Monday, December 31, 2007

No Christmas Cheers for Hibs

Nothing very cheery round Easter Road at the moment as Hibs bad run of results continues.

Away defeats to Aberdeen (3-1), Inverness (2-0) and Kilmarnock (2-1) came either side of two draws against Celtic (1-1) and Falkirk (1-1). Out of these games the only one that saw Hibs play to their potential was the match against Celtic.

Hibs next match has been cancelled due to the death of a Motherwell player during their game on Saturday. Phil O'Donnell started his career with Motherwell before signing for Celtic, he then spent a few years with Sheffield Wednesday before returning to Motherwell this season. There have been loads of tributes from all in Scottish football and he will be missed by all.

Hibbee Kanka



Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

An olde funny shaped ball photo from last month with Cherry Kanka Rob and Eski Kanka Jim showing how diverse our sporting lives and interests can be !! Incidentally, Gloucester were lucky on this occasion by narrowly defeating Ulster in the 1st half before Ulster finally woke up and had Gloucester hanging on for a narrow victory.

Let's hope that 2008 can bring some success to the footie teams in Turkey's First City, Ankara, and the only two teams that matter !

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

The details for the next 2 rounds of the Turkish Cup have been announced.

Saturday 5 January KO 1.30pm - Ankaraspor v ANKARAGUCU

Sunday 6 January KO 1.30pm - Gencler v Manisa

Wednesday 9 January KO 1.30pm - Kirikkale v Gencler

At this time, I am not sure if we will be going out to `The Stadium from Hell` on the 5th of January. Maniac Kanka and I will be working, but if anyone is going then please let me know so that we can tie up travel arrangements.

Oz Kanka or Flying Dutchman Kanka will probably send out details of meeting arrangements for the match on the 6th of January nearer the time.

Details of `The Big One` between ANKARAGUCU and Sekiztrash (provisionally scheduled for 16 January) will be given when KO time and date have been confirmed.

Koooopayeaaaaa Kooooopayeaaaaa ANKARAGUCU Koooopayeaaaaaaaa !!!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

We get read

Every now and then this blog actually gets read by someone out there in the wide world of football. In the last few days that someone was a supporter of Sydney FC who then posted my report on their loss to Perth.

The comments afterwards are interesting to read... a few complementary, a few questioning my judgement. Still, fun stuff, and then on page 2 of the comments it just gets bizarre with the following photo posted.

Check it all out at:

First page of comments

Second page of comments

Friday, December 28, 2007


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Firstly, my apologies to all those who were unable to attend our party on Boxing Day. However, as I said, it was an impromptu affair which was arranged by telephone same day !

The three `stalwarts` attended - Maniac Kanka Harun, Battle Damaged Kanka Damon and Eski Kanka Jim.

We met in The Cappadokia Bar for an exchange of Christmas presents. Eski Kanka received the new ANKARAGUCU all yellow top from Maniac Kanka - my wife started to call me a `canary` when she saw it, that was until I explained the meaning of this in Turkey !!

Maniac Kanka received two Scotland tops from Eski Kanka. One had a Lion rampant motif and the other the Scottish Saltire (the Saint Andrew's Cross of the Scottish flag). Two happy kankas !

What about Battle Damaged Kanka who was almost in tears having apparently been forgotten in all the festivities ?!

Well, knowing how much effort Battle Damaged Kanka puts into his dress code (you know his fetish for gloves !!!), Eski Kanka offered him his new black and green Hibernian gloves. However, this kind offer was rejected on the grounds that he might be mistaken for a Denizli supporter ! A poor excuse me thinks !

So, I have decided to get him a new up-to-date ANKARAGUCU scarf NEXT Christmas !! He could be mistaken for a Fenerbahce supporter in the one he is wearing at present. Shock Horror !!!

We then decampted to a new pub on the same street which has recently opened. No ordinary pub this one !

The name is `Lacivert` and it is run by some of the guys from the infamous ANKARAGUCU group Anti-X.

`Lacivert` may well become a new meeting place if you all agree ?!

The Kankies in particular will be happier in `Lacivert` I reckon. It has TWO real, clean, sweet smelling toilets and one of them is for ladies !

Eski Kanka is particulary happy with it for 2 reasons.....

1. It is an EFES pub !! and..... 2. The music is modern and none of the weirdo modern jazz rubbish served up in the Cappadokia !!

There was also lots of singing going on between the kankas and the Anti-X boys. We may have been outnumbered, but we were not outsung ! Another important point is that Battle Damaged Kanka's repertoire of ANKARAGUCU songs is now pretty impressive !

So, we poured ourselves out of there...... late....... a wee bit under the influence ! Who said that Tuborg was stronger than EFES ? Maniac, defo not !!!

Roll on the 6th of January and Turkish Cup footie yesssssss.

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Further to the ANKARAGUCU v Kayseri report on last Saturday's match, you will recall that I mentioned that Serkan received `lots of stick` from the Gecikondu Boys after Kayseri equalised.

Well, Maniac Kanka informed me that after we had left the Stadium at the end of the match and while Kirita was still doing his `lap of honour`, the Gecikondu Boys wouldn't leave the Stadium until the whole team reappeared to be applauded.

Serkan was with the team and was in tears. He was called to the fence to speak to the leader of Gecikondu and he apologised for his mistake the week before against Sekiztrash. He also explained that the goal conceded against Kayseri was also down to the defence (I totally agree with him on that as I explained in my match report).

Well..... a few more tears were shed and lots of kisses exchanged and the Gecikondu Boys started singing his name again....... Serrrrrkaaaan..... Serrrrrkaaaaan !! Not a dry eye in the Stadium !!!

A happy ending to the story ? Perhaps. We shall see who plays in goal in the Cup match in a few weeks time against Ankaraspor !!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

An all time first for Hurriyet this morning when they mentioned some news of an Ankara footie team in their main sports section. Life if full of surprises !

It has now been officially confirmed that Ahmet Dursun and Mustafa Ozkan are on their way out of ANKARAGUCU. About bloody time me says ! I think both will qualify for their free bus passes !!!

I know Battle Damaged Kanka is an admirer of Mustafa, but he never impressed me in all the matches in which I have seen him in the Blue and Yellow. I honestly believe that even I could beat him to the finishing line of a 200 yards sprint !!!

Ahmet Dursun never really settled down in Antalyaspor or ANKARAGUCU after he left Sekiztrash, and he never delivered on the midfield general's role which he was supposed to assume after the departure of Ceyhun.

Coming in, we have Kaba Diawara which was reported on this Blog a few weeks ago. Also, a Lithuanian stopper, Gediminas Paulauskas. Never heard of him, but we shall see how he shapes up in January. If he does the biz alongside ElYasa and DaSilva, then perhaps it will allow Kirita to move into midfield where he will be more useful and creative for the team.

I also think that it is time for Gencler to plunge into the transfer market. Over to you Mr Cavcav !! The alarm bells are sounding !!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Monday, December 24, 2007

Not even a red card can save us

Not much from me this week as I just cannot be bothered. Part of that is because the weather is too nice were I am and the second being that Genclerbirligi are playing like complete idiots.

Sivasspor 2 - 0 Genclerbirligi

Sivas are flying high at the moment they have played well all season and are now atop the league table (which hopefully I'll get updated soon) and so a match away to them was never going to be easy. No surprise then when Sivas went 1-0 up after just eight minutes.

But then we were given a lifeline in the form of one of their players being sent off in the 36th minute.

But what do we do... nothing. And then just towards the end we concede another.

Dear, oh bloody dear.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

After being served lots of helpings of disappointment during the past few years, I suppose it is not a bad record for ANKARAGUCU to boast an undefeated home record in the League and Cup at the half-way stage. Tucked comfortably into 8th position in the league this morning only 3 points behind 5th placed Kayseri gives hope for the 2nd half of the season. Yesterday……

ANKARAGUCU 1 Kayserispor 1

On a crispy cold Anatolian December afternoon, Eski Kanka was first into the Chopin Bar for tuzlu fistik (salted peanuts) washed down with luvvlie luvvlie EFES ! Joining him soon after was Dan the Man (Kirita’s buddy) and the 3 Yanks (Giant Doug who plays darts for Those Damn Yanks in the Red Lion Club League, Mini Doug and Jeff). Latecomers were Kaleci Kanka Tansu and Oz Kanka’s old OZ buddy Jason visiting from Istan…spit…bul (a closet Gencler fan !).

Where was Maniac Kanka and Battle Damaged Kanka I can hear you all asking ? Well, firstly, Maniac phoned in `sick` with a toothache !! This being unacceptable to Eski Kanka, I left him to ponder some words of wisdom…..

Pain is nothing…….. ANKARAGUCU is everything !!!

Surprise surprise…. It did the trick !! He was waiting at the Stadium with his entourage, Yankee Kanka and Rip Off Kanka !

As far as Battle Damaged Kanka is concerned let’s just use the expression……

He’s a `Light Man` ...... and wait for his response !!!

Kirita led the team out again to the usual chorus of lie..lie…lie…lie… lie …lie … lie…. Ankaragoooooooogooooo ! It seems as though Club Captain Emre will be leaving the Club soon and so Kirita may well be installed as the new Club Captain. Good news ! From what I saw yesterday he is doing a fine job in the motivation department and he seems to have settled quite well into his new position as sweeper/stopper !

The referee, Mr Simsek, lived up to `his name` and gave Kirita an early Christmas present after only one minute of the match gone. First tackle of the match – Kirita went in hard but it was an innocuous looking tackle and whoooosh…. out came a yellow card in `Lightning` fashion !!

Kayseri is not the type of team to play defensively and so that’s the way it was yesterday. End to end stuff, but Kayseri’s attacks were breaking down more often than not and Serkan was never seriously troubled in the 1st half. However, their close passing game in midfield was pretty nice to watch, even if it was breaking down.

15 minutes into the match and the impressive Murat Dueuer took the ball down the left wing, avoiding a few tackles on the way to the corner flag. He looked up, saw the incoming Bebbe, fired in an inch perfect cross for Bebbe to bullet a header in for the opening goal. The cheer went up…….. Olay Olay Olay…. etc etc and BehBeh, BehBeh, and we were all in party mood.

Jaba was having `one of these days` again. Put through a few times, he either lost his footing, was out-jumped (not difficult), or out-thought. Kayseri’s defence was dealing comfortably with him. The sooner Diawara comes into the reckoning for a place up front the better !!!

Kirita, ElYasa and Da Silva were looking good at the back and I was dreaming of 3 points !

