Sunday, April 30, 2017

And Gencler manage a 0-0 draw away to Trabzonspor

Er... that's it.


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

It has been a long and painful journey for Ankaragucu and their thousands of supporters during the last 5 years, 4 of which have been in the 2nd League, and it falls to me to hopefully write the last ever report of an Ankaragucu match in the 2nd league !!!

Ankaragucu’s last match in the Super League was against Kayserispor on the 7th of April 2012, and as we all know, they were unprepared for life in the PTT League and perhaps foolishly under-estimated the standard of football in that league.   This time there will be no such mistake and hopefully they will be pressing for another promotion rather than settleing for consolidation.

So, it should be an interesting summer as Mehmet Yigner and the management team strive to strengthen the squad in preparation for next season.   Details here as they unfold.

However, back to the present and the last match of the season against Hatay.

ANKARAGUCU    2        Hatay     0

All the kankas were dressed for the occasion when we met-up at The Bira Park (as can be seen from the photo) and it was a party atmosphere in the full ‘bulging at the seams’ Stadium in a warm Spring Day.    Maniac Kanka Harun, Battle Damaged Kanka Damon, Cider Kanka John, Kaleci Kanka Tansu, Apple Kanka Erman, New Kanka Nuer, Posh Kanka Ahmet and Scouse Kanka Marcus who just flew in from the UK for the match !

There was only one hiccup pre-match and that was the issue with acquiring tickets and we had to split up between Maraton and Sol Kapali.    When Damon, John and I came to the Sol Kapali Outer Gate we were told to go to the Gecikondu Gate at the opposite side of the Stadium.    This entailed a hike around the perimeter past the Gar and standing in a long queue of punters.   Anyway, we made it in with 30 minutes to spare which was quite an achievement considering the length of the queue !

The match was only 2 minutes old when it had to be halted for 2 minutes when some idiots in Maraton started to throw flares onto the pitch.    With smoke flares also going, it took the stewards efforts to clear the lit flares from the pitch and we were underway again.

It took until the 14th minute for Ankaragucu to make their first serious attempt at goal when Enes put Hursit through on goal but his weak shot went past the post.    Then, as usual, we had the Bursa song on the 16th minute mark.

Although the Hatay players had given the Ankaragucu players a guard of honour on entering the pitch at the beginning of the match, they were not there to ‘lie down’.    They almost opened the scoring on 23 minutes when their striker shot into the side netting from a dangerous move down the right.

However, the moment we had been waiting for arrived 3 minutes later.   Hursit received an excellent pass on the left wing and crossed an inch perfect ball to Enes who’s shot was sent into the top right with the goalkeeper helpless.

Hatay almost equalised 2 minutes later, but an acrobatic save by Altay prevented a header going in.

On the half hour mark and Enes almost made it 2 when his intelligent running off the ball left him one on one with the goalkeeper, but all credit to the goalkeeper who anticipated the move and he beat Enes to the ball to clear.

10 minutes to go to half time and time for a Mexican Wave around the Stadium which lasted for 3 minutes !!

3 minutes to go and Kenan showed some skill in evading 3 tackles before his shot was blocked.   From the resulting corner, Cenk headed just over.

The half time entertainment was provided by The Ankara Club who gave us a demonstration of the Misket Dance and they were joined by Mehment Yigner on the centre circle and he gave us an impromptu showing of his dance skills.    Well done Mehment Bey !

Into the 2nd half and the match was’nt a done deal with Hatay again showing attacking instincts.   Their No9 in particular was a constant threat and he had 2 excellent efforts which on any other day might have gone in.    However, our young goalkeeper Altay was having a good match and looked the part.

Kenan, Enes and Hursit all had efforts on goal before the 2nd goal arrived on the 73rd minute mark.    It was pure class from Kenan and he attacked down the left wing, cut inside, dummied the goalkeeper and stroked the ball into an empty net.

That was it in a football sense, but we had to endure smoke for the last 10 minutes of the match !!!     First it was the turn of Sol Kapali where we were standing to be covered in orange smoke, then 5 minutes later it was the turn of Gecikondu and then 5 minutes after that Sag Kapali.    It was mental !!!!

Then with the clock on 90 minutes one punter from the scoreboard end decided to invade the pitch and then the ‘sheep’ responded with all the tribunes flooding onto the pitch.    I don’t think the referee had blown for the end of the match, so no doubt we will hear more about that in the next few days, ie, will there be a stadium ban at the beginning of next season ??!!!

Back to the Bira Park we went to celebrate and then to Tandogan to join the main celebrations.

Well done Ankaragucu.    We can now enjoy the summer break and look forward to a new challenge in the PTT League next season.    

Bring it on !!!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Friday, April 28, 2017

Omer Bozan - Round Ball in Ankara 2016/17 player of the year!

What a difference a year makes when it comes to Omer Bozan and his rollercoaster career with Ankaragucu. Last season he missed the last few games after refusing to play for the club due to unpaid wages. It looked like he had played his last game for the club until management resolved the issue at the start of this season and he hasn't looked back.

