Fenerbahçe fans should be aware of the realities of their club

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
ISTANBUL
Published 19.01.2019 00:00

This Thursday, another humiliating event in Fenerbahçe's horrendous season took place. Fenerbahçe, after a month of preparation under its new coach Ersun Yanal, lost the first leg of its Turkish Cup Round of 16 matches to Ümraniyespor, a second-tier club.

Of course, a month is not sufficient time for bringing a team up to its 100 percent, but the shape of the team was so bad that the already impatient Fenerbahçe fans, especially on social media, lost their tempers completely.

However, I think Fenerbahçe fans, although not the majority yet, are rushing into the decision when they call for club Chairman Ali Koç's resignation. Fenerbahçe's financial struggle and the poor administrative legacy left by former Chairman Aziz Yıldırım should make them reconsider their demand.

For sure, Ali Koç and his crew also rushed their reformist plans and tried to create long-term plans without having the necessary means. First, like no one until August, they could not foresee the financial crisis awaiting them before they made their decisions last summer. Second, they underestimated the influence Aziz Yıldırım have on the administration and in the media and started their ambitious projects without first building enough support from the club and the media.

Nevertheless, Fenerbahçe fans should always remember that this administration took over the club with 621 million euros ($708 million) of debt and do not have the means to cover it by taking out further loans. The economic realities are not the same as they were five years ago, Turkish clubs are no longer able to find money easily. In addition, with new local financial fair play rules, even if they found miraculous loans, they must prove that they have a stable, disciplined budget, which requires them to spend at least five or six quiet transfer periods.

Last but not the least, Koç was chosen as the chairman not because he promised sensational transfers and incredible success on the pitch, but because he promised a transparent, just and professional administration of Fenerbahçe.

So, Fenerbahçe fans should set their priorities according to the realities surrounding them. It is not viable to expect the earlier "glory" days when Turkish clubs could spend recklessly to deceive fans. Now, the big question is how to keep Fenerbahçe alive, rather than how to make it champion.

Just like Galatasaray Chairman Mustafa Cengiz and Beşiktaş Chairman Fikret Orman, Fenerbahçe chairman Ali Koç is occupied with the financial struggles of his club.

Galatasaray and Beşiktaş's downfall was not as dramatic as Fenerbahçe's because they had not undergone such a daring transformation period as the latter. Ali Koç tried to make gigantic reforms in a period of great crisis, and that was a mistake, but that does not change the fact that he dared to implement reforms in what is clearly been one of the harshest financial periods for Turkish football.

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