara Ankara........... THIS is Ankara !!!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Thanks Jim, for the record: Ankaragucu 5 (five) beat Diyarbakirspor 1, Malatayaspor 1 lost to Genclerbirligi 3.

Civilization going to pot

There are many reasons to love Turkey, some say its the traditional Turkish hospitality, some love the cuisine, while one fellow I know loves the Formula 1 race/demolition derby that is the daily commute to work.

All good reasons sure, but for me it is Efes beer, Tekel 2000 cigarettes and football.

Obviously, the highlight of week is when I can combine all three but soon I think I may have to emmigrate to somewhere civilized like Tajikistan if I am to experience true happiness.

The assault on Efes has been going on for the past few years. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government have been steadily increasing alcohol taxes to the point that it is now cheaper to buy a can of lager in an English supermarket than one in Turkey. Preposterous!

Then the AKP-controlled Ankara City Council decided to renovate Genclik Park next to the 19 Mayis Stadium. While the park is definately in need of cleaning up, there is no way that this secularist can support the plans to kick all the pubs out of the place.

They cut the water off to the pub we used to go for ages and we have been forced to meet up in Kizilay for our pre-match drinks.

Now comes possibly even worse news.

Smoking is to be banned at stadiums!

The parliament is due to vote some time soon on a bill that will drastically reduce the places where people can smoke.

I admit that even I would feel a bit guilty having a smoke in a maternity ward (at least if you couldn't open a window) but at the football! The TDN today (sunday) has quite a detailed article on the whole thing.

Some snippets:

"How can you prevent someone from lighting up while sipping a cup of Turkish coffee?" asked Isa Guven, president of an Ankara chamber of cafe owners. "They are using the EU as an excuse to kill off our ancient profession."

(I wonder if this was the same chamber of cafe owners which launched legal proceedings against some cafes which offered free tarot card readings?)

I'm in total agreement with a couple of members of a parliamentary committee who have put up a brave fight to stop this nonsense from becoming law.

Gumushane deputy Mahmut Durdu said every article of the anti-smoking bill was problematic, adding: "You are trying to ban tobacco. What our friends are trying to do is to execute all the smokers...

Durdu described quitting smoking as a breakup of two lovers, adding, "It would be wonderful if we removed smoking altogether, but that's impossible. I smoke and I am very healthy. Smokers need to be considered too. My parents pleaded with me to quit, but I failed to do so."

I agree, my parents too pleaded with me not to smoke and I failed too. But surely that's not my fault.

Then there is the medical argument as to why we should be allowed to continue puffing away at football matches.

Adiyaman deputy Hüsrev Kutlu ... argued that most diseases were due to stress, describing smoking as a way to combat stress. "It is impossible to quit smoking while involved in politics. Murat IV hung those who violated his bans. This law is not too different."

Not sure if Kutlu is a registered medical practioner but his point is bloody-well spot on. Eski Kanka Jim and myself would have died from heart attacks years ago if we weren't allowed to have a smoke after Ankaragucu or Genclerbirligi stuffed up yet another point blank shot on goal.

Now for the practical details. Apparently they are going to set up smoking areas in stadiums. Well, good luck to them trying to coral the vast majority of spectators into crappy seats. Talk about an invitation to riot.

Life in Turkey is becoming very depressive. But there is one point on which we can be consoled. The TDN again:

AKP deputy Resul Tosun said ... that only 49 people had been fined in the 10 years since the last smoking ban.

So that's my rant about Efes and cigarettes, as for my third love in Turkey, football, well that couldn't get much worse anyway.

PS: Like most of this post, I also nicked the photo from the TDN website.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Scoring while going: follow up

The internet never ceases to amaze me.

Try putting the following words into google

urinal goalposts football aim where to buy

Someone from Indonesia actually did do that and ended up here. If only we had an ad for the damn things. The original story can be found here if you are interested.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Surprise: an arguement that we didn't start

There is a nice bunfight starting up on the American Turk yahoo group (linked on the right). Well, when I say bunfight it involves two people. Gulay started it all with a pretty full on attack on Fenerbahce and refereeing standards in general.

