Middlesbrough's Gain Could Haunt EPL
Middlesbrough's Gain Could Haunt EPL
By Nathan L. Redd
Shock. Dismay. Anger. Disappointment. Denial. Those are all words that could be used to describe the emotions of Fenerbahce fans in recent days regarding the departure of Tuncay Sanli. Some fans posted angry messages about him on fan boards. Some wouldn't believe it until the club confirmed it, despite every media outlet in England and Turkiye reporting it. Some actually searched for loopholes in the contract that would allow Tuncay to magically re-join Fenerbahce.
Middlesbrough fans, that should tell you how much Tuncay Sanli meant to us. He was ours, and to the 25 million Fener fans around the globe, he can still belong to us. Like a grammar school love, you have to let go, but let's be honest - doesn't that long-lost love still have a spot deep in your heart somewhere? We can do the same for Tuncay. In five seasons, Tuncay Sanli gave us 59 goals. He helped us win three Super Lig championships. He scored a UEFA Champions League hat trick against everyone's favorite team to hate, Manchester United. More than the goals and wins, he gave us passion. He gave us contagious enthusiasm. When many footballers shun the fans, Tuncay embraced us. He loved Fenerbahce, and we loved him. And we still can, but we have to let him go.
Middlesbrough made the right move at the right time. They knew Tuncay was itching to play abroad for a while, and Middlesbrough provided the biggest stage - the EPL. Middlesbrough Chief Executive Keith Lamb knew that Tuncay had a long and impressive list of suitors. However, no one had made a firm offer yet. Sure AC Milan, Barcelona, Newcastle United, and many others loved the way he played and had been watching. Sukru Saracoglu has looked like a United Nations meeting in recent months with our international visitors coming to watch Tuncay. Yet, no one had made an offer. Middlesbrough knew they had to strike quickly and impressively. They did just that, offering Tuncay a nice salary, a chance for a lot of minutes, and the world's biggest stage in the English Premier League. They had a selling point for Tuncay: play for Manchester United and be the guy who gets interviewed when Christiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney aren't available, or play for Middlesbrough and be our star. Tuncay bought it.
With the 2007-2008 season just two months away, Middlesbrough has a chance to show the rest of Europe what they missed out on. Sure, bigger clubs will likely come after him with their wallets open, but that's a good problem to have if you're Middlesbrough. The 'Boro tasted UEFA Cup glory by nearly winning it all in 2006, but now they're ready to make a move to make it a regular occurrence. Middlesbrough is a team that has had some success, but is ready and willing to make the move to the next level. Sound familiar, Fenerbahce fans? We can relate to Middlesbrough somewhat. They are fighting for attention in the EPL; we are fighting for recognition in Europe. They want to get to the UEFA Champions League; we've been there and want to make some noise in it. The 'Boro wants more press time in England; well, so does Fenerbahce, come to think of it. Middlesbrough has an eye for talent and a motivated executive board. Aziz Yildirim wrote the book on talent evaluation and motivation for glory.
As Fenerbahce fans, we can sit and be angry about Tuncay's departure, or we can cheer him and Middlesbrough on. He didn't sign with Galatasaray or even Chelsea, after all, he signed with an up-and-coming club that wants to win. Yes, we hate to lose him, but we have a good problem on our hands. When you have good footballers, everyone wants them (ask Real Madrid and Arsenal). There is a reason that Tuncay, Stephen Appiah, Mehmet Yozgatli, Diego Lugano, and Alex de Souza are always rumored for tranfers. Let's enjoy our problem and place our trust in the same Fenerbahce board that found Tuncay Sanli in Sakarya. Now, how can I order a Tuncay Middlesbrough shirt?...