Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ankaragucu Round Ball in Ankara - Player of the year 2017/18!

We have spent the last week collecting the votes from Ankaragucu fans on our Twitter and Facebook pages on their 2017/18 Player of the year. After beating off competition from Sedat Agcay who came runner up in the voting, Erdem Ozgenc deservedly was the winner by quite a distance too.

Erdem joined the club last summer from Bursaspor, with some fans disappointed that the club had let Serkan Balci go with Erdem taking his place. After a slow start to his Ankaragucu career, where he looked unfit and carrying a few extra pounds, Erdem has been a start performer both defensively and also in attack where he has 16 assists to his name, which is an incredible achievement at any level.

At 33 years old, Erdem looks like he still has a few years left in him yet at the top level and will be one of the players Ankaragucu will look to keep for their Super Lig campaign.

Umut Nayir, Ilhan Parlak and Kehinde all have Erdem to thank for the amount of assists he created throughout the season, with some top quality crosses into the box from the right hand side. Along with Mehmet Sak they were both a key point in the Ankaragucu attack. Mehmet unfortunately lacked in the defensive part of his game, where as Erdem was key at both ends of the park.

We would like to congratulate Erdem on winning our award and hope he can carry on his excellent form into next season in the Super Lig.

Monday, May 14, 2018

... and that's that

I didn't see this weekend's match and quite frankly I probably didn't miss anything much.

Kasimpasa 3 - 1 Genclerbirligi

Genclerbirligi have now been officially relegated.

Thank you Umit Ozat. Thank you Murat Cavcav. Together you have truly stuffed a great club.

And that is my final Genclerbirligi report as I shall soon be leaving Turkey... heading back Down Under for the next few years at least.

Good luck Genclerbirligi and good luck Ankaragucu...


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

On behalf of all the kankas, our commiserations go out to Baggie Kanka, Dave Parker, and his beloved Baggies (West Bromwich Albion for those unfamiliar with nicknames !).

Dave was one of the 'orginals' from the early days of the kanka group in the early 21st Century and attended many Ankaragucu matches with me.   He even became an honourary Hibs Supporter (surprise surprise !!).

Dave still has connections with Turkey after he bought a house on the south coast and we stay in touch as much as possible, and I'm still hopeful that he can 'fix' a visit to Ankara next season to see Ankaragucu once more in the Super League.

It has been a tough season for the Baggies after a flying start.   Change of Board Members, Managers and comings and goings of players didn't help.   I hate to criticise previous manager Tony Pulis after the fine job he did at Stoke City, but he had a nightmare time during his stint and the Baggies slid down the league.

However, like Ankaragucu, they have a strong support and hopefully they can bounce back into the Premier League where they belong.   Of course, it didn't help matters that local rivals Wolverhampton were promoted this season !

Chin-up Dave and keep smiling that smile you have always been famous for !    We Ankaragucu kankas are programmed to take the highs and lows with smiles on our faces.   Aren't we ??!!

Look forward to a visit to Ankara next season Dave !!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Q&A with Ankaragucu assistant manager Osman Zeki Korkmaz!

Ankaragucu return to the Super Lig after a 6 year absence and two men who have played a big part in that are the current Management team of İsmail Kartal and his assistant manager Osman Zeki Korkmaz.

Despite some criticism at the start of the year İsmail Kartal found a way of winning over the Ankaragucu fans and there were no better example of that when the fans sang his name after the Adana Demirspor match on Monday night.

Osman this week kindly agreed to give the Round Ball in Ankara an interview and some insight to the current campaign and what the future looks like. After spells at Eskisehirspor and Gaziantepspor with İsmail Kartal, Osman agreed to join him at Ankaragucu at the start of the season, and it’s been one to remember.

Nadeem -  How does it feel to be part of the team who have been successful in helping Ankaragucu winning promotion to the Super Lig?

Osman - It is very difficult to describe the feeling but I can say in the shortest way that it is the greatest honour I have ever experienced in my coaching career, this success will be one of the greatest memories I’ve ever had in my life!

Nadeem -  Was there a time in the season where you thought it may not be possible for Ankaragucu to win promotion back to the Super Lig?

Osman - I always believed we would actually be champions but that doesn’t mean we always felt comfortable. Although we have had some very difficult and stressful moments, the spirit of the club supported us to fight on in difficult conditions.

Nadeem -  What is your opinion on the Ankaragucu fans and how much influence did they have on winning promotion? 

Osman -  Ankaragucu fans are always the soccer players and our biggest and unique source of motivation and driving force.

Nadeem -  What are the future plans for Ankaragucu in the Super Lig? 

