Thursday 7 November 2002

Wimbledon, Sükrü Saraçoğlu court

Some days ago I was invited from a friend of mine, who is a great supporter of Fenerbahçe, to join him to see the derby of the Bosphorus, Fenerbahçe versus Galatasaray.
I met him in the afternoon and he took me in its office.
Being today the first day of Ramadan, I shared with him and its officemates the traditional breakfast at the sunset (being a catholic, I already had a quick breakfast late in the morning, anyway the Iftar was the main meal for me too). After that we moved towards the stadium.
My fried parked close the railroad station, and he had some argue with the parking guy (not so seriously, anyway, mostly some word game between the words zam and Ramazan, hard to understand for people who aren't speaking Turkish). We met with other friends just outside the stadium, then we moved all together inside a pub just under the curve.
Here I and my friend shared some nice rakı, but most of the other people went straight with water, cola or bier (I guess it is not that holy to deal with rakı the first day of Ramadan).
After that we went inside the Sükrü Saraçoğlu stadium, which, 1 hour and half before the match, was almost totally full.
The noise was unbelievable. When the Galatasaray's players came into the pitch, to warm up, the supporters thrown everything, especially over the goalkeeper, Mondragon; but for this, the supporters show was magnificent  with the loudly music around it was more as a disco than a stadium. There weren't supporters of Galatasaray around (yes, there were, but it was pretty impossible to spot them), so all of the stadium was yellow and blue (sarı lacıvert in Turkish).
I would strongly advice Valdano to pay some visits in Istanbul stadiums, he could get further ideas from the local supporter scenes.
I was clothed as a Fenerbahçe supporter too, the only problem is my friend is just 25 cm taller than me, so I guess I was looking as a child with clothes a bit too big.
We were (not sitting down, it was almost impossible for all of the match) just in the back of the bench of Galatasaray, so I can tell some anecdote about Terim; when the teams came in the pitch for the match, firing the smokers the supporters made everything smoky, it was impossible to see anything at distance, but when a guy began to throw something towards the bench, some others followed his example, and after a while a guy in the first row showed 2 fingers, people asked if also Terim was been hit, but this time they couldn't be lucky with their blind shots; after the break of the first half instead it seems their efforts reached their target, 'cause someone was able to hit Terim. I'll say the last time, the supporters of Fenerbahçe offered a magnificent show, but I found there are too many objects thrown towards the pitch (I saw even a flying knife..).
Let's come to the match: It looked suddenly as a Galatasaray-Ortega affair; when the Fenerbahçe players were having the ball, it was directed ever towards the Argentinian, when the turn of Galatasaray players, they were attacking ever the side of Ariel Ortega. If Ortega would have been the same Ortega we often saw in Italy, or even during the last WC, it would have to be an easy bet, the problem was this night it was another Ortega: incredible to say, after dribbling only 2 players he was ever (almost ever) able to pass the ball, and he was above all able to recover some ball while defending. The result was a goal around the 10', of a player I wasn't knowing, Tuncay, so at the beginning I mismatched his name with the one of Turkcan, who is instead a basketball player. After that goal, Galatasaray took the drive of the match, and we assisted to 30' of continuous attacks to the goal of Rüstü. I could assist to other paranormal events: in example Ortega was able to touch the ball with the head 2 times. I was just thinking how that was weird, when Ortega decided to shock me: he scored me with the head! 2-0, and break time. The second half continued anyway with the same music of the first: a nice Galatasaray, even under of 2 goals,was trying to play against an Ortega in its stellar evening. Around the 65' happened something unthinkable: the referee sent out Ortega, direct red: let's say I was too distant to have a good view of the fact, but from my point of view it didn't looked that bad.
I think Terim felt again the match in its hands, so he began to put forwarders in the pitch. Could you believe that? It was an orgy of goals, but not as Terim was hoping: without Ortega around, with a completely unbalanced Galatasaray, the midfielders of Fenerbahçe found open highways to counter-attacks  and they exploited that with 2 goals of the quickest Serat. Galatasaray looked shocked, the public began to ask for the fifth goal (in Turkish that is spelt as Besh, and this is incidentally also the local name for Priapus) and a guy called Cehyan (I'm pretty sure I misspelled that, anyway) made them happy.
I discovered so in Turkey 5-0 is something as the 6-0 in Italy (it could look weird, but in Italy the difference between a 5-0 and a 6-0 is huge, the first is a bad defeat, the latter is a Caporetto to blame for ages); I guess the Fenerbahçe players imagined they could have Italian spectators around, so they managed to score the 6-0 to an armless (it is not a mistake) Mondragon, but the supporters were already too happy to be able to show even more happiness.
It was one of the greatest football show I ever witnessed, something to tell years later to the grandsons, and now the only problem is I don't know if I will come back to the Sükrü Saraçoğlu stadium again: it was my second time there, but after this, what other could I wait to see more there?

[written with a glass of Moldovan Renaissance Perfect Vodka at my side, so I beg your pardon for my even more broken English, and I also hope best evenings and reading for Cimbom supporters]

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