Tuesday, December 29, 2015

SHOCK! Some good news from a Turkish court

As Gencler manage to lose their 28th coach this season there was some good news out there in the Turkish football world with a court ordering the TFF to pay compensation to a referee who they had sacked for being gay.

According to an Associated Press report (was it written by our very own Virgin Kanka?) the TFF was ordered to pay Halil Ibrahim Dinçdağ TL 23,000 in compensation.

This was from an AP report quoting the Anatolia news agency (gotta get your sources right).
Dinçdağ said he would appeal the amount of compensation set by the court, but nevertheless welcomed the ruling as a victory for gay rights in Turkey and for efforts to combat homophobia in sports.
Dinçdağ also stated that he would apply to be reinstated to the position of second-league referee he was sacked from in 2009.

Everyone at "The round ball in Ankara" who lives in the 21st century wishes Halil the very, very best of luck.

Gencler on the precipice

The first half of the season has now passed... Genclerbirligi have had three full-time coaches (and one part-time), they haven't managed to score a goal for at least four weeks and we find ourselves in the relegation zone. Things are starting to look scary.

Eskisehirspor 2 - 0 Genclerbirligi

The match kicked off at 7pm on a freezing Monday night in Eskisehir and as I had a diary clash with the Presidential Symphony Orchestra I had to listen to the first half on the radio whilst driving towards the Ankara Arena, next door to our spiritual home - the 19 Mayis.

The traffic was horrible but Gencler started fast but... in their first attack of the game Eskisehir scored. About half an hour in the anouncer said that Gencler had had something like 80 percent possession! Eighty-bloody-percent! We had shots and headers but nothing went in.

Then about the half hour mark Eskisehir went two up. Both goals seemed to have come from nowhere.

Seemingly everyone going to the concert drove and so I ended up having to park near the Ruzgarlı Gate Bridge. Half-time in the match and in the Arena I turned off my phone. I wasn't upset.

I then sat back and enjoyed one of those classical music concerts that aim to please everyone. You get all the famous bits of music from the commercials, you get the sing-along Turkish classical music bits. We even got some Andrew Lloyd Webber. It sounds horrible but was actually quite funny. A sort-of easy listening concert that you go to more for the cultural experience than for the music. Don't get me wrong, the Presidential Symphony Orchestra are brilliant... just not in a basketball hall.

Half-time in the concert, turn my phone on and check the messages... "Gencler have gone from a Jekyll and Hyde team to Hyde and Hyde," said Alex. Quite.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Genclerbirligi sign Yilmaz Vural

Genclerbirligi have a new manager. Now that's a sentence you only see five or six times a year. The new man is Yilmaz Vural... yet another of the merry-go-round coaches that clog up Turkish football. Let's have a look at his managerial career. This is from Wikipedia.

Teams managed
1990–1991Karşıyaka S.K.
2004Çaykur Rizespor
2009–2010Kasımpaşa S.K.
2014Mersin İdman Yurdu

EDIT: Five days after I posted this, 29 December 2015, Yilmaz Vural was sacked. Five days...

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ankaragücü 2 - 0 Tuzlaspor -- Merry Christmas!

Ankaragücü enter the mid-season break in second place, and everything to play for in the back stretch of the season.

A chilly day (see Chris's post yesterday for a more in-depth look at 90 minutes standing in the cold) would have been matched by the emotional coldness of standing alone on the terraces, but five minutes into the match Emir and the Pegasus boys came over and joined me.

Nothing else much happened in the first half - both sides played pretty scrappy football, with Ankaragücü looking the slightly stronger team.

The second half was very different: from the off, Ankaragücü dominated. It wasn't through some demonstration of tactical genius, sadly: Tuzlaspor just realised they were in danger and became extremely defensive - and Ankaragücü fans and players were noticeably chipper despite not ringing up any goals.

The Pegasus crew, meanwhile, had distributed themselves to the far reaches of the stadium. "This is for good luck," Emir told me. "We change seats until Ankaragücü score."