Osman -  As you know the club experienced very hard times both economically and sportively. If the future plans are not done carefully, the same problems can be repeated even more severely. Our priority for the first season must be to stay in the Super Lig with optimal expense.

Nadeem - Will the team look to sign many new players for the Super Lig? 

Osman -  It doesn’t matter how many players we buy or how much we spend. The most important thing for planning a new year with a new team in the Super Lig will be to find the right players and to manage the economy correctly.

Nadeem -  What kind of manager is İsmail Kartal and will this be his big chance in the Super Lig after spells with Fenerbahce and Gaziantepspor?

Osman -  Fenerbahce did not fail in the period, despite being first in many statistics, the league position they finished 2nd. They had not been able to transfer during the season, and there were some very unfortunate attacks. I have been working with coach for 3 years after Fenerbahce. In the last two years at Eskisehirspor and Gaziantepspor these clubs had big economic crisis so we could not do freely what we wanted. İsmail Kartal is a multi disciplinary coach, closely following world football. As you know Joachim Low is his friend and they are constantly talking every day for the last 11 months. I think there is no reason why such a hard working and disciplined person would not succeed.

Nadeem -  Who is the best player you have coached?

Osman -  All of the Ankaragucu players who won promotion to the Super Lig

Nadeem -  Do you see potential of Ankaragucu challenging for Europe in the next couple of years? 

Osman -  I see beyond that but the club still priority must be managing the economy correctly.

Nadeem -  Why do you think this Ankaragucu team were so successful this season?

Osman - During the season we struggled and had many different conditions against us, but we never lost our belief, respect for each other and togetherness. And as I said before the struggle under difficult circumstances is in the spirit of the club.

Nadeem - Finally do you have any message for the Ankaragucu fans?

Osman - They should continue to be different which forces us to be different from other clubs!

We would like to thank Osman for taking time out and give us an interview and wish him and İsmail all the best for the future with Ankaragucu.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

It was strange having the last match of the season on a Monday evening but that didn’t deter the tribunes from turning up in force to salute the players who had achieved the impossible and returned our great Club to their rightful position in the Super League !

If I am to be honest (and yes, I know, that’s unusual for me !) I would have been content to consolidate our position in the PTT League at the beginning of the season after last season’s euphoria of winning the 2nd League.    However, thanks to Mehmet Yigner and Ismail Kartal the impossible became reality after a sluggish beginning to the season.

The away victory in Rize last year was probably the turning point and it has been a roller-coaster of a ride all the way, culminating in securing promotion in Manisa last weekend.

So, it was carnival time last night in the last match of the season.

ANKARAGUCU    1         Adana Demirspor      1

Posh Kanka Ahmet and I met-up in the garden of the TSDY Restaurant for our pre-match ‘refreshments’ and a singsong with our Maraton buddies.   Then we joined the remainder of the kankas in the Stadium – Battle Damaged Kanka Damon, Maniac Kanka Harun, Nurer Kanka, Horseman Kanka, Kaleci Kanka Tansu and Vittoria Kanka Miguel.

It was non-stop singing from start to finish and the carnival atmosphere was maintained throughout, including the customary Mexican Wave in the 2nd half.

To footie then, and the match sprang to life in the 14th minute when Enes constructed and scored a great goal.   A piece of quick thinking and football skill from Enes on the right when he back heeled the ball to the overlapping runner, Erdem.   The cross came in which was knocked down to Enes, who had anticipated the cross, and he thundered in an unstoppable shot.

The Bursa Song was next and then on the half our mark Kehinde had a great chance, but with only the goalkeeper to beat, he scuffed his shot which was easily saved.   In his defence, the ball didn’t sit-up for him !

From that point in the 1st half it was all Demirspor as they searched for the equaliser.   They made it abundantly clear that they were not here to celebrate Ankaragucu’s promotion !

On FIVE occasions leading up the the half time whistle Demirspor had opportunities to level it, but Altay came to Ankaragucu’s rescue with some crucial saves.   The Demirspor forward Theo Mendy was a constant thorn in the side of Ankaragucu’s defence and he crafted out some chances for himself and others.   So, I thought Ankaragucu was rather fortunate to go in 1-0 up at half time !

Half time entertainment was provided by the professional Misket Dance Group together with some young boys in the group who put on a great show as always.

Into the 2nd half and play was held-up for 5 minutes when the scoreboard tribune let-off lots of flares which caused a smokescreen across the playing area.   Play resumed with a screamer of a shot (I think it was Kehinde) which was instinctively an acrobatically saved.

