Saturday, April 29, 2006

Biting nails and supporting Fenerbahce

Not the best results for Ankara teams this week but it could have been worse. First up Genclerbirligi lost away to Samsunspor 2-0 (Oz Kanka's head shakes in dismay), then we have Ankaragucu losing 1-0 at home, but with no spectators except for Lanky Kanka, to Malatyaspor (Sir Eski Kanka sighs in disbelief). Then we have Ankaraspor losing 4-0 away to Galatasaray (sounds of trees falling in forests).

As this is the business end of the season the results of other matches are all important. I've got Lig TV at home but I never bother to watch unless Genclerbirligi or Ankaragucu are playing.

About half way through the second half of the matches (they were all played at the same time) I started freaking out as the results of the goals in the Trabzon-Fenerbahce started to come in on my mobile. In the end I had to turn on the telly and in an experience I'm unlikely to live through again for a while yet, I was supporting Fenerbahce.

In the end Fenerbahce won it 3-2. Thus we have at the top of the league Fener and Galatasaray on equal points with just two matches to go. Nailbiting stuff.

More importantly, the results leave Trabzon in fourth, one point above Genclerbirligi. Two matches left, one home, one away and we must pass Trabzon to get a UEFA Cup spot.

As for the bottom of the league. I still don't think Ankaragucu need fear relegation. It would take one hell of a lot of bad results all round for them to go down.

The situation is as follows
13th. Ankaragucu 36 pts
14th. Ankaraspor 36 pts
15th. Denizlispor 33 pts
16th. Samsunspor 33 pts
17th. Malatyaspor 33 pts
18th. Diyarbakirspor 29 pts

No reports on the matches themselves as 1. Gencler were in Samsun and 2. No fans were allowed in at the Ankaragucu match. Lanky Kanka did managed to get into the protokol section for the Ankaragucu match and he has promised to send in a report on Tuesday. Don't expect it to be a good read though.

EDIT Monday (1 May): More bloody bad news to report with Kayserispor beating Sivasspor on Sunday evening by five goals to nil. This puts Kayseri on even points with Genclerbirligi with Trabzon one above us both. Whoever finishes top amongst these three will get the UEFA Cup spot.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Lanky Kanka's weekend plans

During the week Lanky Kanka Jorg sent out an e-mail asking if anyone planned on going up to Samsun this weekend for the Genclerbirligi match. I was tempted but then remembered that I actually have to work on Saturday. Oh well.

I then sent an e-mail off to Lanky Kanka asking for a match report when he got back. A day or so later Lanky Kanka said he was no longer going as and I quote:

The usually "well informed" persons around Gencler expect a very, very tough game and a very fanatic atmosphere. They suggested that we should not go. Even the Gencler players are afraid.

Hmmm. Sure the players might be afraid but Lanky Kanka? For those who have not met our tallest Kanka all I can say is that it would be a very brave or very stupid Samsunspor supporter who would take him on.

But Lanky Kanka has wimped out and instead decided to go and sit with the bigwigs in the Protokol section for Saturday's Ankaragucu match. No real chance of violence at that one thanks to fact that fans (as opposed to people with connections like Lanky Kanka) have been banned from the match.

So at least we will actually get a report of some sort but unfortunately Lanky Kanka says he can't do it until Tuesday, as the German embassy is closed on May 1. So I'll cobble something together over the weekend and then I'll post Lanky Kankas report on Tuesday.

Photocaption: A taste of the amazing atmosphere which Lanky Kanka can expect on Saturday evening

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The weekend (non) plans

Summer is pretty much here, Ankaragucu versus Malatyaspor kicks off at 7pm on Saturday giving us plenty of time for afternoon drinks at the Chopin but the match is to be played without spectators!

How bloody annoying.

The reason for the closure is The Battle of Kayseri. In other worlds Battle-hardened Kanka Damon, Maniac Kanka Harun and Kilkcardy Kanka Martyn are to blame.

EDIT: I've just checked out the fixture list for the rest of the season and it appears that Ankaragucu will have one more home game (Sunday 7th May) and then the week after that Genclerbirligi will play their last match of the season at home. I'll definately be going to both and I'll post more details when the matches get closer.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mr. Lentil off to Besiktas

More annoying news to report with it being discovered today that Mr. Lentil, Baki Mercimek, is off to Besiktas at the end of the season.

Genclerbirligi general manager Hasan Cetinkaya announced today that Mr. Lentil had actually signed some sort of option with Besiktas in December last year. This was only discovered very recently by the Gencler board as it was trying to get him to extend his contract.

Apparently Besiktas wanted him during the January transfer period but Gencler turned them down.

In the end Gencler will get 1.25 million YTL for the transfer. Well, at least that is something.

I'm not totally devastated by the news though as Mr. Lentil is a very enigmatic sort of player. He is a pretty good defender but at has made his fair share of blunders. At the same time he comes forward often and has scored some wonderful goals.

I was wondering on Sunday why he wasn't playing (I assumed he must have been injured) but it is all clear now. Cetinkaya said Mr. Lentil won't be playing for Gencler again.

It does seem sort of silly and small minded not to play players who are moving at the end of the season. First we had Turkey's second-choice goalkeeper Omer Catic who hasn't played for us since signing for Besiktas next year and now we have Mr. Lentil sitting out the rest of the season.

I can understand not necessarily playing them in games against Besiktas but surely these guys are footballer first and foremost and want to win as much as us fans in gece kondu want them to win (well, perhaps not that much).

How to get a girlfriend in the capital

I was planning on waiting a while before doing another post on great ways to find us via google but we have had a couple of beauties which I can't stop myself from informing you all about.

First up I guess whoever put the words "seeking for girlfriend in Ankara" (we are ranked fourth in Google for such a search) was probably slightly dissapointed with the real purpose of the blog.

But at least the person who put "Ankara drag" into google (we are the second ranked spot for that search) must have been very happy to have found Sir Eski Kanka.

I think this blog is proving just how stupid search engines actually are.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Greetings Kankas. I have often been asked why I am called `ESKI KANKA` and to be honest it has been lost in the mists of time. However, I have a sneaky suspicion that it was first mentioned by Desert Kanka Murat, who was referring to my knowledge of Ankaragucu and not my age....... ahhhhemmmm ..... of course !!! If he had been referring to my age he would, of course, have named me `YASHLI KANKA` ! So, my `get out clause` is that he was obviously referring to my unquestionable knowledge of footie in general !! That said, I am happy with my name, perhaps not as much as Dave the Yank who decided to call himself `SMART ASS YANKEE KANKA`, but for those of you who have not met Dave yet, believe me, his name is well given !!!

On the the subject of names..... I must confess to not being too happy with James, Jim, Jimmy, Hamish, or Hey You, and if I ever come back in another lifetime I would like to be called......... Gokmen, Ismet, Burak, Zafer, Adem, Haken, Augustine, Kennedy, Niyazi or Yilmaz........... oh yes, and I would like to be born in ANKARA !!! Ahhhhh.... there he goes again..... living in the past era....... so, yes, I suppose Murat was right in the first instance......... ESKI KANKA ...... is correct and so it should remain !!!

No apologies to Oz Kanka for the block capitals !!! By the way, no comments about age are allowed on this particular blog !!!

All the best from the `soon to be` Sir Eski Kanka Jim

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The conference report

The weather turned crap on us today but that didn't stop the Kankas in coming out in strength for Genclerbirligi versus Denizlispor.

I met up with Viking Kanka Jens and Finlandia Kanka Marcus as usual and we headed down to the Chopin. About 50 metres away from the Chopin I noticed a sea of Ankaragucu attired people. My immediate thought was "Oh God, not sure if I want to go to the stadium with this lot".

It was a hell of a good turn out for the Kankas today. Along with the above mentioned we had Sir Eski Kanka, Genc Kanka Eddie and Kirkcaldy Kanka Martyn who brought along a whole heap of Kankas who I've never met before.

They don't have Kanka nicknames yet (but I'm sure I'll think up something for some of them before this post finishes) but I'd like to introduce you to Damon, a Yank from Manhatten who has the distinction of not only being at the "Battle of Kayseri" but to have actually been struck by a piece of concrete at that particular match. Right, no longer just Damon, but Battle-hardened Kanka Damon.

Then we had Tony, a soft-spoken Yank (I know it sounds like a contridiction in terms but it is true) who was attending only his second football match. Afraid I didn't get to know Tony enough to give him a Kanka nickname just yet, but don't worry mate, we will pigeon hole you some time soon I'm sure.

Next up on the honour roll is Robbie, another Yank (how many Yanks can there be in Ankara?). But Robbie is from the deep south, Missiisiipii - I can never remember that bloody rhyme - and therefore is probably extremely pissed off to be called a Yank at all. Robbie was wearing an Ankaragucu top with the words "Kral Maymun" on the back. It seems as if this lot started some sort of "maymun" group and Robbie was crowned "king". As much as I'd like to call Robbie "King Kanka" I think he has to earn his stripes first, at least in our eyes. For the moment - no kanka nickname.

Robbie brought along his lovely wife Judy, whom I at one stage pre-match thought was actually Mrs. Kirkcaldy Kanka Sinead. If Sir Eski Kanka was writing this post he would no doubt come up with the following excuse:

"I saw her and thought that she was so beautiful that of course I thought she was the same woman I had met a few weeks ago. What are the chances of seeing two such lovely women both wearing Ankaragucu tops?"

