Civil war in Fener­bahçe

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Sports -

FENER­BAHÇE Chair­man Ali Koç fi­nally broke his si­lence about the tur­moil that Fener­bahçe finds it­self. He made a sen­sa­tional state­ment in Fener­bahçe’s of­fi­cial TV chan­nel last week. In his state­ment, Koç ac­cused as­sis­tant coaches, some play­ers and some ex­ec­u­tives of be­tray­ing his ad­min­is­tra­tion and ef­fec­tively harm­ing the clubs in­ter­ests.

Although his ac­cu­sa­tions var­ied greatly in qual­ity and quan­tity, the only ap­par­ent com­mon ground of all “in­sur­gen­cies” in the club was their dis­ap­proval of the new era in Fener­bahçe. Koç claimed that these peo­ple ac­tively sab­o­taged the foot­ball team and tried to force the Koç ad­min­is­tra­tion to make de­ci­sions ac­cord­ing to their plans. This proves I was right when I wrote two weeks ear­lier that there was a plot to over­throw Cocu and Fener­bahçe’s fall was not en­tirely his fault.

Ac­tu­ally, Koç’s state­ments also prove that I have made a huge un­der­state­ment. If his ac­cu­sa­tions about the per­son­nel are true, then no one can blame Cocu even a bit for the down­fall of the foot­ball team.

Fener’s chair­man said that the team’s as­sis­tant coaches, an­a­lyst Tur­gay Al­tay, goal­keeper trainer Mu­rat Öztürk and fit­ness coach Alper Aşçı, mis­in­formed coach Cocu about in­di­vid­ual per­for­mances dur­ing the en­tire train­ing pe­riod. But most im­por­tantly, Koç ac­cused them of leak­ing Fener­bahçe’s per­for­mance re­ports to their op­po­nents, an act that wan­ders on the bor­ders of crim­i­nal­ity. Thus, Cocu was set up for fail­ure by his so-called as­sis­tants, if the al­le­ga­tions are true.

There was one event, how­ever, that had many eye­wit­nesses and could not be proven wrong even by the de­fen­dants. Be­fore the Beşik­taş derby, one of the as­sis­tant coaches, Tur­gay Al­tay, brought a car­pet into the dress­ing room, and when Cocu asked what it meant, the an­swer was clear: Af­ter los­ing this game, we are go­ing to hold the fu­neral for the coach with this car­pet.

Now, it is clear that these peo­ple were ma­li­cious, and harmed their club’s and em­ployer’s in­ter­ests for their own in­ter­ests. But why did they do it? They were the tech­ni­cal staff of the for­mer coach of Fener­bahçe, Aykut Ko­ca­man, who is a close friend of Aziz Yıldırım, the for­mer chair­man of the club.

Although his con­tract was ter­mi­nated, his crews’ were not. But they knew that they were cho­sen for a short pe­riod of time to help Cocu dur­ing the tran­si­tion. In the long run, they were not con­sid­ered a se­ri­ous is­sue. Thus, they had a longterm in­ter­est in get­ting rid of Cocu and bring­ing in a Turk­ish coach.

Also, the team’s iconic goal­keeper, Volkan Demirel, who had close re­la­tions with Aziz Yıldırım, is one of the play­ers who was left out of the squad be­cause of their dis­re­spect­ful be­hav­ior. He was part of the plot that ended an­other coach, Er­sun Yanal’s Fener­bahçe ca­reer. His im­pact on the club and the Fener­bahçe com­mu­nity is well be­yond of a player and he has al­ways been a de­ter­min­ing fac­tor in the team’s at­mos­phere. Since he was benched way ear­lier than he was left out of the squad, it was clear that he had prob­lems with the new tech­ni­cal crew.

On the me­dia side, a die-hard sup­porter of Aziz Yıldırım, Mil­liyet writer Er­can Güven, wrote a piece a week be­fore Ali Koç’s state­ments, where he praised benched goal­keeper Volkan Demirel’s “re­bel­lious” at­ti­tude to­wards the team’s bad form.

Güven also sug­gested that Koç should ap­point a “vet­eran” in Turk­ish foot­ball to help him, like Mah­mut Uslu and Mu­rat Öza­y­dınlı. Both Uslu and Özyadınlı worked closely with Aziz Yıldırım. What these all mean is that a group of peo­ple within the team, the me­dia and the ad­min­is­tra­tion wanted to take con­trol of Koç ad­min­is­tra­tion.

I do not have any cred­i­ble ev­i­dence to back these claims, but even though there is no di­rect or­ga­ni­za­tion be­tween these in­di­vid­u­als, they share the same goal: Aziz Yıldırım’s re­turn to Fener­bahçe. Or at the least, they want Aziz Yıldırım-era prac­tices to re­turn to the club. When things be­come trans­par­ent and demo­cratic, all of a sud­den all the de­fi­cien­cies and im­moral­i­ties start to show up. This is why con­spir­acy the­o­ries, cre­at­ing hos­til­i­ties and blam­ing oth­ers work so well, they dis­tract the fans from ac­tual prob­lems. I praise Ali Koç’s firm stance against the counter-rev­o­lu­tion and there is no doubt that if he can sur­vive this pe­riod with­out los­ing his prin­ci­ples, he can carry Fener­bahçe for­ward.

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