Omer had a good season for Ankaragucu last season and it was a big blow to the club losing him as it all but ended their hopes of making the playoffs. The club have made a number of new signings this season who have been instrumental in helping the club win the league. The best piece of business though was keeping Omer and he has more than earned his dollars with a fantastic season finishing as the clubs top goalscorer with 11 goals.

Scoring 11 goals from midfield is a fantastic achievement at any level, and even more impressive when you actually look at the goals he scored. Omer doesn't seem to score bad goals, they all seem to be rockets into the type corner, or free kicks giving the opposing keepers no chance.

You just have to look at the amount of games Ankaragucu were struggling and Omer stepped up with the winning goal to give the team the all important 3 points. The game against 1461 Trabzon was heading for a disappointing 0-0 draw until Omer stepped up on the 94th minute to score a fantastic free kick.

Having spent the majority of his career in the Turkish lower leagues, Omer will finally get a deserved chance to play in the PTT Lig and will again be a key player for the club. There's no doubting his talent and his strengths are his incredible technique and skill which could see him go all the way to the Super Lig with hard work and under the right guidance.

We would like to wish him all the best and after a week of voting on the Round Ball in Ankara Facebook page he was a clear winner ahead of the likes of Korcan Celikay and Serkan Balci.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Ankaragucu crowned Champions in Kayseri!

There's been a buzz around Ankara for the last couple of months as Ankaragucu closed in on the championship, albeit Gumushanespor certainly made them work for it. This week the fans yet again showed their unbelievable support and loyalty as over 20,000 made the trip to Kayseri.

Team - Korcan, Serkan, Sezgin, Cenk, Mehmet, Ferhat, Muhammed, Omer, Kenan, Erhan, Muharrem

Subs - Emre, Alihan, Hursit, Cagatay, Harun, Emre, Enes

One change for Ankaragucu today as Sezgin came in for Alihan in the centre of defence. The Kadir Has stadium was a sea of Sari Lacivert as roughly 20,000 Ankaragucu fans made a carnival atmosphere and the team didn't disappoint.

Ankaragucu started on the front foot and could have taken the lead as early as the 2nd minute but for Sezgin guiding the ball past the post from a corner.

Kayseri Erciyesspor nearly took a shock lead after 5 minutes when a cross come shot almost caught Korcan out but the ball landed on the roof of the net.

Then in true Ankaragucu style, one the 6th minute the fans let of flares and pyro which was great to see but not sure the TFF will think the same as the game was stopped for 5 minutes due to smoke bombs.

Ten minutes later Erhan Senturk saw his shot from the edge of the box tipped round the post by Osman Kuş in the Kayseri goal. From the resulting corner the ball found its way to Kenan who also saw his shot saved by Osman.

Five minutes later is was the turn of Omer Bozan who cut inside and shot but Osman was having a good game and saved his shot on goal. Two minutes later Ankaragucu had 3 successive penalty claims in the space of 30 seconds turned down by the referee. The replays showed that he was probably correct with most of them.

Then on the 26th minute the deadlock was broken, fantastic football from Ankaragucu and Erhan found Omer with a nice through ball and the magician smashed the ball into the top corner to send the Ankaragucu fans wild.

Ankaragucu had 4 chances through Cenk, Muharrem and Kenan before the 2nd goal came just before half time. And what a goal it was, a long ball from the back was brilliantly controlled on the chest from Kenan who ran through on goal before rounding the keeper and slotting the ball home to make it 2-0.

Erhan Senturk almost made it 3 but his curled effort was tipped round the post by Osman. There was still time for a 3rd goal in injury time. Another excellent goal it was to, brilliant football again as Erhan and Omer combined for Muharrem who flicked the ball into the net to make it 3-0 on the stroke of half time.

The second half was a bit less eventful as Ankaragucu maybe took their foot of the gas. Enes Kubat came on and had a couple of chances, firstly an overhead kick that went wide, and then a 25 yard effort saved from Osman.

On the 71st minute Ankaragucu went 4-0 up. The brilliant Kenan saw his shot saved by Osman only for Erhan Senturk to blast the rebound into the back of the net.

Kayseri scored a late consolation goal after poor defending from Ankaragucu. Korcan had just made a good save then 30 seconds later another mistake led to Serkan Demirezen rounding Korcan and putting the ball into the net to make it 4-1.

And that's how the score ended, a fantastic day for the travelling Ankaragucu fans who can now look forward to next season in the PTT Lig. Job well done from the Ankaragucu management team and in particular Mehmet Yiginer. We now await to see what the summer transfer window brings and the involvement of Melih Gokcek.

For now though I hope all Ankaragucu fans enjoy their celebrations and title parties and look forward to next weeks match with Hatayspor.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Er... Gencler won... now come on Ankaragucu

The contrast between the Gencler and Ankaragucu fans cannot be greater.. well maybe it can be but I for one fell like supporting Gencler is one hell of struggle. We are mid-table with nothing to play for. Our best players have been sold off. We look listless and ... asdfghj

Genclerbirlig 2 - 1 Kayserispor

There was only one thing that made this match interesting. It was scheduled for 7 pm on a Saturday night. That meant that at least a few fans showed up at the Alerta Pub. As for the stadium itself I don't think I've seen so few fans in the 20-odd years I've been supporting Gencler.

