Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ego trip? More like an ego trap.

When I think of the highs of writing for this blog I think of meeting up with the Bilkent Kankas, having Zagreb Kanka join us, teasing Sir Eski Kanka is always fun and of course I enjoy the riches that is the almost 100 dollars we have made out of advertising.

I have to admit though that it truely was a great ego boost when a few weeks ago a message was left on the comments section of one of our posts asking if we would be interested in helping out a UK television company in wanting to make a show about Turkish fans.

Let me repeat the original message:

"I am currently researching for a television prodcution company in the Uk. We are researching a programme concerning Turkish football. All of you here seem to be an ideal bridge for us to get a feel for everything. Would you like to help? I don't know how we can exchange email addresses. Mine is ****@**** please email me if you would like to help"

Having been guilty of it a million times in the past I ignored the spelling error in the first sentence and was instead caught by the hook... "an ideal bridge", that's us clearly. "Would we like to help?" You bet.

Since then myself and Sir Eski Kanka have been involved in more than 30 e-mails pinging back and forward between Turkey and England

I was extremely excited. Sure, getting a link from Gulay or Ahmet is great but this was over the top.

But then we started to get our suspicions:

"We are making a programme which is going to focus on the fan culture in Turkey. Obviously a large part of the programme will focus on Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas, but we are also looking to go to a different city as well, which led us to Ankara as Ankaragucu and Genclerbirligi seem to have good fan bases. We are going to look at a broad spectrum of different supporter levels. The extreme elements will play a key role too. English speakers would be best as the programme is going to be shown over here. We want to get a real feel of the culture, which fans are the most extreme, which the best etc."

Extreme? Mmmm. What are they playing at?

Our e-mail conversations continued and it was at this point that I noticed a large number of search enquiries from Google from a single service provider in the UK. The search enquiries were such things as "genclerbirligi hooliganism" or "ankaragucu street fighting" and variations on the theme. As the only English-language blog writing about such things it was little wonder they found us. Not surprising really as a search for "looking for boyfriend Ankara" will also find us near the top of the google charts.

We decided to let it go on anyway and last Sunday, before the Ankaragucu-Rize match we finally met up with these people who had flown in from the UK. Carl, the producer, and Rana, a researcher, were lovely people. They both seemed to have really enjoyed their few days here in Turkey and understood that this was a very safe country.

The only hassle was that they continually asked about all the violent incidents that we have encountered as Ankara football fans. We, of course, explained that it is more dangerous going out anywhere in London on a Saturday night than it is to go to a football match in Ankara but still they persisted.

The two of them had to go off to the airport and thus couldn't actually come to the match to see what it is really like but they did leave behind a couple of DVDs of their company's previous work.

"The Real Football Factories" is their franchise and lets just say that it does not put football fans in a nice light. You can check out one of their shows here

Trainspotting Kanka had already warned me not to have anything to do with this lot, and having seen the DVDs and the website above I can't agree more.

In other words, if you are contacted by ZigZag productions in the next few days or weeks, steer well clear. Their aim is to paint us Gencler and Ankaragucu fans with mud.

I've also posted this advice on various Ankaragucu and Genclerbirligi forums.

Having said all that, their "The Real Football Factories: Scotland" does have some interesting Hibs stuff :) But by God where on earth did they they find that presenter


  1. There is one good way to get Eski Kanka's back up, and that is to mention the word... Football Hooligan in the same sentence.

    Having been involved in footie all my life as a player, Class 1 referee and coach, I resent the 2 words being linked.

    The stark fact is that they are not !

    Football is the most popular spectator sport in the world and a sport played and enjoyed by millions.

    A Hooligan is a person who likes to make trouble and fight for no particular reason !

    The fact that some hooligans choose to display their gang warfare at footie matches is not only unfortunate, but a disease, especially for any innocents caught up in the fray.