Half-time came and went, and sad to say, (using the old cliché…. it was a game of two halves !!) the match degenerated into a hoofing it up in the air affair. Jason compared it to an Aussie Rules Footie match !! I was screaming at ANKARAGUCU to play footie, and to use Murat’s speed down the wings, but nobody was listening to me !!!

10 minutes to go and we were hanging on, but then it happened ! A Kayseri attack and the ball was swung in from the right wing. With 3 Kayseri attackers in the box, they decided to play `ping-pong` heading the ball to each other. Serkan and the ANKARAGUCU defence did everthing but applaud as they stood mesmerised admiring their skill. Thank you very much said Toledo as he headed into an empty net to equalise !

Eski Kanka had his head in his hands (in tears) and then the cries of derision rang out from Gecikondu towards Serkan (they still haven’t forgiven him for his `howler` last week !). Serkan was clearly upset, but all credit to him for pointing to his ANKARAGUCU badge on his shirt and kissing it ! However, it may well be time to bring Zafer off the bench and give Serkan some respite from the Gecikondu boys ?!

Into time added on, and it was all ANKARAGUCU as Kirita drove them forward looking for the winner. He took a free kick which was scrambled away in a panic, only for another to be given a few yards closer to the penatly area line. Up steps Kirita and what a screamer. Up we all jumped shouting…… `Goal`…… only to see the ball come ricochetting back off the upright. Shit !! It would have been a cracker of a finish if it had gone in !

On the subject of Kirita, he is now becoming a `cult figure` in much the same way as Yilmaz was a few years ago. The fans love a player who not only plays with skill, but also with his heart !

So, off to The Cappadokia Bar for some more amber nectar and Belpinar Kofte……. ….mmmmm…. yummy and scrummy !

Time also to watch Hibs ALMOST beat Celtic live on TV, but that is probably another story from Hibbie Kanka ?!

As I said, the league winter break is now upon us. However, we still have Cup footie to look forward to in January –

6th - Ankaraspor v ANKARAGUCU
Gencler v Manisa

9th - Kirikkale v Gencler

16th - ANKARAGUCU v Sekiztrash
Gencler v Adana Demir

23rd - Rize v ANKARAGUCU
Trabzon v Gencler

A Happy New Year to all my readers for 2008.

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Blog problems

For some reason I'm unable to update the upcoming matches on the right of this post. I blame Google Australia... So... here are this week's matches.

Ankaragucu v Kayserispor
Saturday 2pm
At the 19 Mayis Stadium

Sivas v Genclerbirligi
Sunday 3:30 pm
In Sivas

I hope heaps of yo lot will be able to make it for Ankaragucu's last home match of the first half of the season. As for me... I'll be on the beach....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

They say that when you copy the actions of others it can be referred to as the best form of flattery. Well, it seems that ANKARAGUCU’s Gecikondu Boys are copying the Kankarlar Group !

As everyone is well aware, our group is famous for the beautiful babes who are part of our group, and I’m not just referring to Mountaineering Kanka’s `Bilkent Babes` who have joined us recently. We can boast the most beautiful ladies of any of the ANKARAGUCU or Gencler groups. They are too numerous to name, but you all know exactly who I am referring to !!

So, it was with surprise and a smirk on my face this morning when I opened the Ankara Section of Hurriyet (Page 2) and saw the Gecikondu Boys photographed in the Stadium with 3 beautiful babes in the front all decked out in ANKARAGUCU kit.

So, as I said, where we lead……. others follow !!!

Another first for The Kankalar Group. What next ? Keep watching this space because there will always be surprises around the corner ! Our group is full of innovation, real characters, and some would say…… crazy guys !!

See you ALL on Saturday at The Chopin Bar.

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Monday, December 17, 2007


Greetings Kankas and Kankies

There was no Christmas Cheer flowing in Istanbul last night, but we made up for it in The Cappadokia Bar !!

Besiktas 3 ANKARAGUCU 1

Maniac Kanka, Battle Damaged Kanka and I were settled down to watch the pre-match hype and were joined by the `shivering` Gencler Kankas on their return from the Stadium where Gencler were unluckily undone by Lighthousegarden.

Flying Dutchman Kanka and his beautiful lady Legal Kankie Saadet, Alpine Kanka and Mini Alpine Kanka. Alpine Kanka Wolfgang won the award of the Best Dressed Man with his outfit of Gencler Top and Ankaragucu scarf !!

Club Captain Emre was an absentee from the team and so the captain’s armband was worn by Kirita. A sensible choice in view of his experience of captaining Dinamo Bucharest a few years ago.

The match kicked off and both teams came out of their starting blocks like an express train ! Lots of chances were being created with both teams committed to attack and ANKARAGUCU went close a few times with counter attacks. However, both goalkeepers were in fine form and were putting up the shutters. It was breathless stuff from both teams.

It continued at this fast pace until 10 minutes from the break and I was beginning to think of going in at 0-0 and the posibility of Hakan Kutlu devising a change of tactics to 4-3-3, when….. it happened. Another fast break from defence by Besiktas with the ANKARAGUCU defence on back-pedal and Tello stabbed in the opening goal.

I suppose it was inevitable that a goal would come from one of the teams with both teams committed to attack, but unfortunately the wrong team scored ! Kirita was having a great game in defence and it was a sore goal to concede with the ANKARAGUCU defence having dealt with everything that Besiktas threw at them.

The goal must have dealt a blow to ANKARAGUCU’s confidence and Besiktas took control for the last 10 minutes of the half with ANKARAGUCU on the back foot and content to ride the match out until the half time whistle. However, Besiktas put the sword in just on the half time whistle with another excellent goal from Serdar.

Doom and gloom in The Cappadokia, but the amber nectar was flowing and yours truly livened things up with some half time singing of ANKARAGUCU songs to put some smiles back on the kankas faces !! Eski Kanka is not renowed for his singing voice !!

ANKARAGUCU came out for the 2nd half in the same formation, ie, 4-4-2 much to my disgust, but the smiles were back on the faces when Bebbe headed in a great goal 10 minutes into the 2nd half to give us some hope of a final onslaught for an equaliser.

It has to be said that Bebbe was his usual self this week with lots of running up front and tracking back to help out the defence. However, Jaba will not want to remember this match after missing at least 2 great chances to put the ball in the net.

Then disaster. Half was through the 2nd half, a long speculative shot from Delgado which under normal circumstances would have been `bread and butter` for Serkan and……. Goal ! Serkan had misjudged the flight of the ball, dived too early, and the ball went sailing into the net above his body ! OK, mistakes will be made, but this one was a real howler !!

All credit to ANKARAGUCU for the remainder of the match for chasing the 2nd goal. Their heads never went down, and also all credit to Kirita for continuing to motivate the players to greater efforts.

Lots of positives to take from this match which we will need for the visit of a strong Kayseri team next Saturday. If ANKARAGUCU can play for `90 Minutes` against Besiktas then the same must be said for the Kayseri match !!

With only 1 match remaining till the winter break the standings are –

Galatasaray 35
Sivas 34
F’bahce 34
Besiktas 31

ANKARAGUCU is in 8th position on 22 points.
Genclerbirligi is still 3rd bottom on 14 points.

Still much work to be done after the winter break if the UEFA Cup dream is to be realised. However, Gencler will have other matters on their mind, ie, mid-table security !

Meeting at the Chopin Bar next Saturday at 11.30am. Maniac Kanka and I will definitely be there !!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Sunday, December 16, 2007

So who actually got to use my season ticket

I was thinking how I could write a cool post about me heading off to a Turkish restaurant in Auburn, Sydney, to watch the Genclerbirligi - Fenerbahce match where I would call all the emigrants from Ankara traitors for supporting an Istanbul team but in the end it proved to be too late at night (the match kicked off at 12:30 a.m.) and I had had too much to drink anyway.

So instead I found a TRT radio feed on my mum's computer and was jumping up and down when Genclerbirligi went ahead in the ninth minute thanks to a goal from Burhan.

Actually I thought Burhan must have missed because the radio announcer announced the goal in the sort of way that Turkish commentators react to goals scored by the Milli takim's opponents. Admittedly he didn't say "maalesef gol", nor were there many "touch bizim"s but it is still pretty clear which team the announcer is supporting tonight.

The rest of the first half was a bit of a blur for me but I think we had a couple more chances.

Still, 1-0 up at half time and I'm feeling slightly optimistic.

The time here is 1:30 a.m. and I'll be back again for the second half soon, as long as I don't collapse. Hopefully my final report (pending some lines I'm expecting from one of the kankas at the match) will be as upbeat as this one.

Second Half

Sorry about this, but I'm dieing here. Even though Genclerbirligi seem to be attacking again I simply cannot stay awake. And so I must go to bed. I know what I'll be dreaming for tonight.

Sir Eski Kanka, if you see this please at least edit this piece and put the final score here.

Not quite asleep

Well, actually I didn't crash... but there is no way I can describe what happened. My brain is just not working.

Oh shit. Fener have scored. 1-1 with about 25 minutes left.

Off to bed

86th minute: Fener go ahead. 1-2

Nick Carle comes on... about time!

"Pip, pip, pip" and that's it, Fener win it. How bloody depressing.

Actually if you want a better report, and you really can't get much worse, I suggest you head off to Nathan's Fenerbahce Worldwide site where I'm sure there will be a post up soonish. Or wait for one of the kankas who actually went to the match to give their report.

Good night.

This is how fans are supposed to be treated

For not spending enough time with the family my wife sentenced me to one-month's transportation to the colonies and so she wasn't impressed when I decided to spend my second night downunder at the football.

My excuse was that I was spending time with the family, namely my brother.

So after spending a day pottering around Sydney harbour and getting strange looks for carrying a Genclerbirligi scarf on a bloody hot day my brother and I met up at a pub and headed off for the Sydney Football Stadium.

Sydney 2 - 4 Perth

Now this was how football fans are supposed to be treated. A crowd of 12,000 were policed by about 20 officers and most of those were dealing with stopping traffic so we could cross the road.

Getting in composed of opening my camera bag so they could check to see if I was smuggling beer into the match. Outside the ground Sydney FC were doing a roaring trade in scarves, shirts and other paraphernalia. Just inside the kiddies were being entertained trying to score goals against some bloke dressed in a mascot uniform.

It was then through the gates, a quick barcode check and we were in. Actually inside the stadium my brother didn't have money so he found an automatic teller machine, we then lined up and within a minute we were served our beers and then down to our seats.

It certainly was a pleasure to be treated as a "guest" and not as a potential hooligan.

As for the football, Perth started up well but it wasn't until almost before half-time when they scored. And then a minute later extended their lead to 2-0. I thought this might have silenced the local fans but no, just lie the fans back in Turkey the hard-core supporters behind the goal, "The Cove" continued singing away.

