Apart from the match against Sivasspor, Fenerbahçe have struggled to get all three points in all of their home games. They have been unable to consistently open up their opponents' defense and usually derived their win from the atmosphere of the Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadium and some "tricks" from their veteran players. Despite this fact, somehow Turkish football columnists still see no problem with Fenerbahçe's game. Further, Milliyet columnist Uğur Meleke criticized those who criticize Fenerbahçe and said this so-called "primitive" style of football is the correct game for Fenerbahçe:
"We all sometimes fall into the same mistake: We accept the new one as the best without questioning. We think the modern one is perfect and what is best should be contemporary! In fact, the ideas of the 19th century were modern at that time and contemporary ideas were being praised in the 1950s, but we call them primitive right now. What is modern in football today also has this deception. Modern players are identical; they are athletic, obsessive about short passes and they do not take any risks, do not want to have bad lost-ball statistics and we find this modern! Then, a young man stands up and rejects modernism. He plays with his own ways, just like in the neighborhood. Takes the ball, takes a few dribbles, wins and loses, falls and gets up, and finally creates a difference. He can get the win on his own. Alper Potuk's choice maybe was not modern but effective for me. He was the player who made the difference for Fenerbahçe."
I felt it necessary to leave in a big quotation from Meleke because I can see the huge inconsistency in these lyrical verses. First of all, football is played with 11 players and is a team game. Thus, it requires a complex and organized relationship among the players. Only then can a game get rid of the chains of pressure, anxiety and uncertainty. I have always wondered why football players feel such pressure on themselves and I think Meleke's piece summarizes it and probably justifies it. Given that most football executives expect the same magic from their players week in week out, it is normal for players to feel abnormal amounts of anxiety. Then, is it not inconsistent to feel angry because players avoid mistakes? Well, seeing as you pushed them there, then you are responsible for their "conservative" game play.
Secondly, the big clubs of Istanbul are not teams that you can praise for their "pure" football. Just look at their home games, the referee and the poor Anatolian teams that have to suffer a great deal of pressure for even a simple throw in decision. So, when does this "sacred" neighborhood football come in? It won't because the way that big guns play is not associated with our sweet neighborhood football memories. They play in this way because their players are not capable of cooperating with their teammates, in other words, they are incapable of playing like a team. You know what happened to the ones who tried to create a complex system in Turkey. They have been lynched, cursed and, finally, fired.
The strange point is, Uğur Meleke recently suffered for his critical words against greedy football executives. Therefore, I do not understand why he is promoting the way that executives force football to be played. The only aim of this chaotic style of football is to cover the deficiencies of football in Turkey and protect the interests of people who make money from it.
Finally, football is played all around the world with the same rules and what is modern and contemporary is not a meaningless envy of what is new, it is what represents the highest point of the game. Of course, standards of the game will rise in time, but that does not mean trying to reach modern level of football is worthless. One should see the difference between what is fashionable and what is modern.
Mersin goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov has had a really interesting career. He was a promising goalkeeper at FC Twente and I was hoping to see him at better clubs. However, after consistently playing at Twente, he wasted a season in Italy and now is at Mersin, playing just twice since making his debuts in August. He is a better goalkeeper than Mersin's first choice, Nihat, in all aspects. His reactions are above the needs of Turkish League and he commands his area with no mistakes. On the other hand, Volkan Demirel also played with few mistakes against Mersin.