Civil war in Fenerbahçe

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
ISTANBUL
Published

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 long-term 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.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter