The future of Turkish football is getting darker at an increasing speed
After the break which was given for the pandemic, the leagues were completed on July 26 with the matches played in the summer. After a break of 47 days, the 2020-21 season commenced this week but without spectators. In the period we are in, I do not see much hope for Turkish football in such a pessimistic environment.
This year we are going through a very different period due to the pandemic. First of all, football matches were postponed in March and resumed on 12 June. Having the games completed at an accelerated manner during this tumultuous time saw Basaksehir win the championship for the first time in the history of Turkia.
Among all these events, on June 21, I wrote an article titled “Our football super league has started, shall we wish it the best?” https://www.serhansuzer.com/en/futbol-super-ligimiz-basladi-hayirli-olsun-mu
Galatasaray: From the best to the worst in the league ...
In this article, I criticized the launch of the league in the Covid-19 environment and wished Galatasaray or Trabzonspor to be champions. Of course, my favourite team, Galatasaray, was the strongest candidate for the championship before the league was postponed, and after the league restarted, it went into an incredible decline and finished the league in 6th place. The question to be asked is how did the best team of the league before the pandemic end up in the worst position in the league after the break. This situation gave me pain, like all Galatasaray residents. I hope the necessary lessons have been taken, but from the signs given to us from the team, it seems the decisions taken and the transfers made before the league are not at all good. I will write about this in more detail later. The subject of this article is not Galatasaray.
Trabzonspor, the other strong candidate, could not take the lead either
The other important candidate for the championship, my mother's hometown, Trabzonspor, also had the strongest squad in my opinion. It is necessary to congratulate President Ahmet Agaoglu and the entire Trabzonspor administration for their success in building such a team with such a small budget. After many years, they gave examples of good governance in Trabzonspor. However, they couldn’t come to a successful end either. They went head-to-head and eventually Basaksehir took the lead in the race. I think the difference between the coaches emerge here. If Trabzonspor continued with Unal Karaman, I think they would not have won the league in the second place.
For some reason, I cannot sympathize with Basaksehir, the team that my father built from scratch. The fact that a stadium that bears the name of Fatih Terim does not make me look at this with sympathy either. I think that having an artificial team atmosphere has a great effect on this. In my opinion, the only thing shining at Basaksehir and gaining all our sympathy is their coach, Okan Buruk.
I personally know Okan, who was a good Galatasaray player. We have had meals together. Beyond being a good coach, he is also a good person. When he was just one of Turkish footballs talents, becoming one of the best technical directors in Turkia, gave him a status which is rarely obtained. Senol Gunes, Ertugrul Saglam, Aykut Kocaman and Hamza Hamzaoglu were the four names who experienced the championship joy in the history of the Super League both as a football player and a technical director. Okan Buruk joined them as the 5th name.
Okan Buruk's football success
Those who are under age won’t remember. Okan was like Turkia's Maradona. Especially during the Feldkamp period, he made an incredible breakthrough. With the ball at his feet, he had the ability to overcome tackles with great dribbles, and his final hits were also very good. Beyond being a midfielder with incredible talent, he also scored great goals. In addition to all these bright talents, he never spoiled his modesty and showed everyone that he was a part of his team by making a solid defence. Soner Tolunguc, aka "Butcher Soner", who played in Trabzonspor, extinguished Okan's glare by breaking his foot. Here is the moment when Okan's foot broke:
Returning back to the fields, Okan Buruk played with very good performance, always tried to do the best he could and made great contributions to the team he played in, but the dribbles he used to make disappeared. He changed his style of football with the urge to always step firmly on the ground because of what happened to him. His successes were a career with 6 league titles, 1 UEFA Cup, 1 UEFA Super Cup, 3 Turkia Cups and in 2002, becoming 3rd in the World Cup, has inscribed his name amongst the best career footballer of Turkish football.
You can find the details of Okan's football career at this link: https://www.mackolik.com/futbolcu/okan-buruk/kupalar/4vbdhm78ppd5zkw3zix6vffth
I would also like to share Okan's national team goals so that you can better understand what kind of football player he was:
Okan's coaching career
Okan Buruk, who started really well as a coach, could not manage to keep his team in the league, although he did a good job with Elazigspor in the 2013-2014 season. Okan, who could not find the appropriate environment in a series of duties he took on, then coached Gaziantepspor, Sivasspor, Goztepe, but could not get the result he wanted. Okan’s first big success was achieved in the 2017-2018 season by winning the Cup in Turkia with Akhisar. Despite this success, he said goodbye to his team at the end of the season.
