Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gokcekspor v Genclerbirligi

Good afternoon all. Just back from the barbers and ready for Ankaraspor v Gencler.

1:29 pm I would have headed out to the Yenikent stadium but got stuck with some domestic duties. Oh well. Radio set up and we are ready for the kick-off.

1:32 pm And off they go and the Gencler fans behind the goal can be heard nice and loud. I'm jealous now. Two other matches on at the same time. Denizlispor - Gaziantep and Eskisehir - Kayseri.

1:35 pm Not a lot happening. Ankaraspor get the first shot of the match which is easily saved by Bojan.

1:37 pm Arrggh. Close. Gencler build up a good attack but it is stopped at the last man. Gencler launch further attacks. Sounding good. I'm still haven't heard a team sheet. Although I do know that Jedinak and Aussie Bruce are playing. Not sure about Troisi.

1:44 pm No one's do much. Meanwhile, good news from central Anatolia, Eskisehir 1 - 0 Kayseri.

1:48 pm Soner sends it down the wing, Hakan Aslantas sends it in and Mustafa Pektemek has a "weak" shot which is saved by the Ankaraspor keeper. Come on boys.

1:49 pm Another good chance wasted by Pektemek. Off for a corner which is also wasted.

1:52 Just 20 minutes in and I have finally realised that Ankaraspor are resting a few of their best players for a Turkish Cup match against Besiktas on Tuesday. Which means we should get this... at least on paper. By the way, James Troisi and Mehmet Nas are both on the bench, seems as if the coach didn't want to change the team which beat Fener last week. Troisi was suspended and Nas was injured for that match.

1:58 pm A good ball goes in and no one there. Get it together Gencler.

1:59 pm Announcer gets excited as Pektemek to Aslantas and then a handball. Free-kick to us. Two-man wall. Nothing comes of it.

2:02 pm Jedinak seems to be having a good game delivering good balls to our wingers running into gaps. Not many clear chances being created though.

2:05 pm Soner sends in a corner and again no one can get onto the end of it.

2:06 pm This time Ankaraspor have a go but our keeper Bojan saves a header.

2:09 pm Aussie Bruce has a shot... saved :(

2:11 pm Burhan misses an "inanilmaz" chance, says the commentator... Get with it people.

2:15 A first! I have received a message during my actual radio blogging. Battle Damaged Kanka Damon says "Sıhhatler olsun". Why thank you very much. I got a hair cut, a shampoo, my son also got his hair cut and the final cost 15 TL (about 9 US dollars). I love this country.

Half-time Well, it seems like most of the match was ours but, like last week, we aren't scoring when we create great chances. Anyway, from around the grounds:
Ankaraspor 0 - 0 Genclerbirligi
Eskisehir 1 - 0 Kayseri
Denizlispor 1 - 0 Gaziantep

Oh yes, I guess I should explain that "Sıhhatler olsun" is what Turks say to someone who has just had a hair cut, sort of similar to when they say "gecmis olsun" after you your wife has a medical test and found to be pregnant.

2:35 pm Second half about to kick off. Finally got my hands on the team line up. Never say I aren't quick with all the important info.
30 Bojan Isalovic
18 Jacques Momha
20 İlhan Eker
25 Hakan Aslantaş
91 Soner Aydoğdu
15 Koray Avcı
21 Burhan Eşer
23 Mile Jedinak
40 Cem Can
11 Mustafa Pektemek
19 Bruce Djite

2:39 pm Yet another corner, that's our sixth for the match. Soner sends it in and it is finally cleared after a scramble in the box.

2:39 pm Cem Can hits an Ankaraspor player. Perhaps by mistake.

2:45 pm Troisi on, Djite off.

2:47 pm Commentator is saying that we are getting a lot of good balls to Aslantas on the wing but there is no-one on the end of his crosses. The problem seems to be Aslantas. Meanwhile Pektemek has a shot... out.

2:51 pm Mehmet Nas on, Soner off. The 18-year-old Soner has played well. This change probably means we are going to go on the attack. Let's go for it!

2:54 pm Ankaraspor get their first corner... ball cleared... not quite. Another corner... ball in, shot made and the ball hits one of their own players, who was offside.

2:56 pm Nothing much is happening. Time for a fag. Don't worry, volume on the Lig Radyo is on high.

2:57 pm Burhan has a shot, saved. Another message, I'm being overwhelmed. Sir Eski Kanka says, "Gencler should score two late goals and put a smile on Oz Kanka's face, ..... ooooops .... there I go again making predictions .... hope I didn't put the kiss of death on Gencler". Yeah. Thanks for that. We will probably concede two now. I'll see you later for the rugby at the Red Lion, but I'll be heading off for the England-Ireland match.

3:00 pm No idea why but Momha is carded.

3:07 pm Ankaraspor are attacking, just not getting good shots on. I can smell a mistake coming soon. Question is: From which side? Kahe on, Pektemek off.

3:10 pm Mehmet Cakir (who used to be our star until we got rid of him for some reason at the beginning of the season) is running rings around us.

3:12 pm Oh dear. Seems as if we have lost one of our readers. Sir Eski Kanka writes, "It's 10 past 3 and I'm bored shitless waiting for my first Gencler goal !!! Comefuckinon Gencler !!!! Ballocks, I'm off to the Club !!" Ever heard of spell check Sir Eski? Surely it is "bollocks", not "ballocks".

