Last respect paid to legendary Seba by fans, rivals in Beşiktaş
AA PhotoSüleyman Seba, the legendary former chairman of Beşiktaş football club, was laid to rest Aug. 15, following a ceremony attended by thousands of fans, supporters of rival clubs and top politicians and statesmen, including President Abdullah Gül.
Seba, who passed away late Aug. 13 at an Istanbul hospital, was first commemorated in front of his house in the Beşiktaş neighborhood, where he lived almost all of his life. A second ceremony was held at the club headquarters before the crowd marched to the Vodafone Arena, Beşiktaş’s new stadium by the Bosphorus, which is currently under construction.
The large crowd that gathered on the tribunes of the half-built stadium chanted slogans calling, for the current Chairman Fikret Orman to name the stadium after Seba, a figure that was the architect behind noteworthy successes and league titles between 1984 and 2000, who was also known for being honest and a “man of his word.”
Orman said after his death that they would talk with the sponsors about naming the stadium after Seba. However, it looks like a hard task, as the mobile operator is the main funder of the stadium.
“We have lost a very important sportsperson, a very important man of peace,” Orman said at the ceremony. “We learned to give people their dues, and to get ours from him,” he said, recalling that Seba was the person who scored in the opening ceremony game at the İnönü Stadium in 1947.
The fans also chanted a famous Beşiktaş song after the heroic honorary president, which says “The line that separates life from death will never part black and white, although death stands at the end of the path, those who love will never part.”
The local fans were accompanied by Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe fans who also went to the stadium to pay their final respects.
“We became Beşiktaş fans thanks to brother Süleyman,” said President Abdullah Gül. “We learned to be just, and winning on our own efforts from him.”
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal KIlıçdaroğlu and figures from the rival side on the eve of a general party convention, including dissident Muharrem İnce and former party chief Deniz Baykal, were also present at the funeral held at the Dolmabahçe Mosque, which is located opposite the stadium.
“I have always felt proud to have such a brother like him, and I always will,” said Aziz Yıldırım, chairman of Fenerbahçe.
Galatasaray chair Ünal Aysal said he wished he would be a good chairman and that Seba would approve of him.
Gordon Milne, the British football man who coached Beşiktaş in the late eighties and early nineties, said Beşiktaş has lost its “largest color” with Seba, claiming he was an important person in the world.
“It is like I have lost my father,” said Sergen Yalçın, one of the brightest players to emerge from Beşiktaş while Seba was chairman.
He was there with many former teammates along with the current staff.
Many people shed tears during the ceremony as bars and cafes in Beşiktaş declaring they would not play loud music today as a means of showing their respect to Seba.
Çarşı, Beşiktaş’s core fan group, announced a three-day period of mourning will commence Aug. 14.