When I was the technical director of Akhisar, I was telling my close circle that Okan is a very good manager who is open to improvement and that he has made serious improvements in terms of both game quality and winning matches in all the teams he manages. I was even questioning why Fatih Terim did not notice Okan and why he did not think of raising him as his assistant.
Later on, in the 7th week of the league, he took over the management of Caykur Rizespor and started his duties with the Fenerbahce match. Caykur Rizespor, who had only 3 points when he started to train the team and even closed the first half in the last rank of the league, had 11 wins, 12 draws, 9 losses in 32 games and finished the season in 11th place, where they collected 41 points. In other words, Caykur Rizespor, who was shown at the head of the teams that will be relegated when he started his duty, enabled him to finish the league in the middle of the score sheet with the points he collected consecutively in the second half.
After this success, he was transferred to Basaksehir. When Abdullah Avci left, they were considered as a disbanded team, however on the contrary, he experienced his first championship at Basaksehir. After Okan Buruk transferred, I was telling everyone around me, "Follow Basaksehir, they will challenge the championship." They then became champions.
Amazing point scores in the last 8 matches
This year, after the 26th week break in March, the matches were played again on June 12, and the remaining 8-week series was completed. A very interesting picture emerged as a result of this series. We see that the matches played after the break for the pandemic are as follows:
1- Başaksehir - 13 points
2- Kasimpasa - 13 points
3- Beşiktaş - 12 points
4- Antalyaspor - 11 points
5- Kayserispor - 10 points
6- Gaziantep FK - 10 points
7- Fenerbahce - 10 points
8- Trabzonspor - 9 points
9- Alanyaspor - 8 points
10- Sivasspor - 8 points
11- Gençlerbirligi - 8 points
12- Yeni Malatya - 7 points
13- Rizespor - 7 points
14- Konyaspor - 7 points
15- Ankaragucu - 6 points
16- Denizlispor - 4 points
17- Goztepe - 2 points
18- Galatasaray - 2 points
When the season was completed, Basaksehir took the lead with 69 points. Trabzonspor followed with 65 points. Galatasaray, who did not win any games in the 24-point series and got only 2 points, completely exhausted its previous credit and finished the league 6th with 56 points. For detailed point scores, you can click on the link https://www.eurosport.com.tr/futbol/super-lig/2019-2020/standing.shtml. In addition, whatever the wisdom, the relegation of any teams was removed due to the Covid-19 environment. We witnessed such a dramatic season.
2020-21 season with its firsts
The 2020-21 season started play this week. After the previous season, which was completed with the Kasimpasa-Basaksehir match on July 26, the 2020-2021 season commenced on September 11, after a 47-day break. With 21 teams from Turkia's 14 provinces, a 248-day total of 420 matches will end on Sunday May 16, 2021. The first half will be completed on January 24, 2021 with 21 matches. The second half of the league will start with the week 22 matches to be played on January 29, 2021 and end on May 16.
Since the relegation was lifted last season, the league will be played with 21 teams, and 4 teams will be relegated this season. In other words, MKE Ankaragucu, Hes Kablo Kayserispor and Yeni Malatyaspor, who completed the last season in the relegation line, will be in the league in the new season. Hatayspor, who managed to get to the Super League from the 1st League, Buyuksehir Belediye Erzurumspor and Fatih Karagumruk also joined the teams last season. In the Super League, 31 of the remaining 62 seasons were played with 18 teams, 20 with 16 teams, 4 with 20 teams, 3 with 17 and 19 teams, and one with 22 teams. Due to the fact that there are 21 teams in the league, a team will pass each week without a match. The matches of the 9 weeks will be held within the week.
Due to the epidemic, the matches in the first half of the season in the Super League will be played without an audience.
The first clue is from the Caykur Rizespor-Fenerbahce match
I haven't watched the games since last year because it didn’t give me any pleasure. I only follow the results and goals on the website https://www.flashscore.com.tr/. This is what I recommend. The other day I looked at the score of the first game of the 2020-21 season. Caykur Rizespor was ahead 1-0. I thought Fenerbahce will win this match 2-1 (generally my predictions are correct). At the end of the evening, I looked at the score again. Bingo. Fenerbahce scored 2 goals and won the match. When I looked at the goals, I suddenly laughed. There was a head goal that did not meet the net (it was not clear from the video I watched whether it was a goal or not, it probably was a goal, but it was obvious that it was a forced goal) and one of the most fake penalties I have seen in my life which almost summarized the situation of what our football was coming to. You can watch the summary of the match on the link https://tr.beinsports.com/haber/caykur-rizespor-fenerbahce-5. You can also see the penalty kick given towards the end of the video.