I'm not Sir Eski Kanka and my only excuse is that Tony was in my way and I didn't actually see Judy until my gaffe was well and truely made. Sorry.

And so, thanks to me buggering up, Judy shall forever more go by the mysterious name of Mistaken Kanka.

My God this intro to the game is taking a bloody long time but I have one more introduction.

Phillip has only been in the country a few days. He actually lives in Romania (I think he is Mistaken Kanka's brother) but I thought he must have been here for years. He wasn't only wearing an Ankaragucu shirt, but an Ankaragucu jacket as well. For such a well-dressed man I assumed that he was a football veteran. No. This was his first ever match. Considering that we were about to go off and see Genclerbirligi, and not Ankaragucu, I was slightly worried that Phillip, Lost Kanka, was about to see not only his first "soccer" match but also his last.

Finally, we had our beers at Chopin (note: Tony and Viking Kanka Jens somehow managed not to pay so remember that they owe us a beer) and I ordered everyone to up and leave. Walking down to the taxi rank I thought just how scary a group we must have looked. Picture it. A bunch of foreigners, about half of us in football gear, speaking English and being led by me, looking neat and spiffy in a suit as I had just come come from Sunday Mass.

We got plenty of looks, but no one was going to mess with us.

So we get to 19 Mayis, get our seats and then realise that we have lost Finlandia Kanka Marcus. It appears that he had accidently bought a ticket for maraton and not gece kondu. He was sent back to buy a kale arkasi ticket but the next time we see him is at the barbed wire fence that separates us plebs and the monied classes in kapali. A short chat to the lovely copper nearby results in Finlandia Kanka being allowed to join us (but not before he had to stand for 10 minutes in the rain waiting for someone to find a key to let him in).

Silly boy.

And finally, the match.

1st half. Rubbish.

We did score from a corner but really the first half was godawfull. Genclerbirligi really have to learn how to keep the ball down.

Second half. Much more fun.

Nothing much for a bit but then we were on the attack, on about 56 minutes Tayfun Korkut sends a nice ball in from the right and Ali Cansun is adjudged to have hand balled it. The ref being one hell of a harsh bastard pulls out a yellow, Cansun's second yellow, and we are down to 10 men.

Then we had the "slow motion goal", Mehmet Cakir (who I think scored the first goal) did brilliantly to get the ball through to Ugur Boral... he took a little bit of time and then tried to chip the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper (who looked as if he was about 7 foot tall) got his hand to it, taking the speed off the sphere and the ball dropped gently into the net. Gencler 2, Denizli 0.

That was minute number 59 and I was feeeling pretty happy, as were the Genclerbirligi fans who started singing "we are going to europe" songs.

Ten minutes later though it was back to being scared when Denizli scored (from a header I think). 2-1.

Then came the moment I was waiting for. Mehmet Cakir gets the ball on the fly and is running in from around the halfway line. He has a player on him but Isaac Promise is running inside, and more importantly, is onside. Cakir gets the pass across, its Promise and the goalkeeper. Promise sends it wide of the post...... Does any more need to be said

After swearing away at that sitter I was over the moon with what was probably the goal of the match. 84th minute Erkan Ozbey sends a lovely ball in from the right to Mehmet Cakir. Cakir mucks around for a bit and then blasts it straight into the net. 3-1.

At this stage I was in seventh heaven. With a man down we had scored two goals and there was only six minutes left on the clock.

Unfortunately the Genclerbirligi defenders also thought the game had been wrapped up and standing like motionless idiots let in two more goals.

Full time 3-3.

Boy, did I feel deflated.

Personally, I blame the debacle on Viking Kanka Jens who apparently said after we had gone 3-1 up. "Two goals in the last five minutes, impossible". Thanks Viking Kanka.

Postscript: Battle-hardened Kanka Damon told me that he is getting married to a Turkish girl on July 9 at the Sheraton and that anyone who actually has read this far into the post is invited. See ya there.

As for me, I'm off to leave offensive comments on Gulay's Galatasaray blog. I didn't give a damn who won the Istanbul derby but if you want to understand the real hurt that it caused check out Gulay's stuff.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

My neighbour should be shot

Rant time: The Fenerbahce - Galatasaray derby finished a few minutes ago and Gulay's lot got beaten up well and good - 4-0. That's not the rant. The rant is aimed at a neighbour of mine who started firing off shots when Fenerbahce went ahead three-nil at some stage of the second half.

I wasn't watching the telly at the time as I was reading a book to Little Oz Kanka trying to get him off to sleep (no, it wasn't the Genclerbirligi monthly magazine but "The Cat in the Hat". Little Oz Kanka was almost asleep when the bastard next door decided to fire off his gun. That set me back a bit and as the match finished he fired off a few more rounds. Arsehole!

This is Turkey and I know some Ankara people are going to support an Istanbul team. I know that people are passionate and I have no hassles with the people who are driving around at the moment blaring their horns in celebration (we are lucky enough to live far enough away from the main road that Little Oz Kanka is still asleep).

The sound of the gunshots may be annoying but for God's sake it is bloody dangerous. When I first came to Turkey there were almost always reports of kids standing on balconies being shot by celebrating fans too stupid to aim properly.

I don't know exactly which neighbour of mine it was who was firing his gun (somehow I'm pretty sure it is a "he" and not a "she") but whoever it was is bloody lucky. I reckon he could well have been the first person to make me break the vow that my old man drummed into me as a kid. "Never grass!"

The best of...The round ball in Ankara

Background stuff on why we exist and how we came to support Ankara teams.

1. The Ankara Kanka Club - The Beginning

Perhaps this should be the first item on this list as it is the true historical record of why this blog exists. Sir Eski Kanka in nostalgia mode.

2. Why Ankaragucu?

Sir Eski Kanka (knighted on the Queens's 80th birthday for services to Ankaragucu - no loans involved) goes into his reasons as to why he is now an Ankaragucu hooligan. A certain Serbian is to blame.

3. The real reason why we should be scared of a President Erdogan

The story of how a the leader of a military coup got Ankaragucu into the top flight of Turkish football. And incidently, the reason why Oz Kanka is a Genclerbirligi fan.

4. Except for those you like Ankaraspor, obviously

Challenged by the brother-in-law of the Ankaraspor coach, the blog sets out all the reasons why we have an "amusing disregard" (thanks Brendan) of Ankaraspor. As you might guess, beer is one of them.

5. Kirkcaldy Kanka's intoduction to Ankara footie

Having accidently found the blog, Kirkcaldy Kanka explains why he became an Ankaragucu supporter.

And now for some of the better posts.

1. The 2005 awards

Oz Kanka acts as judge, jury and executioner in handing out the awards for stupidity in general in Turkish football in 2005.

2. Klinsmann would be in awe

The blog puts the boot into cheats like Nobre from Fenerbahce who have made diving an art form. Also takes a shot at Turkish Daily News Sports editor Udo Steven Bassey. (We love him really)

3. Let Galatasaray go bankrupt: Part 94

It took us over a month after the blog was created to finally get stuck into the bloated neanderthals that run Cim Bom. I'm amazed it took so long.

4. Civilization going to pot

Another rant. This time on plans to ban smoking at stadiums. This post got us quite famous with a couple of sites featuring the story. I think advertising revenue from the post stands at about 50 cents.

5. Tales from Tripoli

Not about Ankara footy but about Desert Kanka Murat who had a few too many drinks before a Chelsea - Barcelona match. Check out the comment by Spine (Istanbul Kanka Steve) for another arguement for not drinking before matches.

6. Bloody Canadians

Not football, but Oz Kanka gets egg all over his face while reporting on an ice hockey tournament.

7. The death of innocence

We all have our hopes built up, and then smashed. This time it happens to a six year-old boy.

8. A plea, no doubt to be lost

The story of the Byzantine goings on inside Genclerbirligi at the end of the 2005/6 season and still reverberating in 2006/2007. We come down firmly against Genclerbirligi Chairman Ilhan Cavcav. The man must go. While it did get a comment from Sir Eski perhaps the most uplifting comment I received for this post was at the pub the next night from Mountaineering Kanka "God you wrote a long article last night".

Two great posts from Kirkcaldy Kanka's adventures at Ankaragucu away matches

1. The battle of Kayseri

I think this one gives a true flavour of just what it is like to go to an Ankaragucu away match. ie mad. By the way, the only reason that we got to meet the author of this story, Kirkcaldy Kanka Martyn, is thanks to the blog. Ahhhh, the powers of the internet.

2. Kirkcaldy Kanka's last stand

On the eve of leaving the country, Kirkaldy Kanka heads off to the wilds of Sivas for the final match of the season. Unfortunately no one told him that all the Ankaragucu fans were heading to Bursa instead.

We actually talk to some footballers

1. Stepian Kirita joins us for a beer.... or was it a diet Coke?

We ask Ankaragucu's Kirita on December 10, 2007, all the difficult questions, including how the hell do you spell his name!

2.Gencler coach Thomas Doll gets interrogated

It took us somthing like four years but in December 2009 we finally managed to interview a coach only to discover that his favourite drink is apple juice with water. Weird.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Greetings Kankas. I thought it was time to share some information with you about some of the pioneering achievements which Hibernian have introduced to footie.