The contrast between the Gencler and Ankaragucu fans cannot be greater.. well maybe it can be but I for one feel like supporting Gencler is one hell of struggle at the moment. We are mid-table with nothing to play for. Our best players have been sold off. We look listless and ... asdfghj

Genclerbirlig 2 - 1 Kayserispor

There was only one thing that made this match interesting. It was scheduled for 7 pm on a Saturday night. That meant that at least a few fans showed up at the Alerta Pub. As for the stadium itself I don't think I've seen less fans in the 20-odd years I've been supporting Gencler.

A free glass of wine? Thank you very much.
I was also one of those who didn't show up. Little Oz Kanka and myself instead were ordered to represent Australia at a film premiere. Free wine and food and all that.

So... didn't quite see the whole match. We managed to see the first half and quite frankly... if Kayserispor don't get relegated then I will eat the pair of pants that we strangely found in the toilets of the Buyulu Fener cinema.

I'm not going to bother with actual commentary of the match. Except to say that we were all over them and Khallili needs to be got rid of as soon as possible.

Anyway... The result doesn't really matter. What does matter is that Ankaragucu win on Sunday!

Reis Jim Chalmers interview with TRT!

Scottish people prefer to take the mickey out of each other rather than compliment each other. It's our culture and something that probable only we understand. That said, Jim deserves some credit for his contribution to the Blog over the years and more important the Kanka Group made up of Ankaragucu and Genclerbirligi fans.

The amount of different nationalities including Britain, USA, Germany, Romania, Holland, Australia, Croatia, just to name a few who have all become part of the family is largely due to Jim and Chris. For us Ankaragucu fans Jims enthusiasm for football, Ankaragucu and friendship is something that has saw the Kanka Group becoming a well respected and recognised fan group amongst other fans.

Today, we received a little bit more recognition as Jim was part of a documentary on Ankaragucu and their quest to win promotion to Lig 1. It was filmed and aired by TRT this morning much to the appreciation of the Ankaragucu fans. You can see the full documentatry here Ankaragucu TRT Documentary

Jim and then Round Ball in Ankara was the reason that I started supporting the club 8 years ago. Tomorrow we have the opportunity of winning promotion and 30,000 Ankaragucu fans have made the trip to Kayseri, we will all be cheering on all across the world as Ankaragucu fans hoping the team deliver the 3 points.

Now back to being Scottish, Jim enjoy tomorrow and well done on your interview, but.......wipe away those tears after watching your Hibs lose to Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup Semi Final. Hopefully Ankaragucu weren't watching lol.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Ankaragucu vs Kayseri Erciyesspor match preview!

Sundays match in Kayseri will go down as one of the most important in the history of Ankaragucu Spor Kulubu history. A chance of winning promotion back to the PTT Lig on its own is one met with excitement and relief from the Ankaragucu fans. The opportunity of winning the clubs first competitive trophy since 1981 makes the whole occasion more (in the words of the great Robin Williams) Spectacular.

The 1981 Ankaragucu Kupa Beyi team go down in folklore history having beaten Boluspor 2-1 to give the club what would turn out to be their last piece of Silverwear. Most Ankaragucu fans have been starved of seeing their team winning trophies and only the older fans will remember the Cup winning team in 81.

To this day not a week goes by where you don't see pictures of Adil Erinc and that famous dive into the crowd celebrating at full team with the fans. When a club is starved of success they cherish their trophies more so than some of footballs bigger clubs who just expect their team to win every season.

Winning the Turkish Cup that year meant a lot more for Ankaragucu than any of its previous winners.  President Kenan Evren and the Turkish football association decided that the winners of the Cup would also win automatic promotion to the Super Lig. Ankaragucu kept their place in the top tier right up until the finiancial problems back in 2011. For any Ankaragucu who hasn't seen some of the fantastic historical pictures of that day, you can see them here Ankaragucu vs Boluspor Kupa Beyi

The current Ankaragucu squad now have the opportunity to be remembered in years to come as playing a huge part in the clubs steps back to the Super Lig. In their way is bottom of the table Kayseri Erciyesspor who have only won 1 game all season while conceding over 100 goals. That said, no match in football is a given and the team will need to treat this match like Kayseri are in 2nd place. Any complacency or thinking they just have to turn up would be a huge mistake and anything less than a win will see the full wrath of the Ankaragucu faithful. 

The club have agreed with Kayseri Erciyesspor that the game will take place at the 32,000 seated stadium Kadir Has. Due to finances and low crowds this season, Kayseri have been playing some of their games at a small local park next to the stadium. The Ankaragucu board have also asked for 20,000 tickets for the match with huge demand from the Ankaragucu fans. A decision will be made later this week. 

It looks like Ismet Tasdemir will have a full squad to chose from and the fans will be hoping for a more positive performance. The last two games the team have been very poor in the first half and haven't created enough chances. Players like Emre Sahin and Erhan Senturk have failed to impress despite given numerous opportunities. Enes Kubat must surely be in contention for a place in the starting line up. He has impressed every time he has come on with his pace, work rate and even scored and important goal against Tuzlaspor. 