3:14 pm Getting weird now, someone on the Ankaraspor bench has been red carded. The commentator doesn't have a clue. Seems as if the fourth official has red carded the Ankaraspor reserve keeper. No idea why.

3:17 pm Free kick to Ankaraspor in a dangerous spot... 88th minute... Straight out. Phew.

3:22 pm In extra time, Troisi has a shot.... out.

3:24 pm Peep peep peep. What a load of crap.

3:25 pm Well that wasn't much fun. In the end I'm glad I didn't head off to the stadium from hell. Right, I'm off to the Red Lion for the rugby.

Final results
Ankaraspor 0 - 0 Genclerbirligi
Eskisehir 1 - 0 Kayseri
Denizlispor 2 - 0 Gaziantep

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Greetings Kankas and Kankies

Ankaragucu created a new world record yesterday by winning two matches in succession ……….. well, ……….. for this season anyway !


It turned out to be a ‘must win’ match with most of the other ‘strugglers’, Gencler, Denizli, Antalya and Konya also winning.

The Hurriyet reported that Ankaragucu’s ‘power’ had returned, and in all honesty, the Olympic Stadium in Istanbul is not an easy place to visit with expectations of a victory. So, perhaps the corner has been turned, but it is still early days to actually say this.

BBS opened the scoring yesterday after 15 minutes of the first half through Iskender and Semavi equalised on the half time whistle.

Then it was the turn of new ‘goal king’ Jaba to slot in the winner with 15 minutes of the match remaining.

I was in The Red Lion Club during the 2nd half and a text message came through from Battle Damaged Kanka that the match had ended 2-2, which I must confess took the smile off my face. However, Oz Kanka and Emin were also there and they were convinced that Ankaragucu had won.

Confusion all round. So, another text message to Battle Damaged to re-check his source and he returned with the good news of the victory. Phew …… cue ….. smile back on face again !!

With the sleet pissing down, brave Oz and Flying Dutchman were off to the Stadium to watch Gencler put Fener to the sword ………….. yessssss ………. a great win and also congratulations to those two for braving the elements.

So, it’s still backs against the wall for Ankaragucu who must now go for 3 in a row against Hacettepe next weekend.

Hacettepe and Kocaeli are both looking destined for moving south into the 2nd League, but the fight is now on to avoid joining them.

Only four points separate the 7 teams above them, so it will be a real scrap in the next few months to move out of the danger zone. Ankaragucu play their next two matches in Ankara against Hacettepe and Gencler and I’m sure that there will be no prisoners taken in those matches.

Brotherly love ? What’s that ??!!

Details of the meeting date and time for next weekend will be sent by Oz Kanka during the week.

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

All ale the victors

What a day, what a night. Us Gencler fans don't often get to hoop and hollar, to jump up and down and to scream in delight. But tonight was the night. What absolute pure joy, this was a match I will savour. We took down Fenerbahce 1-0. I repeat, we took down Fenerbahce, the team of Carlos, of Alex, of Delgano and we made them look like amateurs. 1-0 was the score and it could have been a hole lot more.

British Ales

Off to the Red Lion Club for the British Ale Festival and what a joy to try out something that isn't Efes lager. The club was filling up nicely for the festival but some of us had more important things written down in our agendas... well except for Emin and Spine who decided that they preferred to stay in the nice warm club drinking English ales rather then venture out into the snow to watch Genclerbirligi.

If I can remember rightly I had myself an Abbot, a London Pride and then a Bombadier before heading off to the Chopin to find the rest of the crew. It was a plain old Efes at the Chopin where I met up with the Australian Ambassador Peter Doyle, his son Patrick, wheels man Ceyhun, Dan the Man, a US spy who has been checking out Izmir recently and good old Marash Kanka Hakan.

Off to the stadium, where there was no snow at all, and on to the match I will remember for a long long time.

Peep peep

Flying Dutchman Kanka had managed to get himself away from the British ales and joined us in the stadium, as did Ertank Kanka.

It was a decent crowd for such a cold night. The Fener fans were out in force as well, including many sitting in our section which meant that Carlo, Ertank and myself had to stand for the whole match. Oh well. We started off a little bit jittery but all was looking cool. Jedinak sent a free kick into the wall at about eight minutes but we were attacking. We were looking okay. Then on about the 15th minute we had a free kick a good ten feet outside the penalty area. Aussie Jedinak stood up and wacked it hard, the ball came off the maestro himself, Carlos, and Fener goalkeeper Volkan didn't have a chance.

Gencler 1-0

Celebrations after Jedinak's goal. Photo nicked from Milliyet

I'm not going to write much else about the match. All I will say is that while the goal was lucky we played brilliantly from then on. All of our passes were hitting the intended person. We were tackling like hell, every player out there had their heart totally in the match.

For you Aussie readers, Troisi was sidelined tonight thanks to having accumulated four yellow cards in the season. Aussies Bruce Djite and Mile Jedinak both started tonight and both were bloody good. Bruce was replaced with about 10 minutes to go but the general feeling amongst the Gencler fans that he has cemented his place in the first 11 ahead of Kahe.