Second-half, a meat pie and more beers in, and Sydney clawed one back, before bottom of the table Perth went crazy again, with the match ending 2-4, boos from the crowd but no calls for the management to resign.

I was impressed with the quality of football, the individual skills on show were pretty good and clearly going by the scoreline they know how to score goals. One deficiency I noticed though was a reluctance to go in hard in tackles. The referee hardly had to blow his whistle at all.

"The Cove" singing all match was impressive, including their version of Ankaragucu's "ole ole ole". The only hassle being that the main section, where we were seated, was extremely quiet. What they need is a few "amigos" to get the crowd singing.

One thing that was similar to games in Ankara was the handful of away supporters at the match, excusable really as Perth is a four-hour flight from Sydney.

All up a great night which was capped by my brother and I then heading off to check out whether the beer still tasted the same at various pubs that I used to haunt in my university days.

If you cannot see the above video just check out the blog a bit later. Youtube are currently processing the video, whatever that means.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Good news...... for a change !!

The Hurriyet reported today that Kaba Diawara is joining ANKARAGUCU. However, we in The Round Ball in Ankara knew about it on Monday night but we delayed reporting it to give the Hurriyet their `scoop` !!

Kirita received a phone call from Diawara on Monday night during the interview with the news ! They are old buddies from their Gaziantep playing days, and also Diawara is a buddy of Bebbe.

Diawara is a `big name` and he will be welcomed here in the same way as Kirita was. He is much travelled, having played for PSG, Marsilya, Arsenal, Blackburn and recently Gaziantep. I'm sure Bebbe is also as overjoyed as I am now that he has another partner to share the striking role up front.

So, a message for Cemal Aydin and Hakan Kutlu from Eski Kanka......

`Will you now start playing 4-3-3 with Diawara, Bebbe and Jaba up front pleeeeeeeezzzzzz !!!

Let's make teams `frightened` to come to 19 Mayis Stadium and also let's attack teams when we go `away` !!

Welcome to Ankara ...... Diawara !

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Time to ask some questions... no matter how lame

First up, some definitions:
RBIA: The Round Ball in Ankara
Kirita: Stelian Kirita, midfielder for Anakargucu

I'm sure you can figure the rest out.

The Scene: The Red Lion Club, Monday Jan. 10, 2007.

RBIA: Can we get you a drink?

Kirita: A diet coke thanks.

RBIA: In the Turkish press, sometimes your name is spelt Kirita, other times it is spelt Krita. What the hell is the right spelling?

Kirita: With an I.

RBIA: So Sir Eski Kanka Jim wins and Damon is wrong!

Battle-Damaged Kanka Damon: I was only going by the Ankaragucu website!,

RBIA: Will you lot shut up! So, Mr. Kirita, the Ankaragucu site is wrong. The proper spelling is Kirita (there are lots of weird Romanian accents on letters by the way).

Eski Kanka Jim: So what do the players call out when you are playing?

Kirita: Kirita, Kirita.

RBIA: Can we now end the conversation on how the hell we spell this guys' name?

RBIA: For the last two years you were in Gaziantep, how would you compare the two cities?

Kirata: No you cannot compare. It is unbelievable. The Ankaragucu supporters are amazing. The way they go up and down and ...

RBIA: Sure... I've got the idea... When you look at the leagues, the Romanian and Turkish leagues, which would you consider the toughest?

Kirata: I was at Dynamo Bucherest. The Turkish league is different... here you have to be strong. If you are not strong you are out. In Romania (where he was capped 12 times) it is a little bit slower. Here you must run, you must fight. It is not so easy to play here. I think that in England or Spain it is much easier to play.

How did you come to Turkey?

(Much misunderstanding) and then -

Kirata : The coach of Samsun, he was the Romanian coach. He liked me and he said to me "Kirita do you want to play in Turkey?"And I said "why not". I had played for Dynamo for seven years...

RBIA: And how exactly do you approach each match? (did I really ask such a lame question?)

"I played agressive in Samsun, in Gaziantep and in Ankaragucu. In Romania I'm more agressive than this. Over there I was captain and over there you must play like a leader..."

"When I'm outside the game I like to make many jokes. I like to have fun... but when I'm in the game ... finished... there are no friends".

"All I do is I try to be professional and then I go home".

RBIA: How long do you plan on staying at Ankaragucu for?

Kirata: I don't know.

RBIA: How long is your contract?

Kirata: I'm contracted for two years (ie one year after this season).

RBIA: So what of the future... Who would you like to play for?

Kirata: Of course, an Istanbul team... Fenerbahce.

RBIA: My Turkish is rubbish but how do you survive at Ankaragucu with your Turkish? For example at half-time how do you talk to the coach?

Kirata: I talk to him in Turkish. Not very, very well, not 100 percent. But 70 percent I understand.

RBIA: In regards to Ankara: What is the best and worst thing about Ankara?

Kirata: Everything is fine with Ankara. I have nothing to say. Everything for me is perfect. I'm a professional football player. Come to Romania and you will see... Then it is time to drink... to smoke

Alpine Kanka Wolfgang: Do you think you will play at the European Championsips in Austria?

Kirata: I don't know. It will be difficult.

RBAI: Okay sure, but who would win in a fight between a tiger and lion?

Kirata: Because of my tattoo I very much like tigers. But because I like tigers I think lions will win.

RBAI: Ahhh... right... What was the last CD you bought?

Kirata: The last CD I bought?

RBAI: As I said, this is a real football interview.

Kirata: DMX, I'm sure you don't know it.

RBAI: I guess I'll have to google it. Hip hop you say. I'll have to take your word for it.

RBAI: Cheese or chocolate?

Kirata: (emphatically) Chocolate.

RBAI: Monica Bârlădeanu or Sabina Cojocar

Kirata: (with no hesitation at all) Monica Bârlădeanu.

RBIA: You are prime minister of Turkey, what is the first thing you will do?


And so ends the formal interview... which wasn't all that formal at all. Kirita was one hell of a cool bloke who we wish all the best in the future.

And then the questions that should have been asked... were asked, well sort of.

RBIA: From what I understand in regard to Briegal being sacked is that the chairman of the team was backing certain Turkish players at the club, against the coach. From where I come from the chairman always backs the coach in situations like this.

Kirita: In Turkey everything ,is possible, everything... I have seen everything...

Alpine Kanka: So what do you think of Turkish referees.

Kirita: Unbelievable! Unbelievable. Against us their have been many many many big mistakes... When you look at the English league you can see that the referee gives a warning "be carefull, next time you attack the man I'll give you yellow"... but in Turkey it is just .... "yellow". Jim then sprouted on about referee's infallibility for a while.

RBIA: So your advice to the young players such as the Alpine Kanka youth?

Kirita: Be serious, be tough... do not go half in. If you do you will lose. My Mother says, "go to work". I say,"shut up". I worked, worked, worked at football. I'm now very proud.

Oh God, Jim at this stage goes on about some sort of Wales match...

My tape finishes.

And so end an epic interview. I must say it was the most difficult of my life.

Thanks very much to Alpine Kanka Wolgang for sorting out the interview. And thanks to all those who contributed, Battle-Damaged Kanka Harun, to Rory and Vedat for taking photos. To everyone, well, it was hell.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

The following is the promised match report from Battle Damaged Kanka Damon......

Depression was not the only emotion that was felt Saturday at 19 May Stadium in chilly Ankara; Merthan's hand had the blue and yellow seeing red.

Although Kasımpaşa is the lowest ranked team in the league, given the way Gücü has been playing lately, I knew enough before the match to brace myself for anything. In turned out that "anything" was worse than I had been hoping for--but not as bad as it might have been.

The first half of the match our boys clearly did not have their hearts in it. The play was lacklustre at best with El-Yasa, Emre, Burak, Yasın, and Bebbe looking particularly bad. Mountaineering Kanka Robbie pointed out that one heading tactic used over and over again by Bebbe was actually never effective and resulted a hundred percent of the time in merely handing possession of the ball to our opponent's keeper. Mountaineering Kankie Judy, being less technically inclined, merely said that El-Yasa was playing as if he had been up late drinking the night before. (Eski Kanka's comment...... Ankaragucu players are model professionals and therefore abstain from drinking alcohol !!!).

Then at around the 16 minute mark, Faruk of Kasımpasa's free kick from the right found teammate Merthan coming in along the left side of the penalty box. Merthan then tucked the ball neatly into the right corner of the goal as our keeper Serkan was already moving to the left.

The question is what part of his body did Merthan use to do the tucking. I did not notice anything odd about the goal while watching the match from our position in Marathon, but the Gücü players immediately declared it to be a hand ball. Judging by some of the comments on Ankaragücü fansites, supporters of the team are majorly pissssssed offfff with the ref. Selçuk Dereli and his failure to notice the handling. Upon inspection of the video, it appears likely that it was indeed a hand ball, but I would prefer to leave the call to our very own Eski Kanka Jim who, owing to his former career as a referee, has much more experience with hand balls than do I (If you would like to judge for yourself, check out the video replay at Ankaragücülerin Sesi: . Regardless of whether the laws of the game were infringed or not, KP were up 0-1.

At the 22nd and the 30th minute marks Jaba attempted to equalize, but failed. A mere two minutes after Jaba's second attempt, Kasımpaşa's Özgür launched a hard shot off a pass from Yekta making it 0-2 going into half-time.

I was bracing myself for more of the same in the second half, but Alpine Kanka Wolfgang assured us that we would score three goals. During half-time I discussed strategy with both Alpine Kanka Wolfgang and Mountaineering Kanka Robbie while drinking tea graciously provided by Alpine Kanka. Wolfgang was convinced that Gücü needed to bring the ball up along the sides instead of only bringing it up the middle. Robbie felt that the major problem was that there was a gap between the forwards and the mid-field that was being effectively filled up by Kasımpaşa players.

I don't know what Hakan Kutlu said to the guys during half-time, but with the beginning of the second half, the team had rectified both of these problems, and it took a mere two minutes for Murat Erdoğan to capitalize on a loose ball in front of the Kasımpaşa goal to make the score 1-2. About 12 minutes later Mustafa took a shot which was punched away by Kasımpaşa keeper Tolga, and 16 minutes into the half Murat crossed the ball from the left into the penalty area where a waiting Jaba was able to head it in. The match was now tied up at 2-2. The big question was now whether Alpine Kanka's prediction would come true.

