Mayor Gökçek tries to dispel Ankaraspor’s jinx with Ottoman spell, renames club Osmanlıspor FC
The club’s new crest and colors have already been disclosed ahead of a final official decision, expected next week.The world continues to quiver with fear due to the return of the Ottoman Empire, at least on the football field, thanks to controversial Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek. The Turkish capital’s municipality-administrated club - modestly called Ankaraspor FC up to now – is set to be renamed with a more ambitious moniker, “Osmanlıspor FC” (Ottomansport FC).
The club, which suffered relegation from the Süper League in 2009-10 after enjoying a number of seasons in the top flight, is expected to confirm its name change next week and file an official application to the Turkish Football Federation (TFF).
The club’s new crest and colors have already been disclosed, with five Islam-inspired crescents replacing the fierce Angora cat of the old crest, and purple replacing the club’s traditional blue, arguably evocative of the water from the city’s unique municipal fountains.
Whether the team’s players will align themselves on the pitch as the Ottoman-style “mehter” band remains to be seen, but the changes come at a time when the club’s fortunes are looking good ahead of the new season in the second tier of the Turkish league.
Last season, Ankaraspor narrowly missed out on promotion, losing in the play-off semifinal after finishing in fourth place, despite having just returned from a two-year ban from all competitions.
In 2009, Mayor Gökçek attempted to merge the club with the city’s largest football team, Ankaragücü, which his son Ahmet Gökçek had taken over as president of and which was struggling with debts.
The father-son duo sought to combine the taxpayer-funded financial heft of Ankaraspor with the large supporter base of Ankaragücü. However, the move was eventually halted by the TFF, which decided to relegate Ankaraspor from the league as punishment. With a squad full of novices due to financial troubles, Ankaragücü was similarly relegated one year later, before sinking further one year later into Turkey’s third tier.