We missed plenty of chances, Aussie Bruce should have scored, as should have Burhan and Mustafa Pektemek, but by God this was a performance to be proud of. We whipped them well and good.

I'm not sure how many readers will realise how big this win is for us, and why I am forgiving Gencler for not putting the match beyond doubt much earlier.

This was Fenerbahce, the team that has the money to buy all of our players twenty times over. This is a team which is considered to be the most popular in Turkey. Thousands upon thousands of Ankara people support this team. These football fans should be supporting a local team, but instead opt for the flash rich boys... pathetic.

Not only that, this is Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's team.

When the referee blew his final whistle we jumped up and down and hugged strangers. We had stuffed Fenerbahce and silenced their supporters. Been a long time since I have wanted to write that last sentence.

As the now silent Istanbul cocuklar left the stadium the Gencler players came over to us and started up a Gencler chant. It was clear this victory meant everything to them. It meant everything to us.

Then it was back to the Red Lion Club, more British ales and dancing. What a fucking brilliant night.

EDIT: Just saw Battle Damaged Kankas news that apparently Fener are complaining about the artificial pitch. Thing is, Flying Dutchman and myself predicted the same thing at about half time, the complaining that is.

EDIT II: I should add that Fenerbahce were absolute rubbish tonight. They couldn't get their passes sorted, they weren't tackling with vigour and they weren't running. They looked like a very demotivated team. I expect Aragones is to blame.

EDIT III: And here is the goal for those of you who can see youtube

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Get out the longjohns

Snow coming down full on here in Ankara which should make for a cold evening tonight as Gencler take on Fenerbahce. After the match, if we haven't been hospitalised with frostbite, we are heading off to a British ales festival, so don't expect a match report until quite late.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A trip to fair (but cold and wet) Eskisehir

Choo choo train

I've only been to a couple of away matches but I wasn't going to miss this weekend's match in Eskisehir as it presented a great chance to catch up a former Turkish Daily News colleague and world-renowned author Roger Norman. Also a great chance to take Little Oz Kanka on his first long distance train trip.

So the wife, myself and Little Oz Kanka get to the Ankara Train Station with plenty of time only to find out that the 9 Eylul Express is running late and so we were directed onto another train. Bit of a bummer but we were still in high spirits. But an hour or so later our train is still somewhere on the outskirts of the city.

We didn't mind as we had found the restaurant carriage and were enjoying beers and whatnot. An official then comes in asking if anyone had tickets for the 9 Eylul Express, as it was catching up fast and we should get on it.

We jumped out of the train, ran along a rickety wooden platform in the rain to get our bags and stuff from our original carriage and, as there wasn't enough time to go through the tunnel, we crossed the tracks and railway workers lifted the wife and Little Oz Kanka onto the other platform.

At least we had time for a cigarette and finally we got onto the 9 Eylul Express. Rang Roger and told him we would be late. In the end we arrived at 1:30 am, rather than the advertised 10:44 pm. Oh well.

Match Day

The wives decided that standing in the rain was not a good idea so they took the kids off to the theatre (a children's theatre festival was in town) and Roger and I went for a stroll around the city. And what a lovely place it is. The centre is full of pedestrianised streets with plenty of cafes and bars. The riverbank has been spruced up as well, in fact it didn't feel like central Anatolia at all.

Little Oz Kanka decided that taking Sedefsu to the theatre was probably better than taking her to the footy. At least he wore his Gencler shirt.

We found a pub (half-litre beers for 2.75 TL - about 1.50 US or 1 pound) and after a couple headed off to the stadium were we met up with Roger's brother-in-law, a wonderful chap by the name of Onur. Being a fanatic Eskisehirspor fan there was no way he was going to join us in the away section, and being the same there was no way I was going to sit in the Eskisehir section. So we split up and vowed to meet post-match for beers.

It was at this point we bumped into a small group of Gencler fans, got our 15 TL tickets and headed for what must be one of the crappiest away sections in Turkey. The stand was a makeshift wooden thing with around one third of the plastic seats ripped out.

Oh well, the 30 or so Gencler fans weren't in a sitting mood. In fact the mood was a bit "what the hell are we doing here" as a slight rain shower descended and being out in the open, it was just a touch cold.

Then the sun came out and we got ready for a great Gencler away victory.

The match

The teams line up. Us Gencler fans can be seen in the background. Look at the height of the Eskisehir keeper!

This is the part where everything turns to crap. The pitch was waterlogged and on the wings especially it was impossible to play decent football. Many a time did players from both sides go slipping and sliding, either buggering up a good attacking chance or accidently handing the other side an easy ball.

Eskisehir started out attacking but after about 10 minutes it was our turn. Troisi in particular was running around but for Roger it was Mehmet Nas who was creating the chances. Not that there were many shots on goal though. Hakan Aslantas also seemed to be getting a lot of good stuff through on the right, but in the end in was a pretty crappy half.

Half-time and we were cold. Not even tea for sale in our miserable corner of the stadium.

Half-time huddle together photo.

Second-half and we came to life. Finally we were attacking and sighs went up when Kahe missed what should have been a goal after being given a perfect pass right in front of goal by Nas. The Brazillian ended up whacking it straight at the 10 foot giant Eskisehir had in goal.