Let me save you the suspense (oh, wait there is no suspense. Jim already told you the score in yesterday's post.): Alpine Kanka had to be satisfied with his prediction being two-thirds correct. Yes, after being shown about twenty minutes of absolutely beautiful football by Ankaragücü, the level of play sunk back down, and despite two shots on goal by Jaba we had to be satisfied with a tie and one piddly little point. Given Beşiktaş's win over our brothers in Bursa, that puts us six points behind BJK going into our match this coming wknd. at the Eagle's nest. Let's wish our team the best of luck in Istanbul. Maybe we can pull a Liverpool on them.

Thanks Damon for another excellent report, even if it was all negative stuff from Ankaragucu for 70 minutes of the match !

Concerning the alledged `handball`, I have to repeat that, unlike cricket or the funny shaped ball games, the referee in footie doesn't have the luxury of a video replay facility. Therefore, for this reason, all the laws of the game are couched in his favour by stating....... `it will be a blah blah blah, if in the referee's opinion blah blah blah occurred`. I accept that it is difficult for the players and the punters like us to accept this, but the referee can only see incidents on the field of play from one angle and then he makes his call in a split second ! Also, if the Linesman happens to be on the other side of the field then he can only go on what he actually sees and not what the crowd or players are baying for !

As for Saturday's referee, Selcuk Dereli, I know him personally and can assure you all that as well as being an honest man, he is also one of Turkey's best referees on the FIFA list. I have a feeling that we shall be seeing more of him in high profile YooRo club and country matches in the future.

Sunday's match against Sekiztrash can't come quick enough for me. I remain optimistic in the belief that Ankaragucu always seem to raise their game for the big ones. Bring it on !

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Mid-winter blues

Just to give you a feeling for the atmosphere at the match... A couple of photos taken by Gencler fan Onur Aydogan which were posted on the Alkaralar website.

After last week's brilliant victory over Trabzonspor this week we had a clear opportunity to get out of the relegation zone but instead let our chances go by.

Istanbul BBS 0 - 0 Genclerbirligi

I listened to part of the match on the radio but with the scores at 0-0 near the end of the half I decided to head off with the rest of the family to some Christmas carols. It is some measure of how depressed I am with Genclerbirligi this season that I didn't urge the taxi driver to turn on the radio and nor did I rush home to find out the result.

Not many other people could be bothered with this match either. The radio announcer said he could count six (yes, six) fans at the match being played in the 80,000 capacity Beyaz Fil Olympic Stadium. Although he did admit that he could hear singing and that anyway the lower stands can't actually be seen from the radio booth.

Still, what the hell is the point of Istanbul BBS playing their games at an enormous stadium a million miles away from the heart of Istanbul.

Football-wise... well, no exciting goals to describe, no red cards, no fans... hiç, zip, nothin'.

One thing though it looks like Aussie Nicky Carle is on his way out. He is apparently looking for a transfer and hasn't played in the last two matches.

All is not looking good at Genclerbirligi. So it is lucky that we have an easy match next week at home... Versus Fenerbahce.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

On the face of it, a pretty depressing result against the bottom team in the league.....

ANKARAGUCU 2 Kasimpasa 2

and `depressing` is how it must have felt to the kankas in the Stadium at half time with ANKARAGUCU facing a mountain of depression and 0-2 down. Battle Damaged Kanka, Rip-Off Kanka, Mountaineering Kanka and Kankie were there, with a few other loyal souls. (Battle Damaged will give a full match report which will be added as an EDIT tomorrow).

However, it was not all doom and gloom with the 2nd half being ignited with 2 ANKARAGUCU goals from Battle Damaged Kanka's `Man of the Match`, Murat Erdogan, and he thinks it was Jaba who scored the 2nd (to be confirmed tomorrow).

Under normal circumstances, fighting back from 0-2 down would be hailed as an excellent result and I have to admit that my first reaction was relief that we didn't lose our undefeated home record. On reflection though, and in hindsight, it has to be said that it was 2 points lost for ANKARAGUCU and yet another step backwards in the UEFA Cup qualification scramble !

Meeting up in the Cappadokia post-match was Battle Damaged, Rip-Off, Maniac, Yankee and Eski Kankas and it was not a celebration meeting tonight ! All eyes were on next week's match against the hated Sekiztrash and the hope that we can raise our game and play for 90 minutes, and not for the 15 minutes in today's match which will be reported by Battle Damaged Kanka tomorrow !!!

Watch this space for his report. In the meantime, all the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Friday, December 07, 2007

Aberdeen 3-1 Hibs

Hibs turned in there worst performance of the season at Aberdeen last Sunday, despite taking an early lead they let Aberdeen draw level by half time and were then deservedly beaten in the second half.

After Aberdeens hard match against Athletico Madrid the previous midweek we all hoped Hibs would come out and play a fast high tempo game. Unfortunately it was Aberdeen who turned the tables on Hibs and out fought and outplayed Hibs.

A very depressing match to watch, lets hope Hibs perform better at Inverness this weekend.

A little bit of good news that was announced this week was that Hibs striker Steven Fletcher has signed an extension to his contract. He is now contracted till 2013 so when he goes Hibs should be in for another big pay day.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Greeting Kankas and Kankies.

Sometimes I wonder if ANKARAGUCU mirrors our lives ? Just when we think everything is `rosy` in the garden, along comes a swarm of locusts to spoil the pretty picture !

So, it transpired today when Eski Kanka's dream of UEFA Cup glory received a set-back in Konya.

Konyaspor 1 ANKARAGUCU 0

It is typical of the Ankara teams to flatter to deceive, but the least we could have expected today, taking into account the present form of both teams, was one point.

However, it proves yet again, if proof be needed, that you under-estimate the underdog at your peril !

When you consider that 2,000 ANKARAGUCU supporters made the journey to Konya (Maniac Kanka confirmed this) you can understand how much it means to the supporters to qualify for YooRo Footie (this writer is no exception) ! The supporters of ANKARAGUCU are `hungry` for success and beating teams like Konya (no disrespect to them !) is paramount to that aim. After all, don't we have a God given right as Turkey's 1st city to be in YooRo Footie?! (No answer is required to this question !!!).

So, what to do ? Good question !

I said in a post a few months ago that we had 7 matches which were `must win` matches. However, on only 3 have been won (Rize, Antep and Manisa) and 3 have been lost (OFTAS, Bursa and Konya). This is not the way forward ! The 7th is coming next weekend against Kasimpasa and dare we under-estimate them ?!

The solution is clear, as has been proved time and time again, we must WIN our home matches (which we have done) and take something from the away matches (which we have not). Simple philosophy me thinks !!

All is not lost ........ yet ! The acid test comes after the Winter Break when we must prove that we are good enough to represent Turkey !

If Maniac Kanka gives me more information about today's match I will post it as an EDIT. Battle Damaged Kanka sent me an email a few minutes ago to say that he listened to the match on the radio and that ANKARAGUCU missed a `sitter` in the dying minutes to tie the match up. I rest my case !!!

In the meantime, let's drown our sorrows in some luvvlie luvvle EFES and dream of picking up 3 points next week, and..... staying undefeated at home !

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

EDIT No 1.....

Maniac Kanka hasn't reported back to me because he is still nursing a hangover from last night's non-celebrations, and tonight he is back in The Cappadokia for more `medicine` !!

What I can say about the match though is that Konya scored in the 39th minute and the damage was done by olde Veysel (remember him from many travelled footie teams ??!!).

It is sad to report that the man of the match (according to Hurriyet) was the Konya goalie, Oguzhan, who was the only player to receive 8 points. Konya also had another 3 players on 7 points, but..... ANKARAGUCU could only manage 6 players on 6 and 5 players on 5. Seems to paint a picture me thinks ?!

Incidentally, the referee and his 2 assistants only scored 4 points. Perhaps they were being hosted after the match at one of the many pubs in Konya after the match ??!! No comment please !!!

So, with only one more match `away` before the winter break (to Sekiztash !!) it would appear that ANKARAGUCU's record of only winning ONE match `on the road` will follow them into the 2nd half of the league season. Don't shout too loud, but, it was in `The Stadium from Hell` !!!

OK, that's about it. Roll on next Saturday and the visit of bottom team, Kasimpasa. Will we be hearing rousing coruses of the `Olay Olay Olay` song me wonders ??!! Watch this space kankas !

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

About bloody time - A Genclerbirligi victory

Having paid the shit out of Turkish English-language newspapers for being slow with the news it is my duty to report the results as soon as they happen, as soon as the goals go in... ah... as soon as I get home.

Unfortunately, after tonight's match I went to the pub... and well.. I think you can guess the consequences. So here I am at 1:03 a.m. trying to write a report on Gencler's match tonight. Let's see what time I will finish, and how stupid I will seem. But first let me grab a another beer.

Bloody freezing in the capital of this great land can be the only excuse for various "fair weather" Kankas not showing up at the Chopin.

I had already assumed as such and so armoured myself with a copy of Radikal newspaper, got a beer and I was having a delightfully relaxing evening until Flying Dutchman Kanka showed up.

Now I always enjoy a conversation with FD Kanka but still had my eye on the door when a very strange fellow walked in.

Going by the yellow jacket and the tea-pot hat, this bloke could only be a foreigner. He walked in, walked out, and then a few minutes later walked in again. By the level of the bloke's Turkish it was clear he was a foreigner and after an awkward interlude he ended up sitting with us.

It turned out that Paul, and two of his mates, are on their way to the Beijing Olympics. In what is obviously a mission to see whether the human rights abuses of China stack up to those of various Turkic countries the three of them are bicycling their way to Beijing.

I once used buses when I went on a pub crawl from Sydney to Brisbane but these Irish blokes are clearly mad.

Whatever, Alpine Kanka joined us soon after and just as we were leaving the Chopin, Irish Bicycling Kanka Paul's mates showed up as well. Off to the stadium and finally on to the match.

Genclerbirligi 2 - 1 Trabzonspor

At the stadium was the usual rigmarole of convincing PC Plod that our Irish friends were not terrorists and that they were not planning on using the batteries of their cameras as projectile items. Luckily for all at the match the police did manage to confiscate a couple of coins and a pen from our Irish friends.

Match-wise.... oh dear.

The first few minutes were dire. Trabzon were passing well and looking dangerous but couldn't penetrate. As for Gencler's tactics, well let just say that the English style of "give a roost" was absolutely rubbish.

Mehmet Cakir though did get a good shot on which came off the post, but I'd say the run of play was Trabzon's, perhaps only just, when a bunch of Temels converged around the referee calling for a foul that never was. While Temel was arguing away Mehmet Cakir took a kick, it went over the attackers and defenders but found Burhan at the far post... he slotted it in. If the idiots from Trabzon had been defending instead of arguing they may well have stopped the goal from being scored. 1-0

Trabzon now went onto the attack. Luckily they couldn't find a way past Jesus in goal. I thought Jesus had a pretty good game although someone should tell him that at times he is allowed to pick up the ball.

