Monday, August 10, 2015

Timur's elephants

It is not the end of the world. We didn't play what I assume will be our first 11. It was a pre-season cup that no one will remember. But still it was against Osmanlispor... so that hurt a bit.

Genclerbirligi 2 - 2 Osmanlispor (Osmanlispor won 4- 3 on penalties)

When the directors of Ankaraspor decided to re-name the club Osmanlispor I'm not sure they appreciated the irony that it was in Ankara that the Ottomans not just lost a battle, but it it was also the only time in history that an Ottoman sultan was captured.

I didn't realise the irony either until the Gencler fans started singing, "Geliyoor geliyoor Timurun filleri geliyor" - "They are coming, they're coming, Timur's elephants are coming".

Timur is also known as Tamerlane.

There is special genius in pulling out a battle from 1402 and using it as a weapon against opposition supporters, none of whom would have had a clue what the hell we were singing about. Then there is the whole thing of sort of positioning us as being anti-Ottoman. These are things that are difficult to get your head around, which I'm guessing was the whole point because as soon as the fans stopped singing they all had a good laugh.

Next inspiration for the fans was much more contemporary and came from a man who is close to the sultan himself. In May this year Bulent Arinc had a go at Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek pretty much accusing him of being corrupt. It was all part of the continuing comic festival that is the war between the Gulenists and the Erdoganists. Gokcek is a sort of a Shakespearean comic jester annoying all sides in the the drawn out conflict.

It was pretty weird when it happened. At about the sixth minute the referee blew his whistle and stopped the match. A couple of the players, from both teams, then lifted him up in the air. None of us in the crowd had a clue what was going on as the referee was being carried like a sultan to the Kapali section of the stadium (ie opposite us). The announcer said something or other but as the tannoy at the 19 Mayis Stadium is absolute and utter rubbish, the only thing we understood was "Ahmet Gokcek".

Well! This of course was the same Ahmet Gokcek, son of Melih, who took over at Ankaragucu a few years ago when it was in the Super League. Today, Ankaragucu are in the Turkey 2.Lig and in dire financial straights. You can see some of our reports on Ahmet here

It is also the same Ahmet Gokcek who was recently elected to the board of the Turkish Football Federation and is now in charge of Passolig relations (or something).

"Gokcek disari" - "Gokcek out", sang the fans before using the Bulent Arinc-inspired line, "Kim sattı, kim sattı, parcel, parcel kim sattı?" - "Who sold it, who sold it, plot by plot, who sold it".

Ahmet Gokcek gave the referee something or other and a minute of celebrations were had on the other side of the pitch. I learnt later on that this match was the referee's "jubilee" - the word being used in its Turkish version meaning, his last match. If this had been announced before the match (possibly on a better tannoy), or even at half-time, I am sure that the fans of both sides would have given the referee rousing applause, or at least polite applause. Instead the poor bugger probably had a friend record the moment and he will forever remember the booing and jeers in the background as he received the TFF version of a golden watch.

Anyway, there was some football last night and it was our first chance to see our new keeper Johannes Hopf in action... He didn't have a whole lot to do and couldn't really be blamed for the two goals we let in... so I haven't made up my mind yet.

It was a pre-season match so plenty of people were left out, Stancu and Guido being two obvious first team picks not to be in the squad last night.

One man we wanted to watch, was Olafur Skulason, a defensive midfielder, (a position that needs filling in the Gencler jigsaw) but he was injured in the first few minutes. I see today that it wasn't a bad injury.

After the silly award to the referee Gencler came out hard and even very early on we were predicting a goal feast... but... it was a counter attack that sunk us. Ahmet Celik was playing in the right back position but was also pushing miles forward. It was when he was miles forward that Osmanlispor rushed quickly down his flank, leaving him 50 yards away from the ball and the covering defenders had to rush in. The cross came in and defender Ferhat Gorgulu seemed to back off, probably wasn't sure if the keeper was going to come out or not... and the Osmanli player got to take an easy shot.

Annoying but I still thought we could come back. El Kabir probably should have scored but managed to only blast the ball at the keeper after being given a great cross by Atabey Cicek. The game went on and deep, deep into added time of the first half El Kabir scored with a header following a throw in. 1-1 half-time and all was good.

The break saw another political discussion between the Gencler fans but it was too far away for me to here what it was about. You don't have to be a genious to guess that it was about the Passolig system.  The Karakizil group seem to be pretty pissed off that the majority of Gencler fans have decided to end their boycott of the system and to attend matches this season. Please note that this is ending the boycott, not ending their opposition to the system.

Back to the football and Gencler continued in their haphazard attacks. It wasn't brilliant but it wasn't terrible either. Lots and lots of work still to do though.

Osmanlispor went ahead though with a headed goal from a corner and we had had to wait, wait, wait, wait, witness some handbags between the players, wait a bit more, sing some songs... and then again in the 90th plus minute we finally scored. Ball came into the box, someone kicked it, someone headed it and then El Kabir from a metre out scored.

Full time 2 - 2

Penalties. Well, you know how these things are. You go up and give it a whack. So what the hell was Ugur Ciftci doing? He had already buggered up one very good chance in the second half and then he simply kicked it limply. A kick later El Kabir needed to score to keep us in it but managed to send it wide.

So... onto the season which starts for us on Monday August 17 against Rizespor. KO at 10 pm. I will be away but I'm sure someone will be able to write up a report.


  1. None of yer Oz Kanka rants in this report which was professionally written with footie, a history lesson and politics. In true 'Round Ball in Ankara' fashion ............ never a dull moment reading this Blog !!

    Disappointing result for Gencler but I have to say that IMGspor (otherwise known as Osmanlispor) have wasted little time during the summer in strengthening their squad for their 1st foray into the Super League. Sorry to say, I have a feeling they will do well this season !

    Confidence rose when ex-Ankaragucu player, Tisdale, missed his penalty but sadly Ed Kabir didn't take advantage of his slip up.

    Looking to the future, hopefully new Gencler Coach, Mr Baxter, can take Gencler above their traditional 8th position this season.

  2. Anonymous2:42 pm

    Our right back is Ahmet Oguz. Ahmet Calik is the center back.

    No to Passolig!

  3. Ahhh. Getting my Ahmet's mixed up.

  4. Great Report Chris, especially liked the part about the referee , that is just typical of Ankara football lol