Things were getting frustrating for both sides and cracks in the defence were opening up. Eskisehir missed at least two clear chances at goal with our keeper Bojan making some excellent saves. In the end, he saved us.

Things may have well been very different if Eskisehir hadn't lost their two strikers in the first half to injury. But them's the breaks.

Show me the way to the next whisky bar

Gencler fans aren't stupid and so they decided to follow Onur, Roger and myself to find a cheap pub. The rain came down and only the thought of a 2.75 TL beer and a bit of warmth kept us going. Post-match conversation many consisted of "we were lucky." Which indeed we were.

This was a great away trip even if the football was pretty crappy and the result not the best. The Eskisehir fans are great. Singing throughout, huge banners, and just like us Gencler fans, no swearing. Both before and after the match we met and spoke to a few fans and they all wanted to exchange scarves. It looks pretty likely that Eskisehir will remain in the top flight next season, and I'm certain I'll be heading back there. Let's just hope it is a little warmer next time.

The Eskisehir fans put on a great show. Photo courtesy of Ziggytheking, an Eskisehir fan who grabbed the photo from an Eskisehir fans forum.

Oh, I almost forgot. It was great that the man who was our captain until a few weeks ago, Egyptian defender El Saka, acknowledged our chants and came over towards us before kick-off. A great gesture from a man who was abused at a press conference by our own coach Samet Aybaba who had said about a month ago after we had been chanting for El Saka to be returned to the team: "They prefer an Arab to me". El Saka had a good match on Saturday and I wish him the best of luck at Eskisehir.

Oh, one last last thing. Thanks a lot Roger, Sibel and Sedefsu for a great weekend.

Gencler fail to excite in Eskisehir

Just got off the train from Eskisehir where a small brave group of Gencler fans watched what was perhaps not the most exciting match of the season.

Eskisehir 0 - 0 Genclerbirligi

Match and travel report soon (Once I have some dinner, grab a fag, get a beer and try to remember what actually happened in the last few days).


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Apologies for nicking Hurriyet’s headline again, but it seems to have been appropriate yesterday !

An empty ‘silent’ stadium as punishment for the trouble at the Konya match 2 weeks ago when a section of the Ankaragucu supporters smashed all the windows of the Konya buses after receiving some rude taunts from the Konya supporters during the match. There is no excuse for this behaviour, but …… one thing is certain …… it is advisable NOT to make enemies of Ankaragucu supporters !!

The ‘avalanche’ refers to the fact that ‘amazingly’ Ankaragucu scored 3 goals, which for a team in Ankaragucu’s position is defo headline news. The last time they did this was way back in November last year in Eskisehir.

ANKARAGUCU 3 Gaziantepspor 1

So, a welcome victoreeeee and long overdue. Jaba opened the scoring just before half time and Murat Duruer (surprise surprise !) made it 2 on the half time whistle.

After the break, Antep pulled one back from the penalty spot, and not for the first time this season has a penalty been needlessly conceded.

Dig deep again and don’t fold was obviously the word from the bench, and Ankaragucu responded with a third goal from the in form Jaba with 15 minutes to go.

Hurriyet was full of praise for Ankaragucu’s overall performance. They restricted Antep’s speedy forwards and dictated the pattern of the match. This obviously bodes well for the future.

Serkan was back between the sticks yesterday (good !). There were also a few new faces, ie, Ozgur Bayer, Ozgur Ocal, Semavi and Ceyhun. Looking forward to seeing them in action for myself against Hacittepe in 2 weeks time.

Next week it’s off to the Olympic Stadium to take on Istanbul BBS which will provide a real test. It is always difficult to break down their tall and strong defenders, especially if Jaba plays up front on his own. However, it seems as if De Nigris will be his partner and they will hopefully be working together with Hakan Kutlu to formulate a plan to keep the ‘avalanche’ going.

Could this be the turning point of the season for a push up the league to mid-table safety ?

Time to take an optimistic stance me thinks !

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

After thought ……………….…. perhaps the headline ‘Avalanche’ would have been more appropriately applied to Fener who knocked 7 past Hacettepe yesterday without reply ??!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Hibernian sent their ambassador to Turkey yesterday in preparation for their qualification for the UEFA Cup next season and hopefully playing against a Turkish team (however, NOT one from Ankara !).

Hibs lastest recruit, Bamba, from the Ivory Coast represented his country against Turkey last night in Izmir's Ataturk Stadium. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Gokhan Unal scored for Turkey after 15 minutes and Drogba of Chelsea scored the equaliser in the 2nd half in time added on.

Bamba, the Hibs stopper, came on for the last 10 minutes and is now 'bloodied' as a full international.

Looking forward to ......... firstly, Hibs qualifying for the UEFA Cup, and secondly, ............. drawing a team from Turkey.

Ever the dreamer I can hear some of you saying !!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Miserable weather, miserable football

Genclerbirligi 1 - 2 Bursaspor

"Wet and miserable in Ankara" pretty much sums up not just the weather but Gencler's performance today.

It was quite a diplomatic turn out for the Kankas this weekend with Alpine Kanka Wolfgang and his boss Hans representing Austria, two spies from the American Embassy political section and the Australian ambassador Peter and his son Patrick. Flying Dutchman Kanka Carlo was there as always and then Dan the Man showed up with a plastic bag containing a pair of football boots. Weird. But what was even weirder was when he said that Bursaspor player Kirita had asked him to bring them to the match.

