Monday, March 15, 2010

Deep in enemy territory, we endure a rough one

It was a happy coincidence that Phillie Kanka and I were in Istanbul for our friend Andy's 30th birthday on the same weekend as the Ankaragücü-Galatasaray match. How great it would be, we thought at the time, if we could witness another stunning upset of Cimbon, but this time in its own backyard.

With high hopes in mind, we each forked over 45TL for a ticket and made our way to Mecidiyeköy for what would inevitably be an eventful affair. Unfortunately, Ankaragücü was on the opposite side of the blowout this time, a performance that surely ranks amongst the most disheartening I've seen in my time supporting this club.

Galatasaray 3 - Ankaragücü 0

Outside the stadium, Phillie Kanka and I felt as if we were spies dropped deep into enemy territory, stealthily making our way to the visitor's kale through the mobs of orange-and-yellow-clad supporters.

We often joke on this blog about the deteriorating condition of 19 Mayis or hellish location of Yenikent, but let it be known to all that Ali Sami Yen takes the cake. The place is an absolute shithole. Our entrance at the back of the stadium went through something akin to a refugee camp, complete with dilapidated tin shacks and piles of burning tires.

Unsurprisingly, Ankaragücü graffiti was present on nearly every building. When inside, we were greeted with a steel deathtrap. Think of the seating prevalent in UK stadiums during the 70s and 80s, the same enclosed-on-all-sides design that led to scores of deaths on several tragic occasions, and that's what we were sitting in for Sunday's match.

Ankaragücü supporters came out in impressive numbers. The visitor's section was about 85 percent full, a definite accomplishment given the exorbitantly high ticket price.

Although the cost kept out many of the unemployed and unemployable in our lot, the crowd in attendance wasn't the smallest bit docile and put on a show with their typical unadulterated enthusiasm. Chants of "Ankaragücü: we will fuck you" echoed throughout the stadium well before kickoff. Someday Turkish football will become a family affair, but I suspect our supporters will not be overly amendable to that process.

Eski Kanka's initial report from last night aptly summarizes match: zero shots on goal and lots of hapless ball movement in the middle of the field. Vassell had a few runs that appeared promising from a distance, but failed to yield a substantive chance.

I wouldn't characterize Galatasaray's performance as anything remarkable, but they created numerous opportunities and capitalized on them. Such is the hallmark of a championship-caliber team.

The best action for much of the match was found in the stands. After the second goal, our supporters became quite vocal in declaring what I believe would be translated as "Galatasaray, you will not be champions," then followed by cheers in support of Bursaspor.

This agitated Cinbon to no end. At one point, a lone Galatasaray supporter near the visitor's section stood and yelled something offensive enough to prompt at least fifty fans to rabidly start shaking the fence and climbing up after him. The fellow sat down rather quickly.

Bedlam continued at half time when a group of rather ingenious supporters managed to smash open the gate between the home and away sections, only to be forced back by the riot police. In true Ankaragücü fashion, this led to a barrage of dislodged seats. The half-time catharsis settled the crowd a bit, and spirited chants continued throughout the second half despite impending defeat.

With the loss to Galatasaray, Ankaragücü stands five points out of relegation. This is a reasonable buffer given the current troubles that have fallen upon Diyarbakırspor. But I think all of us have been hoping for something more than the mere avoidance of complete and total disaster.

With all the the talent that has been acquired over the past months, it's deeply frustrating to see Ankaragücü languishing at the bottom of the table. Some improvement at next week's home match against Kayseri will be a good indication of our prospects for the rest of the season.

Connect Kanka


  1. Well done to the Intrepid Two Yankee kankas for infiltrating the Ali Sami Stadium and for making it back to the Bus Station and NOT the police station in one piece. See Oz Kankas clip in two posts back !!

    Enough said about the match. All eyes now on Sunday and a vital match for picking up points. We have to do this NOW and not leave it to our last 3 matches against Trabzon, Fener and Sivas !

    Meeting in the Beer Bus on Sunday at 11am and then off to catch the Melih Gokcek buses ! btw, where are all the Ankaragucu kankas ? Come out and show yourselves !!!

    Great report Steve and look forward to hearing more 'details' next Sunday.