The Kanka Group will again have members travelling to Kayseri. So far we have Harun, Horseman, John M, John A, Ahmet, and Tansu all going. Others are looking to see if they can get a holiday from work. If anyone else is interested in going please get in touch. Otherwise enjoy the match like myself on a Bursa TV and let's cheer the Sari Lacivert onto the title!!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Five potential Ankaragucu signing targets!

With Ankaragucu set to clinch the championship next week at Kayseri Erciyesspor we take a look at 5 potential signing targets who could improve the squad for the PTT Lig. You just have to look at Bandirmaspor and Manisaspor both fighting relegation and who were promoted last season to see how difficult it wil be if you don't bring in the quality of players needed.

Promotion to the PTT Lig will also allow Ankaragucu to sign foreign players again and there has already been talk that former players who are now coaching in Africa are ready to send some of their best talent to the club.

Looking through the Ankaragucu team, their are a couple of key areas that are a matter of urgency. The left back position needs addressed after the club lost Onur Atasayer to Bursaspor in the January transfer window. Mehmet Tasci has been a good servent for the club but doesn't have the required quality.

The team also needs to add pace in attack and some creativity in midfield. Ankaragucu have only scored 59 goals from their 32 games and have struggled in the final 3rd of the field. Moving up a level will require more quality in attack in order to stay clear of a relegation battle.

With all that said and done, we take a look at some of the players who are either out of favour with their clubs or out of contract in the summer.

Dieudonne Gbakle - Malian winger Gbakle spent a short and unsuccessful spell in Turkey at the start of the season. Signed by Genclerbirligi from Metz, the 21 year old failed to break into the first team and was loaned out to Manisaspor. After starting his career in Mali, Gbakle was signed by Lille and spent time in their youth team. After only a season at Lille he was snapped up by Metz who gave him his professional debut. Gbakle is quick, strong and can use both feet although stronger on his left side. He can play on either wing and likes to cut inside and shoot. He impressed at the recent Under 20 World Cup and scored one of the goals of the tournament against Ghana. There's no doubting Gbakle would be a major coup for the club, the only question is if he fancys another spell in Ankara.

One option for Ankaragucu when we go up is to utilise the clubs friendship with Bursaspor. As of yet we haven't received any of their players on loan despite numerous claims they are willing to help. The club could test their resolve with a move for 20 year old playmaker Furkan Soyalp. The dynamitive midfielder has spent most of his career in the Bursa reserves while also spending time on loan at Bandirmaspor. Furkan has the talent and technical ability to unlock defences with his range of passing and vision. Small in stature but hard working and likes to get stuck in, the youngster could provide to much needed creativity to the Ankaragucu midfield. Very similar in style to Hasan Ayaroglu with a wonderful left foot. This is a big year for Furkan who needs first team football at such an important time in his career, another year in the reserves won't be beneficial for him.

Tonia Tisdell broke onto the scene for Ankaragucu 6 years ago as an 18 year old and earned rave reviews with his eye catching performances and blistering pace. Unfortunate his stay would be short lived due to the clubs financial problems and eventually was sold to Osmanlispor. Tonia would enjoy successful loan spells at Mersin and Sanliurfaspor before breaking into the Osmanlispor side where he would play a key role in helping them back to the Suepr Lig. Tonia was also part of the Mersin team who won the PTT Lig. Still only 25, Tonia hasn't reached the level expected due to injuries and has found himself out of the first team picture at Osmanlispor this season. A loan move to Ankaragucu in the summer would allow him to build his fitness and confidence and a chance to recapture his form. Tonia would add much needed pace and power to the Ankaragucu attack and is proven at this level winning 2 championships.

Another fomer Ankaragucu player who would be a welcome addition to the team is Ilhan Parlak. The striker is out of contract at the end of the season with Gaziantepspor and although he could be out of our wage bracket, would be a fantastic signing who has enjoyed a successful career in the Super Lig. He didn't enjoy the best of spells at Ankaragucu last time he was there as he was in and out of the team but since then has proven himself as a very compitent striker. Ilhan enjoyed his best spell of his career at Karabukspor where he was key in their fight for survival. Since then he has had indifferent spells at Kayseri Erciyesspor and Gaziantepspor. A move back to Ankara could provide him with one last big challenge as he enters the later part of his career.

Our final potential signing for the club is left back Anil Karaer who is out of contract with Genclerbirligi at the end of the season. The much travelled defender is still only 29 and may fancy the short trip across the road to Ankaragucu. Having previously spent time at Ankaragucu on loan at the start of his career, Anil will be familiar with the club and its expectations. 

It will be interesting to see who the club bring in over the summer and they face their biggest challenge yet in bringing in the quality needed for the next level. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Ankaragucu miss chance of clinching title!

Ankaragucu missed their chance to clinch the title in Kastamonu today after a disappointing 1-0 defeat against a solid Kastamonuspor side. Luckily for Ankaragucu our friends from Sariyer saved the day with a 2-1 win over stuttering Gumushanespor.