Going back in time. They were the first European team to tour South America (Argentina) - can't remember which year, but it was even before I was born !!!

The were the first Scottish team to install floodlights in their Stadium.

They were the first (and only) British team to represent `Great Britain` in the European Cup, and they were the first British team to reach the semi-final stage in that competition.

Coming closer to the present, I would like to tell you about a pioneering scheme devised about 5 years ago by the supporters of the club. They came together and formed the ERIN Hibernian Supporters Trust with the approval of the Club Chairman and Directors. Basically, the supporters wanted to have a say in club decisions of a minor nature and to help the club in a small way at their level. They all agreed to pay 20 pounds sterling per year and then at the end of every financial year decide what to do with the accrued monies to benefit the club. I joined up at the outset and am proud member number 294 !! From memory, in previous years the ERIN Trust has given money to help buy new players, assisted with equipment for the Youth Teams,and last year it bought some much needed physiotherapy equipment for the Gymnasium. This year it purchased a device which measures players fitness levels throughout a season in training and during matches - this equipment is also used by ManYoo and Arsenal. The Trust has democratically elected committee members, previous Hibs players (currently the legendary Lawrie Reilly), and their books are auditted in the same way as any business. Since its inception, several other Scottish Clubs have copied the idea which can only benefit the clubs concerned. On a personal note, I am very proud to be associated with this Trust, especially as I can't support my team in person except when I make my `pilgrimages` to Scotland every year.

I would be interested to hear if any other kankas have heard of this before and whether any are actively involved in similar schemes in other clubs.

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

World rankings explained

Thanks to a forum called Expat in Turkey I found a site that our Scottish Kankas should love. The Unofficial Football World Championships

Basically, the site looks at who are the unofficial world champions going back to the first ever international played. It is all explained on their website but here is a snippet:

The very first international football match was played between Scotland and England on 30 November 1872. The score was a rather unexciting 0-0. On 8 March 1873, England and Scotland played again. England won 4-2, and became the very first Unofficial Football World Champions.

In 1874, Scotland beat England 2-1, meaning the Unofficial Football World Championship title was passed to the Scots. Following this lineage, we can trace how the UFWC title was passed between 40 different nations over the 132 years between 1872 and 2004. The UFWC philosophy embraces over 130 years of football, and reveals the REAL International Football Champions.

In other words, England beat Scotland, whoever beat England become world champions, whoever beat them take the title and on and on and on we go.

If you haven't actually clicked on the link then I can reveal that Romania are the current world champions. As far as I can see Turkey has never been world champions but Australia has been once, according to this index.

The really weird, and extremely disturbing thing is the index of world championshipness that they come up with.

Those who don't like Scotland (ie: the vast majority of sane people who are regular readers of this blog) should not click on the above link.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Greetings Kankas. Kirkcaldy Kanka asked me to post this because he had a problem making comments on my `ANKARAGUCU KANKA CLUB - THE BEGINNING` blog. Great report and hopefully through him we will tie-up with all his friends and expand our Ankara Kanka Club even further. See you all on Sunday. All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

FROM- KIRCALDY KANKA (note The block capitals (just to annoy Oz Kanka !!!))

My first game was in the Gecekondu. I was determined to go and a lad called Jon went with me. He'd been here a few years, but prefered to watch games on TV. The game was Ankaragucu v Genclerbirligi. We won 1-0. I met an English guy in the stadium. He was travelling round the world by bike. He'd got from England to Turkey a year ago, but couldn't get a visa through Iran. He was back now with a visa. He went to the stadium expecting a huge capital derby. The stadium was half empty. The Gucu fans were mad with passion.There was only a few Gencler fans and they seemed silent in comparison. That was me. Gucu was my team.

We beat Gaziantepspor 2-1 in the next match with a last minute goal.I tried the maraton in that game. My friend Robbie went. It was his first game as he is an American born into baseball. He was hooked too. We both went together after that.

We sometimes went to the maraton, sometimes the kale. Then we went hunting for Ankaragucu tops. We couldn't find them anywhere. I was wearing a Fife Flyers Ice Hockey scarf. The Kirkcaldy based Scottish champions play in yellow and blue. In Sakarya, by the fountain without water, I saw some Gecekondu lads with scarfs on. I went to ask where to buy a top. I spoke no Turkish and before I knew it had exchanged my new Flyers' scarf for an old dirty Ankaragucu rag. I was then directed to a shop. Harun's shop. We bought tops there. Mine was number 7 Iskoc, and Rab's was Kral Maymun. Harun took our picture and we were front page news on the Anti-x web-site.

We later met Harun at games in the maraton. He helped us get cheap tickets, and a cheap season ticket this year. We met his friends and tried to learn the songs. I have taken many others to the games. Canadian Richard still comes regularly. My wife Sinead goes when the weather is nice. Damon goes sometimes. Others have come and never returned. Most were forced to buy tops with various monkey names on the back. Women get vegetable names. Don't know if I can explain that one.

I dragged some old Ozzie guy called Simon along. He never knew the rules, hated the game, and screamed at the kids who tried to help him buy his tea. He was lonely, so he continued to go until he left Turkey. Another poor lad called Ian from Derby comes sometimes. But he chooses the worst games. Last season in winter we played Galatasaray. I had been told that if a big team came, I should go 3 hours before kick off. I dragged Ian to the stadium at such a time when the temperature was around -7. We were outnumbered by the police. We stood there freezing and drinking tea. I was so cold I told Ian I going to the toilet to piss on my hands to warm up. He believed me. Our end was half empty, and so was Galatasaray's. Just proves that they are not the toughest fans in the world if they are scared of the cold.We lost 1-0 to a dodgy penalty. Rookie mistake by me, but Ian suffered. He has gone to a few games since, most of which have ended 0-0. Still, he has his "geveze maymun" top.

Sadly, my time is coming to an end in Turkey. I'm moving to Liverpool, possible on Anfield Road. But I will return for games, if not for a longer period. I'd been abroad before and followed teams. But I'm really part of something here, because of the people like Maniac kanka Harun. And I hope it continues for the Bilkent teachers who remain here. Rab has his work cut out to get others along. But maybe we'll still have a couple of kankas hanging around next year. I'll see if I can bring them on Sunday.If not, the next week when the Gucu play is a must.

As you can tell, I don't teach this week. I won't be able to write as much next week. That's a small introduction to our branch of the kankas. We play football ourselves weekly at Bilkent. We are suited up in our various monkey tops.I sometimes wear my Gucu top under a white shirt to teach. Robbie has converted a student. On the "Course Related Materials" board in my office the words to an anti-Fenerbahce song are written."Piskopat baskent, yazagagiz" The students know where we stand in Turkish football. We are Ankaragucu. And long may it continue.

GLORY TO THE GREAT ANKARAGUCU - From Kirkcaldy Kanka Martyn

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A million reasons to be happy

An update on the farce that has been Deniz Baris playing status this season. On Tuesday Fenerbahce paid Genclerbirligi 1 million euros and as such Baris will be allowed to play in the weekend crunch derby against Galatasaray.

To recap, Baris was a long-term Gencler player but came off contract last year. Gencler signed him up again but then Baris went off and signed with Fenerbahce. A Turkish Football Federation appeals court type thing last week suspended Baris' player licence and so the fullback was unable to play in last week's loss to Manissa.

After dragging its feet all year Fener finally decided to payup today, even though it was actually Baris and not the club that was at fault.

Cheers guys, perhaps a small part of that 1 million euros could be used to sponsor this blog?

Genclerbirligi v Denizlispor (Sunday plans)

Just a few weeks of football left and this weekend its Genclerbirligi versus Denizlispor. 4 p.m. kick-off.

I've received two welcome e-mails today. One from Sir Eski Kanka saying he has got the day off and the other from Kirkcaldy Kanka saying that he has cancelled plans to go to Samsun.

So then, Chopin Pub in Kizilay 2 p.m. You all know the drill. If not then leave a comment.

See you all there.

Easter break

The Anatolian news agency have finally caught up with us and given us a report on what Ilhan Mansiz is doing in Ankara. Anatolia reported today that he was in town with his daughter for Easter. If only the semi-official agency read our blog they could have added he was spending Easter Sunday at Sushiko.

The report said he had completely recovered from some sort of foot problem, and will be a-okay in two to three weeks time. That will certainly help Ankaragucu considering the league ends in about four weeks time.

We have probably seen the last of Mansiz in the Ankaragucu colours though as the report says that he is looking to go and play in Dubai and that he doesn't want to play for any Turkish clubs.

Photocaption: Ilhan signs on the dotted line for Ankaragucu earlier in the season. Doesn't look too happy does he. And who is the bloke looking on in the background? Photo nicked from

Celtic v Hibs

Evening Kankas, not been contributing for a while but thought I would update you on the progress (or lack of it) of the mighty Hibees. Points have been few and far between over the last couple of months. A 7-0 cuffing of Livingstone one of the few highlights and a semi final to forget against Hearts our lowest of lows this season.

On Sunday Hibs visited Celtic who were being presented with the SPL flag, Hibs played very well considering we still have half our squad out injured. At halftime a Steven Fletcher goal gave Hibs a 1-0 advantage. Celtic may have considered thenselves hard done by going in behind but as Hibs have carried no luck against Celtic this season the little bit of luck was long overdue. In the second half Celtic turned the screw and eventually got the goal their play deserved in the 70th minute. Despite some more pressure the scoreline stayed 1-1 and Hibs were happy taking home a point. Worth pointing out that Zibby the Hibs goalkeeper played really well and made a tremendous save in the last minute to keep celtic out. he was due a good performance as he gifted Hearts two goals in the Scottish Cup semi final.