Now Kirita used to play for Ankaragucu (he was in fact the first player we interviewed for the blog) and it seems as if when he left Gucu for Bursa he left a pair of boots behind. How his fellow Romanian Dan the Man came into there possession I have no idea.

Anyway, beers finished up and off we go to the stadium and somehow or other Dan the Man gets in with his boots and at half-time gave them to Kirita. Which was lucky for Bursa as Kirita came on as a substitute towards the end. Weird stuff indeed.

On to the football and all I can say is this was pathetic stuff. Bursa were 1-0 up after nine minutes when we conceded a very soft goal. Our defenders were nowhere. In fact for the full match we seemed to have real problems applying any pressure.

Not long after the first goal Bursa scored another soft one and again our defence was looking terrible. At the same time though our midfield looked pretty rubbish as well.

We couldn't string passes together, we laid off in defence and our strikers in Kahe and Aussie Bruce were doing bugger all.

At 2-0 down we finally started to play some footy. Troisi was looking better and we were certainly the better team for the rest of the half. Our goal came from a perfect punt from Jedinak from outside the penalty box which was headed in by Ilhan.

We continued to attack and whilst we had a couple of chances we didn't put them away.

Half-time and we weren't that despondent. All we had to do was continue to play like we did once we were 2-0 down and surely a goal or two would come.

Well no. Neither did we play decent football in the second half and obviously no goal came.

It was quite pathetic really, silly basic mistakes, passes horribly mistimed and well, rubbish all round. Aussie Bruce had a shocker and the rest weren't much better.

We didn't deserve to win today, that's for sure.

Another thing that is certain in my mind, we are certainly missing El Saka (who our coach Samet Aybaba sent off to Eskisehir) as well as Traore (who I think is injured). Without those two our defence just doesn't seem organised.

Next week we are up against Eskisehir away. Spine and myself are heading off to the match and as we are away from home my report may be a bit later than usual.

Ankaragucu play well but still can't pull it off

Report brought to you by Battle Damaged Kanka Damon

Well, there is one positive side to us playing a team like Trabzon: we get on television. It was fun actually getting to see the team close up as they came off the bus. As they entered Trabzon’s packed 23,500 capacity Huseyin Avni Aker stadium on a big screen TV. Even Jaba looked larger than life.

We had an interesting line up this time. Maybe Hakan Kutlu has been reading the blog?

It looked like a 3-5-2 formation with Jaba (Ceyhun 81 min.) and De Nigris up front; Hasan (Kerem 46min.), Ilkem, Barbaros, and Semavi (Ozgur 88 min.) in mid-field; and Bouzid, Santos, and a returning El Yasa (glad to have you back, man) in defense.
The biggest surprise, however, was a guy named Kork Bora in the goal. I didn’t even know we had a guy named Kork Bora on the team. Actually, I am taking a moment to check the teams “official” page. Nope, he’s not listed, but then neither is De Nigris. Someone update the damn page!

I’m not sure, Serkan may be injured, or perhaps he’s down with the flu or something.
Whatever the case, They showed him in the stands wearing some kind of weird furry, brown parka. Looked like he was standing with defender Tolga Dogantez.

As things began, it was pretty clear that Trabzon was trying to dictate the terms of how the match was going to be played. And with what looked like a 4-2-4 formation, it was apparent that they were interested in bringing the ball up and scoring some goals fast.

Yattara managed to get the ball into our penalty area in the first twenty seconds, and passed to Selcuk who took a shot, and missed. Gokhan got his feet on the ball but our defenders managed to get it away from him and clear it.

The match continued at a pretty relentless pace into the fifteenth minute when our Guinean friend Yattara took a free kick getting the ball to Egeman who in turn headed it in the vicinity of the far post where Tayfun was waiting to slam it home. Not much Mr. Bora could have done about that one. For a video of all the goals try this site.

Five minutes later, De Nigris managed to get the ball into Trabzon’s penalty area only to have Selcuk knock him on his butt. The Gucu boys protested demanding a foul, which according to the commentators I have been reading would have been warranted, but the ref. Ilker Meral told them to play on—but not before showing Jaba yellow card.

Actually, not really clear what Jaba got the yellow card for. It might have been for play immediately following the goal position. Judge for yourself on YouTube (Battle Damaged, vtunnel links don't work. If you have the original link I can put it in - Oz Kanka).

Ilker made it up to us a little while later when he failed to call a foul in the penalty area against Santos who had come down hard on Gokhan Unal’s ankle.
And so the first half ended with Trabzon up 1-0.

It was not the massacre that some had predicted, however. Oh no, we were seriously disrupting whatever game plans the Trabzon coach Ersun Yanal had come up with and were looking very threatening at times. We were actually moving the ball up the field with some nicely executed passes which meant we didn’t have to rely as much on haphazard long bombs from the keeper as we do in most matches.

In short, this match was still very much up for grabs. And in the second half we did some grabbing.

After a flubbed attempt by Gokhan and an impressive Black Sea welcome for new Trabzonspor player Alanzinho who came on in the 63rd minute for Yattara accompanied by blue and bordeaux balloons, flags, fireworks and confetti, with play continuing all the while, it was our turn.