    If The Real Footie Factory return to Ankara I will be more than happy to speak to them about football in general and make comparisons of style and supporters between our 2 countries.

    However, discussing hooliganism is a subject best left in the hands of the Police and Criminologists !!

  2. Anonymous3:27 pm

    I suppose you have to be careful with TV people, but also you must remember that there are many other sources from which they can get information on the decline of football violence in Turkey. Whilst you also say hooliganism and football aren't related, i believe that it is no coincidence that these violent elements use football as a screen for their actions, which in many respects creates a strong bond between hooliganism and football, and one which can not be simply overlooked because you like myself are a geniune peace loving football fan. Just because many of those who watch football aren't hooligans doesn't mean there is no link.

    In addition to this it is probably a good thing for the show to be made and genuine fans like yourselves to help in the making. Because if my knowledge of Turkish football is correct the street fighting which used to occur in Istanbul has slowly been eroded by good efficient policing, which if the show aims to be factually correct it will uncover. This in itself will remove the stigma that Turkish football has.

    Also if my knowledge of British tv is correct Bravo is the channel which those who percieve Turkish football most incorrectly watch. Therefore to chronicle the decline of football violence in Turkey would be a worthy cause.

    Also having seen the clips at Bravos website I think that there is no glorification of the violence. In addition it does show quite rightly that the situation in the UK has subsided and that for those formerly involved all they have left is nostalgia and regret. They seem to work as historical chronicles of what most sociologists believe to be a social movement. As such they are very useful.

    So whilst as a young football fan I can agree with your concern about violence being linked to football, I believe it would be wrong to simply dismiss hooliganism as anything to do with football when it clearly is, and any programme which attempts to understand this unique social movement, which occurs universally across the world at football matches, should be encouraged. TO simply sweep it under the carpet fails to present the true successes I know the police have achieved.

    I think it is wrong to be so gung ho in condemnation

  3. Anonymous3:44 pm

    It saddens me to find that in this free world the truth is still censored, I thought Turkey had learnt its lessons. In viewing the link to the Real Football Factory I understand that the aim of the programme was to explore those people that cause the violence at these matches, why didn't you? The so called hooligans that appeared on the show where 'crazy people' that explained their love of the violence in the sport, wasn't it?

    If you actually watch the whole series as I did it is a documentation of what has happened in the UK and is still going on in the UK, this is by far, a means to tarnish the English Clubs, England or its supporters. It is a realistic and true representation of a violent society that actually exists in a democratic & non-nationalist country. I think you are being a little over protective of our country; don’t forget this show was in fact originally made about the UK teams for the UK people.

    In all honesty and as the world knows it, violence in Football has its presence (in a lot of countries and Turkey happens to be one of them) and this needs to be exposed so people understand why it happens and whats being done about it.

    As I remember clearly there has been the Leeds stabbings and the Arsenal 2000 street battles in Copenhagen that in fact has given our country a bad image to the UK press. I think you are too quick to dismiss a programme that is probably trying for the first time ever to give our people a voice. You are obliviously not Turkish so you really cannot understand what it is like travelling from place to place and having 'Leeds' thrown in your face. Ankara is our Capital city why should the Istanbul teams always be recognised; Ankara and the Ankara teams are just as important and need exposure. My opinion to everyone is watch the films with an open mind and have your own opinions do not be influenced by this blog, I believe these journalist that came to Turkey want to explore the truth of the country and correct me if I am wrong and only Turkish people can understand this, the truth is 'we are proud of our flag, of our people, of our ways, of our life, Yes we are different but that is the beautiful of our country and culture. Yes we are passionate, yes we get excited at football matches and yes there are times where we are violent and rude to each other, but that is because when we enter the stadium Politics and religion ends at the doors all there is football, and your team is the best!' I am not a hooligan, I am a passionate supporter of the country and the team, and I feel you may have just ruined an opportunity for 65 million Turkish people to finally reveal the truth about our great country and sport.

