Sunday, we saw an exciting, dramatic but all the more scandalous day of usual football at the Turkish Super League but with a twist.
It was the last week of games which was also going to determine the champions of the 2009-10 Turkish Super League.
Only two teams had a chance to get the championship, with the favorites being Fenerbahce with 73 points followed by Bursaspor with 72 points.
Fenerbahce only needed a win or a draw or even losing so long as Bursaspor win draw or loose respectively.
In other words Fenerbahce needed to match Bursaspor’s result against Besiktas if they wanted to be Champions.
I watched the game in a pub in Kadikoy near the famous bull statue just a few hundred feet away from the Fenerbahce, Sukru Saracoglu stadium amongst hundreds of Fenerbahce supporters.
For the Fenerbahce fans, the championship was already declared as they did not see Trabzonspor, a deep rooted team from the black sea region, to be able to do much in the game with nothing to play for, other than their pride as the team guaranteed fifth position.
The game was also personal for Fenerbahce who, just a week earlier lost the Turkey Cup to Trabzonspor and carried on the Istanbul side’s 28-year Cup misery.
With the fans confident and the atmosphere as if the championship was declared, the whistle blew, claps and chanting started from the start; “Fener Goal! Goal! Goal!, the championship is coming” shouted the fans for several minutes.
The presence of the Turkish giants were seen on the pitch from the start as attack after attack came and went. It was very difficult for the match to be watched as the fans in front were jumping on their feet every time an attack was made.
The attacks paid off on just the 14th minute as Fenerbahce went a goal up by a Daniel Guiza strike. The atmosphere was absolutely unbelievable. Strangers, people totally oblivious of each other in normal circumstances hugged and shouted.
They were all, one, under the roof of Fenerbahce, all shouting as one, all celebrating as one with the sounds of people shouting from their cars and horns coming from the road beside. Kadikoy was living the dream.
Fenerbahce continued their attack and missed several more chances, with Trabzonspor occasionally coming to the Fener half in a counter attack in which most were sent back to the Trabzon half imminently, but it was one of those counterattacks just nine minutes after Fenerbahce got the lead which was somehow converted into a goal.
Just nine minutes later, a cross slash shot by Trabzonspor forward and winger, Burak Yilmaz, lobbed over the Fenerbahce and Turkey International goal keeper, Volkan Demirel who watched in horror like everyone around me and the stadium while the ball went in.
The game had just became real, Fenerbahce were again in deep waters but everyone around me were so confident, “Fener will score, they will score, Fener Goal Goal Goal!!!!, the Championship is coming” fans shouted.
Tempers flared in the second half with news of Bursaspor going 2-0 up against Besiktas, things started to get desperate.
Even in the bar in which I was watching the game several small fights broke out amongst fans angered with comments by one and other.
Fenerbahce it is fair to say played a game comparable to the Barcelona Vs Inter Milan game in the Champions League Semi Final at the Nou Camp where nearly 60% of the game had been played in the Inter Half.
Every time the ball was lofted, passed or crossed forward the fans jumped into the air, glasses broke in frustrations, shouting and swearing, with one fan even shaking and punching a tree which decorated the bar.
Call them what you like, fans, fanatics, sports lovers, yesterdays display of anger and frustration of men, women and teenagers were worthy of the hardest hooligans around the world.
It was at this point I thought it was time to leave with chairs and glasses being hurled around but I left to go to the exit of the bar and carried on watching the game with the TV screen ever more difficult to see.
One man particularly cached my eye with his desperation, he was jumping up and down shouting and screaming, his friends trying to calm him down. It reminded me of a funeral which I had gone to as a young boy when everyone was literally screaming and ripping there cloths in grief.
With just a few minutes left till the end of the game, news of Besiktas’s goal against Bursaspor which made the game 2-1 was misinterpreted as 2-2 and announced at the stadium.
This in return was announced by the commentator on TV. suddenly grief, anger and despair turned into joy and happiness. People who were crying and frowing them selves on the floor were on the tables dancing with joy.
The whistle had blown and suddenly I saw people running down the street, with flares in their hand declaring the championship.
But this was a phantom championship. A huge mistake by someone at the Sukru Saracoglu stadium led to the announcement of Bursa drawing with Besiktas.
Fans jumped into the pitch, footballers were put on shoulders flares lit up. People who changed channels from the Fener game to the Bursa game saw both teams celebrating.
The Bursaspor vs Besiktas game in fact finished 2-1 and Fener needed a goal. I left the bar still unaware of the mistake but soon by the faces of the fans around me I new something was wrong.
I asked a passer by who told me the news; I left the Kadikoy area immediately, I new what was going to happen.
As soon as I went home I opened the news, and my thoughts unfortunately were correct, violence with police as hooligans chugged bottles at security offices, members of the press, at the stadium and sections of the stadium put on fire.
In a country where football is seen as a second religion, what can you expect, some of the most fascinating and extraordinary scenes in world football can be seen in Turkey along with some of the most disgusting.
However, Sunday saw the bad side of football only in one section of Istanbul, the heart of the Fenerbahce community, Kadikoy.
The rest of Turkey yesterday were celebrating, Turkey were celebrating the success of an Anatolian team which have won the Turkish League for the first time in its 53-year history.
Turkey were celebrating a team’s victory which takes the league championship away from Istanbul for the 7th time in its 53 year history with ironically Trabzonspor the only team to win it previously.
Regardless of the ugly scenes from the Kadikoy area, this championship is a step forward for Turkish football and perhaps this championship will take Turkish football to new heights.
Bursaspor highlighted that it is not big money transfers and multimillion Euro stadiums that make teams champions, it’s the team work, effort and determination put into a goal which was set at the beginning of the year.
Write your comments and thoughts bellow.
NationalTurk Turkish Sports correspondent – Sinan Abdal