From there on in, the boys in sarı-lacivert managed to string together many consecutive attacks, which were all either offside, over the bar, deflected off a defender or beaten by a last-minute tackle. A counter-attack by Tuzla in the 72nd minute nearly soured things, with a desperate goal-mouth struggle ending in a Tuzla player skying the ball into the crowd.

A few minutes later, Ankara took advantage of a lapse in the defending to put a beautiful ball over to Emrah Bozkurt in a one-on-one with the keeper. His shot was placed at a tight angle, and there was a gasp in the stands for the millisecond before the ball bounced back, confirming it had hit the net.

From then on, Tuzlaspor tried, falteringly, to go into all-out attack, but Ankaragücü remained dominant. The referee even gave them a last chance for a Christmas miracle by refusing to stop the game, even after a lot of extra time.

The extra minutes didn't do them any good: Ankaragücü sealed their victory with a great goal in maybe minute seven of extra time which - thanks to the twin miracles of technology and Ankaragücü fanaticism - we can bring you here:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the readers of this blog!

Monday, December 21, 2015

When does the bloody winter break start?

Underwear... check
Socks... check
Second layer of socks... check
Long Johns... check
Trousers... check
Winter boots... check

Right, that's the bottom bit down. Now for upstairs.

Ski undershirt... check
Shirt... check
Gencler top... check
Cardigan... check
Scarf... check
Woolly hat... check
-50 degrees jacket... check
Gloves... check

And so attired Little Oz Kanka and I set off into the fog that engulfed Ankara all day on Sunday. We were damn well prepared but it was still bloody freezing at the 19 Mayis for the 7 pm kick-off. Despite all this there was a half decent-sized crowd (going by recent attendances, not pre-Passolig attendances). The Fener fans pretty much filled their away section behind the goals and us Gencler lot made a decent, if not spectacular, show of force.

Did I mention it was cold?

We met with Alex at the Soul Bar in Kizilay (excellent food and beers at good prices) and had our usual pre-match discussions.

Being a Liverpool fan, Alex was particularly interested to see if Fenerbahce were going to play former Man. United players Nani and Van Persie. As some of you may have realised having read this blog over the past 10 years, I don't actually know much about football, and so I asked Alex, with genuine, if naive, interest as to whether he liked Nani and Van Persie. Alex merely said that he may be testing this evening the non-swearing rule that the Genclerbirligi fans self impose.

Genclerbirligi 0 - 1 Fenerbahce

It was only a couple of minutes into the match when I understood what Alex was on about. In just those few minutes, Nani had managed to piss off the entire Gencler crowd.

Nani went down on what probably was a foul but quite possibly wasn't. Either way it was nothing much. Nani though was writhing around on the pitch right in front of the Gencler fans in a way that only the most one-eyed Fener fan could interpret as being "I'm hurt". He wasn't hurt of course because as soon as one of the Gencler players said as much he bounced back onto the balls of his feet and looked like a prize fighter. That was that. The crowd was going to give him shit for the rest of the night. He asked for it too, play acting a few more times... arguing away with the referee, pushing Gencler players around. He also played some very nice football... but he is basically a dick.

The match itself was a bit niggly, with the Fener players seemingly put off. The referee was giving everything to Fener at the start and I have to say that for a team coming second last in the league and having sacked our coach last week, we weren't doing too badly against one of the best sides in the league.

Oh, by the way, I think we have signed Mustafa Kaplan as our new coach (note: this news may be out of date by the time I manage to publish this post).

The Fener fans were impressive with their singing and we were having great fun in winding Nani up when... bang... someone got through our defence and put a cross was in. Header and goal.

One-nil up and it looked very, very unlikely that we might pull it back.

I think we played bravely, it was a damn sight better than the absolute rubbish we put on against Sivas last week, but if it wasn't for some great saves from Hopf we would have lost this by much more.

As the match wound down a large section decided to ignore Nani for a bit and instead called on Cavcav to resign.

