In this country, chairmen own football
BAĞIŞ ERTENWe have seen this reality once again: No matter what your name, body, weight, influence may be; your name may be Fatih, your last name may be Terim; you may have a nature that scares everyone; but despite all this, you should know that in this country, the owners of football are the chairpersons, the administrators. They command, they yell, they blow, they execute. And even more sadly, there is the risk of, one day, everybody becoming an Aziz Yıldırım - if not a Fenerbahçe - fan.
Let’s name it correctly: Yes, Fatih Terim has been fired. When? Even before the first quarter of the league was over. When? Before a match that would determine the club’s fate in the Champions League. When? At a time when even if Turkey qualified for the World Cup, he would manage the national team for four or five matches at the most.
Why are these important? Because the timing and the way the announcement was made clearly bring to mind rage, lack of planning, obstinacy, and a war of the egos. Nothing like institutionalism.
There is no meaning today in mentioning how difficult it is to work with Fatih Terim. Because, it is certain, he did not say at the beginning of everything, “It is easy to work with me.” He was the same when they were signing the contract, he will be the same when he is leaving. In other words, “the guy” has always been like this, and he will remain the same. Yes, Coach Fatih isn’t the symbol of institutionalization either, and he loved collecting all the powers in one hand. He had his arrogance as well as his charisma. Yes, he had a high ego. But he did not act as if he was somebody else. He has been what he has always been!
Don’t get me wrong. It could be that working with Fatih Terim is now exhausting you. It could be that he does not fit into the Galatsaray image in your mind – whatever that might be. You may be tired of what he did, his bad temper, his “independence,” his “empire.” You may regard some of the stances he has adopted and some of the words he has said as disrespectful. It is possible to understand and draw meaning from all of these.
However, if you are to part ways with Fatih Terim because of all this, you have to do it through planning, through explaining via correct communication, through respect for labor. Otherwise, you would be forcing people to choose between “two empires”; and believe me, after a while, it could be you who is not chosen.
We thought this country had seen all kinds of “one-manship.” All kinds including the tyrant, the headstrong, the discriminatory, the authoritarian, the cheerful, the mischievous, the angry, the shrew, the sneaky.
Now, I guess, we will see the “institutionalized Westerner.” After Aziz Yıldırım’s one man “institutionalization,” after Demirören’s institutionalization with money, position and relationships, after Hacıosmanoğlu’s despotic institutionalization, now we have, in turn, a high school-type one man’s institutionalization. We know that when you say, “Nobody is greater than Galatasaray,” you are not talking about the club with its huge history, but rather yourself.
Terim’s several “performances” such as his friendship with Ağar, the Switzerland match that is the documentary of unsportsmanlike conduct, last year’s Mersin İdman Yurdu match, and many others can be counted. But he is one of the most significant realities of this country’s football. We are sure he is difficult to work with, but you knew this when you signed him. Now, you cannot send him away like that, you should not have sent him away like that, after “securing your back.” Leave aside Fatih Terim, you should not be doing this to any other person without negotiating, without talking, without finding a way to part. Terim is not a person who deserves the conduct you deem proper for players who are left out of squad because they have not renewed their contracts.
If even Fatih Terim has become the oppressed and the sufferer in this country, then we really have a long and tough way to go.
Bağış Erten is a columnist for daily Radikal in which this piece was published on Sept. 26. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.