Controversy lingers as Galatasaray’s third Terim era abruptly ends
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Coach Fatih Terim greets Galatasaray supporters, who gathered outside his house in Istanbul following the news that the 60-year-old was sacked as the Galatasaray coach. AA photoGalatasaray’s fallout with legendary coach Fatih Terim concluded bitterly with the latter’s abrupt dismissal on Sept. 24, but the departure of Turkey’s most decorated coach still continues to draw controversy and dominate the football scene 24 hours after the shocking news was announced.
Many names, including Italian Roberto Mancini, Germany’s Jupp Heynckes, Joachim Löw, and Frenchman Didier Deschamps, as well as veteran Mustafa Denizli are already linked with the vacant Galatasaray hot seat, but it is still unclear who will lead the team in the Sept. 28 league game against Çaykur Rizespor.
Terim’s assistants Ümit Davala and Hasan Şaş, pillars of the epic team which conquered the UEFA Cup in 2010, also resigned from their posts.
With a Turkish record of six national league titles and a UEFA Cup victory under his belt, Terim is the country’s most decorated coach and he eventually led Galatasaray to back-to-back titles in his third spell with the Lions. This season saw Galatasaray start with two wins and three draws in five league matches, but a 6-1 home defeat in the Champions League was particularly disturbing.
However, Galatasaray’s board made it clear that parting ways with Terim was not a decision stemming from sporting reasons.
Galatasaray cited Terim’s rejection of an offer to extend his contract at the Istanbul club as the reason for showing the 60-year-old the door. In a statement released on the club’s website, it said the developments were “damaging the Galatasaray values” and underlined the internal “hierarchy” was “clear and definite.”
Terim did not comment on the issue, but fans were critical of the board’s decision.
Support for Emperor
Galatasaray fans’ adverse reactions to chairman Ünal Aysal and strong commitment to Terim, dubbed “Emperor,” dominated Twitter late on Sept. 24 and yesterday. A couple of hundred fans even gathered outside his house in Istanbul’s Sarıyer district.
A teary-eyed Terim greeted fans and thanked them before going in, pleading with them to give him their blessing. Fans, in return, tried to cheer him up, notably by chanting “Don’t cry Emperor.” Some fans gathered outside the Les Ottomans Hotel to protest against Aysal as well.
Tension between Aysal and Terim has been a hot topic in the Turkish media since the start of the year, with the coach reportedly not being a fan of the chairman’s blockbuster signings. While Aysal was chasing Wesley Sneijder, Terim was reportedly unhappy that a superstar could blur the still waters at the club. Galatasaray’s Champions League success of making the quarterfinals past Schalke with a 0-4 victory, and an eventual league title, calmed the storm at Florya, but the differences surfaced in the summer again.
The duo first fell at odds during the signing of Felipe Melo, who has been playing at Galatasaray with loan contracts for two seasons. The Brazilian player was pivotal in both of the Lions’ titles, and Terim wanted the player to join the club permanently, while Aysal found the player, nicknamed “Pitbull” to be unreliable.
The biggest fallout, however, came in late August, when the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) approached Terim immediately after national team coach Abdullah Avcı resigned. Galatasaray gave permission to Terim to hold dual jobs until May, but on Sept. 24, board member Şükrü Ergün claimed that Terim had signed a four-year deal with the TFF in secret.
On Sept. 25, the TFF chief Yıldırım Demirören held a press conference where he denied that he had signed a long-term deal with Terim, but added that Aysal had told him they could sign a permanent deal with the coach in January. Aysal immediately refuted Demirören’s statement on the club’s website.
For Galatasaray, however, the subject is not likely to be closed anytime soon.