Monday, September 17, 2007

Fenerbace: A Past and Future Secret


Fenerbace: A Past and Future Secret
By Ozgur R. Nazilli


Believe in it guys,
Believe in it.
We will see the better days,
Bright, shiny days.
We will beat Cim Bom Bom in Kadikoy,
And will sing the songs of victory.

Or, in the original Turkish:

Inanin cocuklar,
Cocuklar inanin.
Guzel gunler gorecegiz,
Gunesli gunler.
Cim Bom Bom'u Kadikoy'de devirecegiz,
Sampiyonluk sarkilari soyleyecegiz.

It is always hard to translate a song word for word in to English, but I did my best. I did this, because I felt a general wave of despair has been slowly taking over the Fenerbahce fans this year, and someone should remind them some things that are apparently forgotten. This chant, adapted from a Turkish song, was a rallying cry for Fener fans two seasons ago, the season where we lost the championship to Galatasaray, and with this chant ringing through the Kadikoy stadium, the most important derby of the year ended Fenerbahce 4-0 Galatasaray.

Today, 5 games have been played for the 2007-2008 season, and Fenerbahce is trailing 5 points behind Galatasaray, the current first place holders. The picture does not look so bright. But its effects are felt tenfold amongst the Fener community. Even the members of the stronghold of the Fener fans, Antu, has been taken over by this negative atmosphere. Some people go as far as saying that Zico should be "kicked out" immediately, and replaced by Daum/Ridvan Dilmen-Pierre van Hooijdonk duo/Capello etc...

I am not going to comment on what Fenerbahce should do, or how they should use this or that tactic, or Zico should/shouldn't be replaced... The focus of this article is the fan behavior and psychology.

In Fenerbahce, as is the case with most Turkish teams, responsibility comes with a huge risk, alongside the six figure pay check. You could be fired from your position in a matter of days. Therefore, in such a volatile environment, it may be natural for the fans to start protesting and asking for a manager to be replaced. However, the problem with the fans is, they have a very weak short term memory. Even the most dedicated fan might at times have a hard time remembering what happened two years ago when Daum was in charge, or before that, or before that...

It is easy for a fan to demand change when things are going bad. Because that is where his duty ends, the rest is up to the Board. The Board has to sack the current manager, look for alternatives, choose the best one, negotiate an affordable price with him, and put him in charge, not to mention changing the whole staff (assistant manager, trainers etc.) if the new manager requests that. Even if all this is done and taken care of, there is no guarantee that the new manager surpass, or even match the old manager's success level. Also, there is the whole issue of the team accepting and adjusting to the new manager during the season, which I will not even get into.

The whole point of my article is: Be patient. Consistency is a vital component of achievement in futbol. I know Zico has been performing below-par this season, but do not forget that last year in the same period, Zico and his students had scored 15 goals in 5 matches. Therefore, since we did not make him a legend last year after 5 games, we should not have his head this season in the first 5 league games.

Remember, it took Sir Alex Ferguson 6 years to make Manchester United win their first championship. What a big mistake it would have been if the Manchester United Board decided to listen to the fans and fire him after 1, 2 or even 5 years of failure!


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