Match over and ... the players shuffled off, as did we, not really disappointed but a bit depressed. The Fener fans were still singing away as we walked out. I had to laugh though. The Fener fans had sung their hearts out for the entire match. They were fantastic. And the Fenerbahce players were so grateful that after the match they walked straight into the tunnel without even acknowledging their supporters. I hope there are some traumatised kiddies because of that.

But back to us.

We are in one hell of a bad situation at the moment. If we don't get a result against Eskisehirspor next week things will not be good.

It was bloody cold tonight... and Nani is a bit of a dick.


Saturday, December 19, 2015


Greetings Kankas and Kankies

Meet Omer Akkerman who plays for the Ankaragucu Under 15s Team.   He also turns out as a Ball Boy in the senior matches.

His mother, Nese Akkerman, is a good friend of mine and she has been reliably informed by people ‘in the know’ that Omer has all the qualities necessary to make it into the senior team when he is old enough.

We wish him continued success at the Club and will be following his progress over the next few years.

Afterthought ....... mmmmm ......... perhaps I should inform Alan Stubbs, Manager of Hibernian FC, to keep an eye on him before Real Madrid or Bayern Munich become interested ??!!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The end of Passolig?

It seems as if the football fans group Taraf-der have had a big victory in the courts with the Passolig system, in particular the fact that a bank runs it, deemed unconstitutional. As with anything to do with trade law, constitutionality and implementation ... it isn't clear what exactly happens next.

This is from a pretty good translation into English (except for a bit at the end where I think the copy/paste function buggered up) of an article originally posted in Turkish on the Football Supporters Europe website:

... in November 2015, the Constitutional Court of Turkey finally discussed the case. However did not release the official desicion. But finally the official declaration have been released on 16th of December by the Constitutional Court.
According to this desicion from now on, TFF or the football clubs can not assign their rights to sell and marketing tickets to the third parties and can not share the personal ID informations of the fans with the third parties also. This means as like before the Passolig times, TFF and the football clubs should be the only responsible parties to sell the tickets. This developement had been interperented as the end of the Passolig application, which is a trade mark of the Aktifbank, by the fan lawyers.
You can check out the whole article here.

What next? I don't know. But from the tweets and messages I'm seeing... Passolig may very soon come to pass.

Ankaragucu vs Tuzlaspor match preview!

So the TFF strike again and have changed the date and time of an Ankaragucu home match, this time to Monday night at 7pm against Tuzlaspor. One of the things i hate about football is how little thought their is for the people who are the heart and sole of the game, the fans! We live in a world run by corporate organisations and its very evident they are at the top of football and decisions are made with not a single thought of how it will effect the fans.

So as usual, people who are working late on a Monday will miss out on another Ankaragucu match. The game against Tuzlaspor is another huge match for the club as they look to put pressure on leaders Manisaspor who travel to Sivas BB at the weekend and can go 9 points clear with Ankaragucu still to play their match on Monday.

Tuzlaspor put up a spirited performance yesterday as they lost 2-1 at home against Fenerbahce in the Turkish Cup. Although Fenerbahce rested all their first team players, they still had some quality players and Tuzla put in a good account of themselves. They currently sit 8th place in the league and have won their last 3 home games as they chase a playoff spot.

Kemal Kilic will be hoping for a repeat of the performance that saw Ankaragucu beat Kocaeli Birlikspor 2-0 a couple of weeks ago at home. Hasan Ayaroglu will be hoping he done enough in the last game to merit a place in the starting line up after being left on the bench. The team needs creative players like Hasan, Omer and Emrah to be at their best as well as staying solid at the back.

Lets hope on Monday night we are all celebrating an Ankaragucu win and a 3 point gap between us and leaders Manisaspor, knowing our luck we will lose and be 9 points behind though.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Ankaragucu 1-1 Amedspor match report!