  2. Anonymous7:57 pm

    Well not an altogether surprising outcome away to Gala.As Jim says,its the next couple of games where points are swiftly needed to climb a few spots up the table.Dont want to be still in need coming to the final couple of games.Though the other sides down the bottom are in similar disaray.
    I never realised that when foreign teams visiting the Ali Sami Yen were greeted with the infamous "Welcome To The Hell" banners that it was meant literally!Always thought it refered to the intimadatory atmosphere one could expect.
    I was checking out the various stadia in Turkish cities on the Turkish Football Federation website and while some of them surely look basic I would have thought that the 3 main ones in Istanbul would have been up to scratch.What would be the favourite stadiums of you guys to visit?
    Ankaraspor's ground doesnt count!

    Dublin Neil.

  3. That's a good question Dublin Neil. I haven't been to a decent stadium yet. I have been told that Fener's stadium is good, then again I had also been told that Kayseri's stadium was good, until the Ankaragucu kankas told me it was a pile of crap.

  4. Anonymous8:55 pm

    that video of the gucu fans carrying those knifes is scrarey. what the hell the carrying them for ?


  5. Anonymous11:00 pm

    I know Nadeem,its crazy.Ripping up seats and throwing them onto the pitch seems mild in comparison.Those machetes looked more like something you'd need for a jungle trek.

    Going back to the stadia,the one in Bursa looks kinda atmospheric anyway,looks to be in a hollow with the town and mountains all around.
    Some of the others in the lower divisions look plain scary!A bit like the League of Ireland!

    Dublin Neil.

  6. Anonymous1:13 am

    think were just lucky back here in the UK neil that knifes are things of the past lol


  7. Jamie9:14 am

    Yeah, it is definitely for a lot of intimidation. We didnt actually see any of this when we got to the match. An old friend of mine is a Galatasaray fan and he warned me to be careful with the Ultra Aslan. I told him he didnt need to worry about it with the unemployed and unemployable...and I think I was right.

  8. Well .... bugger me .... and you could have knocked me down wivfff a fevvvirrr....

    I was under the impression that the 'supporters' took these knives on the buses so that they could cut the sandwiches which their luvvlie mothers gave them and share them with their luvvlie friends on the bus ??!!

    As for throwing chairs, I was also under the impression that this was a Turkish Cultural thingie to show your appreciation of the home team's welcome ??!!

    We live and learn something new every day !!

  9. Anonymous5:34 pm

    Dear Eski,
    as I have stated/insisted in my last comment, regardless of who is in the line up we have no chance to win or to be realistic to play a positive and offensive football with the existing Technical Managers.
    To understand the the capacity and Football knowledge of our TM, we have to inquire why did they choose Elyasa for the left back post instead of Broggi? As a result of this brilliant choice,despite of GS's defensive strategy throughout the game, our left side was like a free way for Abdulkader Keita.
    And another simple question to our TM.
    If you change your strategy as a result of the ongoing score and you decide to substitute Sapara with M.akan then who will organise your team and pass the ball to the forward.
    Hürriyet ? Kağan ? and/or
    I really wonder why do our Junior Gökçek pays money for this staff ??? What is the benefit ??
    Who can create a worse team than these idiots.
    Note : I would like you all know turkish and listen the comments on national media about Ankaragücü and his brilliant TM.


  10. Yes Volkan, I hear what you say and you speak lots of sense. However, it is too late in the day to have a 'knee jerk' reaction now with our Management Team.

    We have to stick with the 'French Connection' and that other person of 'Fener extraction' and pray to God that they do not take the team DOWN in our Centenery Year.

    I hope Lemerre has learned a lesson from last Sunday's match, ie, it is no use 'pussy footing' around with delicate passing in your own half of the field with any team in the Turkish League, especially when you are playing in Istanbul.

    He has to send the team out there on Sunday to play 'full on' attacking footie for 90 minutes and if we make defending secondary to attacking, then so be it.

    For now it is ..... shit or bust !

    btw, all the kankas agree that Broggi should be playing, but ....... where is he ?

    Let's do it !

  11. Anonymous7:49 pm

    We are lucky because of Diyarbakır & Denizli.
    But I do agree for sticking and we have to calm
    down and act with common sense atleast to save
    next season.

    And French Connection recalls ?


  12. Anonymous7:53 pm

    Well it looked like a terrible back pass from Geremi on the You Tube clip I saw that gave away one of the goals.As I previously said, I found the signing of Geremi as a bit of a gamble.Lots of experience but well past his best.I wouldnt be surprised if he doesnt see out his contract.
    Having said that,there doesnt seem to be an abundance of young and available players who would be good enough to go straight in the team.
    I get the feeling that there could be many changes again at Ankaragucu during the summer even if they stay up.Which they will.

    Dublin Neil.