Hibs have Hearts at home on Saturday in the league, I think three points will be required if we are to hold onto fourth spot. Rangers are now 10 points clear of Hibs and Hearts a further 5 points ahead. The only way Hibs will get into the UEFA cup is for Rangers to get second spot of Hearts and Hearts then win the Scottish cup. If all that fails Hibs have the fall back of the Intertoto cup.


Hibbee Kanka

Monday, April 17, 2006

The wonders of google

I thought I'd keep a record of what sort of search terms people use to find the blog. Some of them are obvious like "ankara, ankara", "oz kanka", "genclerbirligi isaac promise" and "zalad ankaragucu". Some are connected to football but whoever did the searching was probably not looking for a blog like ours. Some of those searches include "offside rule explained", "ankara tff", "is football commie", "Hasan Sas" and "yep yeni lampard". One cool result is that if you put the word "Fenerbahce" into Google's blog search (not the normal google) then we pop up as the number one search on a "relevance" basis. Good to know that an anti-Istanbul blog claims the top spot for Fenerbahce.

Then there are some particularly weird ways in which people found us. These include searches for "clamp for round balls", "kenan evren", "gretna ball boys", "NZ sport", "colin nish wedding", "tarkan sightings" and "pommy bastards".

Putting the words "Udo Steven Bassey" into google also ended up with our blog being rated higher than the Turkish Daily News, considering he is the sports editor there I was quite impressed.

But perhaps the best way someone found the site, and who then stayed around clicking on all sorts of older stories, was a search for "ayr football tournament results 2006". A new Kanka in the making?

Celebrity sightings

Istanbul Kanka Steve is obviously in town this weekend as I received this cyptic message on the mobile this evening:

"Spotted at Sushico in Ankara: Ilhan Mansiz with friends and small daughter."

Begs the question really. What the hell is Sushico?

Beers, BBQ and electricity

It was a wonderful day for football. The sun was out, spring had finally hit Ankara but as far as I know the only person who actually went to the football today was "He who thinks he can play darts" Kanka Emin, and the chances of getting a report from him are next to nothing.

And so you all have to do with me, cobbling together the useless reports from the Anatolia news agency.

But as I said it was a beautiful Sunday in Ankara and along with a few ring-ins, Smart Arse Yanky Kanka Dave, Mrs. Smart Arse Yanky Kanka, yet to get a name but still a season ticket holder for Ankaragucu Vicky and myself were all enjoying ourselves at a bbq in honour of something or other Australian.

The bbq was held at a friend's place and guess who the neighbour is.... none other than this blog's best friend Melih Gokcek, the mayor of Ankara and the chairman of the team that Ahmet Turgut's brother-in-law coaches.

We didn't actually see Melih today (perhaps he was making up the numbers for Ankaraspor) but this at least meant that he didn't turn off the electricty as he did last time I was at this particular place when the turkeys were being cooked on Christmas Day.

With the electricity on and the beers aflowing it was my duty to inform the asssembled guests of all the scores as the mobile beep beeped.

Smart Arse Yankee Kanka was of course very pleased with my report that Ankaragucu had beaten Konya 3-0. I was too. But the next line on my text message was that Genclerbirligi had lost 2-0 away to Erciyes. Much swearing ensued.

If now you may have gotten the idea that I don't actually intend to describe any of the matches today you will be right. But I will go slightly into the mathematics of what it all means.

Number One. Ankaragucu's victory pretty much saves them from being relegated (Eski Kanka, I assume that as you won't be relegated I'm allowed to use the word "relegated").

Number Two... and three etc. Kayseri lost yesterday (thank god) but Trabzon managed to win and Besiktas could only manage a draw today against Gaziantepspor (titter, titter). In other words, Genclerbirligi stay in fourth, still in line for a UEFA spot.

But bloody hell. We should have won today and gone into third.

Amazingly though, the Genclerbirligi coach Mesut Bakkal must have finally found this blog because for what is probably the first match this season he didn't start with Isaac Promise. He did come on in the 46th minute though and as far as I can see he did nothing. No change there then.

I'm not sure yet what the matches are next week, but I'm going anyway. Check this space for more info.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Greetings Kankas, and in my previous `historical` article (WHY ANKARAGUCU ?) I mentioned that I would give some information on the formation of the Ankara Kanka Club, which was originally named `The Ankaragucu Kanka Club`.

It all began in January 1999 when I returned permanently to Ankara from the Middle East. I started to go on my own to watch Ankaragucu and usually watched the matches in Kapali - I have to be honest and admit that I didn't have the courage to go into Gecikondu on my own in those days !! I made a few Turkish friends in Kapali and we frequently sat together at the matches. Even the Cekirdek (nuts) seller was on talking terms with me !! (Incidentally, he is still there and sometimes we wave to each other !!!). However, it wasn't until season 1999/2000 that other friends (Turkish and British) discovered that I was attending Ankarargucu matches on my own and asked if they could join me. In those early days of the Kanka Club we used to meet ouside the Stadium (opposite Genclik Park) and I remember one cold and miserable day standing there waiting for Serhan and Murat and thinking to myself that it was time I used my initiative and arranged a warmer and more socialable meeting place. It was then that I decided to make Sahil Restaurant/Pub in Genclik Park our meeting place and this proved to be a master stroke for several reasons. Firstly, it was warm and it was also the only Restaurant in the Park which sold EFES draught beer. Their kebabs were not too bad either !!! Secondly, it was also used by other Ankaragucu supporter groups who have since become friends. And thirdly, as Oz Kanka mentioned recently, it was where he and I first met and formed our friendship.

Many Ankaragucu Kankas have come and gone since those early days, but as they made me promise to keep them in touch with Ankara footie, I have kept my promise and they are still checking our blog. Some of their names are -

Murat (Desert Kanka) who has been in Libya for the past 5 years but who will be returning soon, so we will need to find a new name for him me thinks !!! He is still famous in the Stadium for his Baritone voice and his wide range of Ankaragucu songs !!

Karl (Misir Kanka) in Cairo and a Norwich City supporter (no comments please !!).

Jon (China Kanka) in a Chinese City whose name I won't bother to spell because I can't ! He is a Southampton supporter (no comments please !!). Incidentally, Jon's wife Ozlem introduced me to the Ankaragucu Pegasus Supporters Club - a great bunch of guys.

Dave (Baggie Kanka) and his lovely wife. Dave supports West Bromwich Albion (no comments please !!). They are currently in Iran.

Emma (Geordie Kankie). She is back in Ingallind and supports Nookassill (no comments please..... titter titter titter !!).

Mike (Singapore Kanka) and his lovely girlfriend. His real love is the funny shaped ball and we should try to forgive him for that !!

Kurt (Bellgeek Kanka) in Antwerp. He has only been once to see Ankaragucu, but everyone in the Stadium will never forget him waving his huge Ankaragucu flag for 90 minutes throughout the match, oh yes, and also during the half time interval !!

If I have forgotten anyone, then please let me know and I will apologise. We should also make mention of the kankas who have joined our club from afar even though they have never visited the famous Ankara 19 Mayis Stadium. We should also mention our Gencler Kankas who have been introduced into the fold by Oz Kanka Chris. We are now truly The Ankara Kanka Club.

To end on a sad note. With the closure of Genclik Park for renovation we have lost our initial meeting place. No matter though because we now have the Chopin Bar, and who knows what Genclik Park will look like when it rises from the ashes. Perhaps The Mayor (who will remain nameless !!) will relent and allow Sahil to re-open in all its new renovated glory ??!! Mr Optimistic is at it again !!!

I hope you have been enthralled (and entertained ?!) by your history lesson ??!! Long live the Ankara Kanka Club and the Round Ball in Ankara Blog !

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Battle of Kayseri

The Turkish Daily News would be proud of us today as our war correspondent Kirkcaldy Kanka Martyn finally gets round to sharing with us some news from Sunday's Battle of Kayseri. The photo was nicked from Sabah newspaper's website. Over to you Kirkcaldy Kanka:

Kayseri was a wild trip. I actually took my 17 year old nephew along. It was his first trip abroad if you don't include holiday clubs and it changed his world. We went with Maniac Kanka and another teacher called Damon who works here in Bilkent. Damon had only previously been to two home games and has never really known football. He is an Amercan and used to teach at Princeton. We took the bus from Asti at 8 am in the morning rather than travel with a supporters club. There were maybe 600 Ankaragucu fans, but I really have no idea. We were crammed into a small section of the stadium. There were Kayseri supporters to our left and right, but those to our left were mostly hidden from us as they were in a sort of shed. The rest of the stadium was uncovered and mostly full.

I think both the Kayseri teams supporters were at the game. The army were brought into the stadium and stood in the Ankaragucu end between us and the supporters on the left. Our supporters actually cheered them as they entered. These are the heroes who died for Turkey. Our fans were singing as always and the various supporters' club leaders stood together above all on the entrance to the stand. During the game they were trying to prevent their groups from singing any songs that would upset the Kayseri supporters.