In the 76th minute Barbaros caught Trabzon keeper Sylva enjoying the Black Sea view a little too far out in front of the goal. Barbaros chipped it from the top of the penalty area sending Sylva scrambling backwards with arms flailing trying to get a piece of the ball, but in vain.

The ball dropped neatly between the tips of Sylva’s outstretched fingers and the bottom of the crossbar landing oh so nicely in the goal. What a moment to savor the laws of physics.

Two minutes after scoring the goal, Barbaros scored a yellow card.

And at about this time came a series of unsuccessful Trabzon attacks (the most dramatic of which was Gokhan’s scorcher which nailed the crossbar after Bora deflected it. Amazing it didn’t rip Korky’s fingers off.

We had reached the ninetieth minute and it looked as if we would be escaping from Trabzon with one point which would move us up and out of the relegation zone.

Alas it was not to be. With four minutes of injury time remaining, Selcuk was awarded a free kick. As the players were struggling for position in front of the goal, the ref blew his whistle. Something was not to his liking. He approached the mass of players and broke things up.

Our boys then sought to reestablish position, but before they were able to, Selcuk took the kick sending the ball in the air right in front of the goal. Former Ankaragucu player Umut Bulut came in like a train and executed a wicked header that looked like it would leave him with whiplash for the rest of the season. It came off his head and whizzed past Bora who remained frozen in place stunned. The Ankaragucu dream was shattered.

In a move that was totally gratuitous, the ref. poured salt into our wounds by giving Ilkem a red card, and so we played the remaining two minutes a man down.
In retrospect, we were a long shot to win or even tie this match, and I think in the spirit of Eski Kanka Jim we need to look at the bright side.

We played much better than we have in ages with some impressive passing and incredible tackles. We were also playing smarter than we have in a while. Semavi was looking much better than he did in his first match, and Santos and El Yasa did a magnificent job keeping the defense tight. Barbaros was ferocity personified.

According to Trabzon coach Ersun Yanal, we taught them an important lesson, and they are going to work to shore up the weak spots we helped reveal before their next match.

So, even if we lost, we gained respect. And to tell you the truth, in my estimation that is worth more than any number of points.

It would have been nice to get the points too though.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Ankaragucu facing the abyss

Did any of our Ankaragucu kankas watch the match in Trabzon? I'm not sure that Eski Kanka lined up anyone to report on the last minute disaster. Do we have a report coming? Bueller, Bueller?

In the meantime, no radio blogging today (Sunday) of Genclerbirligi's match against Bursaspor as I've managed to get the afternoon off and so will be going to the match. Expect a report later on Sunday. Fingers crossed it will be positive.

Friday, February 06, 2009


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Great news from Liverpool ................ Kirkaldy Kanka and his lovely wife Sinead have two wee bairns !

The following is a message from Martyn to me on facebook ..............

"Twin boys born January 31st. Ennis Maguire and Darragh Maguire. (Pronounced Darra) Sinead well, boys well, father drunk. Lads in hospital with Sinead while they learn to feed. Wee bit premature, but healthy and learning well. All good news."

Congratulations to you both from all the kankas and kankies. Look forward to receiving photos of the twins in due course.

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Well, it’s not Mount Kilimanjaro, but it’s the highest point in East Lothian!

The Law rises 615 feet above the town of North Berwick and it is as steep a climb as you will find. Only the fit and the brave can attempt it !

So Paddy Kanka Paul and yours truly made the ascent (without oxygen tanks I may add !) on Thursday 29 January with the North Sea wind doing its best to blow us off at the summit.

Another first then for the now world famous Ankaragucu scarf !

Surely inspiration for Mountaineering Kanka Robbie to attempt another of the world’s peak’s this summer says I ?!

Photos show the summit with the famous whalebones and the Firth of Forth in the background. Also, Eski Kanka taking a breather at the half way point to garner strength for the final push to the summit !!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Comatose? Physically and mentally handicapped is more like it.

Ankaragucu 1 Konyaspor 3

I should have known it was a bad omen when my wife bought tickets to Istanbul and we had to exchange them the next day after I reminded her that I needed to be at a match at the exact time she had us on a bus going to Istanbul. Instead I was feeling relatively optimistic when I met Philly Kanka Jamie and Connect Kanka Steve at the bus stop. Despite a few gray clouds to the west, the sun was shining putting us in an even better mood. We got to the Chopin and quickly discovered that we were the only kankas there.

After some food and an Efes (or was it two) we grabbed a cab and hightailed it to the stadium. Good thing too because the Gucu fans were out in droves. It seems most of them were also in a good mood because there was lots of thunderous singing going on. After getting our tickets (10.50YTL each this time [about 7or 8 bucks]) Yankee Kanka and his cousin spotted us.

We joined forces and then headed off to find Maniac Kanka who was waiting for us by gate eight. Once in, we anxiously tried guessing what squad Hakan Kutlu would field, and whether he would finally let Jaba start a match or not?

No surprises in goal: Serkan would be protecting our honor there. But apart from that, this was a very different squad than we had seen in our previous match with Antalya. In defense we had Algerian national team captain and former Galatasaray player Bouzid , journeyman stopper Bayar and our beloved Santos. Elyasa was nowhere to be seen. Someone suggested that he might have left the team entirely. We will have to wait and see.