Ankaragucu were held to a 1-1 draw in Diyarbakir with Amedspor which now leaves them 6 points behind leaders Manisaspor who won 1-0 at home against Gumushanespor. The match was shown live on Ozgur Gun TV but unfortunately their internet channel crashed due to the sheer number of Ankaragucu fans who had tuned in. That in itself shows the gulf in size between these two clubs, unfortunately the quality on the pitch is about similar in standard.

Team - Turgut Kirveli, Goksu Alhas, Adem Saglam, Volkan Geyik, Mehmet Tasci, Salih Sefercik, Muhammed Gonulacar, Omer Bozan, Emrah Bozkurt, Sertan Vardar, Timur Kosovali

Subs - Altay Bayindir, Onur Atasayer, Sedat Bayrak, Hasan Ayaroglu, Hasan Kaya, Gurkan Alver, Teoman Erkan

Ferhat was replaced in goal with Turgut due to injury and Ankaragucu decided to stick with the same formation that saw them win 2-0 at home against Kocaeli Birlikspor. Myself and Damon managed to catch parts of the match due to a link through Periscope. We both agreed that the standard of football at this level is woeful and horrible to watch.

Ankaragucu struggled to put any passes together and the only players who showed any decent attacking quality were Hasan Ayaroglu when he came on as a sub and Omer Bozan. Its difficult to see this Ankaragucu becoming champions unless they go into the January break no more than 6 points behind Manisaspor and then make some quality additions to the team.

It was the home side who took the lead in the first half after the referee awarded a penalty due to a handball in the Ankaragucu box. Former Genclerbirligi striker Deniz Naki stepped up and scored to make it 1-0 Amedspor.

The score remained that way until mid way into the second half, Hasan Ayaroglu delivered a nice cross into the box from a free kick, Volkan Geyik headed the ball back across goal and Timur Kosovali was on hand to head the ball past Serkan in the Amedspor goal to make it 1-1.

Neither side created any chances for the remainder of the match and neither could argue about the 1-1 draw. Its now 1 win from their last 5 games for Ankaragucu with 1 game remaining until the winter break.

That match is against on form Tuzlaspor next Sunday at home while Manisaspor travel to Sivas in a huge weekend for both clubs. The match preview will be here on the blog midweek.

Rubbish all round

A cold day is always a good day to go for a walk and so Spine and me walked down to Kizilay, had a refreshment stop, and then on to the stadium where we met a frozen Alex.

Genclerbirligi 0 - 1 Sivasspor

Passolig has truly killed the crowds in Ankara. There was hardly anyone at the match. Those few of us there hardly made any noise during the first half thanks to the cold and the absolute dross being played by Gencler.

It wasn't as if Sivas were playing great stuff... but, but, but....

We went behind after a nicely taken header. Half time and many long faces amongst us Gencler fans.

Second half and our Nordic players were taken off and clearly the coach had had a sharp word. This half we went on the attack but a million times too many we went high when we should have tried to penetrate. Sivas played with all their men behind the ball and they were able to easily head away our attacks.

Frustration all round.

That was Sivas' second win of the season, their first away. We are now truly in a relegation fight.

God help us next week when we play Fenerbahce. We are now truly in a relegation fight.

EDIT: By the way. I forgot to mention that we didn't have a single shot on goal. Not a single shot on goal.... asdfgghhjk

EDIT 2: Dan the Man has just reported below the line that Gencler coach Mehmet Ozdelik has been sacked. Am I being too optimistic to think that Cavcav has a brilliant new coach lined up? It is a cynical rhetorical question so don't bother answering.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Ankaragucu vs Amedspor match preview!

Ankaragucu are away tomorrow against Amedspor in the hostile city of Diyarbakir in what will be another tough match. The good news is that the match will be played live on Ozgur Gun TV meaning we can all cheer the team on and finally see an away game, for me it will be the first time i have seen the team play a full game this season on TV.

The team will go into the match full of confidence after a good 2-0 win last weekend against Kocaeli Birlikspor. However as we have seen all to often with Ankaragucu over the years, nothing is a given and the team will need to raise the performance levels even higher to bring the 3 points back to Ankara.