However, before the game kicked off there were some problems. The first was the national anthem. Our supporters always sing this song and at the end chant some other words in favour of Turkey. They did this again, but sang the anthem too fast. They therefore did their chant before the anthem was finished. The Kayseri supporters were a little angry. There was then a minute silence which we sang through. Yet this was not out of disrespect, but because we didn't hear anything about it. We didn't hear an announcement at all. When we saw what was happening, all our supporters were quiet. However, the Kayseri supporters reacted angrily and chanted some rude anti-Ankara songs. A pure misunderstanding, but the anger had begun, on both sides. Still the Ankaragucu supporters' club leaders tried to restrict the anti-Kayseri chants during the game. I wonder if this only caused a build-up of tension in the "hooligans".

Yet, the match went well. Our supporters behaved, largely because we went ahead early and stayed in front. Kayseri were unlucky. They hit the post, the bar and were constantly called offside. For most of the 2nd half we stayed in our penalty box. Tension was high on both sides.

And then they scored. In about the 75th minute. 1-1. Just like in Konya, our fans reacted in fury to losing a goal. This is something I've not seen often in Ankara. The Kayseri fans were probably making gestures to us, as the Konya fans had done. There were loud bangs as the Ankaragucu supporters stamped on chairs in frustration. And then stones flew from both directions. I don't know who threw the first stone, but the same thing had happened in Konya. Till this point there was no difference in the fans behaviour in these matches.

But then an Ankaragucu fan was let out onto the running track by the side of the pitch. He was holding his eye and his face was covered in blood. The Ankaragucu masses became enraged. One of their own was hurt. Another followed. More seats were smashed, some thrown onto the pitch. More rocks flew. The riot police stood around our supporters with the low fence and their sheilds to protect them. After a while we quietened. Kayseri won a corner. A lump of concrete (dislodged after the breaking of a seat) narrowly missed the kicker's head. He turned and gesticulated at the Ankaragucu supporters - "why are you doing this". Then countless seats flew at him, stones and more concrete. He ran to the centre of the pitch and more police came in. The Ankaragucu brigade threw concrete, seats, shoes, mobiles and whatever else they had smuggled in at the police. One of their chiefs was hit in the head with concrete.

Have to go sorry. The Kayseri lads wound us up and we never settled down for long. So we were chucked out 10 mins before the end. The game contiued and we won it 2-1.


The right to earn bread money

I love the way that whenever they lose a case lawyers in Turkey say they will go all the way to the European Court of Human Rights to defend their clients. You get all sorts of weird cases ranging for someone whose had their licence to own a gun withdrawn to people who own gecekondus on state land complaining when the municipality comes in and knocks down their illegally built home.

That reminds me. Does anyone know if that woman is still there who had the gecekondu smack bang in the middle of the planned second runway at Antalya airport and was refusing to move?

Back to the point. Fenerbahce fullback Deniz Baris looks set to be the next case before the court where he will defend his right "to earn his bread money" as the millionaires who play footy in Turkey like to describe their outragous salaries.

Yesterday the Turkish Football Federation suspended his player licence because he hasn't paid back a debt of some 1 million euros (or avros as the Anatolia news agency stupidly calls them) to Genclerbirligi. I'm not sure exactly what the circumstances are, and reading the Turkish press doesn't really help, but I think he signed some sort of deal with Genclerbirligi and then promptly signed up with Fenerbahce. Silly boy.

In addition to going to the European Court of Human Rights, Baris' lawyer, Haluk Burcuoglu, says he will open cases against the current TFF board and the previous one. Rumours that Cherie Blair has been hired have been denied.

All fun and games so far but this certainly won't help Fenerbahce with just a handful of matches left in the season and the fight still well and truely on for the League championship. Oh well, at least Gulay will be happy.

The other point though is how the hell did Baris manage to play most of the season for Fenerbahce with this hanging over his head. He did have to sit out a few matches earlier in the season, yesterday's decision was some sort of TFF appeals court thing which confirmed an original decision that he should be suspended (although that decision was somehow suspended also). You may think that the federation would have wanted to get this whole thing over nice and quick, but no, they decided to wait until crunch time in the league before suspending the bloke.

Well, no-one has ever accused the TFF of good scheduling.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The weekend (non) plans

The sun is out, the flowers are blooming and Ankaragucu have hit a bit of form. So it is with much regret that practically no-one can make it to this Sunday's match. Ankaragucu are taking on Konya at 2:30 p.m.. I have to go to a work BBQ with Mrs. Oz Kanka, Eski Kanka is snowed under teaching Turkish kiddies why they should be supporting an Ankara team while Kilkcardy Kanka and Mrs. Kilkcardy Kanka are out of town for the weekend. Woe woe woe. But if anyone does want to go along just show up at Chopin at 12:30 and enjoy the sun, the beer and then the match. I, for one, am jealous.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Greetings Kankas and here is a post from Pompey Kanka Darren at last. It seems to me that he needs a packet of the optimism pills which I use every weekend !!! Look forward to more posts Daz !!! All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Thanks for your kind comments on the performance of Pompey, Jim. I’m sure it’s been said before, but we’re too good to go down! If anyone watching who wasn’t aware of the positions of the two teams, you’d have to think it was Pompey challenging for an end-of-season Champions League spot and not Blackburn. However, thanks to our mad Chairman and his last summer and early season decisions, we are, as you quite rightly pointed out, in the ‘soapy bubble’!

Never fear though, our destiny is still in our own hands, at least until Arsenal come to town on Wednesday night. And they rested Henry against Man Utd so that he’s fresh for the challenge against our defence! It was much easier coping with life when we were 8 points behind everyone else 3 weeks ago, but after 3 wins and a draw from 4 games, the hope of getting out of the bottom 3 is destroying my life! My every waking moment is taken up analyzing the run-ins of us, West Brom and Birmingham. Earlier in the season, I had successfully got myself a life, resigned to the fact that we were useless, and that having a family around can sometimes be enjoyable too. They don’t even get a look in now!

Back to Saturday’s game though. Bellamy is obviously a class player, especially when he controls his temper, which he managed to successfully do, even playing with a smile on his face after a few decisions had gone against him. However, that annoying little Scottish person (sorry Jimmy), Dickov, is a different kettle of fish. Although he didn’t actually score this time (something he usually manages to do against Pompey), he did managed to moan and whine and whinge his way through the entire 90 minutes, eventually getting himself booked and Pedro Mendes for us, which certainly quietened him down for the remainder of the game. The shot count was 23-3 in our favour, so quite how we didn’t manage to win amazes me. Certainly someone needs to show our Zimbabwean striker, Benjani, where the goal is. That’s 10 games without hitting the target now. If we can reach that level of performance against the mighty Arsenal on Wednesday, we might be in with a chance of sneaking a result – and you’ll probably hear the roar from Saudi Arabia all the way to Ankara!

Play Up Pompey

Einstein would be confused

Our Irishman in London, Brendan (we really must find a Kanka name for you Brendan, any suggestions?), brought up a point in the comments section concerning the situation as to who gets to qualify for the UEFA Cup next season. I've done some extensive research (ie I e-mailed Lanky Kanka Jorg) and received this reply:

If Fener or Besiktas win the Turkish Cup (they both go into the second legs of the semi-finals with big leads), this means that also the pos. # 4 in the league wins a UEFA CUP position (if Besiktas ends up in front of Gencler).

So there are two scenarios.
Fener wins the Cup. 3rd and 4th in the league get UEFA Cup spots.
Besiktas wins the Cup. Gencler only has to finish above Kayseri and Trabzon to grab the other UEFA spot.

Theoretically there are some other teams in the equation but I can't be bothered to include them.

The position now is Genclerbirligi are 4th, two points ahead of Kayseri (who seem to have imploded in the last six weeks or so) and four ahead of Trabzon.

Lanky Kanka also points out that Genclerbirligi have told UEFA they are prepared to play in the InterToto Cup if they qualify this year. So even fifth would mean mean some sort of European football.

Of course, I would rather not rely on mathematics and am hoping for a third place finish which guarantees us a place next year in the UEFA Cup.

Thanks Bredan for pointing this out to me and thanks Lanky Kanka for the extra information.

Hope this clears up some of the confusion

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Of little cops, silly refs and your lonesome correspondent

The football Gods shined on Ankara this weekend with Genclerbiligi beating Trabzon 2-1, Ankaragucu away beating Kayserispor and Ahmet Turgut's brother-in-law engineering a 3-0 victory over Gaziantep.

It was a bright and beautiful sunny Sunday as I ventured off to the Chopin. Unfortunately every other Kanka had let the sun melt their brains as I was the only one there. Still, I had my Hurriyet newspaper, Tekel 2000 and a couple of Efes to keep me company.

Eventually trotted off to the stadium to find quite a decent crowd. Trabzon had a good crowd while we filled up maraton and gecekondu. I'd say around 16,000 all up, not too bad for Genclerbirligi.

I continued to read my newspaper when I noticed a bunch of three-foot high police officers dancing away in front of the hoi polloi in protokol. How very strange, I thought, went back to the paper but looked back up when the crowd all started laughing. Someone had turned the high power sprinklers on and two people carrying a banner were getting drenched. It was only then that I noticed the banner they were carrying said "Polis Amca Ilkogretim Okul" (Uncle Police Primary School).