    You must have a non Turkish passport, and a very good job that pays you well in Turkey, you have probably never been hassled. You go and live in the real people’s shoes and you will see what life is really like. This is what makes me angry when foreigners who come to our country and live here think its there duty to be our voice. I say to the real football factory people come to Ankara again and find the real Turkish people that will tell you how it is. I will expose this now... yes, there is violence at football matches but along with that is the Policing that happens!! And that is how much Turkey has changed from the Leeds and Copenhagen incidents. At every football match now you are searched before you enter the stands and you are not allowed to take any loose change into the stadium in case you want to use it as a weapon. Come to Turkey again and hear the real stories

  4. Dear anonymous. Thank you for leaving your very well thought out comments.

    Just to address a couple of points you have brought up we co-operated with the TV producers because we thought it was fantastic that a foreign TV programme was going to give some time to the Ankara teams, something which the Turkish media so often refuses to bother.

    We were genuinely excited and ready to help. It was clear that any look at Turkish football would involve the various violent acts that have occured and which continue to occur here. What we were hoping was that it would also look other aspects of Turkish football that make being a football fan in Turkey so much fun and sometimes so frustrating.

    But we decided not to get involved with the film after meeting people from the company, who were genuinely nice people but who consistantly asked about violence, and after seeing the DVDs of a couple of the programmes

    While you may be right in saying it does not glorify violence, it certainly revels in it. The choice of a presenter who had previously played the role of a hooligan in the film of the same name is also of questionable taste.

    It was for these reasons that we decided not to continue helping the makers of the television show and why we decided to tell others of why we will not.

    As for censoring the truth accusation, I'm not really sure what you are talking about. We have not called on the show to be banned, just warned others why we have decided not to get involved.

    You are right that many of us hold non-Turkish passports but we live in Turkey. Are we not entitled to an opinion? In any case, I'm not sure that we have become self-appointed defenders of Turkey. Some things about this country we love, some we hate, just the same as what we think of our former homes. On this blog we are merely stating our opinions.

    You say that you hope the TV show will come to Ankara. Chances are they still will and if you want to help them out I suggest you get in contact with them.

    Again though, thank you for posting here. We may be in disagreement on this particular matter but I hope we part as friends.

  5. Actually, having re-read the comments I guess that our two anoymous's are in fact different people. But my thoughts are the same.

  6. Just to add a few more thoughts.... I have watched the Football Factories DVDs and found them very interesting and informative (sometime scary !!).

    I learned a lot from them ! Having supported Hibs and Ankaragucu for MANY years, I thought I knew everything about footie, but..... you live and learn, as they say.

    The business about dress code for example was a new one on me. I don't normally go to Hibs matches wearing Hibs tops, but.... now I will !!!

    Having listed to the leader of the Burnley Suicide Squad.... ahem..... well.... I don't think I'll be going to that away match if Hibs or Ankaragucu ever play against them in Yooro footie !!!

    To Anonymous I would repeat that we are mere footie fans who love the round ball. The subject of violence has never been in our pre-match or post-match discussions. We are not, repeat NOT, interested in the subject of hooligans.

    We usually talk about footie tactics, footie players personalities, good points, bad points, managerial comings and goings, aspirations, ups and downs, etc.

    The subject of hooliganism is now closed as far as I'm concerned !!

  7. Anonymous2:44 pm

    Didn't the 'Zulu Warriors' have a team in the RLC Darts league a few years ago? ;-)

  8. Not sure Jason. I'm not as old as Sir Eski Kanka

  9. Welcome to the blog Taffy Bach Kanka Jason.

    Your memory is better than your darts standard !

    Yes, there was a team called the Zulu Warriors and they tried to arrange my transfer from 06 Ankara. However, I told them that they would need to have a name change before I could agree to the transfer.

    By the way, they tried to bully their way to the league title but 06 Ankara's skill told in the end and their team folded !!!

    Brain before Brawn !!