Emrah Bozkurt has hit a bit of form of late and showed that he can be a big player for the team this season. Not only is his experience invaluable to the younger players, but his work rate and technique are two areas that will play a big part in the teams season. He has scored 2 goal of the season contenders in the last couple of weeks and long may it continue.

Harun Aydin will miss out due to suspension and it looks like Muhammed Gonulacar and Salih Sefercik will continue their pairing in the middle of the park after last weeks success. Timur Kosovali will be hoping he can find the back of the net as he looks to hit the goal trail after a disappointing start.

Make sure you tune into Ozgur Gun TV at 1pm Turkish time for the full match live!

Monday, December 07, 2015


Greeting Kankas and Kankies.

Ankaragucu did the biz yesterday to churn out a valuable win against a useful Kocaeli team to overtake them in the league and regain 2nd top spot.

ANKARAGUCU   2     Kocaelispor   0

It was a sunny, but very cold day, when the kankas met up at the Stadium – Cider Kanka John, Apple Kanka Erman and Genclerbirligi Kanka Alex.   We were joined by ‘Honourary Kankas’ Emir and Murat.   Emir, pictured below is a long term friend of mine and was a founder member of the famous Pegasus Group, who are now unfortunately defunct, but as you can see from his jacket, he still wears their motif with pride.  

Murat is an ever present in Maraton and has attended every away match this season so far.   Whether he will be brave enough to make the long journey to Diyarbakir next week remains to be seen !

The Stadium was not as full as 2 weeks ago, but still a good attendance considering the low temperature !    Gecikondu was full and all the other tribunes about half full.   The away end was empty and this was probably a Police decision in view of the historic problems between both sets of fans.

Team – Ferhat, Goksu, Volkan, Mehmet T, Muhammed, Adem, Salih, Sertan, Omer, Emrah and Timur.

Substitutes used – Sedat, Hasan A and Harun

Ankaragucu started out in determined fashion and should have gone ahead in the 5th minute when Timur found himself free in the penalty box, but his weak shot was easily saved.

However, 2 minutes later we were celebrating when Omer evaded 3 tackles and calmly shot into the bottom corner.   A clinical and well taken goal.

Kocaeli’s response was positive and they looked particularly dangerous down the left wing with their No21 showing fleet of foot and keeping Goksu busy.   The No21 sent over 2 dangerous looking crosses which were well defended by Vokan and Mehmet to deny the Kocaeli attackers homing in on them.

On the half hour mark, Emrah had a great chance to extend the lead when he had a goal bound header saved.  

Half time arrived and we were reasonably happy with the performance of the team.   However, we were mindful of being in the same situation against Manisa and so were not ‘counting our chickens’.   We were all aware that a 2nd goal was necessary to be sure of claiming all 3 points !

The 2nd half was only 8 minutes old when the 2nd goal arrived, and it could easily have been a candidate for goal of the season if the TV cameras had been there.   A sweeping move out of defence resulted in the ball being sent into the path of Emrah just outside the penalty box.   He had time to control the ball and send a fantastic shot to the top left hand corner with the goalkeeper nowhere !

7 minutes later there was a scare when Volkan went to ground after a heavy tackle.   The stretcher was called for and the ambulance crew prepared to take him on board.   However, after a lengthy delay, he managed to hobble off, with assistance, back to the dressing room.   Able deputy Sedat replaced him and 10 minutes later Hasan replaced Emrah who left the field to thunderous well deserved applause, and not just for his great goal, but his tremendous workrate.

With 15 minutes to go, Kocaeli was looking dangerous as they searched for a way back into the match, but the Ankaragucu defence was holding up well.   However, there was a scare on the 80th minute when Kocaeli ‘scored an offside goal’ from a fast breakaway.   It looked a good goal from our tight angle, but the linesman was quick with his flag and there wasn’t any protest from the players.