Off to the loo at halftime and the riot police decided to frisk me again. Lucky I didn't have any illicit batteries on me.

Second half was fun, fun, fun, in the sun. There were no brilliant moments, just a succession of excellent attacking play by both sides.

Gencler were all over Trabzon for long, long periods. At the same time though we couldn't convert our advantage. Last passes were going astray and Cakir in particular was guilty of too many 40-yard strikes that were perfectly aimed -- if only he was an Aussie Rules player.

Then we had it. Hand ball in the box. Penalty to Gencler. Cakir steps up... and saved.

On we went though and after attack after attack we finally scored our second goal. As if in ignorance of all they had ever done together until this point Isaac Promise and Kahe worked well together, pass here, pass there and eventually Isaac was left with a simple push in to score. As I have always said, this is a simple game for simple people. 2-0

The simple people of Gencler seemed to be getting it right. A good 40 minutes to play and it was Gencler which made all the good moves. This was the best football I've seen them play for a long time. If it wasn't for a bit of bad-luck, a few billion miles away shots from Cakir and if only Engin had backed himself we could easily have scored another.

Then with about 20 minutes to go Temel sent a ball into the box which another Temel managed to head it in (admittedly it was an excellent goal). 2-1

From then on Gencler were on the defensive but we had about 328 counterattacking chances, of which each and every one was thwarted without their goalkeeper even having to make a save.

Ninety-minutes up and the referee decided to play 17 minutes of extra time. Well, I am exaggerating slightly... but the bloke clearly needs a new stopwatch.

So that's it. A victory against Temel of Trabzon. I'm bloody happy. I'm also bloody drunk. And the time, by the way, is 2:03 am. Hooray, it only took me an hour to write. Admittedly I did take a cigarette break, or two...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hibs 2-2 Dundee Utd

Hibs and Dundee Utd served up a great game of football last Saturday ending up in a 2-2 draw.

The result was probably a fair outcome seeing as both teams went for the win from the start, even when Utd had a man sent off with 15 minutes remaining they continued to attack.

Hibs had the better of the first half and should have gone in at half time at least a goal to the good. Two terrific saves from the Utd goalkeeper and a bit of hard luck meant the half time score remained at 0-0.

Utd came into the game after the break and silenced the home fans on the hour mark when Robertson headed in a dangerous cross from the right.

An identical move eight minutes later meant His were two down and seemed out of the match.

Fortunately for Hibs, Benji was making his first appearance for a couple of months. Within five minutes of coming on he had pulled His back to within one goal. Quick feet left the Utd defence falling over each other and left Benji with just enough room to squeeze in a shot which the keeper had no chance.

A couple of minutes later and Hibs were level when Murphy was brought down in the box. Courier converted the penalty, Dillon the Utd defender was sent off and Hibs were set up for a grand stand finish.

As I mentioned earlier Utd came back from going a man down and continued to attack. Being honest either team could have won but all credit to Utd for making it an attractive match to watch.

At Easter Road these days teams generally come to defend and time waste. It can be frustrating but if more teams approached the games like Utd we would be in for more entertainment.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Getting your priorities right

I saw an interesting story on the Milliyet website today concerning a suggested new way to deal with penalties for teams whose supporters run amok, instead of banning all spectators just ban males aged over 11 years of age.

The proposal has been suggested by Nationalist Movement Party parliamentarian Osman Cakir and has been submitted to parliament.

"When you look at the profile of spectators you can see that the ugly chantings are uttered by men and women tend to stay away from using bad and ugly words in public areas," said Cakir who clearly hasn't sat next to French Kanka Hande as Gencler stuff up yet another clear shot on goal.

But it is an interesting proposal, allowing in for free only women and kiddies to the matches . I wonder what sort of numbers would show up.

The proposed legislation is of course going to die a quick death as it is probably in conflict with recent proposed changes to the laws that govern the football federation, not to mention Article 10 of the constitution which prohibits discrimination based on "language, race, colour, sex, political opinion, football club affiliation, philosophical convictions or religious beliefs".

Anyway, the good thing is that our parliamentarians are at least addressing the pressing issues that face Turkey today. Next up on the to do list: create a special "state sports person" category... er ... bloody hell, they are actually thinking of doing this.

Monday, November 26, 2007

No more rubbishing TDN

Monday afternoon and I thought I'd take a look at the Turkish Daily News to check out their take on Genclerbirligi Oftas' loss to Besiktas on Saturday.

I was slightly confused when I saw the headline: "A weekend all about relegation battles". I had to read the first few paragraphs before I realised they were reporting on Sunday's matches. I then checked to see that it was actually Monday.

But true... for the first time in my memory the TDN gave reports on matches a day after they happened, rather than two days later. Not only that, the story actually focused on Anatolian teams and not the usual diet of Istanbul giants.

Amazing stuff. Only hassle is that if they keep this up I will have to find another newspaper to rubbish.

So step forward our old mate Okan Udo Bassey at Today's Zaman.

Udo as usual concentrated on Saturday's games but at least the paper managed to get the scores in from yesterday's games.

Which brings us to The New Anatolian, the third English-language newspaper in Turkey, which didn't even bother to report on Saturday's matches, let alone yesterday's.

Well done TDN!

EDIT (Slightly later on Monday afternoon): I have just re-read the TDN piece and it sounded very familiar to stuff I used to write when I worked as Udo's lackey back in the mid-1990s.

Basically, Udo would hand me list of results, who scored when etc and ask me to make a story. So, lets deconstruct a bit of the TDN story.

Let's say that the only facts you know are the table positions, the results, the goal scorers and when they scored them. Do you think you could come up with the following paragraph?

"The Gaziantepspor-Gençlerbirliği match was dramatic, with Gençlerbirliği taking the lead twice, but only settling for a point after the final gasp strike by Ali Cansun. Gençlerbirliği, 16th with 10 points, missed the opportunity to close down on its opponent, who has 15 points."

Still as I said before, at least we got to read it on Monday and not tomorrow.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Another tentative step towards that elusive UEFA Cup slot by ANKARAGUCU today ??


I was unable to attend the match today (again !!) due to work commitments, but at least I was able to meet the kankas after the match in the Cappadokia Bar for celebration drinkies for ANKARAGUCU's victoreeeee and to listen to Oz Kanka's frustrated raves about Gencler's current predicament !

Mountaineering Kanka and his promise of bringing lottsa Bilkent Babes didn't materialise....... boo hiss and boo hiss again (waiting for an explanation, and a hangover will NOT be accepted as an excuse !!!). However, loyal and devoted fan Battle Damaged Kanka was there, also, Maniac Kanka, Oz Kanka, Rip Off Kanka, Cherry Kanka Rob and his wee boy Steven (he has inherited his mother's good looks and his mother's extrovert character ...... and his father's love of ANKARAGUCU !!!). `New kanka on the Block` Gunners Fanatik Kanka Rory was also there for his first visit to 19 Mayis Stadium. Unfortunately he is only here for a few more weeks but he is a true footie fanatik having been all over the place supporting Arssssssssinal.

Back to the match, and Battle Damaged Kanka will produce a report tomorrow which will be added as an edit here. All I can say is that Bebbe (Eski Kanka's fav player) scored the goal, but that Battle Damaged wasn't impressed with his performance during the match. I find that difficult to believe !!!

The reasons and all the action from the match will be revealed tomorrow.

Let's leave on a high note....... Ankaraspor lost ..... again..... yessssssssss !!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

1st EDIT..... Got that one wrong didn't I !! Bebbe didn't score the goal. It was Kirita from a penalty. Must have been a wee bit under the influence last night me thinks ??!!

2nd EDIT......

The following report is courtesay of Battle Damaged Kanka Damon.....

Thanks to Jimbo those of you who were not lucky enough to make it to the match at least know that we won one-nil against Manisaspor picking up three very valuable points which launch us into sixth place pretty much neck and neck with fifth place Denizli and only three points away from the eight ball (Besiktas). Admittedly, we will have a bit more of a challenge ahead of us next week as we will be playing an away match in Konya while Besiktas will be playing a homematch against Rize, but who knows where the winds of football fortune will carry us--I know where Jim is hoping for: The UEFA Cup.

While my last match report from Bursa was a saga of Brobdingnagian proportions, this one regarding the match between Ankaragücü and Manisaspor will be--relatively speaking--a parable of Lilliputian dimensions--although not quite as short as the report in the newspaper Hurriyet, which was so generous as to devote two whole sentences to the match.

Our story begins with Montaineering Kanka Robbie who, after weeks of promising not only to come to the match but to also bring along a bunch of other supporters, did not show up (although I have to say that he did call and apologize before hand).

Then there is the lack of co-operation between Jim and Harun. Harun insists on going to Cappadokia bar and Jim insists on keeping the pre-game meeting place Chopin bar. As a result we wind up divided. (Note from Jim..... Harun MUST obey our Kanka rules !!!).

And yesterday we were even divided inside the Chopin. I was sitting there waiting for Rory and Rob only to find that at some point they had arrived and been ushered to a corner table. So, apparently, we were all sitting in there unaware of each other's presence until I called them to find our where they were just as I was leaving the bar.

And then we have the rest of the Bilkent contingent that cannot seem to wake up early enough to make it to the Chopin at the time specified in the e-mails. After Rory, Rob, little Steven and I had already made it to the Stadium, I received a few phone calls from a couple of Bilkenters. Judging from the voices, I would say that I heard Ananda and Alexandra. Unfortunately, reception was bad and I kept losing them. Hopefully they were able to make it to the match. One Kanka who I did run into by chance was Bad Hat Kanka Ian (although I should mention that he wants his moniker changed to Good Hat Kanka). Unfortunately, we lost each other amidst the throng of Gücü supporters soon after I showed him where to get tickets. Eventually Rory, Rob, Steven, and myself were able to get in and find Maniac Kanka Harun and Rip Off Kanka Erman.

The lesson of this parable is that we fans displayed in life the same flaws that Gücü did on the pitch: a lack of unity and organization. Gücü won but they got lucky. Here's more or less how it went down.

We dominated the first half of the match but both teams played pretty sloppy with occasional flashes of class. Standouts I would say were Kirita and Murat Erdogan, and in defense Emre and Serkan. The biggest disappointment was Bebbe who, no matter how hard he tried, just couldn't pull it together. The match went into half-time scoreless.

