Last nights Gencler report courtesy of Spine as Gencler won 3-0 at home to Akhisar Belediyespor. A nice 3 points after a poor start last week for Gencler. Picture above of Dan welcoming his fellow countryman Bodgan Stancu with the Romania Flag.
So it was a fine evening for Genclerbirligi on Friday, August 23. The team put in a confident and sometimes stylish performance to defeat Akhisar 3-0 at 19 Mayis. All three main strikers - Jimmy, Zec and Stancu - got on the scoresheet. The turnout in Maraton was no less than last season, despite the 50 pct increase in the cost of a season ticker (150 TL versus today's match price of 15 TL, stats fans) And our happy band saw the return of Dan the Man and Flying Dutchman Kanka, who have decided to end their principled boycott of the club over the match-fixing scandal.
Diring the pre-match warm-up exercises at the Beer Bus i asked them why they were returning. While Dan is mainly testing the suitability of the ground for a visit with his five year old, both also admitted to being curious about the politics. So lets get that over with first.
The Political Match Report
As you'd expect from a club with a support base consisting of students, communists, over-educated "intellectuals" and malcontents, the Gezi spirit still animates the crowd in Maraton.
Climbing the steps to the top of C Section i noticed what i first thought was a medical oddity: a fair few people seemed to be wearing eye-patches as treatment for lazy eye. In some areas whole groups of people were wearing white stick-on eye patches.
You will remember that at least 11 people lost an eye in the course of Gezi protests according to the Turkish Medical Association. Three injuries are widely attributed to police officers who fired tear gas at close range directly into crowds.
So the mood was clear from the start, and within minutes of kick off the crowd launched into a new chant: Her Yer Kara, Her Yer Kimizi. Yes, by pure chance, that does scan and sound exactly like a political chant heard during the protests. But the words have been changed to celebrate the team colours, so its really just an innocent football song, officer.
No Gencler people, you are not fooling anyone.
Of course, all this is playing with fire, at least as far as the club and 77 year old Chairman Ilhan Cavcav are concerned. Sports Minister Suat Kilic has used his special TRT Anchorman Voice to warn clubs of unspecified but heavy punishments if they allow grounds to become venues for "politics". Witty and non-violent Gencler protests may have been, but that may not save the club (or fans) from repercussions if the authorities decide to stand by their warnings.
In this atmosphere police surveillance naturally takes on a new meaning. For years the Gencler fans have generally ignored the policemen who constantly film the crowd from the touchline. Not this season. The cops were given loud jeers around Kick-off. The tear gas song Sik Bakalim (a ditty that essentially says Gas us if you think your hard enough) was a fairly regular chant, and sometimes morphed into Cek Bakalim ( Take our picture if you ....)
And of course the 34th minute was greeted by Her Yer Taksim, Her Yer Direnis.
The Footballing Match Report
Despite all the above, everyone was really there to see football, and the slightest action on the field dragged the crowd out of the political mode, like a tug on a leash from Cesar Milan.
The 3-0 win was a wonderful thing, but it may be misleading. Akhisar had their chances, and it was only thanks to an almost flawless performance from Ramazan in goal that the score wasn't more "nuanced". He held everything that came his way firmly and twice denied goal shots on goal from the visitors. His distribution out of goal was a bit weird at times, but generally he was great.
Akhisar had those chances because the Gencler midfield still doesn't seem right to me. The ball was often given away in the middle of the park win ways that as Dan pointed out would be rapidly and ruthlessly punished by more effective opponents. Part of the problem here i think, is Jean-Jaques Rousseau, the famous Ivorian philosopher who has cut off his dreadlocks since the Rize game, i'm sad to say.
Gosso sits just in front of the back four as a defensive midfielder, and while his tackling does seem solid, his passing is less predictable. His instinct seems to be to move backward, and since he's already positioned just outside the box, bis passes often put the defenders and keeper under unnecessary pressure.
17: Jimmy opened the scoring with a drive from the right after a rather ornate free-kick move.
33: Zec hammered one home from a pass from Stancu.
88: The philosopher robbed and Akhisar attack and disproved me by surging forward and generously passing to Stancu on his left on the edge of the box, Stancu finished cleanly.
Jimmy had a fine game, roaming both wings and being knocked over a lot. Petrovic was brought on late in midfield and made two or three lovely passes. Oktay Delibalta looked useful in a central role. The Thompson Twins Tosic and Tomic both had good games, although i think Tosic was given a more central defensive role, thanks to the Kulusic red card. Gencler were wearing all black strip that apparently has been designed to mark the clubs 90th anniversary. They will soon be on sale at the club shop, i read.