Relieved that the Turkish police haven't reduced their height restrictions too much it was time for the match. And a hell of a match it was too.

In some ways it resembled a symphony where the music starts off fairly quiet and then ends in a huge bang of cymbals that scares the hell out of you. Perhaps not the best of analogies as the only goal came in the 28th minute but the quality of play, the number of chances, the number of shots and the number of erractic refereeing decisions increased no end as play went on.

In other words, nothing much happened for the first 25 minutes. Ali Cansun got sort of close (and he should have got closer), but Trabzonspor got rid of it. No shots on goal as far as I can remember until Kerem Seras had an enormous whack on goal. Their keeper saved it but the ball then fell to Mehmet Cakir who drilled it in from a fairly acute angle. I seem to remember Isaac Promise doing something good in the run up to Kerem's shot, but I can't remember what.

We had a couple more chances in the first half, Promise fluffed one of them while Ali Cansun had a shot saved, and then came the dreaded last minute.

Like a song that you can't get out of your head, or a past crime that still nags your conscience, I had a vision of Eski Kanka. A total of 44 minutes on the clock, we had played well, were 1-0 up and Trabzonspor get a corner.

It is at this stage of practically any match that Eski Kanka pulls out the cliche that this is not a good time to be scored against (as if any time would be good) and naturally, the opposition goes ahead and scores and Eski Kanka swears to himself never to say it again (only to repeat himself a week later).

So I looked at the bloke sitting next to me and thanked God I didn't know him.

The corner came in, and.... nothing.

Half-time, the crowd is singing, and Genclerbirligi were looking pretty good. At this stage the kiddies had gotton rid of their riot gear and were doing some Turkish folk dancing. The crowd seemed to enjoy this a bit more than their earlier disco stuff in the police uniforms. (No, it was nothing like that Village People guy).

And we were back. Now the tempo started to rise. We had shots on goal from both sides to entertain us but what really seemed strange was how the referee and the linesmen started to see the match. There were free kicks for fouls that definately weren't, no free kicks for definate fouls, off side flags waved when they should have stayed down and one atrocious non-call when about three Trabzonspor players where offside. One thing though, at least the referee was consistant in his incompetance, each side had equal cause for complaint.

I think it was on that non-decision that Fatih Tekke (of Trabzon) got into a one-on-one with Gokhan but managed to send the ball about 15 metres wide. Laughter all round. There was also much mirth when one of our players cleared the ball only for it to hit the policeman who stands around filming the fans all match.

Final moments of the match. We were all singing away and Trabzonspor are in full on attack mode. A full four minutes of extra time and our hearts were in our mouths and even those who don't smoke starting asking for a drag. It was nailbiting. Two incidents in particular. Ismail Gulderen, I think, buggered up what should have been a simple clearance but luckily the ball ended up sailing over.

Either just before or just after, someone or other from Trabzon went down in the box to the sort of bump that even Hakan Sukur would have stayed on his feet for (although I reckon Nobre would have gone down just before the bump). A tense moment before the referee waved play on. Phew. Final whistle and cue celebrations. Players did their laps of honour and I headed off, alone, to go and look after Little Oz Kanka.

What does this all mean? Thanks to Besiktas only managing a draw Saturday night and Ankaragucu's brave victory over Kayserispor, Gencler move up to equal third with Besiktas (they are ahead on goal difference). We have to actually get more points than Besiktas to get the third place spot as we have lost to them twice this season and the goal average thing was gotten rid of a few years ago (I wonder if that had anything to do with Zalad?).

We could yet be having some European football in the capital next season.

Ankaragucu runs riot, in one sense at least

This will be short as clearly I was not in Kayseri today, instead being at the Genclerbirligi match (more on that in a post soonish), but I did check out the reports. So here is my little summary.

Before I forget, Eski Kanka Jim wasn't able to make it to today's Gencler match because apparently he was at the airport picking up his daughter. How pathetic. First of all the daughter should have arranged to arrive on a non-match day (I particularly like people showing up during a particularly busy work week) and secondly Jim should have told here to get on the Havas bus service, get off at the terminal (which is right next to the 19 Mayis Stadium) and get her to come to the match. I despair of the Eski Kankas sometimes.

Back to the Anatolian news agency report. And for those who don't understand just how little reporting is done for teams outside the big three, let me even do it in their style.

6. Mehmet (you actually have to be in the know to know which team he plays for but I'll make it simpler by saying he plays for Kayseri) sends the ball in from the midfield, finds Ilhan, could not find a good position.

11. Mehmet sends it in from the right, in a good position Ilhan heads it and keeper Orkun saves.

13. Belal brings it forward. Ivanov and Fatih can't come to a decision and Umut scores with a header: 0-1

Ahhhh, I can't be bothered continuing like this. I'll sum up the rest of the first half by saying Ankaragucu had more than a few chances on goal while Kayseri seemed to have nothing much (except for one shot which came off the post).

One-nil at halftime and I was happy (I was in the Chopin about to go off to watch the Gencler match).

Second half and not many shots on goal it seems until the 79th minute. From a free kick the ball comes off the Ankaragucu defence. Fatih gives it a go, Orkun saves it but then Gokhan heads in the rebound. 1-1.

It was that at this stage the Ankaragucu fans went mad. They ripped up seats throwing them at the Kayserispor fans. As always happens in these sorts of things not all of the seats actually make it over the dividing fence and one Ankaragucu fan had to be hospitalised. The ref called a break and all the Ankaragucu fans were kicked out of the stadium. Expect big fines soon (and possibly a stadium closure).

All of this reminds me, I must remember to get down to Maniac Kanka Harun's shop, Esse Spor (Menekse Sk, Balkanoglu Carsisi No. 7/32), to check out all the cool Ankaragucu-Genclerbirligi merchandise on sale.

With all the Ankaragucu fans gone (and no doubt the police already had them on their buses for the return trip to Ankara) with what appears to have been an Umut all on his own goal.

Game finished. Ankaragucu won it 2-1.

The scene at the bottom of the table sees Ankaragucu 7 points ahead of third last Diyarbakirspor. I reckon it is enough to stave off the drop.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Greetings Kankas. Now I know for sure that Ankaragucu have arrived at last. I was watching the Pompey V Blackburn match tonight on TV and was really astounded that Harry `the twitcher` Redknapp is copying Hikmet Bey's tactics at Ankaragucu. Lua Lua is an Umut Bulut clone and the high balls up to him have been learned from watching Ankaragucu videos !!! Very clever, which accounts for the fact that Pompey are in about the same situation as Ankaragucu............... in the `soapy bubble`, or at the very least, approaching that stage !!!

Back to the match tonight and I have to mention Craig Bellamy's 2 goals for Blackburn which were outstanding individual efforts. Now why couldn't he be a Jock ??!! His temperament has been suspect in the past but he seems to be controlling it well these days........... perhaps Mr Hughes has something to do with that ??!! A fairly average match, but all credit to Pompey for their `never say die` approach, and let's face it, three teams must take the drop, but I hope it is not Pompey. Still all to play for. Mr Optimistic is still ever the optimist !!! Perhaps this might inspire Pompey Kanka Darren to write a few comments about why it will be impossible for Pompey to take the dreaded ......... Big `D` ???

Incidentally, thanks to Oz Kanka for directing me to the Referees Blog (see Links). Very interesting personal experiences from a ref's perspective. Perhaps I can `bore` you with some of my stories in the future ...... or...mmmmm....perhaps not !!!

Just heard that Besiktas sneaked a draw tonight. So, c'mon Gencler tomorra. THREE points please !!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Friday, April 07, 2006

Tesekkurler Ingiltere

I was quite confused today to find articles in the Turkish papers headlined "Tesekkurler Ingliltere" and then describing Middlesbrough defeating Basel in the UEFA Cup quarterfinal. I of course ignored the articles for a while but eventually my curiosity got too much and, after watching some highlights on NTV, I actually bothered to read them.

It seems that if Basel had won Switzerland would have grabbed a place off Turkey in the Champions League in the 2007-2008 season (not next season but the one after). That would also make it harder to get into the UEFA Cup.

So I guess in the end Middlesbrough did us a favour. So indeed, thanks Ingiltere. It was also good to see Viduka in amongst the goals again. The man is running into some fine form with the World Cup just a few months away. Watch out Brazil!

By the way, just noticed that this is the 100th post on the blog. Considering that 50 percent of all blogs die after three months, I reckon Eski Kanka deserves a beer, after all he had never even heard the word blog before December.


Greetings Kankas. Unfortunately, The Mighty Hibs Scottish Cup dream is over for another season and again it ended at the semi final stage. Hibbie Kanka sends his apologies for the delay in submitting this report but work and family pressures have kept him busy.

Sorry about not submitting a blog yet, have been really busy and the kids are
never off the computer. We were all gutted last Sunday too, a very sore one to
take. Being honest when I saw the team shape up at kick off with Caldwell at
right back and Whittaker in midfield I feared the worst. Hearts were too strong
and Sproule getting himself sent off was a disgrace, Stamping on a fellow player
is totally unacceptable and he should be hauled over the coals. Also Smith had
no reason to bring down the last man at 3-0 and three minutes to go. The ref had
no option but to red card him as well, it must have felt like Heaven to the
Hearts fans cause it sure felt like Hell to me.