  13. "I wouldn't characterize Galatasaray's performance as anything remarkable"

    Well, remarkable is of course a relative thing, Steven, but on TV they looked strong all around. Keita in particular looked impressive.

    We actually looked better than we often do, and had we been playing a lesser squad, we might have even come away with some points, but this was GS on their own turf (and not worn out from European play they way they were the last time we played them).

    I'll have to look at the youtube video Dublin Neil mentioned (Steven could you or Chris put that up?), but Geremi looked solid compared to most of the players out there, and seemed to have a positive calming influence on the the rest of the team.

    Muhammet Hanifi Yoldaş (from Ankaraspor)on the other hand is a player I don't want to see on the pitch for the rest of the season. If I am not mistaken, he played a key role in two of the three goals scored against us.

    Vittek was also not doing a whole lot out there, he lacked what Eski Jim calls "fire in the belly." Which is actually what the Chinese call "diarrhea", so I'm not really sure if I hope he gets that or not.

    Vassell looked good, but he needs some help up front.

    This coming week against 6th place Kayseri will also be a bit of a challenge, but at least we will be at our "hell away from home".

    And, last but certainly not least, congrats to our brother team Bursaspor for their dominance over the rest of the league. May they stay there on top and take the league crown. If that happens, there is a good chance I will be making a little trip down Bursa way to join in the celebrations.

  14. Connect Kanka9:11 am

    I would agreed with you, Damon, that Keita looked quite strong. But in general I recall a certain level of parity in the middle of the field. I thought we had more possession in this match than when we beat them in October. Offensively, though, we didn't even provide the smallest challenge for their defense. You probably couldn't see this on TV, but when we were trying to put a cross into the box, there was rarely more than one man there to receive it. It's easy to make a team look good when you don't test their ability. I'm also inclined to agree with those who found Vittek's performance rather disappointing. We need to get more out of him. It would be nice to have Ceyhun back in the middle.

  15. Jamie9:44 am

    More importantly, according to my students, Steven and I were filmed during Sundays broadcast. My kids were able to tell me what we were wearing. Weird huh? We are minor minor celebs.

  16. Clearly possession and passing were not our weak points, but their defense was tight and their offense put in three. What more can I say.

  17. Anonymous11:24 am

    Good news for all from Anatolia:

    Turkcell Süper Lig'de mücadele eden Ankaragücü, maçlarını 19 Mayıs Stadı'nda oynamak için Futbol Federasyonu'na başvurdu.
    Kulüp basın sözcüsü Avni Kavlak, yaptığı yazılı açıklamada, ligin ikinci devresinin başlamasıyla birlikte 19 Mayıs Stadı'nın zemininin bozuk olması nedeniyle, maçları geçici olarak ASAŞ Stadı'nda oynadıklarını hatırlatarak, şöyle konuştu:
    ''Bir süre önce zemini adeta tarlaya dönen 19 Mayıs Stadı'nda sakatlanmalara yol açmaması nedeniyle oynamama kararı almıştık. Yenikent ASAŞ Stadı'nda oynadığımız süre içerisinde bakıma alınan 19 Mayıs Stadı'nın zemininin yeniden elden geçirilip futbol oynamaya elverişli hale geldiği teknik ekibimiz tarafından yapılan son incelemelerde tespit edilmiştir.
    Biz de bunun üzerine bu hafta oynayacağımız Kayserispor karşılaşmasından itibaren kalan maçlarımızı 19 Mayıs Stadı'nda oynamak için Futbol Federasyonuna başvuruda bulunduk.''


  18. Thanks for the update Sppiinee. However, as far as I can make out it is not a done deal yet.

    Turkcell has applied to the TFF for a move back to 19 Mayis since the playing surface is deemed to be fit enough now.

    I suppose it comes down to how much influence I.M.Gokcek has within the corridors of the TFF !!

    We have to wait and see on this one and no doubt it will be a last minute decision for Sunday's match against Kayseri.

  19. Oh and it seems that you Ali Sami Yen Kankas have earned your club a one-match spectators ban... and 80 grand in fines:

    "Ugly and bad slogans" apparently!


  20. The fourth time this season I see.

  21. Connect Kanka12:06 pm

    "Ugly and bad slogans" is a generous description. I will admit that I have never sworn that much in Turkish before going to the match.

  22. Anonymous10:34 pm

    The reason Broggi isnt playing is because we can only have 6 foreign players on the pitch so one needs to drop out and he has been carrying an injury. I hope hes back on sunday as we miss him.

    Id go with this team for rest of season:







    For me that would be our best team, btw what game will be closed to spectators?