Team - Korcan, Serkan, Alihan, Cenk, Mehmet Tasci, Ferhat, Muhammed, Omer, Erhan, Kenan, Muharrem

Subs - Altay, Hursit, Emre Kara, Sezgin, Emre Sahin, Harun, Enes

Only Ismet Tasdemir can explain why yet again Enes was subdued to a place on the bench while Erhan finds himself in the starting line up. It was another game where Erhan offered nothing to the team and Omer also struggled eventually being subbed at half time.

Ankaragucu have played 7 games against the top 4 sides and haven't won a single one of those matches. It's only thanks to the awful form of Gumushanespor that see Ankaragucu still within touching distance of the title.

Today's match was more of the same disappointing attacking play that has sadly saw no improvement in the 2nd half of the season. Kastamonuspor took the lead through Yasar Cetin after 15 minutes due to poor defending from Ankaragucu.

Kastamonuspor went in 1-0 at half time with Ankaragucu having failed to muster a single shot on goal.

Sadly it wasn't much better in the second half, we did manage a couple of shots on goal and Muharrem went close late on, but Kastamonuspor took all 3 points which see them extend their 18 match unbeaten run and look set for the playoffs.

Our very own Harun and his friends made the trip to Kastamonu and informed us there were over 3,000 Ankaragucu fans who travelled. Next weekend that number could reach 30,000 as the opportunity to clinch the title at Kayseri Erciyesspor looks very likely.

Kayseri have only won 1 game all season and lost 6-0 against Tuzlaspor today. Ankaragucu fans have already started booking their transport to the match. It's unclear how many tickets will be made available to the Ankaragucu fans.

The Kadir Has stadium holds 32,000 and if there are no restrictions on fans we could see a huge away support there hoping to cheer Ankaragucu on to their first title in 107 years. Let's pray to whoever you do or don't believe in that Ankaragucu deliver the goods!

Harun and Horseman celebrating with Kastamonu fans at the end of the match. Ankaragucu almost certain to clinch the title, while Kastamonuspor are in the playoffs.

Harun and Ankaragucu fans enjoying the Kastamonu weather before the match.

Todays newspapers who state that its a great day for both Ankaragucu and Kastamonuspor as AG close in on the tile and Kastamonu prepare for the playoffs!

Its also worth noting that Harun who was at the match said that Ankaragucu played very well in the second half and were unlucky not to score.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The boring middle overs

And we head into the final stretch. No real threat of relegation, no real threat of us challenging for a European spot.

Gaziantepspor 0 - 1 Genclerbirligi

I shall be brief:

Gencler had one shot on goal... scored one goal.

Antep had a few chances... one brilliant save by Hopf denied them.

Gencler were rubbish. Antep were even worse.

No one can stop Gencler from finishing ninth.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ankaragucu vs Kastamonuspor match preview!

Ankaragucu travel to in form Kastamonuspor on Friday knowing if results go their way, they will be crowned Lig 2 Kirmizi group champions.

The ironic thing about Kastamonuspor is that a 3-1 victory in Ankara back in December the last time the two sides met has been the turning point of their season. They were languishing in the bottom half of the league until they won that match. Since then they have went 17 games without a defeat and are fighting it out with Karsiyaka for a playoff place.

Ankaragucu fans will be familiar with their key players, Hasan Ayaroglu and and Mehmet Cakir who both spent a large part of their careers at Ankaragucu. Salih Sefercik also played for Ankaragucu last season and is a key player for the home side.

Hasan in particular has been key to the success of Kastamonuspor this season. He has scored 8 goals from midfield as well as creating numerous goals and will need to be marked closely if Ankaragucu are to have any chance of taking points.

Ankaragucu were for 70 minutes against Tuzlaspor very poor at the weekend but somehow came away with the 3 points. We defended well for most of the match apart from two lapses in concentration, one which led to the goal. It was our attacking play that was most disappointing. Two many poor crosses or woeful finishing let Ankaragucu down in the final 3rd.

It was the introduction of Enes Kubat that changed the game. Ankaragucu went 4-4-2 with Enes partnering Muharrem up top and it worked. Muharrem won the flick ons in the air, and Enes got in behind with his pace. I would like to see us start with the same team that ended the match including Hursit replacing Emre at left back.

Ankaragucu are 4 points clear with 3 games remaining. Gumushanespor travel to Sariyer on Friday afternoon knowing they must win if they are to have any chance of winning the title.

Their will be an army of Ankaragucu fans making their way to Kastamonu on Friday afternoon including our very own Harun and his friend the Horseman. Harun will be doing the match report, hopefully it's a positive one and we are celebrating another Ankaragucu victory, or even better the Title!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Scotsmans guide to the Ankaragucu Kanka Group!

This was my 5th trip to Ankara to watch one of Turkeys oldest and most historical clubs, Ankaragucu! Most people just don't get it, why would someone from Scotland travel all the way to Turkey to support a team in the Turkish 3rd tier. Questions would still be asked if i were travelling to watch one of the Istanbul clubs, but at least it would be easier for people to grasp, especially as the trio of Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray dominate Turkish football and at least win trophies.

