Friday, March 10, 2006


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


  1. A true home town man is our Eski Kanka. Let's hope a few Ankara people read this. After all can you really imagine anyone from, say, Leeds supporting Manchester United. I think not. Perhaps time to change or adapt the motto of the blog at the top of the page? Perhaps something like "a blog for all true home town supporters"

  2. Well.............. if Gokhan is prepared to sit down with me one night and buy me one, or two, or three, or four, or more....... EFES mouth watering beers then perhaps I can answer that question. However, in the meantime, I will remain `on the fence` kluck kluck kluck !!!! All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

  3. Anonymous8:12 pm

    Thanks Jim for a good inside into your love for Ankara football, and thank you to Eddie and Chris for having introduced me to the universe of Turkish football, a universe of which I had sworn I would never be a part. As to loyalty, coming from Denmark I could never imagine not supporting my local club.

  4. APPIAH! 80th minute

  5. I don't know Murat Altinbasak, but...... I don't think we are going to be very CLOSE friends. Is he one of those PRO-ISTANBUL Bass.....s ????
    Declare yourself on this ANKARA footie site or hide in shame !!!
    All the best from a REAL Ankara Boy and a REAL lover of Turkish Footie !!!

  6. Yes Jim, I'm afraid Murat couldn't even wait for your report of tonight's debacle (18 March). But hey, you have to at least give him some points for actually being interested in Turkish football, considering he is pretty much a Yank after all. At the same time however, I do pity his selection of team.

  7. Lads I'm a total poser fan of Fenerbahce. Sure I like to support a winning team, but my wife and my brother-in-law have been brain-washing me for years. I only recently discovered that my parents and other family elders are traditionally Galata fans! They're mortified at my sedition.

    I was just baiting to see a reaction- meant no disrespect Jim! Being starved of Turkish football most of my life, I love all the teams, truthfully, and I'm too un-informed to really call myself a true fan of any team. Wife says I'm FB, I go with it...

  8. honestly as a ankaragücü fan,ankaragücü fans are fewer than fb-gs-bjk even on ankara.but ankaragücü suppoerters looks like a seljuk army who beats byzantines have the more crowded armies than seljuks.we are proud to be an ankaragucu fan.this is the motto to big-3 fans.
    ankaralı köpekler(dogs of ankara)
    istanbul'u destekler(supports istanbul)

  9. 26 September 2009.

    Well said Costacurta Kanka. There can be no doubting the reputation of the Ankaragucu Gecikondu Tribune throughout Turkey.

    If you are their friend they will give you a Turkish Kiss, but ........ if you are their enemy they will probably give you a 'Glasgow Kiss' and that is very very painful !!!

    Fortunately, The Kanka Group is a friend of Gecikondu !!