Let me quote just a little bit of Gulay's post.

How can Selcuk Dereli, the referee, award 4 yellow cards to Besiktas and none to Fenerbahce, especially after the two penalty positions. The man is a disgrace and should be suspended immediately.

A feisty lady is Gulay. What a shame she isn't an Ankaragucu or Genclerbirligi fan for she would definately fit in with our own one-eyed view of the game.

Anyway. This post of Gulay's got sent out to all the members of American Turk (of which I'm a member as well even though I'm neither Turkish nor American) and a fellow called Cagri then came in to bat for Fenerbahce. Here is some it:

It's always entertaining to see GS fans complain about referees. Especially after the 1996-2000 period when we saw 100 min. matches, diving players all the time (talk about "absolutely blatant cheatings" :-)) ), "legendary" players who tried some greco style wrestling moves with the referee (and got away with it without even a yellow card) on one side, and broken legs not even penalized by a foul, 100% penalties not given etc on the other... I will never forget Elvir Bolic, a Fenerbahce player then, saying once : "Abi penalti olmasi icin olmemiz mi lazIm?" (Do we have to die for the referee to give a penalty?)...

Excellent stuff.

Cagri ends his message with:

So I would strongly recommend to get the facts straight before making baseless accusations...

Well, many people have said the same about this blog but hey if supporters aren't allowed to be biased then we all might as well give up football.

As for my penny's worth. I think they both have a point. The game in Turkey has always been in favour of the big three. A complaint by, lets say Ankaragucu, that a penalty should or should not have been given will result in possibly a paragraph in the papers. If Fenerbahce or Galatasaray complain it will be discussed endlessly for weeks.

On one point though I agree 100 percent with Gulay, Fenerbahce have been treated very leniantly this season (especially in the last few games) and in my opinion Nobre is an out and out cheat.

Hopefully the Gulay-Cagri fight continues and if it does I'll be sure to keep you informed.

PS: Gulay, if you happen to read this can you enable comments on your posts. I think you have to go to the template page and change the settings.

Celebrity sightings

This blog has many eyes and ears and footballers in Ankara should be careful when out in public.
Minding my own business on Friday when this mysterious message came in on the mobile.

"Elvir Balic, unidentified man and blonde spotted at Kuki on Arjantin (sokak) at lunch on Friday. Mineral water, brown bread burger and fries. Your man on the spot."

Balic of course is the Ankaragucu player who scored against Genclerbirligi over the weekend. With Ankaragucu up against Diyarbakirspor on Sunday it is good to see his menu wasn't beer, white bread burger and two blondes. Somehow though I don't think this important piece of information will be any of the papers tomorrow.

But this is of course a great way of inviting all of our spies out there to send in any reports of footballers' activities off the pitch. The juicier the better.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

World Cup thoughts (or How Turkey got it wrong)

I was out at the "goal-less" pub Tappas tonight and had a rather interesting conversation with Istanbul Kanka Steve and French Kanka Hande. As usual the debate meandered from the inability of Turkish women to get to grips with the basics of driving a car to what actually consitutes a Christian baptism, proper or improper.

All of those arguements went well over my head but my ears pricked up when we started talking about football... obvious really.

It was the World Cup we were talking about and in particular the attitude that various teams go into the competition.

As this is my blog, and not Istanbul Kanka Steve's or French Kanka Hande's (unnamed Mark Kanka was also involved but said nothing of interest except to give me crap about the Ashes and therefore he will not be mentioned again), I would like to put forward my view of the conversation.

We were basically talking about attitudes. If you cast your mind back to the 2002 World Cup, Turkey made it all the way to the semi-finals. There was great joy in Turkey at this effort. Justifiably so, it is not every year that your team goes so far. But to my mind there was something wrong with the way the Turkish public (and the coaching staff) approached such an epic feat.