To really understand, we need to take a we trip down memory lane, but even then it just sounds nuts and difficult to explain. I have always been a keen follower of Turkish football. I remember watching Galatasaray vs Man Utd when i was young, thinking the atmosphere and passion of the fans are incredible and one day i would love to take in a game. After years of watching the games, i decided in 2009 to chose a team to give me some interest.

I looked at all the teams in the Super Lig and when looking them up on google, stumbled across this exact blog. I noticed a picture of a red haired whiter than white Scottish guy, and thought he looks more Scottish than Turkish. Turns out the guy in question Jim Chalmers (we will forgive him being a Hibs fan) was actually Scottish and a season ticket holder at Ankaragucu for many years.

After an initial chat with him, i decided to book flights for myself and my girlfriend Rebecca a couple of months later and took in my first game vs Fenerbahce. Although we lost that match, the trip lived up to everything i imagined with the atmosphere and passion of the fans, and i was already planning my next trip.

Since then i have taken in 4 more trips, first against Bursaspor where we lost 5-1, then my first match watching the team win which was a 1-0 win over Kartalspor, and then a fantastic 5-0 win over Pazarspor.

The above still doesn't explain why i continue to make the trip back over to Ankara every season or so. Over the years i have developed a friendship for life with the Kanka Group and yet again i was overwhelmed by their hospitality and kindness on my most recent trip last week.

The Kanka Group is made up of Ankaragucu fans who are both Turkish Nationals and ex pats, we also have Genclerbirligi Kankas who follow the other Ankara team. For anyone visiting Ankara, or even if you live there i would highly recommend joining these guys for a match as they won't disappoint.

I arrived in Ankara on the early hours of Friday morning where i stayed at the Kayra Hotel in Kizily. Excellent location, friendly staff and overall enjoyed a nice stay and an affordable price. After a couple of hour sleep i headed over to Bestepe Facilities where the team trains and met with my friend Coskun Basak who is the clubs Social Media guy and looks after the website. We had a good chat about Ankaragucu and politics before i met with Ferhat Culcuoglu and Muharram Ozan Cengiz two of Ankaragucu star players this season.

Coskun then introduced me to Mehmet Yiginer who is the president of Ankaragucu and kindly posed for a photo with me before heading off to Friday prayers with the team and fans. There aren't many clubs who will keep their door open to fans and take the time to chat and pose for pictures, but thats all part of Ankaragucu and the family club that they are.

After purchasing the new kit and a tracksuit top at the official club store, i headed over to meet up with Harun at his shop in Kizily. Harun is known as the Maniac, but don't be put off by that, because a nicer and more caring guy you won't find. Harun runs his own shop making T Shirts, Strips, Flags etc for Ankaragucu fans, Schools, and even fans of other clubs. He kindly made myself and Jim nice Ankaragucu T Shirts with the Scotland flag on it, and he has some other excellent t shirts that he has prepared for us becoming champions. As you can see from the picture below, I'm still trying to convert Harun to a Rangers fan, as the Maniac is a big fan of Raith Rovers (long story, i think he is the Turkish Nadeem Raja lol)

Later on that night, myself and Harun met up with Damon, John, Tansu, Murat and the Horseman for some drinks and food at a local bar. It was great to meet up with these guys again and have a good chat about Ankaragucu, football and Kemal Mustafa Ataturk.

Saturday was a wash out, literally! The rain was so heavy that it was actually like standing in a shower and myself and Tansu got soaked standing in the queue waiting to buy tickets. Thankfully Coskun saw us standing and came over and asked us how many tickets we wanted, and kindly brought them over to us. After drying off in Starbucks i headed by to the Hotel until dinner where Harun had arranged a night at a place called Kanatci.

Myself, Harun, Damon, John, Tansu, Ahmet (who i met for the first time), and Jim all met up at Kanatci for what was an excellent night. A traditional Turkish Restaurant with a live band, and amazing food. Harun done a fantastic job with this place, although I'm not sure he will remember any of the night after drinking a full bottle of Raki. Kinetic is one of these places that you won't even know exists as it is well hidden, but if you are ever in Ankara you must give it a go as its great value for money.

Match day arrived, and it was an early rise for me as i agreed to meet with Oguzhan Solmaz from Baskent Media and Muhammed Erdogan from Sporanki to do an interview. We had breakfast in Kizily and done a Facebook live interview on Baskent Media. The support and nice comments i received from the Ankaragucu fans for travelling from Scotland to watch the game was fantastic. They really do appreciate people from the outside coming to support their club.

After the interview, we headed off to the stadium to do another interview, this time with TRT the Turkish TV channel who are filming a documentary about Ankaragucu. They interviewed myself and Jim and it will be broadcast either in May or October. I also met with Onur Erdogan who kindly popped in to meet with me and thank me for coming to the game.

The game itself was eventful and the fans didn't disappoint. Over 25,000 fans attended the game and created a fantastic atmosphere. There were a couple of excellent displays and pyro followed by 90 minutes of fanatical singing and chanting. The game itself was pretty poor and it looked like we were heading for a defeat with Tuzla taking the lead on the 83rd minute.

