Beşiktaş to host rival Fener in last derby in iconic pitch

Beşiktaş to host rival Fener in last derby in iconic pitch

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Beşiktaş to host rival Fener in last derby in iconic pitch

Beşiktaş fans pin their hopes on playmaker Manuel Fernandes in the last derby in İnönü as Dutchman Dirk Kuyt will seek the Beşiktaş net in the away game. Hürriyet photo

Beşiktaş fans are ready to face rival Fenerbahçe for the last derby game ever to be played in the team’s iconic İnönü Stadium on March 3, as the end of an era draws closer.

The stadium will be demolished at the end of the season before being replaced by a modern building; however, a closer landmark awaits fans in the last derby ever to be played on the historic lot.

The match itself is a crucial one in a hard race for the league title as Fenerbahçe keeps its second spot with 40 points, only one point above Beşiktaş.

The black and white side awaits a large group of injured players to recover during the week. Fenerbahçe team has no major injuries but goalkeeper Volkan Demirel and midfielder Emre Belözoğlu may miss the derby if the football federation approves a ban demand for the duo for swearing at the Kasımpaşa squad on Feb 24.

Galatararay, the league leader, meanwhile, will play against Eskişehirspor in an away match on March 2.

The tickets were sold out within a day, Beşiktaş Chairman Fikret Orman told members of the press, confirming the March 3 game as the last derby of the stadium.

Fenerbahçe, in close pursuit of leader Galatasaray, seems unwilling to let the face-off go Beşiktaş’ way and the Black Eagles want to take a bow worthy of the game’s importance.

Deal with Doğuş

The historical stadium, home to one of Turkey’s most heated fans and located in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district, will be demolished and rebuilt as a modern, new stadium with newer facilities. The club had been planning to renovate its historic stadium next season to turn the venue into a more lucrative one; similar to what its rivals Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe did in recent years.

Galatasaray left its Ali Sami Yen Stadium to move to the modern Türk Telekom Arena last year, while Fenerbahçe renovated its Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium gradually as the team continued to play its home games there.

The process took some time due to the historic value of the stadium, but a December decision by The Environment and Urban Planning Ministry finally gave Beşiktaş the green light for the construction. Beşiktaş followed up the decision with a commercial deal struck with the IMG Doğuş Company in a bid to finance the construction. IMG Football Directory head Jefferson Slack said the project’s priority was the new stadium as well as finding new forms of income flow for the club, but added that a music festival was in the works to give the stadium a proper farewell. Orman assured fans that the venue will remain in the club’s ownership.

“This is an important location not just for Istanbul, but for Turkey as well,” Orman said.