In mid-field Duruer (I can hear Eski groaning), Captain Erdogan, Hasan and Bulgarian born Semavi who we picked up from Kocaeli. We were also starting with three men up front (Eski Kanka would have been pleasantly surprised by this turn of events): new arrival of Mexican origin De Nigris from Ankaraspor, Metin, and an even bigger groan...Mehmet Yılmaz. Why Hakan Kutlu insists on starting Yılmaz is beyond me. He lacks both speed and skill. It would have made a lot more sense to put in Jaba—that is provided they learn how to use him well (more on this later).

From the score it might appear that Konyaspor dominated the match, but this was actually far from the case. We actually appeared to be playing better football for most of the match—this doesn’t mean that we were playing that well, but definitely better than Konyaspor.

They were however very physical (a lot of limb holding and jersey grabbing) and the refs Firat Aydinus, Bulent Gokcu and Emin Yıldırım were not calling anything against them in the first half (Konya did however receive 4 yellow cards in the second half for the very same style of play). The worst example of this was when in the 11th minute De Nigris clearly got fouled inside the penalty area, but both Gokcu and Aydinus indicated that play should continue. The refs had no qualms, however, about calling a penalty against Ankaragucu when Konya defenseman Cihan fell inside the penalty box. Another defender Ismail took the shot and did what he is paid to do, and Konya got the all important first goal.

Following that, we blew a couple of opportunities. After a nice pass from Metin, De Nigris had an intimate moment with Konya’s keeper Jefferson in the 34th minute, but failed to score. Six minutes later Semavi fired a cannon ball which unfortunately found a sure handed Jefferson instead of the net. End of half. Ankaragucu 0 Konya 1. Nonetheless we were looking better. Konya really hadn’t even had a shot on goal in regular play. We remained hopeful.

When the second half began, I scanned the pitch quickly for Jaba, but he was nowhere to be seen. Actually, no substitutions had been made at all. Nothing terribly exciting was happening either until the 55th minute when Konya striker Veysel advancing on the left crossed the ball to Celalettin who barely missed sending the ball between the posts.

This must have been a wake up call for Hakan Kutlu because a couple of minutes later he finally sent in Jaba. But instead of taking off Yılmaz, he had Jaba come in for Metin. Again what the hell was he thinking? To make matters worse, the mid-fielders started sending Jaba high balls. There is a reason Eski Kanka Jim and Mountaineering Kanka Robbie decided to entitle a report several weeks back Jaba Won a Header: Jaba is short. How short? I don’t know, but it is a rare occasion indeed when he is not the shortest player on the pitch. In order to use him well, you have to take his height into consideration. Even a footballer who has headed the ball a few too many times should be able to figure that one out.

Despite our poor tactics, in the 78th minute Duruer passed to De Nigris who executed a flawless bicycle kick sending the ball speeding unfortunately straight into Jefferson’s hands. But at least it was a good looking attempt. But ten minutes later it was Konya’s Cihan who got through our defense and into the penalty area leaving poor Serkan with no real chance. I think it was at this point that I heard the sound that I dread so much: the sharp crack of plastic breaking. Someone not far from where we were sitting had kicked one of the plastic chairs hard enough to shatter it.

Having been at the Battle of Kayseri (see the Best of the Round Ball for more information) I knew what this meant. Sure enough, it was mere seconds before shards of thick, hard plastic were flying onto the pitch. While this was going on, Bulent repeated Cihan’s feat putting Konya up by three. The Ankaragucu fans were going mad with anger, the Konya fans were laughing and engaging us in mock sexual acts from a distance as green smoke poured from a few flares that some Konya fans had managed to smuggle in.

Elderly Ankaragucu fans’ faces were red with shame as they screamed profanities innocuously back at the Konya fans. Large numbers of fans who had been foolish enough to bring young children sought to climb to the top row and cross in safety to the nearest exit. Some Gucu fans were in tears, some ready to fight. With all this going on, many failed to notice Erdogan’s pass to De Nigris nor De Nigris’s header which found itself in the net making the final score Ankaragucu 1 Konyaspor 3.

Some of the last chants we heard as we left the stadium were those calling for the management and Hakan Kutlu to resign and those encouraging the Konya fans to meet them outside. As far as I know, the first did not happen, but the second did.

Although I have no details on how violent things actually did get, I believe it was Maniac Kanka who told me that Gucu fans had smashed every single window on the Konya supporter’s busses out.

The newspaper Hurriyet described Ankaragucu as comatose in one of their headlines, but from my vantage point, we were far too active to be in a coma. We’re just playing as if we were physically and mentally handicapped.

Report brought to you by Battle Damaged Kanka Damon

Monday, February 02, 2009

Let's all laugh at Gold Coast owner Clive Palmer

Remember these quotes which we reported on a few weeks ago?

"Who cares if the Turks want him? He has signed up with us. He's our player legally - end of story. He doesn't want to go to play in Turkey... I don't know anyone in their right mind who would want to go to play in Turkey."

The man who said them a couple of weeks ago was Gold Coast chairman Clive Palmer who was talking about a Kiwi player called Shane Smeltz who was rumoured to be in talks with Genclerbirligi.