Despite Galatasaray winning their matches, It was noteworthy that the Caykur Rizespor President Hasan Kartal who shouted, threatened and even reflected his aggressive attitude to his team and in two matches played in their own stadium, caused serious damage to three very valuable players of Galatasaray (Emre Akbaba and Fernando Muslera legs got broken and serious injuries were caused to Florin Andone) made a statement that the penalty decision given against him in the Fenerbahce match was wrong. In order to envision the terror in your mind, I share these moments of injury in order:
We get it. This year, more than football, referees and a lot of off-field factors will be discussed. What a pity.
We are all experiencing serious difficulties due to the pandemic anyway, the future of popular team sports such as football is not clear. At the same time, let's not turn football into something beyond being a sports competition and act like it may have serious benefits for society.
Maybe you know, American wrestling shows are played out of a script. In other words, which of the fighters will be victorious from the beginning and even the actions they will make during the fight, the drama they will live is all clear, the script has been written. Frankly, I fear that Turkish football will turn into American wrestling. I hope it doesn't go that far.
Bad signs right from the beginning of the season
We say this, but in vain. We got all kinds of bad signs at the start of the season:
-Football clubs debts continue to increase. Football clubs that have difficulties in achieving financial sustainability not only are unable to follow the compliance limits to regulate this situation, on the contrary, in order to keep up the competition, they continue to undertake transfers. In the near future, we will witness football clubs that have raised the flag of bankruptcy. They will beg for help from the government, but these last efforts will not prevent the inevitable end. At this point reached due to bad management in the past, there will be an explosion at the beginning of that period. In my opinion, the heavily loaded debts of the clubs (some of them in the billions of TL) should be divided amongst the administrations that took part in the past and the board of directors should be able to take the debt. This would be a good lesson for former managers who have been doing their shows for years and gaining different benefits from the club. During the pandemic period, as financial incomes decreased significantly, it became much more difficult to ensure sustainability. During this period, clubs need to be extra creative to increase their financial income. They also have to close all the holes that are hurting the clubs financially and they have to master everything.
- Emre Belozoglu made several attacks left, right and centre because of his ambition to undertake transfers, and the pro-media press put a rocket up Fenerbahçe fans, angering the other team supporters. For example, we witnessed Galatasaray, the team that made Emre the person he is today, talk a player into transferring. His bad reputation, inherited from his footballing career, continues in full swing in his new career. This is the ethical understanding of people like Emre, who act with the mindset of "any way to be successful is permissible" and they do serious harm to Turkish football in every sense. However, in the period we are in, people like Emre are in demand. In the future, an ethics committee should be established and those who consider competition above human values, should be eliminated from Turkish football.
- The referees' management continues like a joke. In the past, they used to do it without notice, now they are able to slaughter the matches in favour of some teams. Here, it is necessary to increase the weight of artificial intelligence and to make the necessary moves to minimize human-oriented errors. In other words, ever since the leagues have existed in Turkia, there have been chronic referee management and the only way to minimize errors is via technology. It is necessary to make use of technology more effectively.
- Hungary slaughtered our national team. You can watch the Turkia-Hungary match via this link https://www.sabah.com.tr/video/spor/turkiye-0-1-macaristan-mac-ozeti-tartismali-pozisyonlar-izle-video. Our national team, which took off during the Senol Gunes period, entered a period of incomprehensible decline. I think the epidemic has had a part in this. There is a lot to do here. I have written many articles on this subject in the past. For national success, first of all, it is necessary to focus on infrastructure. For a brighter future, it is necessary to give priority to the life and technical training of football players from an early age.
It won't be easy to recover
As a result, I would like to state that the decline in our football during the Covid-19 period has gained momentum and I am currently unable to see any light. Of course, since I have never been pessimistic in any period of my life, I know that this period will come and go. The only difference is that people who will turn increasing darkness into light will have to work harder than before and go through serious stress. Of course, it is also a mystery when people with the character, heart and equipment who can overcome what needs to be done will go to the management of football. It should be ensured that people like Okan Buruk are more active in Turkish football.
Some things will take years to recover. That is a fact. That's why I have minimized my expectations regarding the football of our country in the current period. In order not to be upset, I recommend you do the same.
Despite everything, the bright era of Turkish Football will come. Do not worry.