Things continued as in the first half until the 54th minute when Yasin who was trying to enter the penalty area was knocked down by Ferhat of Manisa. The ref Bülent Yildirim called for a penalty shot (there was some discussion amongst us kankas as to whether or not Yasin was pushed or whether he slipped on what must be the worst pitch in a Süper Lig level stadium; Harun, however, maintains that Yasin was definitely fouled). In any case, Kirita took the penalty shot; the Manisa goalie Bülent lept in the right direction but lept too far and missed blocking it. We were ahead 1-0.

From this point on, things started looking bad for Gücü. Manisa understandably became more aggressive and took four shots on goal which were all too close for comfort. Luckily none hit the mark. Bebbe also had a one on one face off with the Manisa goalie which should have put us up 2-0, but somehow Bebbe sent it flying out. It was just not his match.

And that was it. Watching this match was like watching a long volley in a tennis match as the two players keep hitting the ball back and forth. Both teams were having that much trouble maintaining possession. Rob, who hadn't been to a match in awhile, turned to me at one point and said "I forgot how lame it was." Rory, who is obviously a see the glass half full kind of guy, however, did say that he did see some flashes of good football. And little Steven captured the essence of the matter when he said, "We won."

After the match it was off to Cappadokia were we were later joined by Eski Kanka Jim who made up--in part--for having missed the match by sporting one hell of a spiffy tie--blue and gold of course!

So, in closing, I make an appeal to all the Gücü supporters in the Kanka group: let's get our act together. If we can't, how can we ask it of our boys on the pitch.

P.S. For those of you who want some great action shots of this match, go to the official Ankaragücü web page:

Even if Bebbe didn't have the best of matches, look at the heart the man displays.

Great report. Thanks Damon. You are fast becoming a legend in Ankara, and should you wish to leave teaching and take up journalism, I'm sure Oz Kanka can point you in the right direction !!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

90th minute misery

Supporting Genclerbirligi this season is a akin to going for a tandem skydive and hoping that at some stage before you hit the ground the instructor will find where the hell the cord for the parachute is. A tortured metaphor, sure, but not as torturing as it has been for us Gencler fans in the past few months.

Gaziantep 2 - 2 Genclerbirligi

With the match being in Antep I had to make do with the fun of the Lig TV radio today. Half the time I have no idea what is going on but at least you get a general idea.

Gencler went ahead early on thanks to a Mehmet Cakir goal on six minutes. From then on it seems like Gaziantep were the team with the most chances, especially towards the end of the first half with Jesus in goal having to make a few saves.

Still, after all the crap we have seen this season it was nice to go into the break one up.

At half-time Lig TV radio gave out the results of lower division games in exactly to same way as the BBC does ie nice and slow, no emotion, perfect pronunciation. Apparently it is normal, well that is what Mrs. Oz Kanka told me but then somehow I doubt I can trust her on football reporting matters.

It was all quite nostalgic for me though and I was half expecting the announcer to start giving out results of teams I'd never heard of before: "Orduspor sifir - Malatyaspor iki, Stenhousemuir dort - Forfar sifir".

Second half and Aussie Nick Carle comes on for Isaac Promise. An attacking move? Not sure really. Anyway our man managed to get into a one-on-one with the keeper, left foot shot and out... the announcer saying it was a sitter.

Then Gaziantep up the tempo, shots everywhere, including a few off the posts.

Then disaster on the 76th... Antep 1 - 1 Gencler. No idea what happened.

As seems to happen quite a bit recently, Gencler come out flying after a goal is scored against us. A few good runs and shots but nothing to show for it.

Some sort of handbags incident in the 80-something minute with a bunch of yellow cards shown.

Then a scary moment as the Gaziantep players all go up and appeal for a penalty. Ref turns it down. Phew. If it had have been given it would also have resulted in Zoric bent sent off for a second yellow card... but as the radio guy said... "we will only be able to decide whether it was the right decision after watching the TV replays"

A miracle! Mehmet Nas scores in the 86th minute. We are going to win this one aren't we? Antep 1 - 2 Gencler.

And then the stake through the heart. 90th minute and Antep score. Final result 2-2.

A point away from home isn't so bad, but boy-oh-boy, we need some wins!

Next week at home against Trabzonspor. Friday 8pm KO. Hope to see some of you lot there.

PS: I think I got most of the details right but I may have made some mistakes. Unfortunately I can't check as the Anatolian news agency have yet to get their report out.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Difficult to believe, but I have to praise the TFF - this is an all time first on this blog !!!

Imagine my surprise when the fixtures for this month AND next month have been released to the press so far ahead of schedule. Absolutely amazing, and I have to say that reluctantly they have my appreciation.

So, diaries out and make a note of these upcoming fixtures.....

Sunday 25 November - KO 2pm - ANKARAGUCU v Manisa
Gaziantep v Gencler

Friday 30 November - KO 8pm - Gencler v Trabzon

Saturday 1 December - KO 2pm - Konya v ANKARAGUCU

Saturday 8 December - KO 2pm - ANKARAGUCU v Kasimpasa

Sunday 9 December - KO 2pm - Istanbul BSB v Gencler

Sunday 16 December - KO 3.30pm - Gencler v Fenerbahce
KO 7pm - Besiktas v ANKARAGUCU

Saturday 22 December - KO 2pm - ANKARAGUCU v Kayseri

Sunday 23 December - KO 3.30pm - Sivas v Gencler

Hope to see some of you on Sunday for ANKARAGUCU's victoreeeee against Manisa.

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Monday, November 19, 2007

Turkish national team going great guns

The writers here at "The round ball in Ankara" steer well clear of reports about the Turkish national team. Whenever asked I say that it is because as yabancilar we would rather not get involved in arguments about the Milli Takim. The real truth is that we don't know anything about the national side and are too lazy to find out.

But I'd like to point out that the Amputee World Championships are being held in Antalya at the moment. Turkey is doing very well. They qualified second from their group after victories over the English, French and Liberians, losing only to the Russians, before defeating Iran 1-0 in the quarter-finals.

Today they take on Uzbekistan with the winner up against either Russia or Brazil in the final.

NTV had a pretty good report after the victory over England but since then I've seen bugger all news about the championships. The Turkish Football Federation have a page of results, but that's it... no photos, no reports.

So I was happy to see that today's Hurriyet had quite a large story titled "Our warriors in the semi-final dance".

It was a typical Hurriyet football piece, i.e. rubbish, but at least it was actually in there, although what the hell it was doing in the main part of the paper and not on the sports pages I have no idea.

The tournament has been very poorly promoted by the host country. Crowds numbers are terrible. Why not go to the local schools, hand out tickets, get the kiddies to bring along their Turkish flags and sing away.

After all, the football on display is bloody good, the highlights I saw on the telly were certainly better than the crap we have been served up by Genclerbirligi recently, and with Turkey playing so well there is plenty for a local crowd to enjoy.

What is the point of this post? I'm not sure. But I wish the Turkish team the very best of luck today.

EDIT: Seems as if I put the mockers on the Turkish team as they went down 2-1 this morning. Still, a good tournament performance and well done to all involved.

EDIT: Tuesday morning. Turkey defeated Brazil 1-0 in the third place play-off.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Hibs Ladies won their first silverware of the season last Saturday when they defeated Queen’s Park Ladies 4-0 in the Scottlsh League Cup Final.

This should prove to be some consolation to the Hibs First Team, who having won the Scottish League Cup last season, were eliminated by Motherwell this season.

Another piece of silverware for the trophy cabinet is always welcome irrespective of who wins it !

Hibs Ladies were 2-0 up at half time after a typical attacking display and two great goals from Eski Kanka’s heroine, Kim Little.

More of the same in the 2nd half with newcomers to the Premier League, Queen’s Park, unable to put the Hibs defence under any pressure.

Suzanne Grant added the 3rd and Kim Little tied it up with her hat-trick. After losing out to the ladies of Edinburgh City at the same stage last season, this was a welcome and well deserved win for the Hibs girls.

With the winter break fast approaching, the Hibs Ladies now have their eyes firmly set on retaining the Scottish Cup and League Title, and so completing the Treble !

Well done girls.

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

This is principally a site for ANKARAGUCU and Gencler footie, but I think it is time to say a few words about The Baggies as a tribute to Baggie Kanka Dave and his lovely wife Carol who were ANKARAGUCU fanatiks here a few years ago and regular attenders at the matches in the old Sahil days.

Having returned from school last night, my darling wife (not a dragon !!) informed me that there was a match on TV. Monday night ? Strange .... I thought. However, I had a peek and.... wow.... it was The Baggies v Coventry Shitty. So, the 1st half was at the half way stage and I settled down to watch the the remainder and the 2nd half.

I caught sight of the old Hibs Manager of one year ago (Big Tony Mowbray) with a fixed scowl on his face and I had a chuckle at that. I was wondering if he was thinking....... I shouldn't have left Hibs for The Baggies !!! Doesn't he ever smile these days Dave ? I have seen a photo of Hibbie Kanka and his hooligans with Big Tony and he was actually smiling !!!

What little a saw of the 1st half looked to be about even between the teams, however, all change in the 2nd half with The Baggies in total control and playing some delightful footie. Coventry were chasing shadows (remind you of CimBom v Gencler last Sunday ??!!).

Gotta give it to Big Tony for putting a really attack minded team together and their fitness level was impressive. Bang bang bang bang...... 4 cracking goals and the pick of them came from that guy up front with the funny name ..... Phillipe something !! Also impressive was Robinson - big strong front man. A possible recruit for ANKARAGUCU next season ???

I was looking for Baggie Kanka in the crowd but couldn't locate him ! However, I'm sure he was there ?! Well, at least his influence was apparent. After the 3rd goal, the Baggie contingent started to do an immitation of the ANKARAGUCU `Olay Olay` song and dance routine. But...... I'm sorry to say they failed miserably !!! It looked more like a conga dance at a halloween party !!!

However, in Baggie Kanka's defence, he is now the proud owner of an ANKARAGUCU Kankalar T Shirt which he will no doubt be wearing with pride to future Baggie matches. Sure to be a conversation piece me thinks !!!

In summary then, well done The Baggies and I can realistically believe that promotion is on the cards this season if they continue to play like they did last night. Look over your shoulder Waaaaaatford...... The Baggies are coming !!!

All the best from Baggie Fan, Eski Kanka Jim

Sunday, November 11, 2007

At least the first few minutes were fun

Pretty much as I expected. An away loss to Galatasaray. Still down in the relegation zone and not a great deal of light ahead of us.

As the match was in Istanbul I decided to open my house to one and all to watch the match on the telly. I received an enormous response of absolutely nothing. Some grovelling at a party on Saturday night did end up with Spine and French Kanka Hande taking pity on me and so I thought it only right to whip up a curry for the only friends I have in Ankara.

