After a dismal season and an even worse Audi Cup this preseason, Fenerbahçe is on the verge of catastrophe with its TL 4 billion debt. It seems Fenerbahçe is the first team to be severely struck by the deepening financial crisis in Turkish football and it is slowly marching toward a decisive moment in its history.
Will Fenerbahçe keep pushing the same İstanbul giant agenda and try to buy championships with expired players or push for new hope? The new hope is that even though the Audi Cup was a total disaster as the team conceded five goals in 45 minutes against Bayern Munich, there were moments of brilliance from Fener's young guns. As if proving that the old methods of winning are wrong, the so-called experienced players of the squad, like Nabil Dirar and Mehmet Ekici, kept making mistakes while young players like Ferdi Kadıoğlu, Altay Bayındır and Ozan Tufan looked very promising.
This confusion of methods made Fenerbahçe extremely vulnerable, especially in defense. At particular moments in the match against Bayern, it was not possible to believe Fenerbahçe players were actual professionals - they made unbelievable and unforgivable mistakes.
To make matters worse, the team reacted so poorly to the simple mistakes and gave up on the game at the 25th minute. This was an unacceptable performance. It was mildly compensated for against an equally demoralized Real Madrid as Fenerbahçe managed to score three goals against a defensive icon like Real. Added to that, Ferdi Kadıoğlu, Altay Bayındır and Ozan Tufan played very well, with little to no errors. Their performance offered an alternative to the so-called experienced players and showed the manager, Ersun Yanal, that it is possible to play well with a young team.
However, as long as Yanal stays in this limbo, the team will never be able to play for the top again. What is harming Fenerbahçe more than anything right now is the lack of determination in Yanal's tactical discipline. Of course, Yanal, just like any other manager, wants to strike a good balance between youth and experience. Nevertheless, I think this moderate method is already expired as Turkish football is no longer able to sustain megastars who compensate for their old age with great skill. Now, less talented but equally old players have flooded the country and it is not possible to get good results in the long term with them.
The only way to get out of this vicious cycle is to restart entirely. Fenerbahçe should focus on getting the most out of their young players. Kadıoğlu, Bayındır and Tufan lack nothing in the skills department and all they need is a good leader and a mentor. Seeing players like Merih Demiral, who was also raised by Fenerbahçe, the club can easily find good players in their reserve team to improve defensive performance.
Club chairman Ali Koç and manager Yanal's decisions this season will definitely determine the next five years of the club, so it is time to act with courage. If this season is no different than the last, the fans would not be able to tolerate it.