Went down to the Killie game on Wednesday fearing the worst with so many players
potentially out. Turned out that three of the main players made it and helped
the team to a very good performance, never deserved to be behind and should have
had the game won before they did. Jay Shields played right back with Whittaker
in midfield, Shields can only be 5.5 ft max and at times when he was beside
Colin Nish (6.5 ft) it really did look men against boys. Hibs second and winning
goal came from none other than King Kenny's son Paul Dalgleish. He is not a bad
player who has pace and a great shot, not a patch on his father though.

How about this for a scenario, this is on the assumption that Hibs finish fourth
which is no guarantee. If Rangers finish second and Hearts beat Gretna in the
cup, fourth spot in the league gets the last UEFA cup slot. Imagine Rangers
coming to Easter Road in the last game of the season needing 3 points to finish
second and Hibs already safe in fourth spot, what would happen? I predict riots
down Gorgie when the Champions League CD gets mothballed by their DJ!

I am off to Ayr this weekend for Liam's (one of Athole's sons) football tournament, it is a great weekend and teams come from all over the country. It is nice to see football
played in the right manner after all the antics of Europe's elite over the season.

All the best from Hibbie Kanka Athole

PS.........On behalf of us all Athole, we wish Liam's team success and hope he doesn't copy some of his heroes in the Hibs squad and get a red card !!! All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Genclerbirligi versus Trabzonspor - Sunday

Plans for the weekend.
It's crunch time for Genclerbirligi with just six matches left (I think) and two points behind Kayseri and the UEFA Cup place. So this weekend's match against Trabzonspor is crucial. (cliches are coming fast today)

The Match
Gencler v Trabzon
Sunday 4 p.m. KO
19 Mayis Stadium.

As usual we will be meeting up at the Chopin Bar at 2 p.m.. Don't worry if you don't have tickets as they will be easy to get.

Hope to see you all there.

UPDATE: Saturday night. I was slightly wrong in saying Kayseri were two points ahead of us. I should have said Besiktas. But good news tonight out of Istanbul with Besiktas only managing a 2-2 draw with Malatya.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wasting time

Got time to waste at the office today? Then check out Googlefight. It is basically a site where you can check the popularity of terms according to the number of results displayed by google. I tried Genclerbirligi versus Ankaragucu. I also tried Eski Kanka versus Oz Kanka with very bad results. And finally, "The round ball in Ankara" absolutely trounced "Gulay, Galatasaray and the dogs".

What's in a name

Dear Kankas,

I'm truly amazed by the internet, as no doubt these people were when they accidently came across our blog by typing into google "nusaybin", "klinsman", "hande ball", "Tappas bar ankara", "husrev kutlu", "three blind mice", "jens hande", "elvir balic 2006", "ronaldo at his best is unstoppable" or just plain "ankaragucu". There are plenty more and perhaps I should start collecting them.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Except for those who like Ankaraspor obviously

A few weeks ago a London-based Irishman named Brendan left a comment on the blog asking a few questions.

I notice that you have an amusing disregard for Ankaraspor, could you explain a bit of the background to this?

How does all this reflect itself this week for Gencler-Ankaraspor? Would Gencler have the vast majority support?

I promised that at one stage I'd explain all but have yet to really have a chance. Then in the last few days there has been a lively little discussion over at Gulay's blog where a fellow called Ahmet Turgut (who runs a site called Turkish soccer - its football Ahmet!) jokingly asked me to go easy on Ankaraspor as his brother-in-law Giray Bulak is their coach.

Well Eski Kanka has already stated that he doesn't mind Ankaraspor but I guess the time has come for me to outline my reasons.

First up. It is very difficult to get excited about a team that has no support. While Genclerbirligi may not have has many fans as Barcelona I've been to three or four Ankaraspor matches and rarely has the number of fans been more than 50.

One particular match earlier this year they were actually giving away tickets for the Ankaraspor side of the stadium and still practically no-one showed up. They charged us Gencler fans 50 kurush (about 10p) for our tickets and I'd just like to point out here that Viking Kanka Jens has yet to pay me back.

Ankara already has two fairly-well supported teams in the Super League, we don't need a third. Neither does Turkish football when you consider that cities like Antalya and Adana don't have any in the top flight this year.

Then there is the politics behind the team. It is owned by the Ankara Buyuksehir Belediyesi (The Greater Ankara Council).

I heard a nice little story from one of the Kankas on Saturday that council workers are given a day off work if they show up wearing the Ankaraspor gear. Urban myth? Possibly, but if true a lot of bus drivers would prefer to be terrorising us on the streets than watching Ankaraspor.

Now I question how do they pay their players and management. They certainly can't cover it with gate receipts. Perhaps they have lots of sponsors but my guess is that the taxpayers are shelling out for this. Considering just how much work needs to be done in Ankara, it does seem like a slightly inappropriate priority.

Even if it doesn't cost the taxpayers one kurush to support the team there is what the council is doing just across the road from the 19 Mayis stadium.

I have to admit that Genclik Park needed refurbishment but the plan to get all the bars out of the park is just evil. Eski Kanka and myself actually met each other in the Sahil Pub and it was our regular meet-up spot. If people without season tickets showed up to join us we could easily send them across the road to get them while we continued drinking the cheap beer.

Now this was just great, until the council cut off the water to the pub and we were forced to meet up in Kizilay instead.

I have nothing against the coach, the players, the ball boys or the style of football Ankaraspor play but for all the reasons outlined above, especially the anti-alcohol mayor, I will never go easy on Ankaraspor.

At the same time, however, you may have noticed that there aren't too many anti-Ankaraspor articles on the blog (this is the first I think), I just prefer to ignore them.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The commie game

I love good football writing and, after reading Gulay's perverse thoughts on Galatasaray, I often go searching all over internet. Well, I hit another nugget of gold this weekend. This time from The Observer.

Basically it is about why football will never make it in the U.S. and A.. It is a cracking read and coming from Australia and having been brought up on rubgy league I can definately sympathise.

Some snippets from the Dave Eggers' article "Using your feet is for commies"

Our continued indifference to the sport worshipped around the world can be easily explained in two parts. First, as a nation of loony but determined inventors, we prefer things we thought of ourselves. The most popular sports in America are those we conceived and developed on our own: [American] football, baseball, basketball. If we can claim at least part of the credit for something, as with tennis or the radio, we are willing to be passively interested. But we did not invent soccer, and so we are suspicious of it.

Well that seems like a typical American view of the world but it is Eggers' next point that I have to agree with 100 per cent.

The second and greatest, by far, obstacle to the popularity of the World Cup, and of professional soccer in general, is the element of diving. Americans may generally be arrogant, but there is one stance I stand behind, and that is the intense loathing of penalty-fakers...

But diving in soccer is a problem. It is essentially a combination of acting, lying, begging and cheating, an unappealing mix. The theatricality of diving is distasteful...

...It's disgusting, all of it, particularly because, just as all of this fakery takes a good deal of time and melodrama to put over, the next step is so fast that special cameras are needed to capture it. Once the referees have decided either to issue a penalty or not to our Fakey McChumpland, he will jump up, suddenly and spectacular uninjured - excelsior! - and will kick the ball over to his team-mate and move on.

Too bloody right.

Eggers goes on to talk about the most famous moment in American football history being Sylvester Stallone saving the day for the allies in the film "Escape to Victory" but also has a warning to us lovers of the round ball.

If you were soccer, the sport of kings, would you want the adulation of a people who elected Bush and Cheney, not once but twice? You would not. You would rather return to your roots, communist or otherwise, and fight fascism with your feet.

Excellent stuff.


Greetings Kankas, and I think I'm almost over my catastrophic weekend !! Time to give a brief report on the ANKARAGUCU V Besiktas match last Saturday.

I suppose the cliche..... `it was a game of 2 halves` ..... would summarise this match. Ankaragucu came out of the starting-blocks like a train and it was a sight to behold to see Besiktas on the back-foot. After 7 minutes came the well deserved goal from our `Lone Ranger` Umut. Receiving a long ball (again !!!) on the right wing from defence, he turned 2 defenders and looking up with the intention of a cross ball, surprise surprise, there was nobody there, so he moved inside, beat another defender and sent in an unstoppable angled shot past a static Cordoba in goal. What a start, but could it continue ?! Yes, or so we thought, until the 16th minute when Besiktas broke out of defence at speed (how many times have we been caught out like this during the season ??!!) and once again the Ankaragucu defence were found wanting as Gokhan equalised. After that, it was the turn of Ankaragucu to go on the back-foot as Besiktas took control for the last 30 minutes of the half and then it happened again. I wanted to say, `shut up shop` but after my `faux pas` at the Galata....spit....saray match, I kept my mouth shut ! However, it made little difference this time as Ibrahim scored with the last kick of the half. The air was `blue` at half-time with lots of censored words coming from the mouth of Eski Kanka, and Oz Kanka, Marash Kanka and No Name Kanka doing their best to keep the olde bugger (Oz Kanka's description !!!) calm !!!