Galatasaray 3 - 2 Genclerbirligi

Yumdidee Yum and the curry went down well. In fact we had hardly started when Isaac Promise got a cross in that wasn't cleared properly, the ball was sent left to Kerem Saras who I thought was about to send it on but instead had a shot. Luckily it went off a Galatasaray player and the keeper didn't have a chance. Three minutes in and 0-1 up. Cue delight from the Oz Kanka household.

It was also as good a time as any to send Little Oz Kanka to bed. At least he will be dreaming of that great goal and not the rest of the match.

So I enjoyed the first three minutes but from then on it was all pain.

Hats off to Galatasaray, they were playing a mean pressing game and out boys couldn't get the ball out of our own half.

Amateur analysis time: In the last few weeks we have been playing against teams set to defend. They weren't concerned with us having the ball in midfield and so we played it slow and boringly up to the front where we would inevitably lose it. Tonight, our lot looked in shock as Galatasaray actually tried to get the ball while we still had it in our own half. The result, after the goal we hardly got into the Galatasaray half at all. Pathetic.

So with bugger all position we managed to have two goals scored against us.

Half-time 2-1.

What with the wind and cold in Ankara this evening we relaxed our "no smoking inside" rule to one of "smoking allowed sort of near the kitchen balcony door" but still our discussions were downbeat.

Second half though and I thought we played a bit better. We played with the ball and had the best of the first five minutes and then Galatasaray, with their first attack of the second half, scored thanks to a deflection from Mr. Grape. Poor bugger, that was the second deflection off him that resulted in a goal. 3-1.

Galatasaray obviously took their foot off the accelerator at this point thus allowing us a bit more of the ball. There were a few nice combinations but quite frankly when the most talked about point amongst the crowd at the Oz Kanka household were the highlights in Genclerbirligi substitute Sedat Yesilkaya's hair, you know this was not a classic game of football.

A few highjinks towards the end as we were denied a clear penalty. And then Galatasaray's Song went in with a knee into Mehmet Cakir's back. It should have been a red, or at least a yellow. Instead he of the great streaks hair highlights got a yellow (appropriately hair-wise).

Okan Ozturk also managed to break his nose in a challenge but had to stay on as we had used our substitutions.

Then just towards the end one of our Serbian blokes, afraid I'm not sure if it was Storic or Petkovic, took a wonderful free kick. He sent it high and straight onto the head of Mr. Grape in the box who headed it toward goal and in, via a deflection. 3-2.

Final whistle a few seconds later and I hung my head in shame. We have had this blog going for a while now and yet I've yet to have the joy of heading off to Gulay's Galatasaray blog and just shouting abuse, well... I have shouted abuse there but never have I been able to gloat. One day, one day.

ANKARAGUCU - GOLDEN STRIKE (Hurriyet's Headline - Not Mine !!)

Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

On a cold and crisp Saturday afternoon in Ankara .....

ANKARAGUCU 1 Gaziantepspor 0

Good turnout from the kankas yesterday with Battle Damaged Kanka Damon, Rip Off Kanka Erman, Yankee Kanka, Alpine Kanka Wolfgang with his son Chris and his buddy, Mountaineering Kanka Robbie and his `Bilkent Babes` Jennifer and Abi. Also, Andrew and Ian from Bilkent.

Maniac Kanka and I were working (as usual at this time of the year) and were conspicuous by our absence ! But...... we did turn up for post-match celebrations !!!

However, I can tell you that Murat Erdogan scored the vital (golden goal !!) in the 54th minute from a break from El Yasa and an astute pass from Jaba.

It was in ANKARAGUCU's hands (and feet) to add more, but...... according to Damon and Robbie, they retreated into a defensive formation for the last 10 minutes of the match and performed some professional time wasting tactics. Tut tut tut !!!

Well............. 3 points are 3 points and they are welcome as ANKARAGUCU keep up their pursuit of that UEFA Cup place.

The full report of the match will be added as an EDIT by Moutaineering Kanka Robbie soon. So, watch this space for more !

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

EDIT..... Sunday night.....

Well, WELL! Mountaineering Kanka here and I am honored to be giving this week’s report. It is a testament to what perseverance can accomplish as I can now tick off one more thing on my “things to do before you’re dead!” list. To spare those who suffered from the last report, I will not be writing any Russian novels. Oh no, only the necessary information…(who came to the match, what happened at the match, and who was wearing the most ridiculous piece of clothing!)

A contingent of Bilkent Kankas headed to Chopin at around 12:30 to look for comrades but alas found none and so headed off to the match. Present were… Myself, Battle-Damaged Kanka Damon (who may be changing his name), and four as of yet unnamed Bilkent supporters. Kankas Ian and Andrew and Kankies Abby and Jennifer. All were present for the Battle of Sakarya Caddesi 2 some weeks ago and were ready for more!

Upon arrival in the stadium around 1:15, we were surprised to see a smaller crowd than normal. Because of the slight change in temperature no doubt. After some time, some familiar faces showed up and joined us for the viewing. Rip Off Kanka Erman, Alpine Kanka Wolfgang (supporting Gucu more and more every week!) along with one of his “wolf cubs” and a friend. Yankee Kanka completed the group and we were ready to go.

The game started with Gucu taking it to GAspor. In the first minute Bebbe nearly scored on a self-induced volley opportunity… just wide! The attacks continued with Kirita (captain because of an absent Emre) setting up many of them. Also notable was the stellar play of Murat Erdogan, a definite rising star! The referee clearly wanted to be involved in the match and the whistle was blowing early and often. In about the 25th minute a rare back pass violation gave Gucu a free kick a mere 5 meters from Antep’s goal. A screamer from Kirita connected with the keeper of Antep’s face and left him an uglier man! The attacking play of Gucu began to subside and they settled into the all too familiar long pass rhythm. This opened the field up a bit and gave Antep more chances to attack themselves on fast breaks. There were a few shots on our goal, one of which Serkan tipped neatly over the bar. Close! The play continued with Gucu’s offense anemic and by the time the half was called it looked like anybody’s match… 0-0.

Second half began much the same as the first with Gucu attacking hard to try and gain the advantage. A ball played down the right line to Yasin was taken nicely and crossed back into the box just a tad early for a diving Jaba. You could sense that something was coming and then in about the 52nd minute, El Yasa (who played great) took the ball down the right side and crossed it in to Jaba who saved it from going over the touch line and put it back up to the top of the box for a waiting Murat Erdogan… BANG! Keeper had no chance. 1-0 Gucu.

This left GAspor scrambling a bit and they began to up their attack but Gucu’s defense were up to the task. The referee was still very involved and prompted many arguments for his calls. Nice job from Kirita to deflate tensions quickly. In the last perhaps fifteen minutes of the match, something happened to Gucu’s defense. I haven’t seen them play such poor defense in a long time. Note Hakan Kutlu: This is an area that needs to be addressed! The absence of Emre was noticeable as there was a clear lack of communication, Defenders were waiting around and missing tackles left and right. The last five minutes were very tense and I am ashamed to say that Gucu did employ some time-wasting tactics. Finally though the whistle blew and the three points were ours! Still undefeated at home!

After that it was off to the pub where we met up with Eski Kanka Jim and Maniac Kanka Harun. Drinks and Kofte were had by all and Gucu were toasted more than once! Well, that’s two out of three, so now on to the most ridiculous piece of clothing worn. It simply must go to Ian for that Soviet Era dead animal hat he was wearing. As Jim said, it looked much better on Abby. So, pending ratification from Oz Kanka and Eski Kanka I will dub Ian “Bad Hat Kanka”, long may he continue to come to matches!

Cheers and hope to see all of you at the stadium soon!
Mountaineering Kanka Robbie

Yesssss............. great report from Mountaineering Kanka. More in the future me thinks ??!! Bad Hat Kanka for Ian ? Most definitely............ go for it !

Alpine Kanka is now a `secret` Ankaragucu fanatik, but............. for God's sake, don't tell Oz Kanka !!!


Saturday, November 10, 2007


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

At last...... the long awaited `Saga` from Battle Damaged Kanka Damon on the eventful trip made to Bursa last weekend by himself, Maniac Kanka and Yankee Kanka. A gripping and fantastic read if you have 2 hours to spare !!! Read on......


Here it is. I think you'll see why it took me awhile. Please give it a once over since I only have Turkish spell check on my computer. Don't blame me for the length. Harun wanted all the details in there, and you know as well as anyone how stubborn he can be. Although, I see that you did arrange for us to meet at Chopin tomorrow before the match.

I (Battle Damaged Kanka Damon) was having a fish dinner in Bahçelievler when I got the call from Maniac Kanka Harun that he and Yankee Kanka would indeed be making the trek to Bursa for the match. I, of course, wasted no time high tailing it back to the Bilkent campus to try to recruit further supporters for the journey. Unfortunately, Mountaineering Kanka Robbie had work to do (although I found him at a party), and no one else was up for it. So be it. After my failed attempt to increase our numbers, I hailed a cab which delivered me to the reliable Cappadokia bar where I found my two travelling companions. After a dose of what Eski Kanka Jim likes to call the amber nectar we headed off.

On the way, Harun stopped off at a bakal for provisions. These consisted of several cans of Turkey’s finest (Efes, of course), a chocolate bar and two medium sized bottles of 10 YTL cognac (The latter two purchases we stuffed into my backpack. The two bottles would later turn out to be a bit problematic) . We then hailed a cab and after a quick trip back to Harun’s sport shop to pick up his Gücü jacket, we were on our way to the bus terminal Asti, beers in hand. Harun, being the considerate guy that he is, even gave a beer to the driver who, to my relief, decided not to drink it while behind the wheel.

Upon arriving at Asti, someone’s cell phone went off. The ring tone was Bella Ciao the Italian partisan anthem and we walked to the front doors of the terminal singing the song, Harun and Yankee in Turkish, me in Italian. We then chucked our empty cans, entered the otogar, and picked up our tickets. At the ticket booth next to the Nilüfer (Nilüfer is a Bursa based company, and anybody who knows Harun, knows that he always supports local businesses. No doubt this has much to do with why he loves Ankaragücü so much.) booth who should we happen to find other than Ankaragücü’s own boy wonder Gececi who is probably single-handedly responsible for more Ankaragücü graffiti in the city than anyone else. After a quick chat, we went to wait for the bus where we found an extremely young group of Guru supporters. Yankee had them in stitches with his warped humor until it was time to board. Not surprisingly, we were not alone; there were three other supporters on the bus as well. We then tucked in for the six hour ride.

