Guilty: The cup, the GS flag, Terim-Aysal and me
It was an interesting debate Monday evening at Kanal D’s Prime Time News. Our guests were Fenerbahçe President Nihat Özdemir and Galatasaray President Ünal Aysal.
Özdemir is a person I respect. He is restrained and kind, never a fanatic administrator. As a matter of fact, he made very demure and logical explanations at the beginning of the interview. He eased the atmosphere.
Aysal sympathized with his words, and stated that the Fenerbahçe administration should not be held responsible for the developments.
Just as the program was ending, Özdemir suddenly started attacking. As if to vent the steam of his supporters, who were reacting to having lost the championship, he accused Aysal gravely. He accused me also, because of a word I used on my TV show 32nd Day. I also caught my share of his criticism.
It was not just Özdemir. After reading Tuesday’s papers and Fenerbahçe supporters’ statements, it came out who had been responsible for the incidents after the game. To everyone’s surprise, those who caused the good old stadium to be ruined were not Fenerbahçe fans but Galatasaray supporters!
Galatasaray’s insistence on receiving the cup in Kadıköy has been counted as the main provoking factor. It is being said that the Galatasaray administration’s rejection (albeit unofficial) of the Turkish Football Federation’s (TFF’s) offer that “teams receive the cup the next day at their own stadiums,” has created tension among Fenerbahçe fans.
On the other hand, Galatasaray has said that it is a rule that the cup should be received at the end of the game, that both the executive board and the federation were acting determinedly from the beginning, and that these decisions were openly publicized three or four days before the match.
It has also been said that Terim’s over-insistence that the cup be received on the match pitch and the fact that Aysal fully supported this created a negative effect on supporters.
Galatasaray, on the other hand, claims that it objected to the breaking of an important rule due to incidents [of violence after the match].
One of the other factors that has been put forward as irritating Fenerbahçe fans and causing the incidents is the Galatasaray players’ dancing in the middle of the pitch and jumping up and down in joy with red and yellow flags in their hands after the match was over. It has even been mentioned that they wanted to put a big Galatasaray flag on the pitch after the cup was received.
Here is Galatasaray’s reply to this: “After winning a huge championship, what should the players have done as a result of their year-long efforts? In order not to offend Fenerbahçe fans, should they have run to the changing rooms in silence? When Fenerbahçe beat us in our arena, they behaved similarly, and we kept quiet, actually we applauded them.”
To be frank, I was appalled by Özdemir’s accusing me and placing me among those responsible because of the headline I used on my TV show “32nd Day,” “Will it be bloodless or bloody?”, may have increased the tension. Both on that program and in my columns, not only did I not seek to increase tension, I suggested, in the case that Fenerbahçe won, Galatasaray should applaud. I have repeated this many times. The episode Özedemir referenced in his accusation was the most moderate program I had ever done. I was faced with the accusation I least deserved. Despite that, I assumed a humble attitude and apologized. I believe the Fenerbahçe administrators wanted to send a message to the media through me, but they chose the wrong person.
Some club administrators are increasingly becoming the slave of the monsters (the fanatic supporters) they have created. In order to satisfy the supporters they make extremely unnecessary statements and hide behind them. Maybe they are not aware of it, but with these statements they actually put strain on the supporters themselves. Then, afterward, they blame the supporters.
The biggest problem in Turkish football is the scarcity of qualified administrators. That said, we cannot claim that the media is blameless. We also create unnecessary tension. We invite those speakers who make money off of increased tension onto our screens, contributing to the chaos we see today. We are caught in such a vicious circle.