Almost at the final whistle we witnessed some fancy close passing on the left wing between Salih, Timur and Omer, which resulted in Salih breaking away and firing in an angled shot which hit the bar and went out.

Into time added on and Harun was put through one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but he shot straight at him instead of trying to go around him.    Then a few moments later, in a confrontration with a Kocaeli player, Harun was shown a red card for an incident which we all missed, and from the re-start the match ended.

So, a crucial victory after the disappointments of the past 2 matches when only one point was won.   Not only did it move Ankaragucu back into 2nd position in the league, but with Buca beating league leaders Manisa, the gap between 1st and 2nd was reduced to 4 points.

Optimism is perhaps back on the agenda for some, but with a visit to Diyarbakir scheduled for next weekend it may be premature to think ............’League Champions’ !     I would prefer to reserve judgement for now and see where Ankaragucu is at the half way point when the winter break is on us and the picture becomes clearer.

Back to The Chopin Bar we went to celebrate.   Let’s use the old cliche ............ let’s take one game at a time !!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Yet another collapse for Gencler

"Gencler need to petition to for 75-minute matches," Alex texted me after yesterdays defeat. He's not half-wrong.

Istanbul Basaksehirspor 2 - 0 Genclerbirligi

I couldn't get out yesterday afternoon and so I was playing Grand Theft Auto and had the match on the radio. I crashed my car quite a few times.

According to the radio announcer (in fact everything here is from the radio announcer), Gencler had about 10 fans and Basaksehir 100. Must have been an amazing atmosphere.

Basaksehir had a 99 percent shot on goal. Missed. Then they should have had a penalty. Wasn't given.

Then it was all boredom for a while with no one stringing any passes together. Then in the 30th Djalma had a go, off the crossbar and bounced. Did it cross the line. No says the 13th official. First half ended 0 - 0 and I sought of drifted off a bit.

Then was jolted back into the game in the 78th when Basaksehir went ahead. Oh God. Then a few minutes later they went ahead 2 - 0.


Friday, December 04, 2015

Ankaragucu vs Kocaeli Birlikspor match preview!

Another huge match in Lig 2 this week as Ankaragucu host Kocaeli Birlikspor as both teams look to close the gap on leaders Manisaspor. Kocaeli climbed above Ankaragucu into 2nd spot last weekend after the Capital side were held to a 2-2 draw at Ankara Demirspor. The visitors are in excellent form scoring 12 goals in their last 4 league games including last weekends 5-0 thumping of Keciorengucu.

Ankaragucu on the other hand have struggled for goals this season and had to thank defender Adem Saglam for his 2 goals last weekend to rescue a point. He has now scored more goals this season than Timur Kosovali, Enes Kubat and Teoman Erkan combined.

Last weekend was another woeful and inexcusable performance from Ankargucu, the passing was what you would expect to see from a Sunday league amateur team, the final ball is what you would expect from people playing football for the first time, and the finishing well the less said about that the better.

Kemal Kilic has against the odds managed to keep his job, the Ankaragucu board released a statement on the website saying that he would be staying and there is an important match this weekend which they need to concentrate on.

Abdullah Halman is the form man for Kocaeli with 6 goals in 10 games this season and will be looking to add to his tally on Sunday afternoon. The Ankaragucu fans will be hoping for changes in the starting line up with Orhan Evci, Hasan Kaya and Mustafa Ozturk all in contention for a place in the team. Enes Kubat is suspended after his sending off last weekend and a few of the players could see themselves dropped from the starting line up after a string of poor performances.

The match kicks off at 1330 Turkish time on Sunday afternoon in front of another big crowd at the 19 Mayis Stadium. Lets hope this time the players give the fans the 3 points that the deserve.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Gencler's Turkish Cup preview

Err... not much of a preview but the picture below was taken a few minutes ago (about 11am) at the Kemal Ataturk Stadium in Etimesgut where at 1pm Etimesgut Belediiyespor is set to run out against Gencler.

Good luck.

Photo from Klasspor.com