Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tuncay's Departure Marks End of an Era at Fenerbahce

Tuncay's Departure Marks End of an Era at Fenerbahce
By Nathan L. Redd
When Fenerbahce gathers for camp in a few weeks, there will be a lot of differences from the reigning championship squad. Roberto Carlos is in, Umit Ozat is out. Wederson will be there, but Tuncay Sanli will not. Tuncay's departure was the move everyone feared, but hoped would never happen. It's been rumored for months, and over the last three seasons it seemed to be an annual tradition. If the end of the season is near, Tuncay would be rumored for transfer talks. This time it actually happened, however.
Many Fenerbahce fans have been supportive, knowing that Tuncay moving abroad to another great club will help him gain experience. Middlesbrough, however, was not that club. No disrespect to Middlesbrough, but this was not the European expedition that Fenerbahce fans expected. When AC Milan, Barcelona, and Manchester United expressed interest, it's safe to say that most Fenerli's understood. Fenerbahce, while a great club, doesn't have the international profile of those clubs just yet. Middlesbrough however, didn't exactly raise the pulse of the international media. This wasn't a Roberto Carlos-esque international story. With rumors of Thierry Henry moving abroad, most European media will file the Tuncay move under their "publish in a small article on a slow news day" pile.
Tuncay has been like a favorite son to many Fenerli's. We love him and we love Fenerbahce, but we were ok with losing him to another great European club if it was in his best interest. Needless to say, Middlesbrough was not that club. Tuncay indicated in recent days that he wanted to go somewhere where he could start immediately and make an impact. He'll start at Middlesbrough alright. He may also play a little center-back. They may put him in goal. Heck, he might get to manage a few games for them.
I give a ton of credit to Middlesbrough for this move. It's a huge move, and they swooped in under the noses of bigger European clubs to sign him first. They are also paying him a handsome salary, rumored to be almost $4.5 million per year. After a 12th-place finish, they are certainly trying to better their fortunes and keep up with the Chelsea's of the world. But history is not in their favor. Fenerbahce fans know how good Tuncay is. I would venture to say he is one of the most underrated players in Europe. If he has a great year at the 'Boro, you know that the bigger clubs will come after him with their checkbooks ready. It will be difficult for Middlesbrough to hang onto Tuncay if he performs as I expect that he will. I honestly hope that they do, because I want to see the underdog win and smaller clubs grow, but history isn't on their side.
Tuncay's absence will be sorely missed at Sukru Saracoglu. He brought a swagger to Fenerbahce and a sense of pride. For me personally, he was the first footballer that attracted me to Fenerbahce. The way that he wore the Fener shirt made me want to be a part of the club. Fenerbahce will move on, however. We survived the Hooijdonk departure, the end of the Revivo era, the loss of Rapaic and Johnson, and we will survive this. It helps when you have Aziz Yildirim and a stocked bank account. In fact, Aziz Yildirim is probably on the phone working on another huge transfer as I write this. With Yildirim at the helm, nothing seems impossible for this club.
Tuncay's departure hurts from an emotional standpoint as much as a futbol one. He received the name "Fenerbah├že'nin Yuregi" (The Heart of Fenerbahce) because he earned it. However, just six years ago Tuncay was a lanky kid playing for Sakaryaspor. The then-19-year-old caught the eye of Fenerbahce and they agreed on a transfer the next season. Fenerbahce, in that same year, won the Super Lig title. It was their 14th championship since 1959. Fenerbahce will move on and win more championships. Hopefully, Tuncay will have a successful career in England and live in the hearts of Fenerli's forever. Rest assured that Aziz Yildirim, Murat Ozaydinli, and the rest of the Fenerbahce board are out trying to find the next "Tuncay" right now. Six years from now however, I anticipate that Fenerbahce's profile will have grown significantly, and other European teams will get a lump in their throat when Fenerbahce rings their phone about a transfer.


Anonymous FenerFan said...

A great article.

4:00 PM  
Blogger PARISTEXAS said...

Beautifully written.
Deeply impressed.
Thank you very much.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Spoff said...

Middlesbrough fan here, we're hoping Tuncay can add some pace and excitment to a young promising squad.

We won't win the tittle, but a European place and possible up win is a possibility.

Remember only two years ago we were UEFA Cup finalists. We have the potential, hopefully we now have the player.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Nathan L. Redd said...

Thanks, Spoff. I'm glad you stopped by. You guys signed a winner, and he'll bring excitement to The 'Boro. Middlesbrough just became my favorite English team :). I'll be cheering you guys on - best of luck.

12:25 PM  

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