Why don't you come to the land of the free, Pellegrini?
by Arda Alan Işık
ISTANBULFeb 23, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Arda Alan Işık
Feb 23, 2016 12:00 am
"Istanbul-based football heavyweights Galatasaray barely beat seven-man Trabzonspor 2-1 in a Spor Toto Super League clash at Turk Telekom Arena late Sunday. In the eventful match, the referee was shown a red card by a Trabzon player." reported Daily Sabah, after a "classic" game that will live long in the memory of Turkish football fans. Ah, my lovely country, where referees are sent off by players, it is no surprise that many civilizations clashed and destroyed others for this fertile land. The agony and irony of Turkey is not only seen as serious business, but also in football, which has become an absurd comedy in recent years.
However, thousands of miles away from Istanbul, Manuel Pellegrini, the successful coach of Manchester City, is about to be fired even though he has done nothing wrong. The only reason why he will be replaced, is that his successor, Pep Guardiola, chose Manchester City over Manchester United. No one would say Pellegrini was unsuccessful, City were always a competitor for the top under his command. Still, he was sacrificed for a greater vision and almost no one objected to this decision.
Now, just compare the two pictures in your mind. In the first, almost no one except the referee is questioned for the occasion that has no relevance with football, and the second where a manager that built a successful team and won many trophies is still going to be sacked. What do you see in the comparison? Humiliation, envy, sadness or maybe anger? It is normal if you feel all of these things, but what are we going to do about it? That is the question.
Turkish fans already made their decision, empty stadiums and boos from the present ones show that there is a serious disturbance over this situation. The only thing that can be done now to change the momentum is a radical change, narrow the football economy and rely on the youth. Only by those radical means may Turkish football start to be seen as a sincere business for the fans.
Pellegrini, on the other hand, even though he was not in charge of economic decisions, chose six young players in his line-up against Chelsea. Although his main intention was to give a break to his favorite players before the Dynamo Kyiv game, he was brave enough to put six inexperienced kids in at Stamford Bridge. Despite the fact that Chelsea took advantage of the situation and crushed City, Pellegrini's attitude, to trust young players and build a strategy around them, is what Turkish football has to seek for its future.
Thus, it would be great if Galatasaray or Trabzonspor signed Pellegrini next year, at least we would know their fans would not bear this kind of a humiliation for a second time. If everyone wants better refereeing performances, then they need to take attention from the referees and put them onto football. Only when fans and media sense that there is noticeable work on the pitch will they stop talking about momentary mistakes of the referees.