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).
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.