A look back at the 2002 World Cup: Turkey was extremely lucky in regards to its group draw. Brazil (okay automatic loss there), Costa Rica and China.

For the quarter-final Turkey was lucky again and drew Senagal. The coach, Senol Gunes had been hopeless all tournament but he finally got rid of Şaban (Hakan Sukur) towards the end and brought on Ilhan Mansiz who scored a screamer to win the match.

Then came what I consider to be a disgrace. In my opinion, Turkey failed to play very good football at any time during the tournament, but particularly it was crap against Brazil in the semi-final which Turkey strolled to a 1-0 loss.

In the end, Turkey played South Korea in the "who cares" play-off for third position. Turkey won it.

Four years after those matches I'm not going to give a blow-by-blow account but I am going to try and link it into the conversation Istanbul Kanka, French Kanka and myself had tonight: ie attitudes to football.

I still can't really understand the euphoria that erupted in Turkey after the the third-fourth playoff.

Third in World Cup is not too bad (better than what England achieved) but when on earth are the newspapers in Turkey going to make the difference between third in the World Cup and the third-ranked country in the world.

Turkey has not beaten a truly good footballing country (sorry Viking Kanka Jens) in a match that matters for a bloody long time. And quite frankly I don't think it looks like it will do so for a long time yet. (Please add your comments if you think Turkey has)

Forget about all that though. What the hell were the Turkish fans doing partying after Turkey lost to Brazil in the semi-final?

This was Turkey's chance of footballing glory. Victory against Brazil would have put Turkey into the final against a pretty average German team and could have cemented Turkey's name in the football archives.

But the Turkish team succumbed meakly to Brazil. There was no fight. I ask you today to ask anyone not from Turkey or Korea who came third in the World Cup? The answer will surely be a blank stare and a retort of "who gives a shit".

But what happened in Ankara on that night. The night that Turkey was humiliated by Brazil? There was a big bloody party down in Kizilay. Streets were closed off and fireworks were lit. I must point out that this was well after the loss, not some some sort of celebration during the match itself.

What the hell. Turkey had just lost a World Cup semi-final and people were dancing in the streets! Total and utter acceptance of mediocrity. Turkey has a lot to learn. Coming third in the World Cup means nothing. Absolutely nothing. Winning is everything. (Well at least when it comes to sport (and marriage))

Now I would like to contrast this attitude to the Australian football team. The Aussies have not made it to the World Cup since 1974 but they are ready to take on the Brazilians in the second match of the group that also includes Croatia and Japan, but in the war of words, the enemy is Brazil.

For this own blog's take on Australia's wishes (or actually England manager Sven's fears of drawing Australia) click here.

The SMH, in a very bad fall of standards when it come to quoting people says:

Kalac said the Socceroos would not hesitate to kick the South American world champions when they met in Munich in mid-June if rough-house tactics were required to progress out of the group stage and into the final 16. Full story

Then we have the coach Guus Hiddink (a good example of hiring an experienced foreign coach when the home grown lot are crap - ie Fatih Terim).

In a further example of how the SMH fails to get decent quotes (but still backs up my arguement):

Australia's boss Guus Hiddink will go for broke and attack when Australia take on world champions Brazil, Croatia and Japan in the World Cup. Full story

The gist of my arguement. Believe in yourself and if you lose cry over a beer. Never celebrate a loss.

I'd also like to put it on record that during the discussion tonight Istanbul Kanka Steve said he would give me 1,000 (one thousand) pounds sterling if the final of the World Cup is England V Australia. Such a shame England won't make it that far. French Kanka Hande was there as a witness to this offer.

Note: while I'm a positive person I think this is a post I may regret in the future.

2nd note: Having read this in preview mode I'm not sure I've made a decent arguement at all. Oh well, nothing new there. One thing is sure though, Scotland and Turkey won't be in Germany in a few months time