Emperor’s throne shaken with Real’s six-goal rout
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Galatasaray coech Fatih Terim is criticized for the team’s poor start to the new fodotball season. AA photoCoach Fatih Terim came under intense pressure in the wake of Galatasaray’s 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Real Madrid in its Champions League opener on Sept. 17.
The Lions’ worst European defeat in four decades extended their winless run to four matches, but it also increased pressure on Terim.
Terim was unusually apologetic after the Real Madrid game and took the blame completely.
“It’s a heavy defeat, I apologize to the supporters,” Terim said.
On Sept. 17, Galatasaray supporters, known for their loyalty to “the Emperor,” were quick to find the victims, and Terim was not one of them. Burak Yılmaz, two-time defending Turkish top goal-scorer and scorer of eight goals in last year’s Champions League competition, was jeered and booed when he was substituted.
Terim did not put the blame solely on one player but even though he shouldered the responsibility, he urged the players to step up. “Sometimes players need to show some character on the pitch,” he said, in a wake-up call to his team, four days before a Super League derby against Beşiktaş.
The message suggested that he could take some action against players depending on the outcome of the derby, although Terim might need to consider that he could be next in line.
After Terim, who has won a national-record six titles with Galatasaray, took over the vacant Turkish national football team coaching job last month, many Galatasaray fans were concerned that only half of his time would be allocated to the two-time defending champions. It was obvious that the issue would be brought up in the first slump, and the first slump lasted a little longer than most fans could take. Consecutive draws against Bursaspor, Eskişehirspor and Antalyaspor preceded the disastrous 6-1, and Terim’s double job duties came percolating to the surface.
Board member Adnan Nas reportedly criticized Terim, saying, “Maybe he should coach Fenerbahçe as well, he should give them some time, too.” Club spokesman Şükrü Ergün criticized Nas’ statement, saying that it was “irresponsible” and “unfortunate.”
However, there are rumors in the Turkish media that Terim’s possible downfall would play into the hands of Chairman Ünal Aysal. After allowing Terim to speak with the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) on the national team job, there were rumors that Aysal was preparing a new coach to replace Terim in his mid-term plans. Turkish media have been long speculating that the two do not get along, with Terim reportedly not favoring the idea of Aysal’s blockbuster Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba signings in January. But as usual, rumors disappeared after success. In May, Galatasaray was happy to celebrate its second league title in a row, and all the parties looked happy. But with three draws and one defeat in five competitive matches, the rumors have started again.
Aysal came to Terim’s backing yesterday, releasing a statement showing “full support” for the coach and players, adding that nobody was solely responsible for the big defeat.
The president and the coach were trying to calm the storm ahead of the big derby, but with Slaven Bilic’s Beşiktaş firing on all cylinders, Sunday could provide another nail in the coffin for Galatasaray’s season, which could be derailed before fall even begins in earnest. Or otherwise, it could be just another great twist that Terim relishes writing in his storied career.