Everyone was saying how gutted they were that i had come all this way to watch the team lose. Then the equaliser came 2 minutes later. That was followed by one of the best spectacles I've ever seen at a football match. Ankaragucu scored a 92nd minute winner and the place erupted, the scenes were fantastic and the party between players and fans lasted for about 20 minutes after the game.

Even after the game, fans were stopping to get their picture taken and had nothing but kind comments. It really is overwhelming that people want to take the time to speak with you because you are following their team from afar.

The Kanka Group again provided me with a fantastic weekend and i can't thank them enough for everything. These guys are the reason why i keep coming back and will continue to do so. Ankaragucu are a club with many financial problems and have been abused by politicians over the years. But even when they are on their knees there fans still are loyal to the core and they deserve this title which is within touching distance!!!

Sunday, April 09, 2017


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Ankaragucu moved 4 points clear at the top of the league after defeating Tuzla today, and Gumush.....spit....hane only managed to draw at home to Nigde.

ANKARAGUCU   2               Tuzlaspor   1

Team – Korcan, Serkan, Alihan, Cenk, Emre Kara, Orhan, Emre S, Omer, Muhammed, Muharrem and Kenan      Substitutes – Harun and Enes

The kankas met-up at the TSYD Restaurant opposite the Stadium for tea and coffee – we over-indulged ourselves last night enjoying Ankara’s night life !), Maniac Kanka Harun, Battle Damaged Kanka Damon, Posh Kanka Ahmet, Kaleci Kanka Tansu, Apple Kanka Erman, Cider Kanka John No1, Newby Kanka John No2, Guests Murat Kaya and Emir from Pegasus.

Nadeem being interviewed by TRT.

We were then interviewed outside the Stadium by TRT and this interview will be screened by TRT in August to commemorate the founding of Ankaragucu in August 2010.   Exact details of the screening date and time will be given here when known !

The Stadium was full again with only 5 lonely souls in the away end and the atmosphere was amazing.   The players were given a rousing welcome when they entered to start the match and Maraton put on a Blue and Yellow Show (similar to Gecikondu’s last week) for the National Anthem as can be seen in the photo above.

After all the pre-match hype, the first half was a bore as a footie spectacle.

Ankaragucu went straight into attack from the off, but it was Tuzla that almost caught Ankaragucu on the break in the 4th minute but Korcan saved bravely at a Tuzla forward’s feet when he was about to shoot and score.

The Bursa song was sung in the 16 minute as usual, but after that there was only 3 goal attempts by Ankaragucu before the half time whistle.

So, as I said, it was a poor first half and I was thinking at the interval that things could only get better.    Yes, they did, but not before we had some anxious nail biting moments !

There was a significant improvement in the urgency from the Ankaragucu players in the 2nd half as they laid siege to the Tuzla goal.   Muharrem should have scored 2 minutes into the re-start but he lost his footing when about to shoot in a good position.

9 minutes later Serkan should have scored when he worked his way cleverly into the box on the right but shot tamely at the goalkeeper.

Tuzla was looking dangerous on the break and they almost scored 3 minutes later but the shot on goal went narrowly past the post.    9 minutes later Enes should have scored when put clean through, but he shot straight at the goalkeeper.

I was contemplating yet another home draw with 7 minutes remaining when the unthinkable happened.   In another Tuzla breakaway, the long ball was played out to the unmarked No7 who brought the ball under control and shot to the near post.    At first I thought it was saved but apparently the ball squirmed in across the line before Korcan could recover.   We were all stunned into silence and disbelief !

2 minutes later we were all back up on our feet singing and shouting and high fiving !!!   A long clearance from Korcan was headed to Enes who brought the ball under control, saw the goalkeeper coming to meet him, and cleverly lobbed the ball over him and into the net for the equaliser.

At that point we were all agreed that we would settle for one point.   However, the players were of another mind !     The clock was on the 90th minute mark and a long ball was played out of defence which was collected by Kenan and he sent in a screamer of a shot from just inside the penalty box to put us all into euphoria.    We all went mental !!!

The players then did a lap of honour, followed by Coach Izmet Tasdemir and Chairman Mehmet Yigner.    Very few punters were leaving the Stadium at this point !

Off we went to Bira Park for some refreshments, but not tea and coffee this time !

So, the curtain came down on another successful visit by Nadeem and we all wish him a safe journey back to Scotland tomorrow.

The Scottish contingent of the Ankaragucu Kanka Group in TShirts designed and printed by TShirtmatik of Ankara

Next up is the tricky journey to Kastamonou next Friday when hopefully Harun will be doing the honours of reporting on that match.   

Keep watching this space as Ankaragucu resume their task of winning this league and returning to the PTT Championship League next season.

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

A lucky point

Yet another pathetic result for Genclerbirligi. I guess I should be slightly happy because we really should have lost this match.

Genclerbirligi 1 - 1 Antalyaspor

Just me down at the Alerta Pub to find that some German documentary crew were in there interviewing someone from Taraf-der (the football supporters' association) about the way fans are treated in Turkey, particularly from the point of view of female supporters. Let's just say that it won't be an advertisement for Turkish football.

"Is that enough negative points or do you want some more?"  
Off to the stadium and Gencler went ahead nice and early thanks to a great cross from Serdar (I think) which found Aydin's head and in.