Egg all over Palmer's face today with news that Smeltz has signed for Gencler's sister club Hacettepe.

Now the question is whether a warning from Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg will come to pass.

"They shouldn't upset Clive Palmer any further or he might decide to buy their club out," Bleiberg said.

UPDATE: This story just gets weirder because earlier today Smeltz won the the Australian league player of the year award. According to an AAP report he said he was very happy to have signed with Gold Coast. From the report:

Smeltz also said he was happy to be joining Gold Coast next season.

The Gold Coast is where Smeltz grew up and started his senior football career as a teenager.

"I'm 100 per cent pleased with the decision I've made, I'm confident we can have a great season in our first year," he said.

Update 2: Egg on our faces?
Now Smeltz is denying that he is coming to Hacettepe. This from Australia's Four Four Two magazine website. this morning exclusively revealed Wellington Phoenix had accepted a transfer deal that would take the Johnny Warren Medal-winning Kiwi to Turkish Superlig side Genclerbirligi OFTAS, now renamed Hacettepe SK.

Exclusively revealed by Four Four Two? The news was on this blog for hours before they ran it. I even made the change to Wikipedia which probably alerted them to the fact.

But this afternoon it was revealed the deal was put together by another agent without the knowledge of Shane's own agent or Gold Coast United.

"It is our intention for Shane to start his three year deal with the Gold Coast shortly," his agent Leo Karis told today.

"I'm always looking for profitable opportunities for my clients but I did not feel comfortable with this situation."

Turkish media were hailing the transfer as a done deal this afternoon, claiming Smeltz had signed off on a $400,000 three and a half year contract.

But Smeltz's management say there is no way it will proceed.

"Shane has a contract with Gold Coast United starting in April 2009 and he intends to join them at that time," added Karis. "That is the end of the matter.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

There was a good turnout of kankas at Easter Road Stadium in Edinburgh yesterday. Brrraaat Kankie Laura, Paddy Kanka Paul, Hibbie Kanka Athole, Celtic Kanka Tam, his daughter the beautiful Imogen and yours truly met up at The Conan Doyle Pub in Edinburgh City Centre and then enjoyed some Scottish 'refreshments'.

The Edinburgh January sun was shining and we all changed our colours from Sari/Lacivert to Bursa and Hibernian ..... green .... but just for today !!

Tennents Lager, Belhaven Ale and Guinness were flowing and then it was off to the Stadium in high spirits ..... sounds like the introduction to an Ankaragucu post doesn't it ??!!

The sun was still shining over Leith when Derek Riorden opened the scoring after 5 minutes and we were all on our feet cheering what could be one of the goals of the season. A fast break down the left caught the Motherwell defence napping and the cut back was a classic pass into Riorden's path and he left the goalkeeper with no chance.

Even without the suspended Fletcher and Bamba it was a done deal ..... right ? Wrong !!

HIBERNIAN 1 Motherwell 1

Despite mostly all Hibs pressure in the first half, one goal was all that there was to show for their efforts. Nish was picking up most of the high balls, but with only two up front they were usually ending up in the grateful hands of the Motherwell defence.

Motherwell was gradually coming more into the game as half time approached and Hibs were having to defend as the game entered the last few minutes of the half. Captain Rob Jones was holding the defence together and Hibs new goalkeeper was in outstanding form.

The half time whistle came as a relief with Hibs starting to look a bit ragged.

Into the 2nd half and Motherwell came out looking the more determined of the two teams. The Hibs supporters were becoming uneasy as the passing became more like Ankaragucu's, ie, hoofing the ball up to the half way line in the hope of Nish picking it up. Passes were going astray and Motherwell were winning more of the ball in midfield.

At this point, Nish came off and was replaced by a midfielder and things became even more desperate in defence as Motherwell pressed Hibs back into their own half.

It was mostly breakaways from Hibs now, and from one of those, Riorden almost made the game safe, but the ball went narrowly over the bar.

Then with 15 minutes to go Hibs conceded a needless penalty when Thicot pulled a Motherwell attacker back in the box. On reflection, I believe the referee was correct. Those needless infringements in the box are usually done in the heat of the moment, and in this case there was no real danger and therefore it was an instinctive action.

The sunshine over Leith disappeared and ............. the clouds rolled in !!!

The penalty was put away clinically and the supporters were becoming more restless. It pains me to say it, but ............. Hibs supporters are not as patient and loyal as Ankaragucu supporters !!!

With 10 minutes to go it should have been Hibs pressing for the winner, however, sad to say that Hibs capitulated and were lucky to escape with one point.

So, as Brrraaaat Kankie said to me after the match ..... trying to cheer me up ..... 'don't worry dad, it could have been worse' !!

True enough, but today's performance didn't fill me with confidence that Hibs will qualify for European footie next season. Hibbie Kanka's reports in the next 2 months will keep us informed no doubt.

All the best from Eski Kanka in Edinburgh
Photo 1 - Action from Hibernian v Motherwell at Easter Road Stadium
Photo 2 - Hibs score in the 5th minute. Smiles all round from Paddy Kanka, Eski Kanka and Hibbie Kanka in the background !
Photo 3 - Motherwell equalise from the penalty spot. Smiles disappear !!