Play was fast and furious from both sides, but then in the 77th minute, Demirspor decided rather fortunately, to become party-poopers !   A weak shot (or was it a cross ?!) on the right was well covered by Altay, but somehow he contrived to let the ball go between his legs and in.   A schoolboy error which he may not easily forget !!   However, an immediate response came from all the tribunes when they shouted his name in support.   A fine sporting gesture !

Demirspor had two more opportunities to try and spoil the party, but for the first attempt 6 minutes before the end, M’bamba made a saving tackle to halt a Demirspor breakaway.   Then in time added on, a Demirspor shot went just over the bar.

So, I suppose it would be fair to say that a draw was a fair reflection of the mach in which both team were intent on attack and giving us entertainment on the pitch to match the entertainment off the pitch !!

It was then time to head to The Bira Park to celebrate and we were fortunate to witness the open top bus parade along GMK Boulevard with the players receiving the plaudits they richly deserved.

The Police closed the city centre in Kizilay to traffic and it was taken over by thousands of Ankaragucu supporters, many with coloured flares.   A stage was erected in Guven Park and live music was played.   It was an unbelievable sight and an evening which will live long in our memories.

Now it is over to Mehmet Yigner and Ismail Kartal to start work on recruiting and preparing the team for the coming season in the Super League.

Watch this space for news as it unfolds !

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Monday, May 07, 2018

... and Genclerbirligi go down

It was a very sad and very angry day for Gencler fans and players alike. Normally there would have been some pride in Sunday's loss, Gencler played with a lot of spirit, but in the end there was just a feeling that everything was falling apart. There still is a mathematical chance of staying up, we need to win our last two matches and Konya and Osmanli have to lose both of theirs ... but that is just wishful thinking.

Genclerbirligi 0 - 1 Antalyaspor

A wet Sunday but it was Gencler's biggest crowd of the season thanks to hundreds of Ankaragucu supporters at the stadium, including our own Maniac Kanka Harun, who came to support us. well done all.

With the Fenerbahce - Bursa match on at the same time, we (Sir Eski, Flying Dutchman, Little Oz and me) watched the match at the only pub in Ankara to be showing an actual match being played in Ankara - the Alerta.

Right from the get go this was a psyched-up Gencler team. Just 90 seconds in and we almost had a fight on our hands after Ugur Ciftci smashed a ball into an Antalya player. theses guys were going for it.

At the traditional six minutes in the Ankaragucu fans start singing their Ankaragucu chants but for the rest of the match they were firmly behind Gencler.

We dominated possession but just couldn't get many shots on goal. We should have had more but for some woeful crossing by both Zeki from the right and Aydin on the left.


It was nil-nil at half time and I was still confident that we could get it. But as the minutes passed by the tension rose and when Antalya went ahead in the 78th things were desperate.

The boys out there kept fighting but some simple mistakes cost us chances. With just two minutes left of normal time Pogba walked off hobbling and took off his shirt. Ahmet Oguz went off to remonstrate with him and the two had to be separated by security.

What the fuck was going on? Your team is behind, relegation beckons, three substitutes have already been used and you decide to simply walk off the field. In my opinion, Pogba, not of the best of footballers anyway, deserves to be sacked for that simple act alone. For the next few minutes of normal time and six minutes of extra time, Genclerbirligi were down to 10 men.

The thing is, it wasn't yesterday's performance that let us down, it was the crap served up to us throughout the season. Where to look first... look at the great players we let go, Irfan Kahveci, Ahmet Calik, Serdar Guler. With the exception of Sessignon who came midway through the season, we brought in some very average stuff. Look at the way Umit Ozat didn't have a clue who his starting 11 should be. How many matches this season did he make an unnecessary change just 20 minutes in? Look at club chairman Murat Cavcav who clearly learnt nothing from the 30-plus years that his father was in charge. What sort of a chairman makes the decision to sack a coach after five matches and then re-hire that same coach not that long later?

Just pathetic.

And so... Genclerbirligi are relegated in the season following the death of long-term chairman Ilhan Cavcav. Relegated in the Ilhan Cavcav Memorial Season. Fucking pathetic.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Ankaragucu featured in These football times article!

A few months ago i spoke with Jamie Kelly from These football times after i saw an article that he wrote about Goztepe. Jamie specialises on Turkish football and has done a great job on the articles he has worked on.

We had a chat about him doing one on Ankaragucu which he agreed would be a great idea. The article was released yesterday and you can read it here  The destruction and recovery of Ankaragucu!

Its nice to see Ankaragucu get some positive publicity and long may it continue when we are back in the Super Lig next season!

Ankaragucu secure their place back in the Super Lig!