Then it was all rubbish.

A few minutes after taking the lead Ugur Ciftci failed to control a simple ball and allowed an Antalya player through on goal. 1-1. There was lots of shouting from the Gencler players and it was no suprise when Ciftci was subbed out only half way through the first half.

Khalili was having a particularly bad day and there was some ironic applause from various Alkaralar when he got a second (undeserved) yellow. Down to 10 men and well... just bloody lucky to hang on to the draw.

Thursday, April 06, 2017


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

The Ankaragucu players have only themselves to blame for the situation they are in at the moment.   As Nadeem has said many times this season, Ankaragucu should have pissed this league with the standard of teams in the league, and they have never had a better chance of automatic promotion than this season.

However, they have blown every chance they have had since the beginning of 2017 and the statistics are there to prove it.   Drawn FIVE and lost one, and the loss was against the challenging team Gumush....spit.....hane !     All those critical dropped points has seen Gumush pushing forward and making a serious challenge to win this league and subject Ankaragucu to yet another play-off lottery against some of the strong teams in the White  League.

So, as I said, the pressure is now well and truly back in the court of the players for the last four games, two of which will be no easy task to win.   With Kastamonou and Hatay challenging for play-off places, Ankaragucu can expect no easy ride when they play those two teams, especially the away match in Kastamonou.

Hopefully those home drawn matches against relegation candidates Kirklareli, Tokat and Menemen will not come back to haunt Ankaragucu !!!

What we supporters need now is a heap of patience, and what the players need is giving 100% for 90 plus minutes in our last four matches, starting on Sunday in the home match against Tuzla.

Please don’t blow-it now Ankaragucu !!!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Monday, April 03, 2017

Gencler depress some more

"He looks like a man trying to pick up middle-aged women in a bar in Cyprus," Spine said when he saw Besiktas coach Senol Gunes. At least we had a laugh at that. Everything else was rubbish.

"Hello Ladies"

Besiktas 3 - 0 Genclerbirligi

It may have been a few weeks since I last posted here. You haven't missed much. The chairman died and was replaced by his son. The team itself are just going along on their mediocre way. Speaking to a few fans last night I found out I'm not the only one to be deflated. The failure of the club to find any decent players during the half-season break. The failure of the club to hold onto its two best young players. The failure to win important matches... all depressing.

And so it was again last night. Good to see a full Alerta Pub with Spine, Flying Dutchman Kanka and me making up the foreign contingent. I guess it was due to the decent time.

Then the football and... back to depressing... Out of all the millions of foreigners we have on our books there are only two half decent players, Paletsevic and Hopf... the rest deserve to go back to the Belgium second division where we seem to do our buying nowadays.

We had maybe one shot all match.


Sunday, April 02, 2017

Ankaragucu held at Bugsass!

Let's first of all start with the off field chaos today before we look at the match itself. Today top of the table Ankaragucu travelled a couple of miles across the city to play against local rivals Bugsasspor. At the start of play Ankaragucu were 4 points clear of Gumushanespor who away at Tokatspor.

The match was played at the Ostim Stadium which holds just over 5,000 although you could probably fit more people in. Over 3,000 Ankaragucu fans travelled for the match but Bugsass only gave the club an allocation of 250 tickets.

The stadium itself was empty, only a handful of Bugsass fans were in attendance, and instead of opening the gates to allow the thousands of Ankaragucu fans in they made them stand on the roads looking through gates and standing on rooftops of apartments.

Much to their credit the Ankaragucu fans were well behaved up until the cops started to fire pepper spray and tier gas on the fans. This was before kick off and the mood of the fans changed after this.

Onto the match itself before we go back and discuss the disgusting and disgraceful behaviour of the Police towards the Ankaragucu fans after the match.

Team - Korcan, Serkan, Sezgin, Cenk, Mehmet, Muhammad, Ferhat, Harun, Erhan, Omer, Kenan

There can be no excuse for the performance from the Ankaragucu team today, especially the first half. We didn't even muster a shot on goal against a team who haven't won in 14 attempts. Polatli took the lead through Resit Sevindir with a great finish into the top corner of the net.

Half Time

Bugsaspor 1-0 Ankaragucu

Into the second half and it was slightly better from Ankaragucu, there was more urgency in attack, but the overall play was poor and not worthy of winning a championship. We did get back on level terms through Muharrem Ozan who made it 1-1. Sadly there was to be no winning goal and it was 2 points dropped as Gumushanespor won 1-0 at Tokatspor.

That brings us to the final minutes of the game, the Ankaragucu fans were still watching outside when suddenly the police in tanks came in spraying pepper spray and gas for no reason other than to move them. The spray came into the stadium and fans, match officials and police were all choking on the pepper spray and gas.

The fans left the stadium in distress and emptied out onto the streets where other fans were on the ground injured. There is no excuse for this type of behaviour from the police, Polatli municipality and Melih Gokcek. The Ankaragucu fans were treated yet again like Rats and terrorists.

Now we face more punishment and most likely a stadium ban for next weeks match against Tuzlaspor which I will be travelling over for. Not a good day at all for the club.