About mid-way through the journey the bus stopped at one of those amazing rest stops that, as far as I know, only exist in Turkey. After the obligatory bathroom break, we ate soup and then headed to the far end of the parking lot to furtively drink our cognac and eat chocolate. Yankee Janka abstained as he has a low tolerance and had already drunk a few too many beers for his constitution while at the Capped. Ha run claimed that the cognac was habit he had picked up in the army while doing his military service--the perfect antidote for chilly weather. After warming up with the cognac, we put the half empty bottle back into my backpack and headed back to the bus. As the bus was pulling out, a bunch of Gücü supporters (about three buses full of Gücü supporters who knew Harun had pulled up by this point) waved and chided us for being sosyetik which literally means “of fashionable society” but is basically a way of calling someone snobby. Apparently, taking a private bus company rather than riding with them earned us this moniker.

We arrived at the otogar in Bursa around 6:30. Yankee was at this point nursing a nasty hangover for which Harun was showing no mercy, taunting him the entire time. We went to get bus tickets. The small booth outside where the tickets are sold was filled with employees. They were a little surprised to see us and even more surprised when they learned that we were just a group of die hard fans and not the team trainers they had initially taken us for.

This was to be my first experience with the hospitality offered to Gücü supporters in Bursa. We were immediately offered tea which was getting constantly refilled until we finally tore ourselves away to catch our bus into town along with the other three supporters who had come in on the same bus.

The trip on the city bus was uneventful. We were alerted to the correct stop to get off at by a helpful Bursa woman and then caught a dolmus from Bursa to Mudanya a small neighboring town on the sea. Harun had been determined to get to the sea before heading to the match. And it is a good thing he was because from the time we got on the dolmus it was readily apparent that Bursa, despite being overly industrialized, was a gorgeous city. Everywhere you looked it was green, and with the early morning fog hanging over the trees it was, at times, breathtaking.

After arriving at Mudanya, we found an open restaurant where the six of us noshed on ekmek sucuk (garlic sausage sandwiches) throwing pieces of bread and sucuk and cookies to two nearby dogs. When we had arrived, the dogs had been wrestling. They were clearly friends but that didn’t keep them from trying get the upper paw one over the other. I thought to myself that they were aptly symbolic of the match to come.

We then walked along the promenade breathing in the salt tang and finally onto a poorly maintained beach where a handful of locals were fishing. Harun and Yankee sat with them for awhile while the rest of us just wandered around admiring the sea and the mallards swimming nearby. We then headed back to the dolmus stop. Yankee and our other three companions took a slight detour when they saw a city park full of exercise equipment. For those of you who know Yankee, I am sure you can imagine what he must have looked like on a pink metal cross-country skiing machine. According to his calculations, he was three kilos lighter by the time he caught up with us.

Soon we were on a dolmus back to Bursa, or so we thought. Turned out it was the wrong dolmus. After being informed of this fact by another kindly Bursa lady, we got on the right one, paid our money, got off shortly thereafter and got onto another form of Bursa public transport: the train. On the train we were greeted by a couple of Bursa Spor fans also heading to the match. The lot of us soon reached our stop and headed up a hill towards Atatürk stadium.

As we were climbing up the hill two kids came running at Harun and Yankee asking for their Gücü caps. Neither was feeling so generous as to part with his hat. Yankee, though, felt the need to explain. He turned to me as we were still walking and said “Listen, I need it; I’m bald.” I couldn’t argue with him there.

It was still only eleven o’clock when we bought our tickets. So with plenty of time to spare, we proceeded to Kültürpark which was already starting to fill up with supporters for both clubs. We were looking for a place to grab a beer (we were also trying to figure out what to do with the damned cognac), but, not surprisingly with a mosque sitting in the middle of the park, it appeared to be dry. No beer, no reason to stay. So we headed off on another quest to satisfy another kanka vice: an iddaa booth, so Harun and Yankee could bet on the day’s matches. Having done this, it was back on the quest for a cold one.

We soon found our Holy Grail across from the stadium. We grabbed a corner table and ordered beers and dried chickpeas. There were only a couple of other guys in there drinking. One of them began chatting with Harun. Soon other Bursa-ites began to filter in. Among them we met a Hasan, two Murats and a Süleyman. I was introduced as “the American” which appeared to raise some eyebrows. This was probably a consequence of current political tensions between Turkey and America as well as surprise at finding that Gücü had at least one American supporter. I explained that many Americans had also been against the Iraq war from the beginning. I then proceeded to tell them about one banner we had held up in marches before I had left the States. I translated “With a Dick (as in Cheney) and a Bush in the White House all America gets f####ed” into Turkish. The two guys wearing Bursa Spor tops in particular seemed to get a chuckle from this, and that was the end of the raised eyebrows—although one guy in the corner continued to look at me strangely. Hey, you can’t please all the people all of the time.

After another round, it was time to go. But there was still the problem of the cognac bottles in my bag. I figured if the police won’t let you in with a lighter or loose change, cognac was certain to be out of the question. So we asked the kid tending bar if he would hold it for us. He graciously accepted. We then paid our tab and set off. On our way to the gate, we passed in front of a Bursa Spor store. We all stopped and looked at all the goodies in the window. Harun got a dreamy look on his face. I guessed he was thinking how nice it would be to have a similar shop full of Gücü gear parked right outside the stadium. I said, “I would be nice wouldn’t it.” He responded “Hopefully one day.” Yes, maybe one day the people of Ankara will stop being Istanbul posers and see the light and support their teams like Bursa supports theirs. Until that day, our little kanka group will do its part.

The gate was a madhouse. Yankee was the first one to squeeze through (having gotten over his hangover and gotten in a workout to boot, he was obviously in good form). Harun and I managed shortly thereafter. We literally had to climb over a railing and other supporters to make it further. In the end, we got through. It was a good thing we had left the bag in the bar because brother team or not there were still police waiting inside to search us. Having passed through the police, Harun and Yankee bought us köfte sandwiches and ayran. Food in hand we went to find seats.

The atmosphere inside was wild. Fans were already chanting at the top of their lungs. We chanted Bursa songs, they chanted ours. Having been to away matches in Kayseri, where we were expelled from the stadium as both sides hurled plastic shards and chunks of concrete at each other (see the best of The Round Ball for more on this match), and Sivas, this seemed like an episode of the Twilight Zone. There was absolutely no hate or even antagonism, only playful good will—like the dogs in Mudanya.

In addition to singing each other’s praises, a good number of chants emanating from the Bursa fans had to do with their displeasure with their club’s management (seems to be a recurring theme in Turkish football). Besiktas was also the target of some not so friendly chants. But as tradition now dictates, these more hot blooded chants died down as the Bursa Spor fans cheered us at the six minute mark to symbolize the number on Ankara license plates and ten minutes later we did likewise for them.

A mere four minutes later, however, things weren’t looking so positive as Volkan crossed the ball from the right wing straight to Veli who was entering the penalty area. Veli then passed to the Macedonian player Sumulikoski who heeled it into the goal. We had been scored against, but to my surprise the Gücü fans cheered and the Bursa fans chanted “Ankargücü” as if they had been us. Things did not get much better, however, for our boys in gold and blue as Bursa took two more shots on goal (one missing by a smidge and the other ably snatched by Zafer who is still in for the injured Serkan) before the first half ended.

In the second half, Bursa were again on the attack. It only took them six minutes in to launch a scorcher towards Zafer. But Zafer was ready and snagged it. Three minutes later it was our turn. Murat Erdoðan passed the ball right in front of an incoming Jaba who sent it flying into the goal. Again both teams gave each other a long distance clap on the back with Bursa fans applauding the goal and the Gücü supporters yelling out “Bursa Spor.”

It would have been nice if the match could have ended there for it would have been more fitting given the atmosphere of brotherhood in the stadium, but twas not to be. In the sixty-fourth minute Tum headed in a cross from Volkan and the score became 2-1. The two sections where the Ankara fans were seated began shouting back and forth at each other

Her zaman, her yere gider
Ne yaðmur ne caðmur dinler
Severse gönülden sever
Bu alemde Ankaragüçlüler

in an attempt to give the team a shot in the arm. Now we are all used to such chanting, but I was in for a surprise. Normally, these chants go on for a few rounds and then die off, but this one was so heart felt that it continued for a good fifteen minutes (no exaggeration) continuing to increase in volume with each passing minute. But I also learned why I sit in marathon and not in the Gecekondu section. These guys were so intent on screaming as loud as they could that they were missing the match. They were watching each other and not our boys on the field. This to me misses the whole point. But if that’s their thing, who I am to question them.

I also got to experience first hand the running down and across in the seats that Gecekondu has become so famous for. Now that was pretty fun, I must say. But the fun did not end there. Soon, what must be the biggest Ankaragücü banner in existence came unrolling down from the top row. As it reached us we helped unroll it further until the whole section was under this massive yellow and blue sheet. But now there really was no way of watching the match. Turned out it really didn’t matter because nothing of any importance happened while we were under there. That was it: 2-1.

We didn’t win, but I did meet some really friendly people. The kid sitting next to me who I had thought was from Ankara turned out to be one of Bursa’s Texas group. We had a nice chat which was overheard by a Gücü fan who joined in our conversation. He quickly asked where I was from, and his jaw nearly hit the ground when he found out Gücü had an American supporter. I do believe he nearly shed tears of joy. He said, “It’s hard enough to find an American who gets into football, let alone one who supports Ankaragücü. Once again I learned that Ankaragücü helps smash stereotypes and break down borders. Hopefully I’ll meet these guys again.

Now we had a bus to catch. But first we had to get the bag. So it was back to the bar. On our way we had to walk through the crowd of Bursa supporters who were exiting the stadium. As we walked through someone gave me a slap on the back and I shook a few hands.

As we entered the bar I noticed that Hasan, Murat, Murat and Süleyman were still there. They had been watching the match on TV. They gave us their condolences, but it was clear that they were happy with the result. Who can blame them. We all had another beer. Then Harun, Yankee and I retrieved the bag, grabbed a taxi and headed back to the bus station. At the station, we got our tickets and made for the bus, Harun picking up some candied chestnuts, a Bursa specialty, for his daughter Hazal on the way.
Apart from almost getting left behind in Eskiþehir, that was the end of our Bursa adventure. I got home around eleven o’clock with my bag full of cognac and a whole lot of great memories. Can’t wait to do it again.

Fantastic report from Battle Damaged. He is becoming a real Footie (Soccer in his lingo) Pro reporter and I think we have found another jewel for futher reports !!!

As I post this, ANKARAGUCU are playing Gaziantep and so let's hope we have something positive to say about this week's match result later ?!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim