Turkish sports columnists, including myself, always talk about why the Turkish football administration needs to change if we want to watch better football. The causal link between the administration of football and the quality of football is obvious; an industry that is not administrated properly cannot operate properly, therefore it cannot produce quality.
Nevertheless, we seldom go one step behind and examine how football fans' approach to football shape the administration of football. Since bad football leads to disappointed fans and most voters are also football fans in Turkey, disappointed fans are a political problem.
Thus, Turkish football's primary goal has always been to keep the fans satisfied. Nevertheless, fans are not necessarily satisfied with good, fair and beautiful football; they want their team to win and embarrass other teams, and that is where the problem begins.
This topic occurred to me as I was scrolling down on Twitter, looking for football-related news. I saw one scouting report that listed the young talents that could be very useful for Fenerbahçe in the future, and one of the fans' comments on it was very illuminating: "We do not need young players for the future, we need to be champions next season." At that moment, I had to stop and think about how much of my "enlightened self-interest" I projected onto other Turkish fans. I always believed that investing in young talent, making long-term plans and having a sustainable economy was good, and good for everyone who likes football.
However, I suddenly realized that most of Turkish fans do not love football, but they love to win.
A good example of this was Beşiktaş manager Şenol Güneş's farewell in the last game of the season, as the stadium was practically empty. After two magnificent years with two league trophies and a brilliant run in the Champions League, Beşiktaş fans simply did not deem it worthy to bid a farewell to their manager. Of course, no one owes professionals anything, they are paid to do their job, but Beşiktaş fans' reaction shows that how everyone is valued for their success in Turkey. It does not matter how much you achieved in the past or how well your team plays aesthetically, if you are not a winner, you are out. That is why, despite all of his masculine and aggressive behavior, Fatih Terim is the darling of almost all Galatasaray fans.
Then, when football is played for a group of people who only want to win, winning at all costs is the only thing that matters.
The federation is so busy with keeping clubs and fans satisfied that they have no time to create a better future for Turkish football. Hence, we cannot achieve long-term, international success without changing the mindset of Turkish fans. For this, I suggest that people should be more engaged with their local football clubs and community; supporting a team that you have never seen in your life creates a wicked identity based on hostility. If we can direct our love for football to people whom we can see and talk to every day, we would care about the well-being of the clubs, leagues and organizations more. We should not embarrass the opposing fans or establish our dominance over them; rather we should play football together, as our ancestors did. The cure is to reconnect the fans to football, rather than groundless hostility.