Into the 2nd half and `the train` was back on track ! Ankaragucu started as they had in the 1st half and almost immediately Ahmet equalised with a stunning goal. That put the smile back on Eski Kanka's face ! It was all Ankaragucu now, although Besiktas were still looking dangerous on the break, and then on about the 75th minute mark the winner almost came courtesay of a fast break down the right which saw Cordoba and Ahmet chasing the same ball. Ahmet reached it 1st and lobbed the keeper and we all lept up in expectation only to see the ball strike the crossbar and go over ! It was to be Ankaragucu's last chance. 10 minutes later the winning goal came from Tumer and `heads went into hands`. A travesty of justice perhaps, but as we all know, footie is cruel sometimes. The best team may well deserve victory but fate sometimes intervenes to lend a hand to the unworthy. However, the record books will show 3 points to Besiktas ! With Ankaragucu only 4 points above the 3rd bottom team, pressure is back on again in the run-in to our last 6 matches. All hands to the pumps for the next match away to high flying Kayseri.

Looking further ahead, I'm still not hitting the panic button yet. Ahmet Belal looks like solving the problem of a strike partner for Unut in the short term, but we really need to work on our consistency in mid-field and cut down on the number of speculative high balls out of defence.

Mr Optimistic is still hanging-in there !!! All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Bloody Canadians

I know just how much Eski Kanka Jim loves Hibernian and Ankaragucu and so this weekend's results must have hit the ole bugger hard. For that reason I've decided to post something that might cheer him up, a humiliating story about me.

I was talking to fellow Commonwealth citizen Canadian Eh Kanka Richard on Saturday about ice hockey and my very limited experience of what seems like a great sport. For those of you who weren't listening, I'll recap.

It was about 1996-97 or something and I had the distinction of being proofcu basi, head of the proof department, at the fine example of media greatness that is the Turkish Daily News. Udo the long-time, and still, sports editor asked me if I wanted to go along to a reception held at the New Zealand ambassador's residence to honour the arrival of the New Zealand ice hockey team.

Besides the odd wedding I had never been to any function that laid on free beer and so the answer was obviously "yes". We had a lovely evening at the Kiwi taxpayers expense and so it was only natural that Udo asked me to do my first-ever real, live sports reporting.

Ice hockey, in the international sense, tries to ensure that there aren't too many 35-0 scorelines and so they divide the world into groups, I'm not sure how many but it is something like A through to F. Now this competition which this then-rookie reporter was sent to cover was a contest between New Zealand, South Africa and host Turkey to see who would be promoted from nothingness to group F (I think).

Full of zeal I went off to the ice skating rink in Ankara to watch the first match. Turkey versus NZ. You must remember, this was a proper international, not unlike Canada versus the USA, and so we had the usual stuff, national anthems, ambassadors, Turkish hooligans chanting away etc. etc..

I loved it, sure the quality of hockey wasn't that great but there is something strangely compelling about small people wearing heaps of protective gear smashing into each other at speed with no one having a clue where the ball is. If I remember rightly New Zealand ran out winners by about 5-1. The Turkish goal was their first-ever scored in international competition and they celebrated as if they had won the World Cup. I didn't realise the significance at the time but I'm sure I'll be boring the grandkiddies in years to come with my tale of seeing the first ever Turkish ice hockey goal.

Anyway, the match was over and the NZ ambassador and his wife got up to leave and me, not having an expense account, asked if I could get a lift back to the TDN. On the way back we laughed and joked about the game and I promised that I'd write nice things about the Kiwis.

I obliged, of course, and was very proud of my first ever effort at real live reporting. I have to thank Pat the Vet at this stage who turned my "blah blah hit the ball from 15 yards out into the net" into "a slapshot from blah blah left the puck in the back of the net".

With my by-lined articles out of the way, and my obvious enthusiasm for ice hockey being infectious, Pat the Vet and I went along to a South Africa versus Turkey match. Again, great stuff, but South Africa were just too strong. South Africa were cruising by half-time when the Turkish coach had obviously told his players to mix it up. Then came the laughs.

Try and picture it. Huge hulking South African skating down besides the barrier (no glass partitions here), considerably smaller Turk remembers his coach's instructions and starts flying straight at him. South African behemoth stops dead, leaving the puck to continue down the line. Turkish player realises too late, can't stop, smashes straight into the barrier and flies straight over. South African player keeps the puck.

Match over. The South Africans had won it and were now members of World Group F (or whatever). Your intrepid reporter then decided to try the traditional, "How do ya feel mate?" interview in the South African dressing room, only to find they were all walking out again, fully dressed for battle.

I went back to my seat and then the full dread hit me. I had reported on an entire international ice hockey competition and had left each match after the first two periods. Three periods in a match! How the bloody hell was I to know. All good games have a first half and second half, not a first third, second third and a third third.

Stupid bloody Canadian sport. I vowed to stick to proper hockey that day, the type with grass and where the only person to wear a helmet is the goalkeeper. That's goalkeeper, I repeat, not some silly goaltender. "Eh".


Greetings Kankas. Forgive me if I am still not able to bring myself to comment on the weekend footie action, but I am still in mourning !! I will bring myself `reluctantly` to the PC tomorrow and report briefly on the Ankaragucu match. Unfortunately, I can't blame the Referee this time, so I am still looking for excuses.

As for the Scottish Cup Semi Final, well...... that is another reason for my utter distress and disconsolation (can't think of stronger words for the moment !!). However, I will leave that one to Hibbie Kanka !!!

Till tomorrow, all the best from a tearful Eski Kanka Jim

Warm and fuzzy in Ankara

A wonderful spring day in Ankara on Saturday and the Kankas came out of the woodwork for a beer or three before the big match.

All up I reckon we doubled the daily profits for the Chopin Bar with the roll call reading Eski Kanka Jim (for whom this was his first live football match this year), a rare appearance from Genc Kanka Eddie, Lanky Kanka Jorg made his first visit to the Chopin, Jorg's mate Rasit, No Name Kanka Gokhan, Kilkcardy Kanka Martyn and Mrs Kilkcardy Sinead (whom I accidently demoted to girlfriend status at one stage) and Canadian Eh Kanka Richard.

Who knows quite what the normal patrons thought of a bunch of foreigners talking about football and, in the case of the Kilkardy Kankas and Canadian Eh Kanka dressed in the latest Ankaragucu gear.

But it was all very civilised and a testament to the powers of the internet considering that a week ago we hadn't even known of each others existance. Now thanks to Ankaragucu we are all the best of friends.

It was then off to the match (where Marash Kanka joined us) but that is a story for Eski Kanka to write about. Let me just state that it was probably the best match I've seen in Ankara this year (typical that the one match Viking Kanka Jens decided to miss was such a good one). I guess stating that the score was 2-3 with Besiktas running out winners won't spoil Eski Kanka's story too much.

My job today is to write the sad story of Genclerbirligi's 3-0 loss away to Galatasaray. As you are all too clearly aware of from this particular post, and the blog in general, the vast majority of writing is actually about the "circumstances" rather than the "facts".

So more circumstances: Depressed at the loss we decamped to the Knight and Flight for the extremely late kick-off of the G v G match. By this stage we had shed a few Kankas but had also managed to pick up Maniac Kanka Harun who scared the rest of the K and F crowd by starting up various Ankaragucu chants. The business card pictured above is Maniac Kanka's. He sells all sorts of Ankaracucu and Genclerbirligi gear, shirts, scarves and even boxer shorts.

Advertising and circumstances over and time for the match. Genclerbirligi came out strong but the referee effectively put us out in the eighth minute when Risp was adjudged to have pulled down Hakan Sukur in the box. Bollocks to that. Even Gulay on her blog said Galatasaray where "extremely fortunate". She also manages to get a dig in at Nobre from Fenerbahce at the same time, smart girl that Gulay.

Necati Ates slotted then the ball in. 1-0.

21 minutes in and the referee ensured that he can afford to send his kids to be be taught at Bilkent by awarding another penalty. This time the ball came off Sukur and Ismail Gulderen hit the ball with his elbow in order to protect his nose. Necati Ates converted and effectively the match was over. 2-0.

Genclerbirligi continued to attack however, and we had numerous chances but Galatasaray keeper Mondrogon had a great match.

One of those chances was when we actually got the ball into net but the referee decided that the ball had already gone out. Looking at the replays would suggest that Galatasaray were extremely fortunate once again.

Ahh, almost forgot the incident that ensured the banks loans for the holiday house in Antalya need not worry the referee anymore. Just before half time Isaac Promise made one of his rare good moves when he got around Hasan Sas and was just outside the box before falling over. Rugby commentators would no doubt describe the incident as a "try saving tap by Hasan Sas who just managed to grab Promise's ankle". This was clear red card stuff but the ref only gave a yellow.

I have to admit though the third Galatasaray goal was bloody good. Hasan Sas sent a brilliant ball through to Adrian Ilic who then whacked it passed Gokhan.

Oh yes, we also got a penalty at some stage which Mondrogon saved.

Oh dear oh dear. Hurriyet newspaper today failed to give any of our players more than 5 out of 10. I think that was harsh. We had 27 shots (admittedly only seven were actually on goal) compared to Galatasaray's seven. Even when we were 3-0 down the team kept going, seeking at least a compensation goal, right until the final whistle.

So then, two bad results for the day but I prefer to think that the winner was football, in the warm and fuzzy way that it brings Kankas together. The Efes also helped.

UPDATE: (Sunday night). Well at least something went right this weekend with Kayseri losing to Konya. Still, Gencler go down to fifth place, one behind Kayseri and two behind Besiktas who are in third place and that Euro place. Next week we are up against Trabzonsor at home. More details soon.